At the End of the Day

“Monaco is a concrete sh*thole,” a stock market trader told The Times last Friday, “but the upside is that I pay no tax”.

All over Britain this Saturday night, embattled and cash-starved Church of England vicars are searching desperately for inspiration on the subject of tomorrow’s Sunday sermon. They need look no further than the remark of that sad Times interviewee, and his wretched preference for the love of money over life quality.

At the same time however, there was a challenge to the Christian ethic  (in the context of humanity having just the one planet to play with) when news broke today that scientists have discovered how that bit of the male wriggly sperm thingy ensures the fertility of the female egg.

The worryingly dependable fertilising of British female eggs is what has the UK population rising to an unsustainable 70 million souls on one incredibly small island. But that didn’t hold back the likes of Sheffield University Senior Andrology lecturer Allen Pacey, who called this research “a significant step forward”. He must be a pillock of extraordinarily blinkered ignorance to think that creating a certainty of unfiltered reproduction is anything but a step in the direction generally known as backwards.

But even as the terrifying insouciance of such medical pronouncement strikes fear into the properly functioning human brain, there are others of far more sensitive wisdom who are gradually realising that until we the taxpayers take on the responsibility of paying for political Party engagement in our electoral system, we will never call the tune.

Columnist Matthew Parris today openly admitted, “All my life I have opposed State funding of political Parties, but my mind has changed. There is now no other way”.

Over and over again I have made that point in these columns, and each time threaders have told me how they’d rather dine on 3000 year half-life radioacive isotopes than accept it. But they are most assuredly wrong. Blinded by the truly unpleasant thought of Party organisations wanking about at our infinitely disapproving expense, these naysayers fail to see that only our tax monies can save British politics from the corruption of filthy media, multinational and commercial lucre.

What’s required here is a relatively piffling amount to ensure that our pols are freed from the pernicious influence of everyone from Unite Union gangsters to Newscorp lowlife. Coupled with a draconian limit on personal political donations (for myself, I’d cap it at £15,000 per person, and £30,000 per organisation) it would cllean up our politics faster than a double-dose of Flash on a kitchen floor.

And to close tonight, I offer you this blatant piece of Newscorp disinformation which – let’s get real here – is hardly atypical. Once again it comes from today’s Times print edition, and alleges as follows:

‘Mitt Romney issued his full federal income tax returns for 2011 last night, fulfilling a commitment he made this year’.

No he didn’t, Roop: he issued a set of averages via his lawyer. The averages are bald figures unsubstantiated by any reference to the IRS, and they are summarised copies, not full returns. I’m also at a loss to know WTF commitment is being referred to here, as Mrs Romney a mere three weeks ago was telling the US media they could whistle Dixie for the information.

The main trustee of Romney’s fortune Brad Walt asserted that Mitt paid an average 20.2% tax rate from 1990 to 2009, but if the GOP candidate paid 2% tax on a $40billion asset strip during that time, there isn’t much consolation for the American worker that the guy paid 90% tax on an eighty-cent profit the following year. Walt has been forced to admit already that his client only coughed up a real 14.1% last year, but it seems we are still not allowed to know whether he made a number followed by eight noughts or three over that time period. And of course, what we really don’t know is how much boulah Mr Romney has stashed away out of IRS sight in the Caymans. The sole difference between Romney and Nixon, in fact, is that whereas Tricky Dicky looked like a slimeball after six years in Office, the current GOP candidate looks even worse before he even got elected.

Anyway, were I an Anglican preacher, I’d like to think that my subject tomorrow would be the plan to help ethical males (determined to cap Party expenses at 39p per annum) reproduce at twice the rate of Antipodean Dingos hellbent on using Nazi science to clone confused Mormons using a moral compass dating from 1936. But somehow, I doubt very much if such  a conspiracy exists.

22 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. Isn’t there an irony here John? You frequently quote (approvingly) the Zero Hedge website. But isn’t it written by the very bourse manipulating hedgies and traders who you vituperate so frequently and ferociously?

