UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Party Funding - no equivalence between trade union levy payers & corporate largesse

Scott Hill, writing in the Huffington Post UK blog, makes a spurious case for increased state funding for establishment political parties - by putting a few hundred Tory donor City millionaires on a par with the millions of Labour supporting trade unionists who make modest political fund levy contributions:

Hill uses two case studies in support of his thesis. He claims that Labour’s dependency on union funding left the party compromised during the recent pensions dispute, and similarly he suggests that David Cameron’s exercising of the UK veto was widely seen as pandering to Tory paymasters in the City. Putting aside that the latter is true and that the Labour leadership’s support for the 30 November was muted to say the least, this entirely misses the point.

There is nothing to stop the Tory party offering affiliated membership to company shareholders or trade unionists for that matter. The travesty is that the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) deems subscriptions or affiliation payments to be donations – and in the case of Labour individual union member political contributions are aggregated as donations by Unions when it is simply not the case..

And at a time of austerity and public expenditure cuts why should even more public funds be paid out to sustain political parties, such as the minuscule Liberal Democrats, which on the strength of their party membership alone are not viable national organisations.

Haven’t we had enough of bail outs in this country?