Political Party Funding
For there to be an honest and just democracy, the funding of political parties must be reformed. Unless it is, and until it is, politics is a waste of time. Why? Because it allows corporates and wealthy elites to have undue influence in the political process to the detriment of the interests of the electorate. The following funding rules should apply:
a) Political parties should have to get the bulk of their income from party membership subscriptions. The state would contribute to party finances, but that contribution would be based on the level of subscriptions raised. This will result in politicians and political parties having to become more involved with the electorate and help to end the current disconnect that exists between politicians and the electorate.
b) Donations or inducements of any kind by corporations, organisations and individuals to a party or to an individual will be forbidden, with extremely high penalties for any transgressions.
c) Individuals, British nationals, would be allowed to contribute a maximum of £3,000 per year to a party.
d) Any form of donation or inducement to a party or individual from any foreign government, corporation or individual, would be forbidden.
e) Any political party which is found to have accepted 'dark money' or has allowed dark money to be used to its benefit in any way would be liable to have all state funding removed.
Changes to the voting system
The first past the post system (FPTP) should be abandoned in favour of proportional representation. The single transferable vote (STV) system of proportional representation, for example - or something similar. PR would be used in both parliamentary and regional assembly elections. Election day would be moved from Thursday to Sunday to allow as many people as possible to vote.
Lobbyists are used by corporations, businesses and individuals to influence and inform the government and politicians. They are the delivery mechanism for special-interest influence. Lobbying goes on largely unnoticed by the public who have no way of knowing what outside influence is being exerted on government ministers and MPs. Lobbyists deliberately operate in the shadows. This lack of transparency distorts the democratic process. Whilst there are benefits to informing and advising governments and politicians, it has to be totally transparent.
To achieve transparency, and to enable the electorate to be totally aware of who is lobbying who and for what purpose, a Lobbying Forum should be established. Any lobbyist who wants to lobby a government department or Westminster politician would have to apply online allowing the request and its details to be made public. This would give those who may have an opposing point of view, and the press, the opportunity of attending the lobby, which would take place within a Lobbying Forum.
In addition to a London forum, each Regional Assembly would have its own forum.