Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The most infuriating argument ever

Was there ever a more irritating argument than the one being trotted out by Labour politicians and Labour-supporting journalists at the moment about party funding? For those of you who can't instantly place what I mean it goes as follows:
The current scandal, where the Labour Party has solicited and accepted donations from people are not legally allowed to give them, proves once and for all that state-funding of political parties is now necessary.
The law on electoral donations is actually pretty straightforward. There is a category of permissible donors, a required procedure for registration of donations and that's about it. Given some of the nightmarish procedural requirement that this Government has introduced over, for example, money-laundering this is an eminently simple process that could only be misunderstood by a moron in a hurry.
Given that, the current speight of illegal donations has only one significant feature: the Labour Party break the law on political donations. To jump from this to saying that this means that I as taxpayer should be compelled to fund the buggers is outrageous. As a disclaimer, this summer, after years of deliberation, I finally joined the Conservative Party. I am, therefore, on a very small scale, a party funder. That was my decision, and it wasn't one I took particularly lightly. The Government has no right to compel me to fund another patry, whether it be the Labour Party or the BNP.
However, arguments against state-funding of political parties, which I may return to in another post, are not the point here. What is maddening is that the Labour Party's inability or indisposition to adhere to the law on electoral donations is being used as a reason for state funding. What sort of mesage is that? I can't stop myself from stealing, so just give me money instead? Politicians are so inherently revolting that we have to accept their inability to keep their snouts out of the trough, so we may as well fill that trough out of tax-payers money?
It's not bloody good enough. If the, extremely clear and easy to follow, legislation on party funding is being flouted, punish the transgressors and enforce the law more diligently. Of all the dismal, depressing and grubby arguments I've heard for imposing state funding, this one absolutely takes the cake.

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