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Political parties' debt revealed

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posted on Nov, 28 2006 @ 04:14 PM
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The levels of debt of the UK's main political parties has been revealed on the BBC site.


BBC News
The figures show the Tories owe £35.3m, Labour £23.4m and the Lib Dems £1.1m. The Scottish National Party owes £525,393 and Plaid Cymru £352,000.

Labour has admitted facing "acute cash flow problems" as Electoral Commission figures revealed the main political parties owe a total of £60m in loans.


Fuller figures, along with the story itself, are available here.

I have to say that it was interesting to see the Tories at the top, because media coverage made it appear that Labour was the worst in debt. I suppose, on retrospect, it isn't that surprising considering how much the Conservative Party has had to spend significant sums to try to get back into government. Just shows how much the press can be trusted (or not) sometimes.


[edit on 28-11-2006 by Ste2652]

mod edit: just changing the quote type
Quote Reference

[edit on 28-11-2006 by UK Wizard]




posted on Nov, 29 2006 @ 12:04 PM
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My figures are different:

(read it carefully)





I saw it on the teletext last night and thought I'd take a picture for this thread.

The high figures of debt for political party's doesn't surprise me, all the spin campaigns and various wastes of money, the recent Tory Tosser campaign being a prime example.

They all need to focus more on deep policy thinking and less on the marketing, more local level campaigning rather than silly videos and political stunts.

Tory Tosser Advert (watch at own risk
)

[edit on 29-11-2006 by UK Wizard]



posted on Nov, 29 2006 @ 12:47 PM
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There's certainly a serious issue here.

There has certainly been an opening up of the parties' financial books since 1997.

There's certainly plenty of scope for jesting and point scoring etc but sooner or later I think this must be faced up to.

I quite like the idea of a Parliamentary 'cap' (ie the parties don't just have limits on spending during the election but also during the entire period of the Parliament).



posted on Nov, 29 2006 @ 04:14 PM
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The 'Tosser' video is quite ironic considering how deeply in debt the party which issued it (and, indeed, the other parties) are.

I'm not so sure about state funding of state parties. I mean, I don't want my tax money funding - say - the BNP. I'm sure there are ways to avoid this, though, so I'm all ears at the moment. As Sminkey says, it's something that has to be faced.



posted on Nov, 29 2006 @ 04:29 PM
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State funding of political party's is a line I also would like to keep far away from, technically we would be funding political party's who we heavily disagree with, then there is the pandora's box of who should be funded, who shouldn't etc.

The idea of spending caps or Parliamentary caps as sminkey put it is a good idea in my book, limit what a party can spend, whether its just a cap on advertising, or on everything.
But we have to be careful not to too heavily restrict political party's, we do live in a free nation after all, regulate yes, control no.



posted on Nov, 29 2006 @ 04:32 PM
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Originally posted by UK Wizard
They all need to focus more on deep policy thinking and less on the marketing,

That kind of depends on how you define "need". The tragic fact is that Joe Public's vote is more likely to be influenced by the marketing of a policy rather than the policy itself.

On this basis it makes perfectly good sense to advertise like mad, and if you happen to be in the sort of intellectual hole that the Tories find themselves the only option is advertise or die.

The question is do we want our elections to be decided on which party has access to the most private funding? If not, then some form of state funding is an overdue essential.



posted on Nov, 29 2006 @ 04:37 PM
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Originally posted by timeless test
That kind of depends on how you define "need". The tragic fact is that Joe Public's vote is more likely to be influenced by the marketing of a policy rather than the policy itself.


Maybe the word "should" would have been a better word to use, but yes the majority of people vote not because of the political party's actual policy but rather on what they have been reading in the media.
Its why I find alternative methods of democracy so interesting, but thats for another thread



Originally posted by timeless test
The question is do we want our elections to be decided on which party has access to the most private funding? If not, then some form of state funding is an overdue essential.


Spending caps would achieve the same effect but without involving the state in party control too much.

[edit on 29-11-2006 by UK Wizard]



posted on Nov, 29 2006 @ 05:25 PM
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I like the idea of a Parliamentary cap.
I like the idea of putting an effective squeeze on the notion that elections can be 'bought'.

One need only look at the USA to see that there is a trend we can and should avoid - even if it vast spending isn't an actual guarantee of a particular result in every single instance.
Spending here is already rising significantly and we would do well to put a statutory stop on that right now before it gets ridiculous.

I quite like the idea of removing the incentive for individuals to heavily fund (and thereby possibly influence) political parties.

But Wizard is right there is a conflict of personal interest and freedom, it's a public debate that is needed...... but I think on balance the greater rights and freedom of the majority must prevail over individual 'rights' in this.

I also think private companies should not be allowed to donate to political parties without a regular (annual) shareholder vote.

I'd also go with serious adjustments in that proceedure being made to stop the major shareholders (the big pension companies and the corporate multinationals based in the UK) exercising too much influence and power in that vote.

That has always been a major issue with tory party funding......if the trades unions now have to regularly ballot their members (individually by postal ballot) to get approval for contributing funds to the Labour party then I can see no good reason why private companies should not also be required to seek shareholder approval before making political donations.

Above all make as much of the process as public as possible.

The loans issue is a good example, 'they' will always seek out new means to raise funds and 'we' (via the Gov) have the right to insist on these means, once discovered, being made public by law (as has now happened with loans).



[edit on 30-11-2006 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on Nov, 30 2006 @ 11:27 AM
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Originally posted by UK Wizard
Spending caps would achieve the same effect but without involving the state in party control too much.


True enough, and the concept of limiting spending over a parliamentary term is a good one I believe. However, as long as private individuals or selected organisations and pressure groups are allowed to finance political parties the politicians will always be open to the accusation of being beholden to the financiers.

One option would be to restrict individual donations or loans to a maximum value but that would probably mean that no party would be adequately funded. Personally I'd still opt for state funding - We could finance it by a small levy on every text message sent by mobile phone, this could be very lucrative and even encourage today's kids to take a bit more interest.




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