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Political donations

Laura Kuenssberg | 12:31 UK time, Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Even during the height of the expenses scandal the amount of money being given to political parties went up.

Cheque bookIn fact, the figures just published by the Electoral Commission show that donations given between April and June this year were the fourth highest ever in any quarter.

The most generous donor was David Rowland, a financier, who gave more than a million pounds to the Conservatives.

The next five donors in order of largesse were all unions, giving money to the Labour party. You can take a look at the figures here. We'll be looking out for any interesting names - more later.

Update, 13:16: The money men...(and woman).

For all the political grumbling about "unacceptable" levels of bonuses in the City and tough words for irresponsible City practices, the list of the top donors to the political parties is still populated by plenty of people who earned their money in the City.

The top donor is David Rowland who gave more than a million pounds to the Conservative party.

He has told the BBC that he's planning to channel plenty more cash to the Tories in the next two years because he has a "passionate concern for liberty and the economic future of Britain".

He says Cameron's Conservatives will "set the people free" and has given them a cheque for a million pounds to make their mission that bit easier.

He says he is now living in London so that he can support the party rather than Guernsey where he had been based.

Others giving large amounts of money to the Conservatives - Michael Hintze and Michael Farmer for instance - have both made money from hedge funds.

There's also more than £300,000 from IPGL, a financial services business chaired by Michael Spencer, the treasurer of the Conservative party.

There's also a large donation from Susan Anstey, otherwise known as Lady Ashcroft, the wife of Michael Ashcroft, who is funding the Conservatives' work in marginal constituencies and has a desk in Tory HQ.

Labour is also receiving money from financiers - Sir Ronald Cohen, close to Gordon Brown, has given another quarter of a million pounds, along with Nigel Doughty a private equity man.

Labour has also been given cash by Hillside New Media, Ltd - the company behind the online gambling site Bet 365.

Labour might not be that impressed to know that the site is currently offering odds of 1/2 that the Conservatives will win the next election - Alan Johnson is the 1/1 favourite to be the next leader of the Labour party.

But their donations from the private sector are dwarfed by contributions from their union supporters - their top five donors were all unions, giving nearly £3m between them.

The Liberal Democrats biggest donors are Lord Alliance, the textiles millionaire, and the Joseph Rowntree Trust. Between them they gave nearly half a million pounds.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Politics has always been a mucky business of compromise and influence and we do, and should, strive to limit the influence that money can buy and let the occasional political principle shine through. The more money that is involved the less principled are the parties.

    I am all for limiting the influence that money can buy and limiting the money spent by the parties at and between elections - political advertising should be banned, as should the promotion of a political cause by individuals and special interest groups - we should never for example permit in the UK the appalling advertising sponsored by the insurance companies against a US health service on pain of something genuinely awful - say enforced bankruptcy of any organisation or individual responsible!

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    After the expenses debacle it is surprising that donations have gone up, but due to the revelations of serious troughing going on across all the political parties the non cash donations are quite possibly suspect. I would not put it past some MPs to claim some of the donations as expenses.

    A lot of these non cash donations are described as flights, office rents, printing and publishing. Sounds familiar doesn't it? Of couse it could all be above board but trust in MPs is a bit thin on the ground these days.

  • Comment number 5.

    would be good to get away from this reliance on donations, which is why I like the idea of state funding for political parties - but calibrated such that the funds received from the Public Purse are positively correlated to the quality of policies put forward, and the moral strength and integrity of the principles underpinning those policies - thus, in practice, nothing for the Conservatives unless and until they change their spots - which is perfectly possible in my view - don't believe in the old leopard saying

  • Comment number 6.

    Money sure does buy a lot of influence. Pity its the way the world works.
    Even more of a pity thats how politics work.

  • Comment number 7.

    What is fascinating is the significant increase in Public Funding of political parties. (Forgetting the "tithing" of income received by local councillors, which also comes from the public purse...)

  • Comment number 8.

    That seems to have put paid to the Conservatives idea that there should be a maximum of £50000 per donor. Certainly for the time being.

