Not Saussure

November 28, 2006

Parties’ money worries

Filed under: Politics — notsaussure @ 5:50 pm

Great amusement at the coincidence of the Electoral Commission’s report on loans to political parties, which reveals that the Conservatives are by far the largest debtors, owing £35.3 million, as compared with Labour’s £23.4 million and the Lib Dems’ £1.1 million (possibly because people know a bad credit risk when they see one?) with Just Call Me Dave’s latest publicity wheeze.

Honestly, you’d have thought someone at Central Office would have seen this one coming; it can hardly help when they should be turning their fire on the report’s specific criticism of Labour’s dilatory reporting of donations:

it is unacceptable that the Labour party has failed to report a significant amount of donations to the national party on time.

Even though there are doubtless good reasons — the report

acknowledge[s] that local branches of parties, staffed largely by volunteers, may struggle to keep up with the administration of their finances

you’d have thought that, in the light of their present little difficulties with … errm… apparently lax financial reporting procedures — Labour would have tried to be more careful.

Meanwhile,

Lib Dem chief executive Lord Rennard said the size of the amounts owed by Labour and the Conservatives could have an impact on the health of democracy. He suggested that if people loaned money, rather than donated it, they could have more influence on policy as they could threaten to call in their loan if they did not agree with a particular policy.

As opposed, I suppose, to refusing to donate to a party if they didn’t agree with a particular policy. Actually, I don’t quite understand his objection to loans; if it’s a proper commercial loan, then I’d have thought any sensible party or lender (oh, of course, we’re talking about the Lib Dems here; that explains it) would ensure that there’s a proper repayment schedule to avoid that sort of thing.


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2 Comments »

  1. Does it matter?

    Comment by jameshigham — November 28, 2006 @ 8:57 pm

  2. Not really, I suppose. We should hardly be surprised by now that the Conservatives contrive to wrong foot themselves, Labour show a cynical disregard for the rules and the Lib Dems talk nonsense.

    Bet you anything it’ll get used as an argument for state funding of political parties, though, which does matter a lot — if political parties want to live beyond their means, let them borrow the money at commercial rates, thus at least doing the banks and their shareholders some good, rather than pillaging the public purse of the taxpayers’ money.

    Comment by notsaussure — November 28, 2006 @ 9:06 pm


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