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With enormous respect, what is the purpose of the Party having a 'democracy agenda' while we are shackled to the fundamentally anti-democratic EU?

Is there really any purpose in obsessing with the concerns of mice while there is an elephant in the room?

This sort of thinking is essential. The Left is very good at walking through the institutions and changing them. We need to leave our own institutional legacy.

I'm not sure how realistic this is Tim. After a bright start the effort to enthuse activists and members has declined. Taking thousands of small donations will only work in a party with a massive membership base of enthusiastic members. With the best will in the world that doesn't describe the Conservative (or indeed any other)Party. In order to achieve that a sustained effort must be made by the party to show that it values its members. I can't see it happening any time soon.

"End the power that big money and big unions have in the political process. By the end of a Parliament the maximum donation to a political party should be reduced to something like £1,000 or even lower. Such a change would have a revolutionary impact on how political parties relate to voters. Big money donations from business, unions or the taxpayer insulate parties from real voters. The internet could be harnessed to build political parties that rely on the little guy for their income. Barack Obama has shown the way. "

Despite there being some hypothetical advantages (parties doing what is popular and having no convictions) that idea is not very well thought out...

How many of us in Britain would have the capital or the inclination to provide, say, £200? Not very many. Plus, the USA have a larger population, and Presidential elections every 4 years. Unlike candidates in America, parties need money all the time, not just when campaigning.

Plus, funding for political parties would change even more dramatically than now depending on how popular they were. How could a recently unelected government hope to form an effective opposition in terms of by-elections and publicity? It would marginalise parliament even more!

The influence of the media, as seen in the USA for this election, would increase. I'd rather have big donations than people like Murdoch deciding what parties will be popular, who to encourage the voters to donate to, etc.

*should have been -

(parties doing what the voters want)

I hardly ever agree 100% with Tim's policy proposals, but this time I do. Unless I can go further and change the thoughtful proposal re the BBC to "Just smash it up".

The main problem in the BBC is BBC News and Current Affairs. Other areas, such as the Natural History unit are broadcasting gems.

So I think we need to be careful that in draining the biased swamp in some parts of the BBC that we do not lose genuinely outstanding documentaries and programming that is the jewel in the BBC crown.

Why pussy foot around with loose change from the BBC to create a radio station
? Think big, stick Channel 4 channels in with the BBC, then split it down the middle creating two public service broadcasters, then let the public decide which of the two broadcasters they buy their licence fee from, creating competition and choice in public service broadcasting. Then BBC employees would wake up to the nightmare of having to take regard of their audience rather than peddling their bias and politics at them.

I agree with Cranmer. We have 'given away' our democracy (actually we pay through the nose for the privilege), and this party has no plans to take our democracy back.

Point 1 (direct individual funding) is fine.

Point 2 (mayors) I think cities are often too big/diverse for local character to be
represented by an individual, so it isn't a universal solution.

Pont 3 (bbc funding) doesn't go anywhere near far enough. I could happily do without any of the BBC's output, and shutting them down would open the field for mroe podcast/microbroadcasters. The 'BBC' may have made sense to get broadcasting off the ground when infrastructure was needed and expensive (decades ago), but not now.

'Digital Switchover' misses the boat - all those TV's, Transmision Masts - I'll use broadband thanks.

Mobile phones didn't need state (taxpayer) subsidy - why does TV?

BT held the UK back massively on digital communication - overpriced ISDN, restrictions on 'telecoms equipment' (remember the red/green lables on modems?) they were a quango that outlived their usefullness and became a barrier -- just as the BBC is now (and has been for some time).

The internet uses American standards, becuase misguided state monopolies (including the academic idiots in charge of JANET) and the UK squandered a whole generation with fresh IT skills (built on the affordable ZX80/spectrum not the overpriced, restrictive BBC computer). If the market can do it the government/state shold be kept well clear.

Kill the BBC.

With technological advances to date and over the next few years, "Channels" and "Schedules" will become a thing of the past.

There will be universal pay-to-view, programmes will be marketed and sold directly, repeats wil be cheaper, you will be able to pay extra to receive advert free. There might perhaps a few subscription channels for news and specific live sports, probably run by footbal clubs themselves, so cutting out middelmen like the Premier League.