    I can never see labour going with that idea seeing as they rely on big donations from a few unions.

    I see you didn't name the unions involved which I can understand because there must be many of their members who have no intention of voting for the labour party next time around.

  • Comment number 9.

    In Africa if you want to engage in corruption you give $5 and a pack of cigarettes to the customs man at the airport or the policeman at the roadblock - you sale right through.

    In Britiain, of course, we have no corruption.

    In Britain you give £500,000 to a political party or £50,000 to an MP to act as 'parlimentary advisor' or 'non-executive director.' Your casino, or law to cut off file sharers from the internet, or change to capital gains tax...just sails right through.

    Entirely unconnected to the money changing hands of course.

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    Must be hard to regulate the banks when its full of your friends

  • Comment number 12.

    And given that the Government pays £millions in "Modernisation funds" to the Unions, Labour is thus using the Unions to launder a direct transfer of money from the taxpayer to their own Party.

    What a fantastically corrupt organisation Labour is.

  • Comment number 13.

    Until controls are placed on political donations corruption will continue. Bankers and financial services would not like additional over-sight even after their greed produced a worldwide financial diaster. They would like to do it again because, after all, it was only the little guy and his or her retirement account that took the hit, the banks were made whole by taxing the very people who the banks stold from. Those charged with potecting the public interest, elected officials, failed in every way or more correctly, were bought. Bankers have no national interest and apparently neither do the current self-serving flock of politicians. Odd how in a down economy the bankers are doing very well. Not only did they bring down nations, now in the tradition of past barbarians, they wish to loot the cities.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    Wasn't there a suggestion that the amount of donation be capped?

    Oh but of course, with Labour being almost fully funded by the Unions that would mean their income levels would put them on a level playing field with the other parties.

    Can't have that! We can't have parity when Labour are in charge can we!?

  • Comment number 16.

    Sadly I can't comment on one of the biggest labour donors who's not mentioned in that link/list who gave their money before that list's date relates to, because whenever I do my entry gets removed.
    Bet the same thing wouldn't happen if I mentioned tory donors though.

    Some things are simply not up for debate on the beeb, despite them being matters of fact and public record.

    Just spin the "tory toff" line I guess, and ignore/ban the labour angle completely, eh, aunty, and hope that the labour vote doesn't crumble to zero.

  • Comment number 17.

    5.

    Hah, Saga, you were doing so well - then "well, nothing for the conservatives, then..."

    They're all as bad as each other. Why do you think that Lord Levy was such a prolific fund raiser for Blair? Why do you think they've been happy to accept money from Nigel Doughty and Ronnie Cohen? And other hedgie types not mentioned by Laura?

    To reduce thier dependance on cash from the unions. Money from the unions buys influence. Not to mention it allegedly helps grease the way into a path into the other house and possibly a safe Labour seat to stand in, if you so desire... Less money the unions give, the less influence they get, the more centrist/less left wing/more electable the party becomes.

    Simples.

    There is something to be said for state funding, but its another one of those things that isnt proved to work-sounds great in theory, but in practical use would probably be as wide open to abuse as the current system.

  • Comment number 18.

    Laura:

    Not surprised with the news, with ongoing political donations..Since, $$$ keeps the Political system running.....


    =Dennis Junior=

  • Comment number 19.

    "sagamix wrote:
    would be good to get away from this reliance on donations, which is why I like the idea of state funding for political parties - but calibrated such that the funds received from the Public Purse are positively correlated to the quality of policies put forward, and the moral strength and integrity of the principles underpinning those policies - thus, in practice, nothing for the Conservatives unless and until they change their spots - which is perfectly possible in my view - don't believe in the old leopard saying"

    So based on those factors New Labour would actually owe us money? As their policies seem to be worse than the Tories and their moral strength seems non-existant! And who would judge the parties? New Labour would be in serious problem if you weren't on the allocation panel!

    But seriously the main problem with state funding is that tax payers would basically have to pay money to fund parties such as the BNP (like it or not they are a legal political party).

