The cost of political ambition

Conservative Home website has conducted a survey among Conservative parliamentary candidates research about the financial cost of becoming a parliamentary candidate. A winning candidate spends £41,550 and a losing candidate is an estimated £27,235 out of pocket. This is on top of the career and family sacrifices. Is the financial burden the ignored deterrent to greater participation and diversity of political representation?

  • Was I the only person whose browser automatically redirected to the Teletubbies website there briefly? Or am I in need of a break from the old interweb…

  • aquifer

    The UK is way out of step, clinging to a system dating back to gerrymandered ‘rotten boroughs’ when politics was a part-time thing done by the aristocracy. Party funding in Europe is much more extensive, and most electoral systems more inclusive.

    All the Westminster parties are up to their necks in debt, so maybe we will see a change to more funding.

  • Occasional Commentator

    aquifer,
    Any public funding will follow the votes at previous elections, so while there would be more money to be spent on elections, it’ll simply be spent by the same people who already have the support and the money. Therefore, it’ll make it more difficult to get in.

    I think the biggest obstacle to getting a bigger variety of candidates on the ballot box is the current election system which discourages ‘splitters’. A transferable vote system would make it easier for a so-called splitter to become a candidate. If he/she is eliminated, their votes will transfer to the most similar candidate. The UK should use this, maintaining the current single-seat-per-constituency, while it tries to work out what system it wants long term.

    For example, if the next South Belfast MP is to be a unionist, it should be the most popular unionist among the electorate, not the unionist who can shout ‘Splitter’ the loudest at their fellow unionist!

  • bertie

    “Party funding in Europe is much more extensive, and most electoral systems more inclusive. ”

    God forbid we would do the same. It is an affront to democracy for the state to fund parties. The public purse should never be allowed to be used to help anyone put accross their arguement or win an election.

  • aquifer

    Bertie. The party members clearly don’t want to do it. Are you advocating the American system where politicians are sold ‘on the hoof’ to vested interests?

    Government is more complex than before, with streams of legislation originating in Europe to be worked into local law. Also the economy is much bigger and more complex.

    Are democracies to be run by whichever flag waving lunatic can beat the odds to get voters off their sofa without telling them too much?

    We’ve tried that. And it clearly does not provide competent governance.

    Among people who work for nothing or in rotten conditions are counted saints fools and freaks. Want to guess which you may get as your representative?