Tories, what are your views on a reduction of public funding to opposition parties?

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TheGuyReturns
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#1
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#1
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/a...ip-Greens.html

Not even Thatcher would stoop this low. Disgusting.
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L i b
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#2
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#2
Political parties should not expect their state funding to be except from spending reductions that the rest of the public sector have had to deal with.

For my part, I think they get rather too much of it. I instinctively dislike public funding for political parties. I particularly dislike how it entrenches incumbency: it gives an advantage to the established parties, as well as extending the inequity of the First Past the Post electoral system.
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paul514
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#3
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#3
All parties with just one MP should be fully funded by the tax payer and donations banned to clean up politics


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Aj12
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#4
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#4
I dislike the whole thing personally. The amounts are tiny and will hardly make any dent in public finances. The whole thing comes across as an attack on other parties. I'd rather see more public funding and less donating.

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MagicNMedicine
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#5
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#5
(Original post by L i b)
Political parties should not expect their state funding to be except from spending reductions that the rest of the public sector have had to deal with.
I agree with this, the key point IMO is that these kind of moves need to be done with integrity and not in a way that looks like the incumbent government is trying to get political advantage.

As that Telegraph article points out, this is being done at a time where the Conservative government isn't making cuts to the amount of taxpayers money that can be spent paying for political appointments in the civil service (special advisers, image consultants etc). If you genuinely believe that money is tight and we have to be frugal with this then that trend should be stopped. Instead what we have been seeing is an increase in this politicisation and an increase in the cost.

Also it's easy for governments to think short term and forget that however weak the opposition looks now, at some point things will be reversed and they will be in opposition. Increasing the amount of taxpayers money available for "political appointments" in government at the same time as reducing funding available to opposition parties sounds good now. Same as the Conservative talk that why should civil servants have a monopoly on government advice, why can't private organisations be involved in that, might sound good if you're a Conservative and want to start using right-of-centre think tanks.

But they need to be careful they aren't changing the rules of the game in a way that will alarm them when the political pendulum switches. The further they have gone down this road while in office the more things will be stacked against them later: when they find that their Opposition funding is reduced but Labour are able to come in, turf all their political advisers out and suddenly a group of left wing "fixers" are brought in as political advisers, spinners, image consultants. And a Labour government finds that it isn't beholden to the impartial civil service but can start to bring in private organisations for policy advice: trade unions can advise on employment policy, environmental lobby groups can advice on energy policy etc. At this point we may see some horrified cries from the Conservative opposition about how the establishment has become controlled by the left.

It's similar to reform of the House of Lords. For many years this was a big hobby horse of Labour and particularly the Lib Dems who said it was outdated that you could have the elected representatives of the people voted down by a group of appointees: and the Conservatives said this was an important part of democracy etc. This is because the Conservatives were the largest party in the Lords for decades. But it's only been more recently that the Conservatives have started to take an interest in the Lords. They complained bitterly that Tony Blair was making "political appointments" by creating a lot of Labour peerages, but it took him 10 years till Labour overtook the Conservatives in the Lords, and Cameron made the Conservatives the largest party again during the Coalition with political appointments of his own. Now they have been voted down over tax credits he wants to take revenge by reducing the power of the Lords: which is generally a good thing IMO but it's interesting that this has only recently appeared on the Tory agenda and I wonder if he would be so open to constitutional reform if he had a friendly Lords voting with Conservatives all the time.
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L i b
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#6
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#6
(Original post by MagicNMedicine)
As that Telegraph article points out, this is being done at a time where the Conservative government isn't making cuts to the amount of taxpayers money that can be spent paying for political appointments in the civil service (special advisers, image consultants etc).
The Government doesn't employ "image consultants", for a start. But as we can see from another post on this forum about special adviser pay, that is indeed being cut significantly. To quote the Government, "the special adviser pay bill cost for 2014-15 was £9.2m... The estimated pay bill cost for 2015-16 is £8.4m."

I'd also take issue with the equivalence here. The party of government has its own political infrastructure - that is quite different from special advisers who, while they can engage in political activity (albeit sometimes limited) they are essentially employees of the state attached to government departments.

Their political exemption allows them to be more closely involved in the creation of government policy - but they feed directly into Ministers, not some party machinery.

Instead what we have been seeing is an increase in this politicisation and an increase in the cost.
Quite the opposite, it seems.