    Also how would state funding be decided? Would it be based on the size of the party? In which case small parties would never be able to establish themselves and compete. Or would state funding be established on a per-party basis? In which case I am sure many people would start their own party just for the funding!

  • Comment number 20.

    #8 I see you didn't name the unions involved which I can understand because there must be many of their members who have no intention of voting for the labour party next time around.


    Unite - TGWU Section 623,429

    GMB 622,621

    Unite - AMICUS Section 618,432

    Union of Shop Distributive
    and Allied Workers 577,958

    UNISON 430,596

  • Comment number 21.

    I can't Afford to chip in Gordon my pension won't stretch that far but I've got a buddy called Cameron he might help out, but then you won't be needing it by then will you? So i advise the unions to hold on to the peoples cash just in case they haven't a job to subscribe from.

  • Comment number 22.

    I wonder when Gordon Brown will be making a statement about the demise of Big Brother?

  • Comment number 23.

    i've long thought it wrong that the only way for employee to get union protection involves part of their subs being donated to the labour party.

    especially this version of the labour party which has done so much to damage the working man...

  • Comment number 24.

    Political donations are given for simple reasons - to apply influence for vested interests, buy favours and encourage the granting of honours. In short, bribery.
    In recent years we've had politicians bleating about the need to fund parties from taxpayers, in order to "preserve democracy" (a.k.a. force us to pay off their overdrafts). They had hoped to fund themselves by setting up loads of regional assemblies where hundreds of party hacks could have earned £75K plus expenses, but that idea was kicked into touch. So before long WE will have to pay ? Why should we ? In any case, it is an idea doomed to failure, because the only way it could be fairly implemented is if parties like the BNP got public funding and THAT ain't going to happen. Caledonian Comment

  • Comment number 25.

    20 WunnyBabbit

    Many thanks for that info. Very informative. Wonder how many of their members know that? Absolutely shocking this money should be wasted in such a way when so many members are losing their jobs and will probably find it difficult or impossible to find another in the same industry.

    Pretty sickening but not surprising. Who's for a peerage then?

  • Comment number 26.

    "Poprishchin wrote:
    I wonder when Gordon Brown will be making a statement about the demise of Big Brother?"

    Making a statement on an issue that important? I would expect it would take weeks - he will have to listen to the public's opinion and make a non-commital statement tied in to that!

    Mindless dribble doesn't write itself - that is what speech writers are for.

  • Comment number 27.

    Laura

    Sorry I do not see the link between the expenses that are paid out of the public pot and donations from individuals that go to party coffers. These donations are supposedly philanthropic but are more likely to try and ensure that an advantageous political landscape is in place for the donator. Why do they care that MPs have been "enjoying" public money? The only possible reason would be if it damaged a political party so much that they would not get voted in again. With our 2 party system this is rarely the case and clearly not in this instance looking at by-election results.

  • Comment number 28.

    "loved ones" seems a bit optimistic.... ;-)

    http://www.newsbiscuit.com/2009/08/25/brown-to-be-released-from-downing-street-%E2%80%98on-compassionate-grounds’/

  • Comment number 29.

    The limit on donations should be further capped, so that no party is beholden to its donors.

    Better still if we cap the number of MP's [less than half the present amount], reduce the Lords to a small legislative chamber, then capped the expenditure on election campaigns the parties would not need that much money in the first place.

    We might actually get some debate on real issues rather than the usual ad man's drivel at election time.

  • Comment number 30.

