Wednesday 17 January 2018

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Obama faces negative advertising on huge scale

Romney leads the Republican field, but his opponents won't drop out yet, says Ruth Dudley Edwards

U. S. President Barack Obama
U. S. President Barack Obama

WHO should pay for political parties? The candidates? Their parties? Their members? The taxpayer? Wealthy individuals? Corporations? Trades unions? Bank robbers?

Democracies struggle to find a funding method that neither burdens the state nor encourages corruption. In the UK, where there is very little state funding, Conservatives want to cap contributions from the trades unions, which finance Labour, while Labour, which these days gets zilch from the private sector, wants to cap corporate and individual donations. The Liberal Democrats would like the state to cough up, if this favoured small parties, but are scared to push for this at a time of austerity.

From 2004 to 2010 Irish political parties got €89m from the State. The public-funding bill trundling through the system should increase accountability and transparency in private and corporate donations. (It's a shame it will create new problems through the ill-thought-out social-engineering provisions about gender quotas.)

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