Posts Tagged ‘donor’

Time to learn from the union link in funding politics

29/03/2012, 07:18:41 PM

by Ian Stewart

Every time there is a donor scandal in British politics, Whether its Ecclestone or an oligarch’s yacht, the same old arguments for state funding rise, Lazarus-like from their tomb. No doubt since Sunday, Lib Dems have been muttering to their dwindling band of friends that all this will go away if we had a system like Germany.

It is a tempting argument, well made by Mary Ann Sieghart earlier this week in the Independent. Many inside progressive politics are no doubt swayed by its siren call. Yet like so many centrist arguments favoured by political nerds, this one has some gapng holes:

Hole 1:  Germany has had state funding since the 1950s, yet corruption and bribery still happen. The massive “Lockheed scandal” of the 1970s forced politicians and Luftwaffe Generals to resign over the purchase of the starfighter warplane. Germany now apparently requires companies to state what they have spent on buying political influence, so that they can levy a “bribes tax” (hmm… thinking about this one…)

Hole 2:  The old Soviet Bloc had state funding for its token “Opposition” parties in the GDR, Poland et al. Anyone see any good that came of that? No? Lets move on…

Hole 3: Politicians are about as popular as leprosy. Do we want more of our taxes spent on them?

Hole 4: The state is not always neutral. State funding of political parties could take away some of our independence and ability to propose radical new policies.

Hole 5: Why should a Labour supporter help fund the LibDems/Tories/UKIP/BNP/Respect… or indeed anybody else? Why should a Scottish Labour supporter fund the SNP? That’s what Brian Souter is for.

Hole 6: For Labour, it further weakens the trades union link, and Progress are in favour of it.


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