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Making the people pay


Blair, Cameron and Campbell agree that we should all fund their parties. Don't they get enough already?

Labour was lent almost £14 million in the run-up to the general election. The Tories were lent £16 million. Both are being probed by the police and the Electoral Commission. All the parliamentary parties get free postage and party political broadcasts during elections and the new £2 million policy grants from the Electoral Commission.

But public funding of political parties promises even more freebies. This EU idea and practice pays out big money: in Germany state funding of parties came to about £208 million in 2003. In France, it was £55.5 million in 2002.

When the state funds political parties, it tells them what to believe. Parties in the European Parliament have to accept "the values of the European Union". Parties would no longer raise money from members. (Members? Who needs members? Not Labour.)

Public funding would be a big step towards a corporate state. We would be forced to fund parties with which we do not agree and which oppose our interests – this is undemocratic and unacceptable.

Parties are voluntary organisations. If they can't survive through popular support, they should die.