Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Remove all party funding except subscriptions

It's not often I agree with Owen Jones, but he has identified a genuine issue in his piece for the Fabian Society http://owenjones.org/2012/02/19/fabian-society-a-new-class-politics/

Owen Jones writes:  Above all, the case has to be made about representation. Less than one in twenty MPs hail from an unskilled background; more than two-thirds come from a professional background. The issues facing working people as they are made to pay for a crisis not of their own making will be not be addressed unless the middle-class closed shop of Westminster is cracked open.

However his solution, to rely on the Trade Unions to get more working class people into the House of Commons, is flawed.

The Trade Union leadership is part of the elite and no longer represents the ordinary members.  By the time someone gets to a senior position in a trade union they have become so thoroughly politicised that they no longer care (very much) about ordinary people.  The trade union leaders are part of the problem not the solution.

The way to ensure Members of Parliament become genuinely representative is to remove all party funding except subscriptions from ordinary party members with a maximum subscription of £20 per member.

That way parties will be forced to build large grass-roots memberships or cease to exist (and obviously large memberships will make MPs more accountable).

Another helpful move would be to legally prevent political media advertising except for manifestos.  The emphasis should be on requiring all prospective MPs to completely canvass their constituencies, preferably on an on-going basis.  That way they cannot help but become accountable to the ordinary people and have to explain their voting record.

And I think the ASA should be asked to look at statements made by politicians in manifestos, social media etc and evaluate whether they are legal, honest truthful and decent.

No comments: