You might well not like her but kneecapping the party financially ain't the way to do it © Claude Truong-Ngoc / Wikimedia Commons

There’s a consistent argument from the usual types insisting that government – you and me as taxpayers – should be funding political parties. There are several arguments against this the most important of which is that when the State decides who can gain the money to do politics then only those who agree with the State will gain the money to do politics. Which really isn’t the point at all, for a useful definition of democracy is that we’re able to get rid of the bastards without a bloody revolution. Something we can’t do if they’re the gatekeepers as to who might get to replace them.

As Marine Le Pen is finding out:

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen says her National Rally (RN) party is being “assassinated” by judges who blocked €2m (£1.7m) of public funding for it.

The RN – formerly the National Front (FN) – is accused of misusing €7m of European Parliament funds intended to pay MEPs’ assistants in Brussels.

French prosecutors suspect that the RN used EU funds to pay staff in France.

Now, the idea that the European Parliament might not give them any more money until this is paid back or otherwise sorted out seems fair enough. But that’s not what is happening here. The domestic subsidies to the party are being with held back as a result of the argument with the European Parliament. Which is rather a cute way of killing off a political party, isn’t it?

So, why is it that so many people argue that government should in fact pay the costs of people being in politics? Some of it, quite obviously, comes from the sort of people who work for political parties. Who wouldn’t like a secure source of funding for their own job? But a great deal more of it is this knowledge that controlling the purse strings then controls politics. If people aren’t allowed to raise money in their own manner in order to fight an election then only those approved of by the funding arm of the state will be able to compete in elections. Which is rather convenient if you wish to limit the choices of the electorate, isn’t it?

One could even imagine a system in which no private money is allowed at all, only that state funding. Then cut off the state funding and see those inconvenient ideas disappear from the public stage along with the party.

Ha ha, yes, of course, this is paranoia, no one would ever do that, would they? Well, they did to Vlaams Bloc….

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Spike
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My state gets all the way there with the gentler approach of compulsory disclosure of political contributions (and the reps who used to carry a miniature voting list in their jacket pocket now know how to find out which constituents can be ignored because they don’t inject loot into the system) plus compulsory disclosure of a candidate’s income and wealth (for ease of manufacturing scandal, if only that “he can’t think like a common person” or demands that he disclose even more). In addition, the process of ballot access is simplified if the candidate submits a “voluntary pledge” not to… Read more »