At present, British political parties operate on shoe-strings. They have to scrabble round for money. Which means they can’t lose touch with people. In Labour’s case, they can’t get too far from the Unions and their membership. And the Tories rely on their membership and business. This need for money keeps them honest, so long as these donations are in the open, declared and public (which I accept they sometimes aren’t.)
Imagine a world where politicians could vote for political staffers to be paid by the state. Anyone think this bill would ever go down? Anyone think it would rise alongside wages? No. It will go from a few million to a hundred million very quickly. A billion would become “the price of democracy”.
All state funding would do is support the incumbents against the likes of UKIP (with whom I disagree, but who’s right to fight in the arena on a level playing field I will defend to the death). UKIP are building a movement on private donations, and they’re able to do so BECAUSE THE ESTABLISHED PARTIES HAVE LOST TOUCH with much of their base. State funding would hamstring UKIP who’re successfully stepping into the void left by parties squabbling over a managerialist middle, while preventing the Tories and Labour ever having to engage with their people ever again.
State funding is a solution to a problem that exists only in the minds of people who can only see corruption in a business-owner supporting a party. It says more about the cynicism of the people who support it than about the problems politicians face now.
State funding is anti-democratic, foolish and will more profoundly corrupt the British body politic than any rich man ever could.