    Mark @ 19

    how would it work in practice? ... well let's see:

    all parties to be either state funded (SF) parties or (PD) private donation parties - can't be both - the 2 main parties (Lab/Clown) to be compulsorily SF parties (so no donations) - each to get the same amount, let's say 100 per annum to go up or down each year with the RPI

    so that's them

    the LibDems have the choice to be an SF or a PD party - if SF, they receive half what the Big Two get - so 50 per annum - that will be more than they could get in donations, so they'll no doubt opt for SF status

    leaves the little parties - UKIP, Greens, BNP, CTP and the like - but we can take the BNP out of the equation since a Whites Only membership policy will render them unsuitable to receive funds either privately or from the state - they'll have to fight on an empty stomach, I'm afraid

    the remaining 3 (UKIP, Greens, CTP) and indeed any others (those with an Irish/Scottish/Welsh flavour, for example) earn the choice to be SF or PD ... to be like the LibDems, in other words ... on achieving EITHER one of 50,000 members or 5 MPs - having got there, and if they opt for SF status, they receive funds pro rata with the LibDems - doing the pro rata calculation either on members or seats, whichever is the "triggering parameter" - thus, for example, if the CTP break through with 10 seats, and the LibDems have 40 seats, then they (the CTP, I mean) will get one quarter of the LibDems funding ... 12.5 per annum - or, of course, they could opt to stay PD if they thought they could raise more money that way (unlikely, even for them) - but again, just to emphasise, each party is one or the other - no party gets BOTH state funding AND private donations

    final point to note is that to prevent too much influence being exerted on the PD parties by a single (or married, for that matter) rich individual, we'll be capping individual donations at a suitably small amount - and that applies to organisations (e.g. Unions) too

    yes, I like it - anybody else like it as much as I do?

  • Comment number 31.

    Who needs political donations when the EHRC commission an executive body of HMG starts to investigate another political party (BNP) in a move designed to have them removed from the debate and elections.

    then you do not need campain funds to get elected as there is no opposition.

    Given that the EHRC will not investigate the Family Courts for equality and Human rights issues.

    New Labour is using the Taxpayer for its funding purposes ?

    As it many of the ZANU-Labour polices that have caused a direct increase in the support for the BNP ?


  • Comment number 32.

    CaledonianComment wrote at 24:
    "They had hoped to fund themselves by setting up loads of regional assemblies where hundreds of party hacks could have earned £75K plus expenses, but that idea was kicked into touch"

    If only that were true. Despite saying in July 2007 "Regional assemblies will be axed" the Regional Assembies are still alive and meddling!
    and far from being axed from 2010 they will be going under the title of Regional Development Agencies

  • Comment number 33.

    My solution is as follows:
    1) an opinion pole is used to identify the top five issues concerning the public. All candidates in a constituency can contribute for free to a publication in which they must state their views on these issues provided that they write about what they will do not attack other parties + 250 words on anything else they wish to say - here they can mud sling.
    2) There is a local and a national cap on election spending with accounts showing where the money came from. The cap should be considered achievable by all parties which got more than 15% (I'm not sure if this is quite right, but you get the idea) of the vote in the previous election.
    3) a limit of two phonecall or knocks on the door for each household - though in truth I would love to reduce this to zero.

    I know this seems a little idealistic,

  • Comment number 34.

    Laura, I make no reference to the particular donors you mention and I have no wish to cast any doubt on their noble intentions. But in general terms, it's interesting to note that when Labour was up in the polls back in 1997, many donors switched allegiance to offer their support. Now the Tories look set to win next time, many donors are once again supporting them. It begs the question, do donors give money in the hope that this will help a particular party to win, or simply because they want to curry favour with the winning side?

  • Comment number 35.

    #30 sagamix

    let's say 100 per annum

    100 what? Better not say Euro ;-)

    Wait a minute. It depends on their current popularity as to how much (SF) money they get? So, it's like football.

  • Comment number 36.

    I thought I'd give it a go and see what happens, but I'd be very surprised if this gets through the BBC/Labour Ministry of Truth censor....

    Seeing as we're mentioning tory donors, how about mentioning a labour donor, namely Alan Sugar, who's given the labour party over a million pounds.

    He was also given some very large government contracts under labour, and was also given a peerage.

    No connection there obviously. Just a coincidence.

  • Comment number 37.

    I thought that there was to be a cap on donations, then I read of these.
    I seem to remember there were other large donations made JK Rowling gave 1 million to the Labour party and did'nt your fired do it too.
    I thought that all donations had to be declared so I suppose I could check that somewhere.

