24 April 2008

Dodgy donors, etc

An interesting story here about the costs to the public of political parties in the UK. On this issue I think I'm with the paricipants of the 'eighteen months of cross-party talks' which 'stalled in October, amid failure to agree on a raft of recommendations....'. Given the current system, in other words, I don't have an opinion on where funding for political parties should come from. I do think it should be more transparent, but I'm more inclined to think in terms of outcomes rather than political parties. The current system is quite odd really. Corporations or wealthy individuals give funds to political parties, openly or in secret, on the basis that these parties will (probably) enact certain measures that (possibly) will lead to the outcomes they want to see. Why not finance outcomes directly? Under a Social Policy Bond regime that would be feasible. It might not be a bad idea for people other than wealthy donors to think in terms of outcomes rather than political parties and the ideologies or interest groups they represent; and again, a Social Policy Bond regime would encourage that. In fact, the bonds would mandate outcome-based policymaking. I think that would be a big improvement over the current system, which is anachronistic and opaque.

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