Nick Clegg wants fewer MPs – but more taxpayer funding!

Sometimes party lesders should be careful about their wishes. They may come true in undesired ways. Nick Clegg could well end up with fewer Lib Dem MPs after the next election, as they continue on their course of promise breaking Euroenthusiasm, but not because the total size of the Commons has diminished.
As the Leader of the 3rd party he has to try to find ways of seeking attention and avoiding the squeeze. His enthusiaism for a smaller Commons apes a number of past Conservative proposals, but it was linked to the insatiable quest for more taxpayers’ money. Stung by past Lib Dem troubles with their largest donor before the last election, and with difficulty in raising all they would like now, they are desperate to find a way of selling party political taxpayer funding to an electorate who likes it as much as having their roof taken off by the storm. So, opines the sage of Sheffield, why not cut the number of MPs, so any increase in taxpayer funding can be “paid” for out of the savings on numbers.
He adds the rider that maybe a government could spend less on so-called “public information” advertising – doubtless true. He at best muddled his way through an interview by confessing we could only manage with fewer MPs if more power was devolved elsewhere. Does that mean more cost in local government instead then? Not for him any robust defence of the idea that MPs should become more productive by representing more people.
He knows his poor handling of the EU matter can still haunt him as Lib Dems queue up in the Lords to back the government’s approach of no referendum. He may be dimly aware that next year’s European elections are unlikely to help him either, as Lib Dems fail to get back up to third in many places.
I enjoyed the Euro Clegg versus Euro Huhne contest – the Clegg and Huhne race. I always thought Clegg would win, but never saw him as a great threat. The truth is, all the time the Lib dems let the people down over a Treaty referendum, they will pay for it in the ballot box.

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9 Comments

  1. Adam
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Taxpayer funded political parties is a disgusting idea. It is both an illiberal and an undemocratic concept.

    It also won't bring the changes Clegg supposedly wants.

    If parties can't enthuse people enough to garner lots of small donations then they should cease to be.

    Spending & Donations caps yes, quasi-democratic tyranny no.

    Taxes should pay for public services not political machinery.

    Again the 'Lib Dems' show their true colours. This is part of a statist agenda that will trap people into paying for things they don't want (i.e. parties they don't support) and will further undermine democracy & confidence in politicians of all parties.

  2. Toque
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    If we get rid of all the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs that will cut the number by 117, and we'll have solved the West Lothian Question. Bingo!

  3. Stuart Fairney
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    I heard this massively erudite man on the Radio yesterday. He wanted state funding of parties (no self-interest there!) and wanted everyone to get a vote on which party should get the funding and that funding be divided up on the basis of votes cast. So in other words, funding by proportional representation! The new face of the liberal democrats?

    I think I preferred the old one, (and come to that, the drunk one).

  4. mikestallard
    Posted March 14, 2008 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    I was a Lib Dem once. Like a fool, I thought the party was Liberal and Democratic. I think the crunch came when, in an election campaign someone (in authority they are very dictatorial) announced that taxes would have to go up next year. I heard a voice ask "Why?"
    The room went quite silent and everyone was looking, for some reason at me!
    You guessed it……

    The strangest thing that I do not understand is this: the Libdems have been consistent on Europe since 1976 at least. They should be very proud of this fact. Why don't they simply mount a campaign to say how wonderful they think Europe is? Why hide it? It seems to me to be really weak not to say what you mean and have consistently believed for so long.

    The answer to Europe, of course, is not to ape their various undemocratic systems (paying parties for instance) but to join EFTA as soon as we can.

  5. Richard
    Posted March 15, 2008 at 1:23 am | Permalink

    Day by day it becomes increasingly clear why Chris Huhne referred to his party leader as ' Calamity Clegg'.
    He also rivals Neil Kinnock in the prolixity stakes; I suspect Cleggy's motto is ' Why use five words when two hundred will suffice?'

  6. Ken Adams
    Posted March 15, 2008 at 4:32 am | Permalink

    Should we not now be seriously thinking of radically reducing the numbers of MPs, after all when the Lisbon Treaty is ratified there will be very little left for our parliament to do. Unless of course we feel the need for a bunch of highly paid social workers.