  2. No (I mean NO!) State funding of political parties.

    If a candidate wants his/her name on the ballot then they should have to get a percentage of registered voters in that constituency to sign a petition (during the first 2 weeks of an election period) allowing them to stand rather than the current system (brought in by Thatcher) of charging £500.

    There should be a cap on how much a candidate can spend during the whole election period (say 6 weeks leading up to the poll), the £500 the candidate doesn’t have to pay for their deposit should be more than enough. (and it should come from their own pocket)

    Once you start down the State funding route the amounts the politicos grant to themselves will balloon out of all proportion to what is necessary, I just know that sooner or later one of them will claim that a top of the range beemer is the minimum he needs to meet his constituents, the allowance will be raised because they will all want one.

    • Bob, totally agree. Why should a candidate have to stump up £500 to be involved in a democratic process? Giving State funds to already crooked politicians is like letting junkies loose in a pharmacy. If a party can’t raise enough funds without whoring itself to unions or big business, let them go to the wall – why do we need parties anyway? Wouldn’t this country be better run with independent MP’s, not whipped to toe a party line?

      • @Ace G
        Very commendable remark in fact, speaking at least from the US experience with which I am more acquainted; because here in the US the political parties long ago (in the 19th century) disenfranchised the electorate with irreversible effect. They were crooked as a h**l back then –think Boss Tweed and the other big city machines, as in Chicago– they are not mentioned or provided for in the constitution. They were an effective device for controlling influence, patronage and power, and nearly an invention out of whole cloth.
        Let me repeat that. The political party system disenfranchises the electorate to such an absolute degree that no one any longer seems to notice this simple abhorrent fact.

        Cheers.

    • Me three. JW has some good ideas, but this is not one of them, whatever nice Matthew Parris thinks.

      Force taxpayers to fund the ossification of the current 3-party corpse? That would be the result: the entrenchment of the current discredited status quo.

      The claim that this step would somehow clean up politics is dubious as well – this would do nothing to end the revolving door that sees Goldmanites joining government and ex-politicos joining banks, big pharma, defence firms etc and so on.

    • “Paying does not ensure control-if it did we would already have control, and assuredly don’t”

      This is where I am in the argument at present. I wholeheartedly agree we need to cut out the ‘party’ funding from sponsors, but parliament would just vote themselves whatever they want from the public as they do now. And since we need parliament to vote themselves off the current gravy train, we can be assured they would only do so if they saw the advantages. So when politicians start asking for it, I know it’s wrong.

  3. State funding of political parties is both the Thin Edge of the Wedge and The Start of the Slippery Slope!

    For proof , all Greek political parties are funded by the state – let this say everything!

    The big, long established parties have built huge headquarters – like public corporations or banks – guarded 24/7 by police. And of course not through public competition as required by EU law, but ‘party’ architects.

    In the last election ND or PASOK (can’t remember now) ‘discovered’ their party owed 150 million to the bank and tried to get this ‘forgiven’ – ie paid off by the on-their-knees greek taxpayer. Huge outcry. Then silence. The silence means that they passed it through parliament quietly….

    Meanwhile our lowest MPs continue to receive 8000€ a month x 16 months = 1 year’s salary; with perks it comes up to 15,000€ a month in real terms, x 16. Those up the ladder get considerably more.

    Being an MP is the only salaried job worth having in Greece at the moment!

  4. I am firmly of the opinion that until being a politician of any colour is viewed by all in the same light as doing jury service…a true responsibility, aggravating yet necessary…politics itself will never change. I confess to still pathetically clinging to the notion that many if not most MPs work hard for their constituents even when hamstrung by party dogma and only when boosted to the cabinet, seduced by being in the public eye, or corrupted by industrial lobbying does their usefulness rapidly tail off. Unfortunately the current system makes it far too easy to pit those falls and as long as politics as a career is seen as an opportunity for power-hungry narcissists and psychopaths with a fetish for making themselves ‘part of history,’ or just a leg-up for money grubbers we are, as a society, knackered. If the only way to weed out those less useful types is to properly pay them out of the public purse, I’m all for it

  5. What would we be paying for ? Our laws are made in Brussels. Our foreign and defence policy is made in Washington. What’s left could be best done by County Councils. Which leaves the constituency, which could probably be done best by social workers.

