Thursday, November 29, 2007

In praise of channelled donations

Do we trust political parties to handle the donations they get with the utmost propriety? Should we have to?

What about this: all contributions of declarable size (£5,000+) should have to go via the Electoral Commission, who would perform any necessary checks before passing the money on to the relevant party.

Putting this responsibility in the hands of an impartial body – rather than party fundraisers who are always under pressure to bring in as much cash as they can – might well slow things down a bit, but it would nip a lot of things in the bud right at the start.

Other reforms are needed as well, including caps on donations and spending, but this could be a handy way of breaking the cosiness of some donor–recipient relationships. Rather than the current set-up, under which parties solicit the money, cash the cheques and then declare them along the line, this would make it clear up front that any large contribution is an essentially public act.

2 comments:

Cassilis said...

Quite sensible actually - only objection I'd raise (and yes, a rather stereotypical one from the right) is who pays their wages? What about insisting they're funded via commission from the same donations? I give £100, the electoral commission vet me and take a fee and the party get say £95...

Anonymous said...

I think right now you would end up losing money, why would anyone give money to any party now.

But heck is this all about getting state funding I would not put it past New Labour, Brown will come out now and say look we must be state funded.

At least my Union levy can go to a charity this year and for even now. I've had enough of politics this year.