For all their talk of democracy and the freedom, the Tories have always been, at least since the time of Thatcher, concerned with strengthening their position as Britain’s “natural party of government”. If this means gerrymandering electoral boundaries or outlawing metropolitan counties to realise their dreams then this is what they will do. I discussed the latter here.
In the last couple of days, the Tory-led government has unveiled its latest plans to silence the opposition: by capping donations to political parties. The Guardian has the story here.
The draft report is proposing that parties receive funding worth £3 per vote they receive. On the basis of the last election, the Tories would get £32m, Labour £25.8m and the Lib Dems £20.4m. The figures could be higher if tax relief were added.
But I am sure that the Tories could still raise loads of money by simply getting their millionaire donors to use other party members as fronts. Further down, we get to the crux of the article,
The Conservatives are also continuing to press for a requirement that union members opt into affiliating to the Labour party, rather than the current system where they are required to opt out.
Labour has previously accepted that the system needed improvement. The Tories claim Labour receives a large proportion of donations from people who are not making a positive decision to contribute to the party.
So the real aim behind this idea is to starve the Labour Party of funds. The Tories constantly claim that Labour is “in hock” to the unions, while ignoring the fact that their party is funded by unaccountable billionaires, most of whom live abroad. Unions are democratic institutions but one gets the feeling that Labour hasn’t done enough to press this point. Part of the reason for this is due to most of the press being in the hands of Tory-sympathising proprietors.
This Guardian story from earlier in the year says that Labour could be ruined if the funding cap comes into effect.
An analysis of five and a half years’ worth of donations to the parties reveals the move would most dramatically affect Labour’s funding base. If the £50,000 limit had been in place over the period, Labour’s donations would have been reduced by 72%, the Conservatives‘ by 37% and theLiberal Democrats‘ by 25%.
“Fairness”? There’s no such animal when the Tories are in power.
Now I’m all for state funding but the way the ConDem coalition is going about this will only result in one thing: indefinite Tory rule and more misery.