Wednesday, December 19, 2012

State Funding of Political Parties - The answer.

The question that has to be addressed is not so much as to whether there should be State funding, but if it is to be justified on the basis that it is to enhance our democracy, what conditions and requirements have to be met by those recipients of the funding.
                There are clear links between party democracy, membership and fund raising.   There is no doubt that healthy political parties should be capable of raising from the public sufficient funds to sustain themselves.   It is equally clear that for their own internal reasons the two main parties have pursued large donations from a few individuals and in the process have created a public perception of sleaze.   They have avoided the option of raising funds in small amounts from a large number of people because without democratic reform of the parties their pleas would fall on deaf ears.
                The solution to their problem requires the recognition of the calamitous financial state that the parties are in and that State funding should be strictly limited to assisting the parties to overcoming their temporary difficulties.   There should be a time limit on the main element of funding.   In order to eliminate the public perception of sleaze the maximum size of any donation from an individual should be limited to £10,000.   The parties should be democratically accountable to their membership.   The limit on donations becomes less important if the parties are democratically accountable to their members for it would make it more difficult to obtain influence in such circumstances.   All these steps are taken to enhance democracy and should be conditions imposed on the parties prior to them receiving State funding.
                The simplest way for these objectives to be achieved is for the State to pay a per capita amount (say £20.00) to each political party dependent on the number of audited members of the party paying a minimum subscription of £10.00.   Such monies paid by the State should be reduced each year by 20% thus eliminating the subsidy over five years.   This would give the parties time to increase their membership to the point where they are self-financing.

To enhance democracy the State should pay a per capita amount (say £20.00) to each political party dependent on the number of audited members of the party paying a minimum subscription of £10.00 and subject to the parties having democratic constitutions.   This would encourage them to concentrate on building up their membership.   The subsidy would diminish by 20% each year and be completely abolished after five years.
The Trade Unions should be subjected to the same limits on donations to political parties as Companies and individuals i.e. £10,000.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

House of Lords reform

"In the United Kingdom, however, 92 seats in the House of Lords continue for now to be reserved to holders of hereditary aristocratic titles.
"Only two of these 92 seats are currently occupied by women. While the holders of hereditary peerages continue to be eligible for membership of the House of Lords, the way in which their titles are inherited, and its effect on the gender balance in Parliament, remain matters of public interest."
A government source in the Lords said there were no plans to change the position of hereditary peers.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

State Funding of Political Parties

Whilst in opposition 1997-2010 the Conservative Party received over £40 million in State funding.   It was called "Short" money after the Labour MP Ted Short who first introduced it.   Since 2010 the Labour Party has been receiving similar amounts each year.   Both of these Parties are fundamentally undemocratic organisations.    Both operate the discredited Electoral College system for their elections.   Effectively they are controlled by a small group of oligarchs.
There should be no State funding to any political party which does not have a democratic constitution which can be changed by the members on the basis of One Member One Vote.