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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Time for a change

I have long been an advocate for the state funding of political parties, not because it would make my life easier but because such a measure has the potential to remove much of the suspicion that surrounds a great many individual donations at present. People will always ask what it is that motivates somebody to give anything from half a million pounds to £5 million to the party of government as a donation. Their suspicions are aroused by the coincidences that sometimes accompany such donations - a peerage perhaps or the passing of some favourable legislation. No matter what safeguards are in place the fact remains that the motives of donors are not always pure whilst all political parties must understand that there is no such thing as a free lunch. The latest controversy surrounding the donation of £500,000 to Labour by Paul Drayson illustrates my point about people drawing their own conclusions. Whatever the facts the press will always attribute the worst possible motives. Unless there is some reform of the way that political parties are able to raise money then the political process will remains tainted.

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