A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Levy etc.

I'm not convinced that the police really needed to arrest Lord Levy to question him about his role in getting loans for the Labour Party.

What I am convinced about is that to restore public faith in the party funding system we need:

a) at least some element of state funding or match funding to create a more level playing field between the parties and reduce the need for donations and loans and thereby insinuations of "buying influence"

b) an elected House of Lords so that the honours system does not include the award of seats in the legislature

c) a lower cap on national general election spend than the current £20m to reduce the amount of funding the parties need - most of the £20m is in any case wasted on billboard and newspaper advertising that has zero impact on how people vote


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its a bit late for that now!

This is very serious and I actually think could bring the government down.
The party is imploding because nobody has got a grip of this situation.
Too many yes men in party HQ and too many politics students running the Labour party who know f all about real life.

6:29 pm, July 12, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

And your solution is?

In defence of politics students, I'm not aware of any politics students (assume you mean graduates) running the Party - the PM has a law degree and the Gen Sec was a nurse before working for the party.

6:33 pm, July 12, 2006

Blogger dave from france said...

It'll be all over the papers, the exact opposite of the Craig Murray case which has been almost completely blacked out. What is your take on that ?

8:43 pm, July 12, 2006

Blogger kris said...

You've had since 97 to sort it out. You didn't because it didn't serve your purposes- obviously!

Meantime, I see Fergie signed in the Times that he'd continue to contribute to Labour. Given his history for agent bungs- maybe he wasn't the best man for the job

8:29 am, July 13, 2006

Blogger kris said...

FYI, it is somewhat irritating for politicians to ask, as you repeatedly do, "so what is your solution".

That is what you're getting paid for! Hello! You we're just elected! Run out of ideas already?

I despair.

10:00 am, July 13, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I did offer a solution - that's what the post was.

10:27 am, July 13, 2006

Blogger El Dave. said...

State funding may be necessary, but it needs to be done on some sort of matching basis. However, the details are important; would we want to be funding the BNP. It would also have to be a temporary measure while political parties sort themselves out. Rather better for parties - Labour in particular - to give rank-and-file members greater involvement in the process and devolving powers away from the centre, both politically and party-wise. Something like the London Labour Party should be more of an identifier than it is.

As to the House of Lords... follow the Danes. PR, stronger committees, referendum trigger provision and scrap the second chamber altogether.

A lower cap would be great - I think the billboards, rather than having no effect, have negative effect as they try to sum up a platform in a single catchphrase. People do see through that and you do have the occaisional gem like 'are you thinking what we're thinking?'.

1:01 pm, July 13, 2006

Anonymous Andrea said...

"State funding may be necessary, but it needs to be done on some sort of matching basis. However, the details are important; would we want to be funding the BNP"

the funding can be related to the votes got by parties in the previous election. So it can be argued that people are funding the party they vote for.

2:04 pm, July 13, 2006

Blogger kris said...

It's not much of a solution if the very people who proposed it say one thing and do another.

The BBC aren't going to let this one go. Already all of the talking heads are looking for the Tony connection. If Dave would just shut up about hoodies-you just might see the end of the House of Blair

10:33 pm, July 13, 2006

Anonymous Jess said...

I've been promoting for years to anyone who will listen (so I may as well have another go on Luke's site) that the already existing system of state funding for political parties (the Westminster Foundation for Democracy which channels money through the political parties to help their sister parties overseas in developing and CEE countries) be implemented at home.

To deal with the problem of extremists I agree with Andrea's suggested caveat about linking it to number of votes received, or, as in the WFD system, parties could bid for funding to run specific projects which could have criteria attached around promoting social cohesion / not promoting racial hatred. Putting public money into things the public say they want more of - better quality candidates and representatives, more consultation and communication activity so that politicians are listening and engaging more with their electorate for example - seems to me more palatable anyway than bunging a load of money to political parties to do whatever they want with.

The key thing I think is to channel it to local parties for local activities and as well as lowering the cap on national spending, to raise it at a local level to encourage the parties to put more effort into local political activity rather than national spin.

Although personally I believe political parties are part of the way we do democracy in this country and have a range of advantages so should be strengthened rather than given up on or circumvented as some suggest as a (strange) way of countering voter apathy, some areas of the country have a tradition of independents at local level. So if smaller parties or independents had a good project around increasing local political activty and awareness I don't see why they couldn't apply under this system.

9:34 am, July 15, 2006

Blogger kris said...

The penny has just dropped in my little brain- labour needed to get shot of the union grip on the party. Hence, the needed to find novel ways of replacing that funding. Enter Lord Levy.

Luke asked for a solution- but everything is shutting the gate after the horse has bolted.

Unless, of course, once the Old v New Labour battle ends, with the resurrection of Old Labour, you restore the unions to their former glory.

The alternative seems to be new Labour spending their resources defending the indefensible- ushering in the House of Cameron without Dave having to say anything! (and if he just shuts up about the hoodies- it just may work- an effortless ascent into power with Gordon and followers left in the dust. Hey, a girl can dream!


6:18 pm, July 16, 2006


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