    For my money I think a fair reduction would be one that equated directly to the level of outsourcing to the EU and to the regions that has occurred.

    They say turkeys do not vote for Christmas well this lot of turkeys just have.

  7. Matthew Reynolds
    Posted March 15, 2008 at 4:54 am | Permalink

    The Lib Dems are stuck in the low teens in the polls & as such are not much of a threat . Polls often overstate their position as they had 30% in the polls after Brent East in October 2003 – but in June 2005 they got 22% and far fewer MP’s than they thought likely . That was when the Lib Dems where united under a popular leader and could just attack Labour from the left in order to pick up votes . Now the Liberals are on 19% in the polls and Iraq is fading as an issue while Europe is more important . As we all know when Iraq is the issue the Lib Dems advance – but when Europe rears its ughly head the Lib Dems suffer . They cannot just mouth off about Iraq et al and expect loads more votes as a result . David Cameron is doing a good job wooing Lib Dem voters by showing that a future Conservative government would effectively address their concerns . Nick Clegg is handy because if he drags British politics right-ward then Labour will lose office for failing to keep up with the public mood that favours economic liberalism . Compared with messars Cameron & Clegg Brown looks old hat . Party funding from the taxpayer is mad – it did not stop corruption in Germany . It is bad that the Lib Dems have the cheek to claim to be honest and then to play cheap tricks by fudging the referendum issue . What David Laws has been saying about health & education cerainly does catch the eye . The £2.4 million bung from a dubiuos man & the fact that they never hold a council for long prove what a shower they are . Surely Mr Laws must wonder why he is wasting his time in such a mad hard left group especially than is pro-choice plans for our schools . I cannot see a Lib Dem adavance in 2009-10 as David Cameron has seen them off and Labour voters are voting Labour again thanks to Gordon Brown being more pleasing to the left . David Cameron has stolen their agenda and given the way they refuse power sharing as well you must wonder what the point of them is…….

  8. Matthew Reynolds
    Posted March 15, 2008 at 4:54 am | Permalink

    The Lib Dems are stuck in the low teens in the polls & as such are not much of a threat . Polls often overstate their position as they had 30% in the polls after Brent East in October 2003 – but in June 2005 they got 22% and far fewer MP's than they thought likely . That was when the Lib Dems where united under a popular leader and could just attack Labour from the left in order to pick up votes . Now the Liberals are on 19% in the polls and Iraq is fading as an issue while Europe is more important . As we all know when Iraq is the issue the Lib Dems advance – but when Europe rears its ughly head the Lib Dems suffer . They cannot just mouth off about Iraq et al and expect loads more votes as a result . David Cameron is doing a good job wooing Lib Dem voters by showing that a future Conservative government would effectively address their concerns . Nick Clegg is handy because if he drags British politics right-ward then Labour will lose office for failing to keep up with the public mood that favours economic liberalism . Compared with messars Cameron & Clegg Brown looks old hat . Party funding from the taxpayer is mad – it did not stop corruption in Germany . It is bad that the Lib Dems have the cheek to claim to be honest and then to play cheap tricks by fudging the referendum issue . What David Laws has been saying about health & education cerainly does catch the eye . The £2.4 million bung from a dubiuos man & the fact that they never hold a council for long prove what a shower they are . Surely Mr Laws must wonder why he is wasting his time in such a mad hard left group especially than is pro-choice plans for our schools . I cannot see a Lib Dem adavance in 2009-10 as David Cameron has seen them off and Labour voters are voting Labour again thanks to Gordon Brown being more pleasing to the left . David Cameron has stolen their agenda and given the way they refuse power sharing as well you must wonder what the point of them is…….

  9. DennisA
    Posted March 16, 2008 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    It was interesting to see the Commons on TV when Nick Clegg was responding to the budget. It seemed that the place had emptied except for the government front bench and his own party.

    It just showed how relevant he is. However there are many occasions when important matters are afoot and yet the place is empty except for a handful of MP's. It does make one feel that if MP's can just opt out like this, how important is our Parliament any more, when most of our legislaton comes from Brussels.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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