State funding for bankrupt political parties is immoralIt's certainly offical - Britains two main established political parties, New Labour and the Conservatives, are financially bankrupt. It's estimated that Labour's debts are a hefty £27m, and the Tories are in debt to the tune of some £30m (which, they of course strenuosly deny).
Practical and financial support for both political parties have been in steady decline in recent years. Both parties have become increasingly dependent on finance from a hand full of very rich donors. In political terms, these are very dangerous developments. The astute political commentator, Mick Hume argues that such developments;
'highlight the advance of a new oligarchy in British politics - an elite political class, cut off from and largely unaccountable to any popular constituency'.
I haven't got a problem with individuals making political donations to parties, if anything, I have reservations about the idea that there should be limits on how much someone can donate to political parties - and, the fact that this idea coexists with ever more louder demands for public money for political parties makes the notion of limits on donations even more objectionable.
Both parties are in a financial mess of their own making, so why would anyone think that by effectively nationalising them, their problems would be somehow solved? Why would the parties financial dependency on state patronage make their political problems disappear?
If you ask me, political parties need to get out of the air-conditioned offices, and convince the public that they are worth donating money to - if they can't be bothered to do that, then they are certainly bankrupt in more ways than one.
UPDATE: The Times leading article agrees with me.