  • Comment number 38.

    33. At 4:49pm on 26 Aug 2009, Boilerbill wrote:
    My solution is as follows:
    1) an opinion poll is used to identify the top five issues concerning the public...


    Now that is a terrifying idea. Scientists, yes. University Dons, possibly. The public? NNNNNOOOOOOOOO!

  • Comment number 39.

    IR35 @ 31

    Who needs political donations when the EHRC commission an executive body of HMG starts to investigate another political party (BNP) in a move designed to have them removed from the debate and elections

    come on, this is a totally justified action - we can't have a political party, running for office, with a Whites Only membership policy - and I'd say exactly the same thing about a Blacks Only or Women Only or Able Bodied Only or whatever only party - I'm amazed, to be honest, that they've got away with it until now - it won't blow them away (unfortunately) because they'll just change their constitution to come in line with what's acceptable - but still ...

  • Comment number 40.

    #39 We MUST never remove anyone from the debate never mind how reprehensible there views.

    It only justified if the ERHC act in a compelety impartial manor on all
    issues. What I was pointing out was they they are NOT. And therefore were acting in the interests of another political party ie New labour that also does not want the family courts looked into either, for fear of the political repercusions of the findings that they would be held to account for

    Given that Ms HH gave quite open support for this investigation.

    what about the SNP and Pylaid Cymri then too.

    Many could see this as State funding of a political party already.

    Others have mention Mr/Sir/Lord Alan Sugar and his donations and contracts

    It no suprise that unions are mostly in the public sector. Ie recycling tax payers moneis to the labour party.

  • Comment number 41.

    @ #25 virtual silver lady:
    The sad thing is that most of those member numbers quoted won't even realise they can opt out of any of their contributons being politically donated.
    I wonder how transparent the registers of opt-outs are among the Trades union?

  • Comment number 42.

    @sagamix #39
    "come on, this is a totally justified action - we can't have a political party, running for office, with a Whites Only membership policy - and I'd say exactly the same thing about a Blacks Only or Women Only or Able Bodied Only or whatever only party"
    Oh yeah?.....you try joining the black police officers association?

  • Comment number 43.

    Is it me, or is it a sad reflection upon our society that those parties that spend the most cash have the best chance of getting in. We the voter must be easily fooled if we vote for the party that spends most on advertising and knocks on your door most.

    I believe that party expenditure should be capped at a modest levels and all lobby groups obliged to register and minute meetings that they have with MPs or Lords. All correspondence between lobby groups and MPs and Lords to be placed on public record. It should be illegal for an MP or Lord to discuss policy matters without putting details of the discussion and the parties involved on public record, unless in open forum.

    By no means should public finances be used by the parties to fund their expenditure.

  • Comment number 44.

    If people or organisations want to donate to political parties then that is their affair, however I would like to see a cap on how much each candidate can spend on campaigning during an election period (say in the 4 weeks before polling day), 500 quid should be more than enough for flyers and balloons.

    I also think that the returnable deposit system currently in force is completely undemocratic as it favours the major parties over the independents and minorities, much better would be that a candidate has to get a fixed number of signatures from voters in that constituency in the 2 weeks preceeding the election period, not enough signatures means that you can't stand. (you were unelectable anyway)

    I don't want state funding for political parties and I don't want PR either as this discriminates against independents.

    A fair and level playing field - one where the best person wins, not the richest or best connected.



  • Comment number 45.

    39#

    how is it justified Saga, you seem to be quite happy for Hattie's brand of positive discrimination and tokenism - discrimination is discrimination, after all..

    Also, how is it that the two main existing parties in your plan get a bigger percentage of the state funding than the other players? Surely every party should be allowed the same amount of funding? Maybe thats why some of them arent as big as others, in terms of either membership or the political impact they have, or the number of seats.

    If we reduce the number of seats, allow them the same amount of funding regardless of size, then surely then it comes down to the strength of their political argument and their political convictions rather than the glitzyness of their party political broadcasts or thier advertising on posters and in broadsheets, etc?