Also it's easy for governments to think short term and forget that however weak the opposition looks now, at some point things will be reversed and they will be in opposition.
This is what I mean by entrenching incumbency. You're essentially saying that the government will become the opposition, and should therefore want to keep this advantage over other, less established parties. I think that's a pretty negative move that would be taken solely out of self-interest.

And a Labour government finds that it isn't beholden to the impartial civil service but can start to bring in private organisations for policy advice: trade unions can advise on employment policy, environmental lobby groups can advice on energy policy etc. At this point we may see some horrified cries from the Conservative opposition about how the establishment has become controlled by the left.
Political appointments to the civil service are made up of a tiny number of people. In general, key stakeholders like trade unions already have their own policy-making infrastructure and a great ability to give advice to ministers who will listen. I'm sure Labour would have no problem with seconding trade unionists into special adviser positions, but they don't really have any need to do so.
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MagicNMedicine
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#7
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#7
(Original post by L i b)
The Government doesn't employ "image consultants", for a start. But as we can see from another post on this forum about special adviser pay, that is indeed being cut significantly. To quote the Government, "the special adviser pay bill cost for 2014-15 was £9.2m... The estimated pay bill cost for 2015-16 is £8.4m."
The special adviser bill in 2009/10 was £6.8m
https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...-June-2010.pdf

So what you are saying is, they increased spending from £6.8m to £9.2m and are now cutting it to £8.4m. That's still 24% higher than it was under Gordon Brown. Why have the Conservatives needed to increase the bill?
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paul514
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#8
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#8
(Original post by MagicNMedicine)
The special adviser bill in 2009/10 was £6.8m
https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...-June-2010.pdf

So what you are saying is, they increased spending from £6.8m to £9.2m and are now cutting it to £8.4m. That's still 24% higher than it was under Gordon Brown. Why have the Conservatives needed to increase the bill?
Why would I care about costs in the single millions when tens and hundreds of millions even billions are misspent or not collected in taxes elsewhere it's a *******s outrage over something insignificant


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MagicNMedicine
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#9
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#9
(Original post by paul514)
Why would I care about costs in the single millions when tens and hundreds of millions even billions are misspent or not collected in taxes elsewhere it's a *******s outrage over something insignificant
Sure - but the Conservatives preach about "reducing the cost of government" and in Opposition the Conservatives criticised Tony Blair for growing the political machine around government by swelling the number of political advisers that are paid for by the tax payer.

So it looks like hypocrisy to then go and increase the amount spent on these when they go in to government.
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L i b
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#10
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#10
[QUOTE=MagicNMedicine;61683987]The special adviser bill in 2009/10 was £6.8m
https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...-June-2010.pdf

From what I can see, you're not comparing like with like here. The attached piece from the House of Commons Library shows that since 2012-13, the pay bill published for Spads has included pension contributions.

Name:  HOC Library.PNG
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whorace
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#11
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#11
I don't think i've ever heard a Tory on these forums criticise the Tories, or Labour criticise Labour. Bunch of dogmatists that justify everything, toe the party line while the rest of the country (including yourselves) gets ****** over.
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DiddyDec01
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#12
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#12
It all sounds very shady to me.
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paul514
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#13
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#13
(Original post by MagicNMedicine)
Sure - but the Conservatives preach about "reducing the cost of government" and in Opposition the Conservatives criticised Tony Blair for growing the political machine around government by swelling the number of political advisers that are paid for by the tax payer.

So it looks like hypocrisy to then go and increase the amount spent on these when they go in to government.
The cost of government could include all costs of governing the country such as the departments it's an open to interpretation statement.

I don't do my politics through insignificant crap it's a distraction from real issues


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username2304599
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#14
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#14
I personally believe no party should be publicly funded. Parties should be made to raise their own money through donations.
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TheCitizenAct
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#15
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#15
(Original post by TheGuyReturns)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/a...ip-Greens.html

Not even Thatcher would stoop this low. Disgusting.
I think Osborne in particular is positively Machiavellian and I admire the **** out of him for it. He just does what he wants and ignores all of the puritans calling for his blood.
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paul514
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#16
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#16
(Original post by ZakiTheTory)
I personally believe no party should be publicly funded. Parties should be made to raise their own money through donations.
Which makes them bound to their donors in some way.

Much better to publicly fund them to cut backroom deals down for a relatively small amount of money from the public purse


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