Thursday, May 20, 2010

Funding advice for the Lib Dems

The Lib Dems are arguing that they should continue to receive 'Financial Assistance to Opposition Parties' funding, even though they are not in opposition.

This money is very important to the Liberal Democrats, as it represents nearly a third of their total funding (in 2009, 37% of their total funding came from taxpayers).

I know that some would make the points that it is totally and obviously indefensible for a party of government to receive money specifically meant for oppoisition parties; that this is hypocritical for a party committed to "cutting the cost of politics" to argue for this; and that if their leader thinks that public services and the welfare state need "savage cuts", we could start with savage cuts to state support for the Lib Dems.

But here at Paskini Consultancies, we reject these arguments as examples of the "old politics". In the spirit of the "new politics", we have instead come up with three ideas to help the Lib Dems save money and generate additional income:

1. In the past, the Lib Dems have employed lots of people whose job is to design, print and deliver leaflets featuring barcharts about how the forthcoming election is a "2 horse race", and "only the Lib Dems can beat the Conservatives here". While these employees have given good service in the past, there is clearly no need any more for this kind of work. To smooth the transition of these workers to other jobs, they could get advice on alternative sources of employment from noted welfare to work experts Iain Duncan Smith and Phillippa Stroud.

2. Similarly, the fact that many members of the Liberal Democrats have resigned and joined Labour, the Greens or the Conservatives offers opportunities to reduce the number of staff employed in maintaining the membership database. This could also lead to lower postage bills, as fewer copies of members' newsletters need to be sent out.

3. As for income generation, the Lib Dems should make greater use of their High Net Value supporters and MPs. Millionaires like Nick Clegg, Chris Huhne, David Laws and Lynne Featherstone probably don't really need their extra ministerial salaries, and could be encouraged to increase their contributions to the party. Extremely wealthy parliamentary candidates such as Chris Nicholson in Streatham could be consoled for their failure to buy their way into parliament with the opportunity to make more substantial donations. And they could also solicit additional donations from groups that campaigned for them for the first time in the 2010 election such as the Guardian newspaper and the Oxford University Conservative Association.

We hope these ideas are helpful, and encourage readers to suggest additional ways in which the Lib Dems can reduce their dependency on handouts from the taxpayer. Please note, however, that suggestions that they should receive and keep donations from convicted frausters are not helpful and not in keeping with the "new politics".

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