Sun | Aug 19, 2018

State funding of parties not rape

Published:Tuesday | September 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir: Taxpayers being financially responsible for the upkeep of political parties is not rape of any description, as suggested by The Gavel in The Gleaner dated September 15, 2014. It's a marriage of consenting adults.

The financing of political parties via taxpayers is central to representative democracy void of corruption. The unwillingness of political commentators to accept this as beneficial to good governance and the lesser of two political evils is understandable, but is based on perceived and unsupported conceptions of the public's views on these matters.

There is no empirical data supporting the view that taxpayers are not prepared and willing to pay for this process so long as it is fair and just. Taxpayers' undertaking of this process has prevented corruption from pervading the democratic system and experiences such as the "rotten boroughs'' of the 18th century in the United Kingdom and similar malpractices in the United States of America.

If the burden of payment for political parties were to be lifted, the onset would be one of infestation of the whole political system. Politics would become an exercise in wealth, pursued by the very rich and privileged members of society, no longer open to gifted and willing public servants who put service to others before personal aggrandisement, and entrenchment of class and culture.

The call on taxpayers is, indeed, a hard one, but it is a price worth paying if democracy is to be safeguarded and sustained.

It is far from perfect, but it has certainly given countries a stable political process and reassuring governance over many years.


Redditch, United Kingdom