An uncomfortable truth about state funding


George Monbiot has decided to treat us to his manifesto for a better country. There's evidence, of course there is, of his deep and abiding confusion over how to deal with corporate power: freer markets. He is being both anti-market and corporate power. Something that is really most odd as it is that competition in markets that tempers corporate power. As even a most cursory glance at an economic model will show. It's right there on the first couple of pages of any textbook: that (admittedly mythical, but real economies do tend towards the state) free market is defined as one in which no producer, no corporate, has market power. However, the point to really take issue with is the following:

A sound political funding system would be based on membership fees. Each party would be able to charge the same fixed fee for annual membership (perhaps £30 or £50). It would receive matching funding from the state as a multiple of its membership receipts. No other sources of income would be permitted.

No, just no. For when it's the State deciding who can have the money to be in politics then only those with State approved policies will be in politics. This is the way that the Communists of central Europe controlled those societies. Only state funding was allowed and if you didn't toe the communist party line you didn't get any funding. And it's not just such totalitarian states either. Vlaams Block suffered much the same fate. They were found to have been advocating policies that the establishment did not like and were then cut off from that state funding. The only form of funding allowed to Belgian political parties.

Yes, we are aware that that was all over accusations of racism, no we are not racists nor do we support Vlaams Block. However, if your definitions of freedom and political liberty do not include freedom and political liberty for those you disagree with, however vehemently, then they're not really notions of freedom and political liberty, are they?

State funding would mean that only those political ideas that are approved of by said state will receive funding. And insisting that no other funding is allowed will ensure that unapproved ideas cannot be heard. This applies to the racists, communists, Fascists, free marketeers, socialists, capitalists and the Monster Raving Loonies because that's just what political liberty means. Any and everyone can associate freely, band together to use their voices, assets and votes, as they wish.