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Britain's 'Political Club' costs us £485m

Congratulations to Michael Crick and producer Giles Edwards for their Radio 4 programme broadcast earlier today about The Political Club (available to listen again here for the next seven days).  It was the BBC at its best.

It records the cost of the 29,000 people who work in British politics as elected members or as advisers.  Here's a graphical summary of the thirty minute programme's main findings:

ThePoliticalClub Three people made the most interesting contributions:

  1. Nigel Farage MEP openly acknowledged that his party would cease to exist in any meaningful way if it wasn't for the largesse that it gets from its representation in the European Parliament.  He predicted that the BNP could double their numbers of MEPs if they used their allowances in a professional way to develop their party structure in the North West and Yorkshire.
  2. Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes was quite proud that LibDem councillors are forced to give 10% of their allowances to central funds or face deselection.  This is taxpayer funding of political parties by the back door as Michael Crick readily acknowledged.
  3. Clare Short, now an independent MP, said that this backdoor funding had isolated politicians from the electorate.  If they had to raise funds from voters they might have to listen to them, she said, but they can now (continued a Sunderland Labourite) take party funds from the state and pay new private agencies to deliver leaflets (because of the collapse of any activist base).

Tim Montgomerie

> Harry Phibbs on councillors costing £241.5m

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