Crass idiocy at Harry\’s Place

I’m instinctively attracted to the idea of state funding for political parties, designed to remove the temptation to allow powerful groups (both corporations and trade unions) and individuals to distort democracy.


The most powerful group in society is The State. We elect politicians, at least in theory, to direct that State. You know, to represent the various power groups in society in their battles both against and to direct that State.

Having the politicians funded by the State makes them subservient to it: there\’s no damn point in having them at all then is there?

13 thoughts on “Crass idiocy at Harry\’s Place”

  1. Politicians already are funded by the State! We pay MPs, well above average earnings, which has made it attractive enough to encourage the rise of “career politicians”, to our own detriment.

  2. Pay to vote, with the money going to the party you voted for.

    Folk on benefits can get the extra in their accounts and the unions can give their members a refund on their subs. As long as everything is secret in the voting booth the politicians can rest peacefully.

    All other revenue streams banned of course.

  3. The article and comments at Harry’s Place are rather underinformed, in that they seem to be unaware of the Kelly report. And Miliband is either pushing the Overton window, or behaving like a partisan oaf, depending on one’s perspective. But the notion of state funding itself is not idiotic, but plainly right. Why on earth should the state – the taxpayer if you prefer – give custody of its money to politicians on someone else’s payroll.

  4. I see no reason why a man or woman in Whitehall better knows which party to support with my money than I do myself.

    In a similar vein to corporation tax not being paid by the corporation itself, it wouldn’t be the state funding politics but us so we might as well leave the statist middleman out of it.

    It is an entirely artificial choice: political parties supported by either the benign state or evil big money interests leaves out the option of political parties being successful in finding financial support from the public. It’s not *our* fault party memberships are shrinking.

  5. But, in the words of Sir Christopher himself, regarding his report on Political Party Finance, apropos of the Cruddas fiasco:

    Nothing has so far happened. I imagine this is presumably because it requires all the parties to face up to some difficult issues which they would rather avoid.

    The report has not been accepted. And it is not “plainly right”. You agree with it. In fact you think “the case for public funding is overwhelming”. I happen to think you are profoundly wrong in this.

    I would also note that I profoundly disagree with Kelly’s fourth, the “new form of public support”, proposal. Just because a member of the establishment has published a report recommending something, doesn’t mean it is sensible, practical or fair.

  6. I see no reason why a man or woman in Whitehall better knows which party to support with my money than I do myself. …
    It’s not *our* fault party memberships are shrinking.


    Labour party membership halved during Tony’s time as Prime Minster. Why? They know why.

  7. the fundamental point surely is that if a party is unable to attract funding from the voters, it ought to become extinct.

    Having state funding just keeps the dying major parties staggering along, getting increasingly out-of-touch from their voters.

  8. I’d have thought the crucial point is that the existence of parties is not enshrined in western democracies. The fact that certain candidates and politicians choose to identify with each other and fight under a united banner is purely a matter for them and neither here not there to the democratic process. If the state is to fund prospective parliamentary candidates, it must fund all prospective parliamentary candidates, and if some candidates choose to pool their resources, that is a matter for them.

    To make it worthwhile, the funding would have to exceed the costs, which would make it attractive to simply stand as a candidate to pocket some taxpayer dosh.

    That said, I strongly object to the notion that my taxes should fund parties with whom I fundamentally disagree (which currently is pretty much all of them). There is a clear distinction between funding people as candidates and paying a salary once the voters have elected a person.

  9. Here in the real world, important decisions about what to do with our money are made by politicians belonging to political parties. I understand why politicians are not here held in high esteem, and why there’s considerable distaste for giving them more of our money. But as a practical matter, we’re not going to get them to vote to cut themselves off from large donations unless we offer an alternative. What is idiocy is to do nothing and continue to allow our rulers to be induced by donors to waste our money – can you imagine a large corporation allow staffing for its CEO’s office to be paid for by donations solicited from suppliers and clients?

  10. I’m pretty sure they’d be usless tossers who didn’t act in my best interest wherever the money came from, PaulB, so best it doesn’t come from my pocket.

  11. Again, what parties should do if they want more money is appeal to the 47m registered voters in the UK.

    The Conservative Party used to have over 2.5m members. I’m quite sure they and the Labour party understand why their membership has dropped – there have been a few ‘inquiries’ and ‘reviews’ into the matter.

    What they want to do is get our money without having to work for it.

    “Trust in politicians at a national level and trust in political parties are both low, and have been subject to a long-term decline. Polling research indicates that people feel distant from parties, and they feel that parties are only interested in them at election times. ” – Hayden Phillips review

    “citizens do not feel that the processes of formal democracy offer them enough influence over political decisions – this includes party members who feel they have no say in policy-making and are increasingly disaffected;
    the main political parties are widely perceived to be too similar and lacking in principle;
    the electoral system is widely perceived as leading to unequal and wasted votes;
    political parties and elections require citizens to commit to too broad a range of policies;
    many people feel they lack information or knowledge about formal politics; and,
    voting procedures are regarded by some as inconvenient and unattractive.” – Power Inquiry

    The solution, then, is apparently not to improve trust and give people more of a say, but to take our money anyway.

    Slow handclap.

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