Monday, October 15, 2007

The Tories and money

There is general hilarity in the Lib Dem blogosphere this morning at the ruling that Branislav Kostic would not have left £8.3m to the Conservative Party if he had been of sound mind. The Tories will have to return the money to Kostic's son.

Well, if you can't laugh when your opponents are deprived of millions of pounds of funds, when can you laugh?

Of greater importance, however, may be the story that the government is planning to control parties' spending between elections. As the Daily Mail says:

At present, spending on seats between general elections is not covered by the law and strict limits - of £30,000 per constituency party and £10,000 per candidate - only kick in once a general election campaign starts.

Labour would prefer an all-party consensus. It hopes the Tories will back new local spending limits in return for Labour promising one-off donations by trade unions would count towards a new cap on individual contributions worth about £50,000.

There is little sign of agreement as talks resume. Mr Cameron is thought reluctant to halt the operation being funded and masterminded by his deputy party chairman.

I bet he is, but democracy cannot flourish without reasonable controls on the influence that wealthy individuals are allowed to exert. Even if they are sane.

1 comment:

Tristan said...

But democracy cannot flourish if the state controls spending...

I think its better to have disclosure of who is giving money to a party than to control spending which can be used to restrict campaigning.

Unfortunately its always going to be possible to get around either restriction (as the loans for honours scandal showed).