Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Funding Bias

Ed Milliband is seeking to disentangle the Labour Party's financial links with the unions. He proposes that the automatic contributions from union members should become an option. Perhaps he hopes that this will allow the Labour Party to engage more directly with union members, circumventing the union leaders and diluting their power. It highlights the funding bias of political parties in Britain.

In her article on the subject, Polly Toynbee writes
"... democracy can't function with only 1.1% of the population participating. Parties need members and the clean money they bring."

But the Conservative Party may have just as much funding bias:
"Wilks-Heeg and Crone found that 15 of these families or "donor groups" account for almost a third of all Tory funding."

I suspect that Interactive Democracy would boost political participation in many ways, including recruiting more party members. But it also encourages wealthy political donors to spend their money on persuading the electorate of the benefits of their views and is therefore far more transparent than today's shadowy world of political puppet masters.

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