Yet another call for the political classes to tax us yet more in order to pay for the political classes:
And that makes the search for an alternative more plausible. Both Sir Hayden and, more recently, Sir Christopher Kelly, chairman of the committee on standards of public life, proposed additional taxpayer funding to make up the shortfall from a donations cap. Politicians ritually argue that the public will not like forking out for a system it does not trust. This now beginning to sound like an increasingly flimsy excuse – and a circular one. The present system actually fuels that distrust. Nor are the sums large: Sir Christopher proposed a £10,000 donations cap and an increased state contribution of £23m a year over five years – the cost of a first-class stamp for every taxpayer.
No, just no.
A political party is simply a private association of individuals banding together for mutual benefit. As such there is no call whatsoever for the taxpayer to fund them. The Conservative Party has no more claim on tax revenues than the Co-Operative does, Labour no more than Littlewoods. All four of those being private associations of individuals banding together for mutual assistance.
If the parties cannot raise the money they think they need (or more accurately, the cash they desire) from those who support them then they've no more right to everyone else's money than I do. Which leads to my proposed slogan: no taxation for representation.
Now, given that that's not actually going to go anywhere a more modest proposal. Let's really sell those titles, as we used to back when we did rule the world. And we've one beneift today as well: we can confer an hereditary peerage without that giving rise to the right to sit in the House of Lords. It would still be necessary to win an election (yes, I know, to foreigners this will sounds very strange but the only people who are actually elected to our upper house of the legislature are the hereditary peers) for such a creation to get there. So, offer each and every political party a settled number of titles to auction off. A couple of Earldoms, a handful of Viscountcies and a slew of Baronages. They cost absolutely nothing at all to make, can be sold for very good prices indeed and, as long as we make them all hereditaries, do not give the holder any power over the rest of us at all.
Why not? Lloyd George was a Liberal so this must indeed be a good and liberal policy, mustn't it?