Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Cornwall and the Cost of Democracy.

Dick Cole of Mebyon Kernow) has posted an interesting analysis on the expenditure of the political parties For the St Austell and Newquay constituency, where he stood so please look at this here before continuing with my piece.

The amount spent by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats is staggering, and if we were to take into account that all six Cornish constituencies are Con-Lib marginal, then we are talking each of these parties spending about £200,000 in Cornwall alone and as Dick points out this is what they declared in the immediate run up to the election from January 1st 2010 to polling day on May 6th 2010.

It does not take into account the number of election leaflets masquerading as news letters that the people of Cornwall were subjected to between the 2005 election and the last one.

I have argued before that we need much more scrutiny of electoral expenditure.

What I would like to see is the power of the Returning Officer be increased and he/she should be a constituency representative of the commission.
They should have the power to.

  • Rule that any Party leaflet between elections that mentions a candidate for forthcoming election will mean the cost of the leaflet will be included in the election expenses of that candidate.

  • Have the power to fine a party for misleading, or offensive material during this period the cost of the fine being included in the election expenses.

  • Publish the full expenses of this candidate dividing the expenses between that spent during the campaign and any spent in the period between.



Also there should be a National and Regional assessment of the amount spent on advertising. 

This would mean for instance that in Cornwall the amount of Party advertising in the whole of Cornwall that is not constituency specific should be taken into account and that divided between the constituencies in that area. This would mean that if the Lib-Dems were to spend 100,000 on such advertising then this would be divided and added to their electoral expenses for each constituency.

Of course this would be much easier to administer and monitor if we had STV bit then we will not be getting it because the Lib-Dems have sold out on their ideals.




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