But in fact it is a very bad idea for a quite different reason. The biggest risk to our country, to its prosperity, its democracy, to its very future, lies in the uncontrolled growth of the political class. These are civil servants, workers in quangos and those bogus charities which take taxpayers’ money to lobby the government with suggestions the government want to hear. The political class also includes those career politicians, not the ones who take risks and make a bit of a splash but the ones quiet at the back, shuffling papers without making waves.
The political class likes proportional representation, because it never produces shocks or violent changes. In Italy, where they have PR and the party list system, the same people seem to be in power all the time, even standing for different parties from those they represented before. They have greased their way to the top and they stay there: self-serving rather than public servants.
And of course what these people love is party funding. It lets them establish themselves and stay in place, the immovable apparat paid for by a people conned into thinking they have a democracy. And with taxpayer funded parties there will be no shocks. Political parties which in the last few years have got their message in front of the people and started to challenge the status quo – the Scottish Nationalist Party, UKIP, the Greens – would soon be no more. How much would these parties be handed out? Not much, you may be sure. Who will decide how much? An independent commission, you say? Who will appoint that commission? Ah. What about when your local doctor decides to stand for parliament in protest at the closure of your hospital? How much will he get given to campaign? Probably nothing at all. You see he is rocking the boat and the political class don’t want it rocked.
I know it sometimes seems as if the Tories were in the pocket of business and Labour were in the pocket of the unions, but the alternative is worse.
The objection to taxpayer funded parties is not about money.
It is about democracy.