    If the BNP constitution was really illegal, then they would have been shut down by now. Plainly, it isnt. Once you start saying you're going to shut down parties because you object to elements of thier constitution, sooner or later, you're going to end up with a one party state... and we're heading that way now.

    The two main parties arent far enough apart in terms of their manifestos because they have all decided that in order to get our votes, they're going to say what they think we want to hear instead of saying what they believe in. Hence all the lying, the duplicity, the broken promises.

  • Comment number 46.

    catchy name @ 42

    oh yeah, you try joining the black police officers association

    er, that's a "political party running for office" is it?

  • Comment number 47.

    35 @ 40

    I know you're very concerned about the Family Courts - not something I know much about - perhaps we can discuss some time

    and I do agree with you about not suppressing debate, but that's not the issue here - the issue is a political party, running for office, which has a Whites Only membership policy - that's both wrong and (I believe) illegal, but let's see what the verdict is - any case, if confirmed illegal, they'll just change it and carry on

    your comparison with the SNP and PC, I don't follow - they don't have, say, a Scots or Welsh only membership policy, do they? - anyone can join, is that not the case?

    no, the BNP case is unique and should be judged on its own merits - political party, running for office, whites only membership - legal or not?

    (hey, but many congratulations for not rolling out the old chestnut false/facile comparison with the BPOA)

  • Comment number 48.

    Saga you cant discriminate against someone whose views you don't like. Then your being just as discriminatory as them.
    The whole point of freedom of expression is that you put up with other peoples views even if you don't agree with them

  • Comment number 49.

    Jim Knight omits to say that of the 2.5 Million jobs created, Official statistics prove 1.6 million were filled by immigrants..

    Funny he never mentioned that...

  • Comment number 50.

    fubar @ 45

    If the BNP constitution was really illegal, then they would have been shut down by now. Plainly, it isnt

    well we're going to find out, that's the point - as regards why justified, pls see my 47 - to me, this is a particular case to be judged strictly on its own merits - I don't see the dangers that you do - moving to a One Party State, that type of thing - just don't see it - what I find interesting BTW is that, the other day, we debated All Women shortlists and we all of us (including me) pretty much came to a conclusion they were bad news - and yet it seems some of the same people who are so opposed to that are not quite so opposed to the BNPs Whites Only longlist - yes, I find that interesting

    oh and a Gold Star to you too (your second!) for not throwing in the old BPOA nonsense argument - would have caused real "relationship tension" if you'd done that

  • Comment number 51.

    49. At 7:19pm on 26 Aug 2009, mikemadf wrote:
    'Jim Knight omits.....'

    wrong blog I think mike, but at least those immigrants will be paying taxes unlike half the contributors to the established political parties, some of whom run the grant aided businesses that are employing unfortunate immigrants in what are in effect McJobs but without the benefits (free fries)


  • Comment number 52.

    I would see your 47 mate, but someone's referred it....

    BPOA? Oh, right, sorry, penny's just dropped.

    Not exactly comparing like with like, I agree with you there. Likewise, I dare say the likes of the Orange Order, Sinn Fein, etc are rather er... careful about their membership and where it is erm... largely finding its core support, shall we say?

    Yes, there is the court case going through about the BNP at the moment, but... If it was as obvious and as easy as you're implying, they'd have been shut down years ago.

    Remember the old Voltaire quote, "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"? The easiest way to destroy the BNP is by taking thier arguments apart and addressing the dark areas where they inhabit, by talking about the kind of issues that they prey on instead of screaming race whenever someone approaches a touchy subject like immigration, asylum, british jobs for british workers (ooops, did I really say that?) and all that stuff. They prosper in a political vaccuum.

    Women only shortlists is tokenism and discriminating against candidates for reasons other than ability. And certain politicians are quite open about that as well, make no effort to hide it or dress it up as anything else.

