Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Labour's finances and state funding

Over the past few days there have been a lot of stories doing the rounds about the financal situation of the Labour Party. According to some of those stories they're so strapped for cash they might not even be able to pay their salary bill this month. Today's news looks no better as the Telegraph reports that they've sold their previous offices in Old Queen Street for around £6 million (which gives them only about £500,000 profit).

Daniel Hannan, in the Comments section of the same paper argues that all these finaincial problems are merely a sub-text to forthcoming proposals for state funding of political parties, and he goes on to argue a very persuasive four point case against us taking that route.

The most salient of points he makes for me is he last where he suggests that merely the cheek of suggesting it is grounds for rejection. As, "caught breaking their own rules", the political parties demand that the rest of the country should pay them with sufficient generosity to remove them from further temptation."

There is certainly something very odd about arguing the case for state funding on the grounds that without it you might be tempted to bend the rules. It's a bit like a burgular knocking on your door and telling you that you've an obligation to give him your valuables in order to save him from the moral nightmare of committing a crime.

Personally I hope that state funding doesn't become a reality, and it does worry me that the Conservative leadership has been making noises to suggest it might support the move. Taxing us for the privilege of choosing who taxes us would be absurdity verging on idiocy.

1 comment:

LondonVillage said...

I could not agree more, if political parties want money then they should ask people for it, not take it from them in taxes, make all party donations over a threshold public (isn’t the threshold currently £2000?).

If Political parties are all about democracy then they should realise that true democracy is having the support of a large number of people and not just one or two well funded individuals (or worse still companies).

Perhaps this will make the central offices of political parties a little more sensible with their monies, I was involved with a campaign a while back and the total expenditure for the general election campaign was under £1,500 (this was for a local political party office) if the central offices of political parties wish to be in power then perhaps they should start learning to be more careful with their money.

I see the state funding of political parties a bit like the state funding of charities, in an ideal world it should not happen as the good ones will be able to collect enough money though donations to keep going.