Big Money in Politics

10 Mar 2015

Attack Ads

Primaries and presidential style television debates are two features of American politics which have already made their way to the UK (although it’s anyone’s guess if the TV debates are here to stay). So it’s no surprise that the well-established American culture of ‘attack ads’ - typically 30 second films that are mini character assassinations of a political opponent – is also taking hold, with […]
19 Feb 2015

Deal or no deal

The public are sick to death of party funding scandals. Over the last two weeks we have been exposed to yet more findings about the suspect dealings of party donors. It brings our democracy into disrepute, and we have to do something about it. Today the ERS publishes a report (called Deal or No Deal: how to put an end to party funding scandals ) which sets out the scale of public anger about the […]
13 Feb 2015

Scandal after scandal

Party financing scandals are in the news again – this time over parties' links to allegedly tax-avoiding party donors. Such scandals rarely surprise these days, but the impact can only be to further reduce people’s trust in democracy and the party system. And it’s already very low. Instead of pushing to tackle the dire state of donations however, the parties appear to prefer mud-slinging, […]
5 Mar 2014

Paying for parties

With party funding in the news thanks to Labour’s special conference last weekend , we thought we’d find out what the public thinks about the relationship between money and political parties. And it turns out that people have serious concerns. Three-quarters of the public believe big money has too much influence on political parties, according to our research (a poll of 1,402 people carried out […]
25 Nov 2013

Tomorrow's Party

As people drift away from politics, many increasingly see political parties as part of the problem rather than the solution. But at their best, parties can straddle the divide between people and politics. They are the building blocks of governments or governments-in-waiting, and at the same time they are groups of like-minded people working together to pursue their visions of what society should […]
3 Jun 2013

Lobbying: Recall and Registers are no silver bullets

The lobbying scandal is yet more evidence of the corrupting power of money in our politics. But as ministers fall over themselves to look decisive, it’s time for a reality check. The Government doesn’t seem to know if it’s dealing with a discrete lobbying problem or a bigger issue of political corruption. And in the rush to prove their decisiveness they risk missing the real issue. The rules that […]
16 May 2013

Time to end the deadlock on party funding

Today a new bill lands in parliament, courtesy of Labour's Alan Whitehead, Lib Dem Lord Tyler and Conserative Andrew Tyrie. It deserves attention – because it offers a sensible, cross party approach to party funding. This bill puts paid to the myth that cross-party solution to party funding isn’t possible. Caps on spending and donations are the only logical response to the electoral arms race. […]
8 May 2013

Recall: Right move to drop disastrous pledge

Governments rarely receive praise for inaction - but that is precisely the right move on recall. In today’s Queen’s Speech there was no reference to the pledge to legislate for recall. This is a system familiar in America, where citizens can petition to boot out naughty politicians between elections – or at least that’s how the theory goes. The recall myth tells that it empowers the public. In […]
22 Apr 2013

A vote that could have changed Britain

A vote has just taken place that could have changed British Democracy forever. And it didn’t take place in Westminster but over in Strasburg – as the European Court of Human Rights upheld the ban on paid political broadcast advertising in a knife edge 9-8 vote . This ruling should be welcome news to all democrats. Lifting the ban would have irrevocably changed the political landscape in Britain, […]
4 Oct 2012

The rights and wrongs of lobbying

Danny Zinkus, Co-convener of the Edinburgh and Lothian reform group, explains why he thinks the Private Member’s Bill on lobbying is so important. Lobbying is a an important part of a healthy democracy. Our public officials can’t be everywhere and they can’t know everything. It’s important that members of our community can bring problems to their attention and suggest solutions. Ordinary people […]