Politics A-Level helpWatch this thread
Could someone please give me some feedback? How many marks do you think this would get?
Many thanks in advance!
Evaluate the view that political campaigns and elections should be funded by the state.
The view that political campaigns and elections should be funded by the state could be controversial. Some may argues that they shouldn’t as it wouldn’t be fair to utilise tax-payers money to pay for self-serving politicians. Others may argue that political campaigns and elections should be funded by the state in order to allow them to work on their policies and hold the government to account. However, this essay will argue that political campaigns and elections should not be funded by the state.
One argument why political campaigns and elections should be funded by the state is because political campaigns of all sizes and candidates need a capital to run their campaigns. For example, small parties like Green Party may need to do crowd funding to run their campaigns. State funding is significant as it not only it allows better party performance but the capital also gives a chance for smaller parties, like the Green Party, to grow and function by advertising efficiently, bring together people with the same core political ideas and showcase their policies on their manifesto leading into a wider choice of parties for the electorate ergo gaining representation. Funding smaller parties could potentially also end the two-party system that has been dominating the UK since the 1920s. However, some may argue that utilising taxpayer’s money to fund political campaigns and elections isn’t fair to them. Many believe that through state funding, taxpayers are forced to support political parties whose views they do not share and candidates who are often already rich politicians. This undermines democracy because taxpayers should not be forced to support political parties and candidates that they would never choose to vote for but instead they should have the possibility to decide if and when they want to donate money to a political party or candidate. Some could also argue that instead of funding political parties, the government should focus on funding schools or the NHS who not only already run on worrying deficit, but in times like the Coronavirus pandemic, arguably party funding could be a waste of money as these are the institutions that need to be prioritised. Hence, whilst it is recognised that party campaigns and elections require funding by the state in order to meet growing costs of campaigning, it is not an effective use of taxpayer’s money.
Another argument why political campaigns and elections should be funded by the state is because individuals who donate may have a hidden agenda. The 'Cash for Honours’ scandal could be brought up to substantiate my argument. Between 1996-2008, Lord Sainsbury donated £18.5 million to the Labour Party. He was thereby made a life peer in the House of Lords in 1997 by Tony Blair. This is significant to support the argument that political campaigns and elections should be funded by the state because through that method, it would stop wealthy donors from influencing party policies which may lead to political inequalities in government. Hidden agendas can also be exemplified through banks who grant loans to political campaigns in exchange for material benefits, undermining significantly their legitimacy and though lobbying scandals such as ‘Cash for Favours’ surrounding Robert Jenrick who claimed he was “transparent” in his involvement in the planning application of a Tory donor’s billion-pound housing scheme. However, others may argue that state funding could also cause political inequalities in government. For example, the state is more likely to provide higher funds to the ‘big-two’; Labour and Conservative parties as they are the only two parties that have a realistic chance of winning because of the two-party system. This suggests that there is a potential of prejudice by the state towards a political party due to unequal distribution of funds which would give an unfair advantage to the favoured political party. This could undermine participatory democracy; citizens are not the ones in this scenario with the power to make the political decisions. State funding political parties could also be undemocratic because an abundance of power is given to the state who could try to regulate how the money is spent. Hence, even though it is acknowledged that through voluntary donations, scandals such as the Cash for Honours and Cash for Favours may arise, if a substantial amount of the party income comes directly from the state, political parties risk losing their independence and the ability to criticise, thus become organs of the state, thereby also losing their ties to the civil society.
Lastly, another argument as to why political campaigns and elections should be funded by the state is because the state can encourage or demand changes. For example, political scientists often point out that there is a lack of social representation in Parliament; the social background of MPs is very narrow as they are overwhelmingly white, male, heterosexual, middle-ages and upper-middle class. The state could thereby demand a bigger and better representation of women in a party field or expand the role of LGBT+ members in regulating elections in return for a fund. This is integral to assure that minority roles gain the same representation as anyone else and could also result into an increase in voter turnout as a wider and more diverse representation will reflect the vast electorate and their needs. Though, some could disagree with this view and argue that political campaigns may not take the state’s money because their demands go against what they stand for. Some could even argue that if the state funds political campaigns and elections, they would risk losing their independence. Furthermore, others may question the rationale behind funding other parties; if the two main parties in the UK (Labour and Conservatives) are the most popular and have a realistic chance of winning, there is no reason behind artificially increasing the diversity of parties. For example, this could increment the number of coalitions and stop the Prime Minister from being able to function efficiently for example, with Brexit in May 2017. Hence, although it is recognised that state funding political parties and elections could lead them to encourage or demand changes for the better, ultimately through this way, political campaigns and elections risk losing their independence and become organs of the state, thereby losing the ties to the civil society and jeopardise forming a hung-parliament which could lead to conflict within the government due to non-consensus.
To conclude, I disagree that the state should fund political parties and campaigns. I agree that state funding political campaigns and elections could be beneficial as through that smaller campaign and parties can grow and function efficiently, the state can encourage changes being made and prevent scandals. However, the view that state should not fund political parties is superior due to the fact that employing tax-payers money for party funding is unfair to them, could lead to inequalities within government, undermine participatory democracy by decreasing the legitimacy of decisions being made if they have been affected by hidden agendas and much more.
I think this is a good essay - good points and good own knowledge, well done
However, I think your judgement is sometimes not clear and not fully explained. Sometimes you bring in several points to one paragraph - personally I think it is good to just use one point and counter point per paragraph.
introduction - say why you are arguing that way
2nd paragraph: 'Another argument why political campaigns and elections should be funded by the state is because individuals who donate may have a hidden agenda' - I don't understand this argument? Why would stopping state funding to parties stop wealthy individuals donating to parties?
'if a substantial amount of the party income comes directly from the state, political parties risk losing their independence and the ability to criticise, thus become organs of the state, thereby also losing their ties to the civil society' i dont feel as thought this judgement is properly explained - why would it make parties loose their ability to criticise?
3rd paragraph: 'some could disagree' ' Some could even argue' - your judgement in parts is too nuanced, and sometimes difficult to work out which way you are arguing, instead of replacing this with 'I would argue', say something like 'although this point is significant in how it ..., x means that (argue you point here)'
in the conclusion (and other parts of the essay), you talk about parties 'losing their independence' - explain what you mean by this and then why it is important
also I think the 'much more' at the end is probably unnecessary - it makes it sound as if you can't be bothered to finish the conclusion, so personally I'd just leave it out
I'm not really sure what mark this would get - so don't take what I say as a definite, but probably around 22 ?