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I hope they do sell Smith Square, it's eminently preferable to selling peerages or taking loans and refusing to reveal their sources.

It should not be the choice of the secret Tory donors whether or not their names are revealed.

If they are soft-loans, they are really donations, and the aim and spirit of the electoral commission was clearly to declare the source of all donations over £5k so party funding was transparent and thus open to scrutiny.

"Standing up to business" will ring as hollow as other Cameron pledges if he continues to hide the names of these loaners.

I am sure these names will come out anyway, some have already. The Tory Party is behaving in a dishonest way over this issue of transparency and will leave serious questions of integrity hanging over them.

Whose side is Cameron on? It looks like he is standing with, not up to big business.

Why bother having loads of money if you can't buy a peerage. It has been going on one way or another for years.

How on earth does mandating taxpayer funds to political parties, even if is is on a per-vote basis, 'force' them to reconnect with the concerns of ordinary voters?
If voters dont agree with their platform atm, they wont vote for them. An unelectable party is hardly likely to garner the level of private funding neccessary to support an election campaign. Regardless of how funds are raised, parties will just disappear if they cannot identify with voters.
I personally couldnt care less that party funds come privately, so long as there is disclosure.

the same time, force them to reconnect with the concerns of ordinary voters

Agreed PT, this statement is total rot.

State Funding, or more accurately State [Control + Taxpayer] Funding insulates parties from the voters, taking them further away not closer.

What will happen if the number of votes continues to fall? Why, they'll simply demand a higher price-per-vote "in order to survive" and keep their income rolling.

This issue could grow to become a real wedge issue at the next election.

Prescott and Cameron, hand-in-hand in suggesting greater state control, with State [Control + Taxpayer] Funding.

I hope the TPA is condemning Cameron for proposing this.

Passing Thru, I think the Editor was saying the exact opposite. As I understand it, he was saying that rather doing the hard work of connecting with voters by building internet coalitions etc, the political parties would rather just help themselves to taxpayers' money through state funding.

Talk about reconnecting with members, and intenet coalitions, etc etc sounds great - but I don't think it's going to fly in reality. Broad based 'catch all' parties that are serious candidates for victory need to be sustained by more than that, and while public funding is an imperfect solution, it is a solution.

OFF TOPIC: Any thoughts on the upcoming Moray (Holyrood) byelection? How much of the SNP's vote was dynastic? Will she get a sympathy vote?


No political party has a divine right to survive, no matter how long it has been in existence. A political party is (well s/b) simply a collective, an aggregation of its members views, funded by its members.

If a party does not have enough money to fund all its operations, it will have to cut them down. If it does not have enough support to survive then it will just have to close.

State [Control + Taxpayer] Funding is a soviet-style, big government solution. What makes it even worse is that not only have the Tories proposed it, but have also added extra tweaks to strengthen the position of the parties already with seats in parliament, making it harder for any new entrants to emerge.

You cannot be a conservative and support such a plan, imho.

State funding has so many problems.
1. Do you have an ideological litmus test for parties? I suspect we will as I can't see Nu Lab giving money to the BNP. If so, how long until it is extended to make you declare you embrace the EU and multiculturalism?
2. It will alter the balance between the centre and associations-the centre will just be a marketing machine funded by the state.
3. It will institutionalise old voices at the expense of new ones. Would the Labour Party have beaten the Liberals if this was in force?
4. Regulate a market, get a black market. Not sure what we will get, but it won't be pretty.

OFF TOPIC-Moray will be an SNP hold. I take it Anabelle Ewing will be the candidate? We have been 2nd there since Pollock lost but I can't see whatever horror Mundell forces on us beating Maggie Ewing's sister-in-law.

It should not be the choice of the secret Tory donors whether or not their names are revealed.

Only if you don't mind the Conservative Party being prosecuted under the Data Protection Act.

Dominic Grieve has called for them to be disclosed, and he knows a thing or two about the law.

We're talking about donations that are legally required to be disclosed that were deliberately mispresented (as admitted in the Tory proposals) as loans.

We're talking about donations that are legally required to be disclosed that were deliberately mispresented (as admitted in the Tory proposals) as loans.

Can you prove they aren't loans? Can you prove that loan repayments weren't made? Or are these simple assertions?

Thank you Bel for defending my misunderstood position whilst I was away from my computer.

Of course I can't James, I am simply relying on the admission on page 4 of the Tories own new proposals that "despite the new rules, parties have found ways of getting round them"

That seems clear to me. Not a statement of innocence, but an admission that parties have found a way around the rules.

Did you read the proposals? Why do you think Dominic Grieve feels that disclosure is necessary. He is a barrister as far as I am aware.

The point about building communities is so true. The reality is that the parties have spent so much on big campaigns that they have lost touch with many at the individual level. Maybe the best thing would be a serious drought in donations to get them closer to the electorate.

