Thursday, 7 December 2006

Faint praise from The Economist

The Economist gave faint praise to the Liberal Democrats in its article on party funding this week.

Describing the loans parties had taken out, it said "Labour owes £23.4m, a sum that exceeds... its spending... in last year's election campaign. The Conservatives have piled up even more debt, worth £35.3m... The Liberal Democrats are in the happier position of owing only £1.1m."

Sadly, the dire state of the two main parties' funding suggests that the chances are growing of their using their power to oblige the taxpayer to provide them with cash directly. They will argue that to save politics from the grubby world of donations and loans, and the influence they buy, parties should in future receive direct funding from taxpayers.

One cannot help but wonder, as our venal leaders feather their own nests, whether what the parties really need to save them from sleaze and corruption is a some honour - and not the kind that gets doled out in return for a loan.

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