The??game is up for big ticket loans and gifts from rich individuals and companies??to the main political parties.?? It is extraordinary that Labour carry??on as if nothing has happened, with the police investigating their fund raising activities over the last two elections.?? Even if we assume that no charges are brought in the end, things will not be the same again.?? Parties not only need to be above suspicion, but to be seen to be above suspicion.
The tragedy of big money politics is that the public dislike the way the money is spent, as well as how it is raised.?? The two main parties ran very expensive General Election campaigns in 2005 which made it less likely that people would vote for them.?? Between elections parties spend too much on polls and focus groups, so they can craft messages based on what people already think or want.?? No wonder people are so distrustful of the main parties.
The answer is not more public funding of political parties.?? It would be a bad idea to say to the public, "because you cannot trust us to raise the money privately we will take it from you through taxation and give it to ourselves".?? The main political parties have to wake up to the reality of life – you only spend what you can earn.?? The parties have to adjust their budgets to what they can raise in voluntary subscriptions from donors, whilst no longer asking for a few mega grants and loans from the very rich.