Public funding for political parties

Proposer
mikera
State

Rejected

Vote Score

0

Age

2385 days


@mikera edited manifesto/democracy.md - over 6 years ago

Party Funding

Public funding for political parties will be introduced. This will take the form of a small fixed payment (e.g. £1) for each vote received. This will have at least five beneficial effects: 1) Making votes valuable for parties beyond simply winning marginal seats (rewarding broad-based support) 2) Allowing parties to focus on policies rather than fundraising 3) Diminishing the disproportionate and potentially corrupting influence of large private or corporate donors 4) Ensuring that parties see the voting public as their primary customers 5) Giving a financial incentive for all parties to drive up voter participation

Limit all donations and loans to political parties, campaign, lobbying and interest groups to a maximum of £5,000 from individuals and groups.

Constituency offices of MPs, which quite rightly are publicly funded, should be solely for the use of casework officers, diary assistants etc to assist the MP in dealing with constituency issues. They should not be used for campaigning purposes or for locating agents, campaign managers, or other party officials, and thereby giving a publicy funded electoral advantage to incumbents over challengers.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

Glad to see a proposal on this, and I like the idea of funding being based on all votes, not seats won. I want to read a little more around this before a proper vote, but I'm generally positive.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

I removed the comment description above, as it was accidentally the same as #193.

philipjohn

@philipjohn - over 6 years ago

Feels like a good move. One initial concern springs to mine that I certainly want to think about more is whether this would accidentally entrench the established parties to the detriment of new entrants and independents (or even smaller mainstream parties like the Greens).

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - over 6 years ago

Could you confirm that this will relate only to votes won at General Elections, rather than others? And that all other forms of political donation/fundraising will no longer be permitted?

mikera

@mikera - over 6 years ago

@PaulJRobinson I was thinking that this could apply to all elections (local + general). If you also go for some for of liquid democracy / continuous online voting it would need to be amended to apply to each vote-year of representation or something similar. A lot of these policy issues around reforming democracy are quite intertwined.

On banning other forms of political donation / fundraising - I think that is a good idea too, but a separate point for a separate PR. My main hesitation on this is that new parties would be substantially disadvantaged (before they have attracted a voter base). Perhaps bans on other forms of fundraising should only apply once a party has obtained at least 5% of the popular vote?

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - over 6 years ago

Ok, that's interesting, because that's a lot of votes, and a lot of pound coins flowing from the Treasury into party coffers. Parish/Town; Borough/District; County; Greater London Assembly; Directly elected Mayors (eg London); Police and Crime Commissioners; European Elections; Scottish Parliament; Welsh and NI Assembly; possibly a future English or Regional English Parliament; General Elections. Over a five year period (if my constituency is anything to go by) I have 6 votes I can cast (in bold above). I assume I am fairly typical. There are (I think) 30 million people on the Electoral Roll across the country. I accept that not everyone votes. But that's a lot of money. I would be much happier suggesting that it only related to General Elections, which have the highest turnout.

​I like your second suggestion to help out smaller parties.​

On 11 July 2014 08:47, Mike Anderson [email protected] wrote:

@PaulJRobinson https://github.com/PaulJRobinson I was thinking that this could apply to all elections (local + general). If you also go for some for of liquid democracy / continuous online voting it would need to be amended to apply to each vote-year of representation or something similar. A lot of these policy issues around reforming democracy are quite intertwined.

On banning other forms of political donation / fundraising - I think that is a good idea too, but a separate point for a separate PR. My main hesitation on this is that new parties would be substantially disadvantaged (before they have attracted a voter base). Perhaps bans on other forms of fundraising should only apply once a party has obtained at least 5% of the popular vote?

— Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHub https://github.com/openpolitics/manifesto/pull/194#issuecomment-48703182 .

mikera

@mikera - over 6 years ago

Well if the level of money is too high then we just need to tune down the payment per vote. Though I think ~2 votes per year * 15m voting population * £1 per vote = £30m is reasonable amount of annual funding for all political parties combined. Current donations add up to about £35m, see:

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/find-information-by-subject/political-parties-campaigning-and-donations/donations-and-loans-to-political-parties/overview-2013

The reason I propose it applying to all elections is to allow local parties to campaign on local issues without general election involvement. If we believe in effective local democracy, then being a major national party shouldn't be a requirement to get representation / funding.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

I certainly agree with having it at all levels, parish to EU. The amounts could be different though.

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - over 6 years ago

That's very true. How about 25p per vote? I still think is a considerable sum of money, and would benefit many parties far more than they do currently.

