The problem with cash in UK politics isn't that there's too much of it
I'm entertained by the comments under the post below suggesting that the problem with UK political funding is high spending by political parties.
They obviously haven't worked for one recently.
Full-time Labour (and I suspect Tory and certainly Lib Dem) officials up to and including the recently resigned General Secretary earn salaries that are derisory compared to the rest of the voluntary sector, let alone their counterparts in trade unions, the public sector and the private sector.
There are hardly any of them - a skeleton crew at national and regional level who work flat out just to keep the most basic functions of a political party going, with a tiny number of field organisers compared to say the 1950s when over half of constituencies had a full-time Agent.
Most staff are appointed on short term contracts in the immediate run-up to an election then peremptorily laid-off immediately afterwards.
It's hardly surprising we get into a mess about basic matters of law and compliance when we have political parties that are under-staffed by people working ridiculous hours for low wages and struggling to do what they perceive to be the day job (organising elections) let alone exercise legal and financial responsibilities they are unlikely to be qualified to deal with.
UK political parties are trying to sustain the campaigning of their US counterparts, with the accountancy and legal requirements of a major corporation, based on the staff complement of a small provincial department store bolted on to a voluntary machine funded more through jumble sales and quiz nights than corporate donations.
Labour's poverty is a standing joke amongst state-funded sister parties. Swedish comrades tell the story of being shown round Labour HQ by Labour Students and saying "this is a very nice youth HQ, almost as big as ours, but where is the party HQ?"
During elections we have ward and constituency spending limits which don't extend to much beyond putting out a couple of leaflets per household during a month-long campaign. If you are lucky you might have enough over to buy some rosettes.
At a national level we don't have commercial TV advertising by political parties at all. In a General Election if you live in a key seat you might see half-a-dozen billboards per party (compared to dozens advertising burgers or perfume).
When was the last time any of the political parties had enough cash to advertise in newspapers or on billboards on a regular basis between elections?
For democracy to be able to fully function, we need political parties with enough staff to train, organise and politically educate their lay members, and enough cash to recruit and proselytise and consult and have a dialogue on an ongoing basis, not just at election time and not just in marginal seats, with the wider electorate.
A debate has now started about where that money should come from. But first of all we all need to kill the myth that there is too much money being spent on politics - i.e. on democracy - in the UK.