In that wonderful, swiftly cobbled together document called the coalition agreement, which like it or not is now very much a part of our lives, there is a statement relating to the reform of party funding. It promised … “to pursue a detailed agreement on limiting donations and reforming party funding in order to remove big money from politics”. Well, it sounded good at the time, but not a mention has there been about it since.
There seems to be no urgency or any real political will, to make any change to the status quo. The current system is not democratic, moreover it is corrupt. It has led to a distortion of our democratic process and helped to create a self-serving political class which abuses its privileges and is actively hostile to those that dare to question.
The political class has become separated from ordinary people. It is now under the influence of special interest groups, individuals and organisations whose donations distort the decision making process at the expense of the best interests of the community.
Here’s the bottom line. If we want to have a truly transparent, democratic funding system, political donations of all kinds must be outlawed. The only people who should be allowed to influence the political process are the electorate.
What are the implications of this? Well, the state would have to provide the funds, but the electorate could determine where the funds go and could also say how the funds are spent i.e. running costs, campaigns etc. It would take private money out of the political process. The cost? Approximately £2 per year per person. A price worth paying to eliminate corruption from the system? I think so.
The crucial issue that needs to be addressed is that the decision about political financial reform should not be taken by politicians. Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. The citizens of this country need to decide. How? What about through specially constituted regional assemblies of randomly chosen people and then through a referendum? Not been done before, but isn’t it time the citizens of this country took control of their democracy?