On 11 July 2014 09:35, Mike Anderson [email protected] wrote:

Well if the level of money is too high then we just need to tune down the payment per vote.

The reason I propose it applying to all elections is to allow local parties to campaign on local issues without general election involvement. If we believe in effective local democracy, then being a major national party shouldn't be a requirement to get representation / funding.

— Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHub https://github.com/openpolitics/manifesto/pull/194#issuecomment-48706833 .

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

I'd say we can have an indicative amount, but leave it loosely defined.

One question; how do you account for independents and new parties in an election (like me)?

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - over 6 years ago

Earlier it was proposed that new entrants would still be permitted to raise their own funds, whereas legacy parties (once they reach a certain threshold of votes) would not be able to.

with kind regards, Paul Robinson

about.me/pauljrobinson

On 11 July 2014 09:39, James Smith [email protected] wrote:

I'd say we can have an indicative amount, but leave it loosely defined.

One question; how do you account for independents and new parties in an election (like me)?

— Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHub https://github.com/openpolitics/manifesto/pull/194#issuecomment-48707123 .

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

Sorry, I forgot that I hadn't read everything back fully. Bad James. OK, so that concern has been raised, and the "own fundraising" thing up to a certain percentage is sensible. However, something still sits funny with me on this. Have the ERS or anyone done any work or made recommendations on this that we could adopt for a bit more rigour?

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - over 6 years ago

Nothing that I could find from ERS or the Electoral Commission. Hansard Society came up with this report in 2006 http://www.hansardsociety.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Paying-for-Politics-2006.pdf

On 11 July 2014 09:45, James Smith [email protected] wrote:

Sorry, I forgot that I hadn't read everything back fully. Bad James. OK, so that concern has been raised, and the "own fundraising" thing up to a certain percentage is sensible. However, something still sits funny with me on this. Have the ERS or anyone done any work or made recommendations on this that we could adopt for a bit more rigour?

— Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHub https://github.com/openpolitics/manifesto/pull/194#issuecomment-48707571 .

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - over 6 years ago

TL:DR: It's the report that got us to where we are today. Wouldn't recommend paying it too much attention.

with kind regards, Paul Robinson

about.me/pauljrobinson

On 11 July 2014 10:25, Paul Robinson [email protected] wrote:

Nothing that I could find from ERS or the Electoral Commission. Hansard Society came up with this report in 2006 http://www.hansardsociety.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Paying-for-Politics-2006.pdf

On 11 July 2014 09:45, James Smith [email protected] wrote:

Sorry, I forgot that I hadn't read everything back fully. Bad James. OK, so that concern has been raised, and the "own fundraising" thing up to a certain percentage is sensible. However, something still sits funny with me on this. Have the ERS or anyone done any work or made recommendations on this that we could adopt for a bit more rigour?

— Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHub https://github.com/openpolitics/manifesto/pull/194#issuecomment-48707571 .

philipjohn

@philipjohn - over 6 years ago

Interesting. I'd summarise the French rules as; 1. Individual donations limited to €7,500 (€4,600 during election campaigns) 2. Corporate donations outlawed 3. Public funding is provided for parties with candidates in at least 50 constituencies and polling at least 1% of the vote in the previous election 4. Public funding is calculated by a) number of votes and b) number of representatives elected 5. Failure to have gender parity reduces funding 6. New parties can get a lump sum if they have had donations from "10,000 people (including a minimum of 500 elected representatives) totalling at least €150,000". 7. Parties receive a proportion of campaign expenses post-election proportionate to votes won 8. All parties must submit audited (twice!) accounts to a Commission 9. All representatives have to submit details of any property to the same Commission, who check they aren't benefiting financially from being in office. 10. Spending in general elections is limited per candidate to €38,000 plus €0.15 per constituency resident. There is also a correction for cost of living increases. 11. Political advertising on commercial hoardings is banned for the three months preceding the election.

There's a substantial risk in that of entrenching the existing establishment parties I think (there are actual figures on that page). The 6th point seems very restrictive. The 10,000 people may not be too difficult for a party with a good grass-roots campaign, but the 500 representatives may be - but I may be missing something about the French system.

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - over 6 years ago

I'm coming round to this suggestion for public funding but think the proposal requires tightening to take into some of the thoughts raised by contributors above. I particularly like a lot of the French rules as put forward by @philipjohn.

philipjohn

@philipjohn - about 6 years ago

@mikera How do you feel about tweaking the proposal a bit based on our discussion above? Keen to get this one sorted rather than let it slip :)

Floppy

@Floppy - almost 6 years ago

This discussion has moved on into #289. Closing this one...