Letter: Party donations mean political distortions

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The Independent Online
Sir: Tim Jackson ('Take the money - and confess', 22 June) asserts that it is understandable that foreign governments and companies should wish to influence British government policy by donating money to British political parties. It is indeed understandable, but it should not be allowed. Indeed, the whole issue of financing political parties should be re-examined, with the aim of reducing the importance of money in the political process.

Perhaps the best route would be to ban all political donations, with parties being financed by the state in proportion to their electoral support. (In voting for a party an elector would therefore be voting his share of state financing to that party).

We are rightly proud to live in a democracy. But democracy means 'rule of the people', not 'rule of money'. Politicians should listen to their electors and employers, the British people, and consider their best interests only. Fat cheques being slipped under political parties' back doors serve only to distort the decision-making process, shifting power away from the electorate and towards anyone, British or foreign, who has money to burn (be it their own or other people's, ie shareholders and trade unionists).

Ours is not a healthy democracy. Not only are the wishes of the majority of the electorate routinely ignored at general elections, thanks to our outmoded electoral system, but it is now becoming increasingly clear that the real power in this country rests with the few, and not with the many. The time for radical institutional reform has never been riper.

Yours faithfully,

PAUL GORDON

London, W2

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