    These idle, useless MP’s are already pulling in more than £100K a year. Let them pay for their own pleasure.

  6. En passant on Mitt Romney’s tax return, he seems to have lost some $7,000,000 in income between his provisional return earlier this year and the final return. It would be of course quite wrong and malicious to suggest that someone might need to start digging on a desert island or perhaps the Caymans for the buried treasure.

  7. I can see Johns point about taxpayer funded parties. It would (if other donations were not allowed) ensure that the parties so funded could not be bought off by corporations or unions. Thus it is a good thing and an acceptable idea.

    One the downside it would need the ‘government’ to implement the rules and they sure as hell are not going to give up their ‘after hours’ treats and goody bags. Also as mentioned above, we all know that they see themselves as the ‘greatest thing since sliced bread’ and ‘great value for money’ to the public. They would be unable to restrain themselves when it came to giving themselves an ever greater helping of the taxpayer pudding. The parties machinery would grow and the funding alongside as they all brought their families and friends into the party machines.

    If it were to happen there would have to be rules ansuring that MP’s could only stand for a single/double term to take away the careerism. That parties could only claim £1 for each vote of support in the previous election. Thus they would need to get the electorate out and get doing things which the people support. Another way of buying votes essentially but at least it is open and transparent.

    I could be done, but you would need to have a government which WANTED to change things to improve democracy. The ones we have at the moment have absolutely no interest in doing anything which would make them accountable to the voting public. Thus they will implement (their version of) it because they have (in the main) falling membership and less and less support. What is more is that they will implement it in a way which cuts out funding to any but the ‘existing main parties’ in order that no ‘threat’ such as UKIP can ever get off the ground. Be warned – they are already throwing this bone around because Camerlot can see that his party is toast, the LimpDims too. Labour well they’ll destroy themselves after getting the big chair next time they manage to sit in it. (If the collapse has been forestalled, and Labour win, they won’t even have a useable credit card after this lot have finished).

    I say NO (because of who would be making the rules) but with the proviso that it would be acceptable under the correct (well controlled) circumstances.

    Fact is, it is only those in the parties who want ‘the parties’ they are not a requirement for the people to be represented…………….indeed with todays technology, we could be representing ourselves and have ‘real democracy’, but technology only becomes essential to government when they use it for their own purposes (against the people).

  8. Contributions to parties £1 per vote at the general election,therefore max 66m per 5 year term,cheap and parties need to deliver polices to keep funding and attract new voters

  9. State funding ensures the parties get stronger.
    We want weaker parties and stronger, local individuals.
    Cap all funding of political activities by individuals and corporations.
    And most of all, instruct news editors not to make bleedin’ hollow politicians the main story every single day, except to report HofC debates.
    Everything else is just propaganda.

  10. though it may have its merits, State funding of political parties when the voting quota continually drops is financing of failed policies
    one man, one vote
    no organisations may fund the parties, either private or public
    L 2,50 per voter at the last election, means about 80 mill.
    the point is made many times above, that leave it open to the failed politicos to determine, then it will be just another tax, rising all the time

  11. Dear All
    Well, I predicted the response pretty accurately.
    Read what the ghost has to say: he is right.
    You’re all terribly keen to damn those who take the shilling, but not prepared to cough up a shilling and stop it.

    • “You’re all terribly keen to damn those who take the shilling, but not prepared to cough up a shilling and stop it.”

      I don’t see reluctance to pay up, rather I see reluctance to pay more knowing it won’t correct the problem (which we all seem to agree on) and might even just write an open cheque. And paying per vote to ‘party’ as ‘Ghost’ advocates, reinforces ‘party’ rather than MP doing constituency bidding.

  12. Coughing up the shilling won’t stop it.

    That is not what their proposals are for.

    What they would do, if we were mad enough to let them, is entrench the current lot of useless tossers, and raise insuperable barriers against any newcomers.

    That is what they’re designed for, rather like local councils’ taxi regulations.

    No, no, a thousand times no, to any tax-funding of political parties. If they can’t attract voluntary funding, they can go to hell.

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