    The BNP's percieved (theres the difference - it claims to represent x but everyone knows deep down that is not what they stand for) is also discriminatory and if it is for real, in their constitution, should also be condemned, unequivocally. No question.

  • Comment number 53.

    35 @ 40

    got referred at 47 for some reason - was just saying that your comparison to SNP/PC is not valid since they don't have a (potentially) illegal whites only members policy - the BNP case is all about that

    calm and hope @ 48

    not discriminating against them - they have a discriminatory membership policy which is potentially illegal (and we're about to find out) - no more no less

  • Comment number 54.

    43. At 6:24pm on 26 Aug 2009, oldreactionary wrote:
    Is it me, or is it a sad reflection upon our society that those parties that spend the most cash have the best chance of getting in.


    Just as Obama managed to achieve in the USA. I happen to believe he was a good candidate - and hope he'll grow to be a great President. But he sucked up enormous amounts of cash to support his election.

    It is sad that spend can win an election. But, once in power, you do rather expect administrations to be honest about what they plan to do, cost it properly, deliver (within reasonable variations) what they promise - and let us know honestly when things go wrong.

    With ten-twenty years of spin behind us, who genuinely believes the comments from Central Government any more?

    If folk haven't been honest in the past, why would you believe them in the future?

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 56.

    any one fueling the funds of political parties have an agenda and want their way.
    the british party system has been manipulated beyond what could be called honest political working and in my opinion should be removed and governments formed from fairly elected mp's.
    but sadly i seem to be in the minority at the moment.

  • Comment number 57.

    One of the better policies from Liberal sources is state funding of political parties. It cuts down the possibility of buying political favours. It won't stop people doing their friends a 'favour', or taking cash for questions, but it would be a good start.

    How long are we going to put up with this nonsense? It ranks as high as giving people expenses rather than a standard rate of pay per political position/grade.

    A modern polity would have these things sorted out, including the upper house, the reformation of which ran into some invisible buffers.

    It is embarrassing to see this nonsense going on, and the main actors in the drama act as if none of us can see what is happening, cheerfully smiling and waving their way past the press on their way into the office.

  • Comment number 58.

    The BNP may have a small foothold in places, but they will always be on the fringes much like the Greens.
    Aspects of the Greens manifesto have become standard across all parties since they first got more exposure. The same thing will happen with the BNP, a couple of the bigger parties will promise to do more about looking after the British, and as soon as this happens hardly anyone will vote for them again, as they can get looked after along with some "real" policies at the same time.
    I don't agree with the BNPs stance on immigration, I happen to think its largly a good thing, but if we push the views underground all that will happen is it will result in an extremely ugly situation.

  • Comment number 59.

    @58
    Of course I meant that immigration is largly a good thing.

  • Comment number 60.

    #47 Family Courts , lets have the discussin then its a very hot topical issue, I'll have the debate with anyone come on Luara lets have a blog please as it the 20 aniversary of the children act this year.

  • Comment number 61.

    Even amongst those supporting state funding there seems to be a complete failure to agree how this should be allocated which suggests to me that once the system was in operation most people would actually be unhappy with the allocation and therefore just can't see it working.

    This is before we get to the idea that my taxes would be going to support political parties which I don't support or in some cases find abhorrent. If I want to make a donation I will (currently I don't or have an intention of doing) but it is my choice and inevitably it will be to get someone elected who I support and therefore will deliver most benefit. This is no different from the approach taken by the unions and large donors mentioned in the blog as with the expenses row the answer to this is enforcing full and prompt disclosure. Would Bernie Ecclestone have donated to labour if this had been in the public arena before the changes in tobacco sponsorship laws were announced.

  • Comment number 62.

    Donations + Political parties = potential for corruption.

    The only way to separate money from sleaze is to place all donations into a blind trust labelled simply xxx Party fund. The donations should be anonymous but the running totals published weekly for everyone to see. If you are giving merely to keep your party in business there shouldn't be any issues.

    If, on the other hand, you're giving in the expectation of receiving something in return ......... Knighthood anyone?

    Pity it'll never happen!

 

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