Monday, December 31, 2012

He who pays the piper

Calls the tune.
Bit obvious really, and a great danger to political parties who become to dependent on one source of income. What tends to happen is a form of dependency as the contributor starts to call the shots rather than simply hand over cash as a gesture of support for the policies of the party, demands are made to make policy the way the contributor wants. It's why the funding of political parties needs to be open, though I rather suspect they'd much prefer to keep their contributors hidden.
ED Miliband was facing a new funding storm last night as it was revealed that the Labour Party has pocketed more than £20million from trade unions since he became leader.
The largest chunk of cash, £7.5million, came from the Unite union led by Left-wing firebrand Len McCluskey.
A further £3.6million each came from Paul Kenny’s GMB and Dave Prentis’s Unison.
All three unions backed Ed Miliband for the party leadership in 2010.
Though I rather think that many in Labour do not see their union funding as a problem, despite the obvious influence on policy that these mostly public service unions exert. Nor do I believe it healthy for any political party to be subject to the influence of Len McCluskey, who quotes a mass murderer (Che Guevara) and was once a member of the Communist Party and a supporter of Miltant Tendency. We really ought to consider Communists in the same way we consider Nazi's, even the ex ones need careful watching and really ought not to be allowed near any levers of power. Not that the left in general like to see themselves compared to Nazi's as such, despite such similarities in their modus operandi once they get their hands on power as both beliefs have a tendency to trash the economy before being removed from power, often after trying to use violence and intimidation to remain there (both are statist philosophies after all)
Still, it's not healthy for any political party to have 81% of its funding coming from those whose political beliefs are suspect to say the least, if 81% of Tory party funds came from just three sources you'd imagine Labour (and others) would be all over it like a rash.
This on top of the Pilgrim abuses where unions use public bodies to fund their activities mean that to an extent Labour and the unions recycle a lot of public funding to pay themselves and this needs to be stopped. Nor do I support taxpayer funding for political parties either, if they want my money, they can ask me personally, not just grab it from the magic money tree.
Perhaps it is time to look at party funding, with a view to making sure it only comes from private individuals and not businesses or unions. Perhaps then we'll have political parties who will do what we want, not what unions and business want...

3 annotations:

Longrider said...

Preferably no parties, merely groupings of like minded independents.

Antisthenes said...

"Perhaps it is time to look at party funding"

Perhaps it is political parties and politicians that are the problem and we should be rid of them. Let us replace them with apolitical representatives who through consultation with their constituents legislate and govern us. We the people must govern we the people politicians after all only represent their own vested interests and that of their parties.

Dan said...

What you're saying here actually applies to all political parties. Labour, Tory, Lib-Dem; our limitations on how much a party may spend on an election means that all can subsist happily on just a few large donations from individuals. This wasn't always so; in the past political parties had huge memberships and needed them to stay afloat financially.

This change from lots of people making small donations to a few making big ones is why modern politics is in such a bad way; politicians no longer need to listen to lots of constituents and political party members, and the wisdom of crowds is lost and substituted for the stupidity of a few politically-interested individuals.

We really do need to limit the amount that any one entity or person may give to a political party per annum, to something as low as £500. This would free all parties from the tyranny of big single donors. It would also likely kill most of the big parties until they got their heads straight, so a slow phase-in is perhaps the best way to bring in such a system.

The end result would be to re-link political parties with those they represent, or to kill the parties that could not adapt.