Isn’t it amazing? What is? The cheek of the political class! Ah yes says almost everyone. What have they done this time?
MPs and some sort of committee have decided that political parties should be funded by… wait for it, wait for it… yes you guessed it The Taxpayer. That’s the same taxpayer who also paid for silly expense claims made by these same MPs and was short changed when the money that was originally claimed wasn’t paid back in full in a lot of cases. But, no matter. The taxpayer has very deep pockets.
Our collective pockets are so deep that they won’t miss the odd £100 Million over five years. Someone at NewsnetScotland summarised this amount as being 1p per week for everyone in the UK, which they then suggested was “cheap democracy”. You will no doubt be aware that it’s a pretty well used trick by sales people to reduce the cost of what you want to buy to the lowest cost. Here we have a classic example of a lot of people paying a small amount and a small amount of people get a shed load of money. Does that sound familiar?
The evidence cited for the need to fund the political parties from taxpayer funds is based on stopping individuals giving political parties large donations or buying their way towards something they want which the politicians can deliver. This just isn’t cricket old boy. The charge is the Torys have mates with access to large wads. The Labour Party has access to Union funds. The LibDems… yawn!
How about the taxpayer and private individuals stop all donations and move to a maximum £10.00 membership fee for anyone wishing to join a political party and implement it immediately. Taxpayers are you ready? On my first whistle you will demand only a £10.00 limited membership fee for all political parties and no additional income of any type.. On my second whistle you can decide who wishes to join any or all of these parties for £10.00 a pop maximum.
Why do the parties need £100 Million? Advertising? Battle buses? Offices? Rosettes? Leaflets? Wee placard things to tie to lampposts? Faux newspapers? Do any of these things work? Are we ever swayed by a political parties leaflet, or a placard, or a TV or press advert? I’m just not convinced we are. At all. Ever
£100 million, what a nice tidy number, which should be enough, according to the politicians (we all know it won’t be and the amount needed will grow and grow and grow). The intention is that the main three parties, which will slip back into two parties at the next election, will also load the dice so they get most of it and they will starve the smaller parties and independents. That’s politics for you. Well no that’s bullying and gangsterism.
So the deal should only be based on a small membership fee being the only source of funding for any political party. Party political broadcasts on TV and radio should also be banned. Each party should be required to provide a 15 minute video which clearly defines their pitch to voters. The videos would be available from the moment an election or by-election etc. is called. They would be available on the internet or on a TV channel which shows them all, in alphabetic order, continuously until the actual day of the election. This would ensure that the BNP, UKIP and all the other small parties and independents get their fair say without being squeezed out due to the number of votes they polled previously or being shouted down by fascists/socialists/whateverists.
Fifteen minutes for a pitch should be ample time to layout their stall. No press coverage, so you’d have to get of your bum and go and see them live at a venue near you. No BBC swingometers or hours of biased programmes where dull people get exited about nonsense. No Sun or any other newspaper telling their readership who to vote for or covering speeches or any other kind of coverage which might be open to bias or manipulation. Press controls. Nah. Fair democracy in action more like!
Since we are pursuing balance here it’s only fair that the contract with the voters works both ways. If a party makes a promise to do something in their 15 minute pitch they have to deliver it if they get elected. If they don’t they will be held to account and sanctions would follow. The sanctions would include financial penalties, legal action, public ridicule, put in the stocks, forced to take part in front line active service with the army and also to take part in a new TV programme called “I’m a failed politician and I can’t ever get out of here” similar to sending convicts to the colonies punishment but more colourful and entertaining for the UK taxpayer (see “I’m a celebrity” for a basic blueprint)..
Oops I may have got slightly carried away there but I’m sure you may also have your own thoughts on suitable punishments.
No taxpayers money for political parties. None. Not a penny.
Not content with wanting to have their parties bankrolled by the taxpayer they are now also pursuing changes to their expenses, which would increase the amounts they can claim. (See the following link which provides a heads up and the actual discussion document). Subrosa Blog – He who shouts the loudest.
“A disgrace” goes nowhere near how repulsive this whole things is.