Peter Oborne’s The Triumph of the Political Class
anatomises a cross-party, tax-parasitical ruling class. The class is personified in the next generation of most likely leaders of the major political parties; Clegg, Miliband and Cameron.
With views that are essentially interchangeably metropolitan liberal, all that differentiates them besides the colour of their rosettes is a bit of proportional representation, some income redistribution and a little Euro-scepticism. They are crowded ideologically onto that marginal – voter – friendly, focus-grouped, centre – ground. All went to Oxbridge, all had politico-media-wonkish mini-careers before climbing the political greasy pole.
They are increasingly disconnected from voters, electoral apathy at the lack of choice results in falling voter turn-outs. The financing of election campaigns is increasingly a problem as the membership of political parties collapses. When you have unattractive, undifferentiated products it is hard to sell. In the market-place you have to give the consumers what they want or you go bust. Listen to your customers, give them what they want and you will prosper.
Today we will hear a lot of cant about democracy, Gordon will bemoan the “funding of democracy”, by which he means politicians. He will do what he does best, take money from the taxpayer to coercively fund what the people are unwilling to fund voluntarily.
Guido has a simple suggestion for all politicians; raise money from your supporters, it will force you to listen to them, it will be good for politics, it will be good for politicians, it will strengthen democracy. Raise the money centrally from taxation and you will further divorce your parties from your supporters. You will concentrate on the few hundred thousand swing voters who allegedly decide the electoral outcome. This is just lazy.
Yesterday, Ron Paul, a little known anti-War Republican running for President shocked the U.S. political establishment by raising over $4 million online – in one day. Not for nothing is his campaign song “Google Ron Paul”. He comes from the libertarian wing of the Republicans, yet despite his anti-War stance he is the single biggest recipient candidate of donations from military veterans. He talks about ideals, he is principled, he raises money from the grassroots. If Guido could legally give Ron Paul money, he would.
In contrast, today in Westminster we will see the next step on the road to totally tax-funded political parties. It will be a bad day for our democracy and good only for our lazy, unprincipled politicians.