Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Buying power: donations to political parties so far this year

A recent letter in The Argus made the bizarre claim that the Greens were somehow seeking to buy victory in Brighton parliamentary seats, with the help of millionnaire backers.

I wish that were so - and we had money to throw at the campaign.

Of course there's been a donation or two, thanks to the buzz created around our campaigns in Brighton, but mainly these are from working people with little money to burn: and have taken the form of time and skills donations - stuffing envelopes, making tea at meetings, that sort of thing.

This has allowed us to tell more residents what our 13 city councillors have been up to, the fact that Green candidates have won more votes than anyone else in all three elections held in the city in the last two years, and that we are committed to delivering a fairer city for all – and have plenty to say (and do!) beyond the obvious ‘environmental’ stuff.

Recent figures from the electoral commission tell the story plainly. They record the donations received by the major parties in the first quarter of the year as:

Tories: £5.5m

Labour: £2.9m

Greens £21,000

It's pretty clear to me that in the interests of democracy, and making sure people get the political representatives with the best policies, rather than those with the deepest pockets, we need to look again at the whole business of how political parties are funded. If elected, I will campaign in parliament for exactly that.

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