On the subject of money, have any local party workers recieved a big photo of David Cameron in the last couple of days. £5 postage for what I presume is over 600 party offices. Is this really the best uses of resources?

Yeah I've got one of them greeting me as I come to work.

That man has a very large forhead it must be said.

Of course I can't James, I am simply relying on the admission

That's your reading of the lines. It isn't what they actually say...

Let's hope he doesn't go bald wasp, or else we'll never win an election.

"and although membership has risen"

What's happening with renewals?

It isn't what they actually say...
What do you think they're saying James?

"What's happening with renewals?"

Unlikely to fall in the immediate future, if the conservatives lose the next election then perhaps they will dip with Cameron's disappearance.

I think the funds spent by both Conservative and Labour Parties in trying to woo people to vote for them is obscene, and I am not a bit surprised that the general public are cynical about politicians.

I wouldn't give a penny to either of them until they clean up their acts, get their heads out of the sand, and start connecting with the people.

What do you think they're saying James?

That partiers have found a way to circumvent disclosing donors names. It does not follow from this that loans are not loans. That's speculation on your part!

Unlikely to fall in the immediate future, if the conservatives lose the next election then perhaps they will dip with Cameron's disappearance.

Jaz, I was thinking of pre-Cameron leadership members. A number of people I know - both in the real world and online - have decided not to renew their memberships...

James, I'll bet you £20 that some of the £20million loans are soft loans (hidden donations), i.e. they will be extended from their originally agreed expiration date or converted to donations at some point in the future.

Chad, are you questioning BDO Stoy Hayward's professionalism?

No, I was testing your conviction James, to see if you how much you really believe what you are typing.

Bet on then. BDO is a fairly good firm and I'll wager the last Conservstive Party accounts has the correct disclosures (i.e. you're wrong).

Cool. Just so there is no ambiguity, if 100% of the amounts loaned to fund the election (around £20million) are real commercial loans, you win, but if any are "soft-loans" that get extended or converted to donations, I win.

If I win, you can give my £20 to the TaxPayers Alliance.

James, I just don't beleive that pre-Cameron people will desert the party, they are the aritects of today's Britain...

The conservative party might not be selling the capitalist message with fire, but four or five years in power I can gurantee we will be.

Afterall, Maggie didn't really have an economic ideology when she started out as leader, but was built after a period of time. We can say the same for Tony Blair, he's more conservative than he's letting on..

State funding of political parties is wrong,


Chad, I agree that no political party has a divine right to survive, no matter how long it has been in existence. But it looks like an iron law of politics, that for so long as the UK operates its system of government, and continues with FPTP as its electoral system, that there will be a Government, and a party designated as the Opposition, i.e. the officially sanctioned alternative government.

Now, of course the Conservative Party doesn't have to be either the Government or Opposition - but if it isn't, then someone else will be (presumably the Lib Dems). So I'd rather do what was possible that, at the very least, kept the Conservative Party in that top 2 (if not government).

And you're right that a consequence of the Conservative proposals will be to make it harder for any new entrants to emerge.

GOOD! I don't want new parties in Parliament (no offence intended Chad). I want the next general election to return a majority Conservative government, in its own right. I want to see the Conservative Party remorselessly, and heartlessly, steamroll its opponents electorally. All the time. With no mercy.

Who on earth is going to look after the Conservative Party if it doesn't defend its own interests? I'm not particularly interested in the health of some sort of warm fuzzy internet 'coalition' because that doesn't translate into turning marginal seats around in the pointy end of an election. If you are, fantastic - come up with the ideas, and the Conservative Party may, or may not, act on the suggestions. But remember the Party are the ones that are putting the names on the ballot paper and making themselves publicly accountable - who are all these think-tanks accountable to?

Blair's going to go soon. It's a big chance to get those marginal seat swinging voters back from the cranky Fife lefties. I don't want to feel virtuous, I want to have a Conservative government. Game on!

(no offence intended Chad).
None taken Alexander. I'm a bit thick and tend to miss a lot of abuse anyway as it goes above my head. :-)

My party will survive on less than a mass distribution of David Cameron photographs! Whereas Cameron is heading away from the people to the state, I'll be heading in the opposite direction.

Launch press release next week, opposing all forms of state[control + taxpayer] funding for political parties. I figured that one party at least, however small, should oppose this grand collusion plan. Hopefully my (little) voice will be heard too.

Hopefully if nothing else, it will get conservatives to think about what really are core conservative values.

It is very refreshing to see an honest response however dangerous or undemocratic it may be! It's that self-preservation element though that is pursued even when it is knowlingly undemocratic that is damaging politics in the eyes of the people.

Oh come on, we have to have a nice picture. We have got all the others, why cant we have DC. After all, he is going to be around for a while. Be in the next diary wont he? Hint to Ian Dale!

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