The future of the BBC? Well, being the UK's universal service provider perhaps? Ensuring there is a platform for all producers to load up their content for a minimal fee? Living off the perpetual re-selling of archive TV. Even that may not be necessary as every show would have its own subscription website.

The market will decide what gets watched, not some lefty-numpty in Portland Place.

The future's bright, the future's Orange, or Sky, or T-Mobile, or Virgin, or..................

A report by the TaxPayers' Alliance published today reveals a 9,415 net gain of EU laws over the last decade, with almost half the new laws coming between 2006 and 2007.

In 2007 alone, 3,010 EU laws became UK law.

Activists are calling for systemic change in the relationship between Westminster and the EU, with clauses in the European Union transparency bill forcing minister to declare to parliament when new laws are derived from EU laws.

Eurosceptics are also concerned at the low level of scrutiny EU legislation is subjected to in the UK.

"Both the legislative process which has created this regulatory tangle and Britain's relationship with the EU needs a serious rethink," said Ben Farrugia, a Policy Analyst at the TaxPayers' Alliance.

While I do not support Obama I am suitably impressed by his ability to attract funding from so many small donors.

After 11 years of this awful Lab/Nulab government that has taxed us to the hilt, eroded our freedoms to an extent I find difficult to comprehend (but am doing my best to fight against) and given even more of our democratic freedoms to the eu WHY can't we inspire the UK electorate to support/donate (to) us?

I quite like truly radical funding ideas such as giving the parties 2/3 peerages to auction off each year to support their funding - trouble is the social climbers in lab/nulab would ensure that they raised much more than we could. Whatever happens taxpayer support for parties should be nil.

While I like the Beeb (up to a point - somewhere today they said that more than half our trade is with the eu - never mind the imbalance import/export) most has to be taken with a large pinch of salt. But I do object to funding their left wing ideology, trouble is I find adverts breaking up something interesting very annoying.


Stoke just voted out the mayor - quite why i do not know - but the replacement is to be the cabinet system. Cabinet government in LAs is anti democratic.

On another thread (I think) there is the suggestion that LAs should be self funding - absolutely right - that will lead to proper democracacy.

Residents already have the right to choose a mayoralty and they've largely, and in my opinion, sensibly, opposed concentrating power in fewer and fewer hands.

People should have the right to take control of the system themselves. We should start by introducing citizen's initiatives. Now THAT'S democracy.

I certainly agree with you on citizen initiatives Andrew.

I also support your idea of recalls for Mayor.

Agree aboslutely about constituencies with similar size pouplations, and for donations to parties to be limited to £1000 with ending big donations from business, unions and the state (taxpayers).

As for the BBC, merely sharing the licence fee seems a bit timid compared to what needs to be done. Perhaps we need a debate about how to get a public service broadcaster that works from conservative values (e.g. small state, traditional family values, the nation-state as opposed to international governance, justice that supports the victim and law-abiding rather than the criminal...) to counter the left/liberal values of the BBC. Or how the BBC can be replaced by a public service broadcaster that is genuinely unbiased in the values it promotes.

Another thought: perhaps we also need a "freedom agenda".

Freedom is not the same as democracy, as it is possible to elect governments for a number of reasons (e.g. handling the economy) above preservation of freedom, and the main political parties may have too little policy differences to give a real choice (e.g. on the EU?).

A "freedom agenda" could include restoration of basic freedoms that have been eroded by Labour (and which they threaten to erode further) such as freedom of speech, freedom to live peacefully according to conscience, freedom of association, freedom of religion.. Also freedom from Big State control - ID cards, snooping on emails and phonecalls, and interference in families and so on.

"By the end of a Parliament the maximum donation to a political party should be reduced to something like £1,000 or even lower."

Can we afford this? Despite multi-million pound donations, parties often struggle financially - I am not convinced that British politics can be effectively funded entirely by mere three-figure donations.

Abolish the House of Lords and replace it with an elected Upper House.

That would be quite democratic too.

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