Sunday, 29 June 2008

Money, Money, Money!!!!!

. ‘Money, Money, Money, must be funny in a rich mans world’, so sang Madonna. One has to wonder if Gordon Brown is laughing; Labour has nowhere near enough of it and he is now regularly taunted by David Cameron for his parties increasing dependence on the trade unions to stay afloat.

In my view the rather corrosive role that money generally plays in politics are a symptom of popular public disengagement with politics. The financial problems of the parties are partially due to them failing to engage the population into political activity; engaging them to vote is hard enough work. This has to be largely down to the consensual atmosphere of party politics which often seems to be more about style than substance. It is a widely held belief that the reverse is true; however, common sense and the recent practical example of the American primaries settle the argument. People turn out to vote when there is something worth voting on and questions of style are largely not. Questions of fundamental importance are; and for there to be a proper debate there has to be two or more fundamentally opposed sides to vote on.

Political parties should not be rewarded, in the form of state-funding of parties, for this failure to connect. State funding is possibly one of the worst options on offer to solve the problem. In general, it should be a point of democratic principle that parties derive as much money as possible from the people they represent; they should not be provided with monies that will, in part, come from people whose views they are never likely to represent. Proportionality does not change that fact. State-funding further separates politics from the people and is democratically unacceptable.

Capping of individual donations is about the best way to ensure that parties are forced to re-connect and reengage with the people. Ultimately, however, it is that reengagement that is the answer in itself; its not something that can be forced. It involves the people themselves realising that democracy is what you make of it, you cannot expect it to lay dormant and unused and remain in good shape.

3 comments:

Jim Jay said...

I always thought it was Abba who sang "Money, money, money" Madoona did do that one that goes "Music unites the rebel and the bourgousie" (which she might be able to spell but I know I can't) which was an excellent anthem for the G8 summit in Scotland a few years ago.

Will said...

Yep, "Money, Money, Money" was definitely ABBA (from the album Arrival).

Darrell G said...

I concede lol...my bad