Buying Votes

The only way to stop politicians buying their votes with your money is to shrink the size of government and to cut taxes.

We already knew that the rise in stamp duty threshold was not exactly going to benefit Londoners or the South East.  But now it’s official: three out of four constituencies who will benefit are Labour-held, according to Harry Wallop of the Daily Telegraph.  In the 2005 election Labour did well among home owners with a mortgage grateful for the rising property prices.  Now that they are falling Labour is in deep trouble and if the housing market does not revive within a year or so more handouts are to be expected.

Giving a benefit to a particular group of voters to gain elections is nothing new.  Northern Rock was famously bailed out because of its importance in Labour heartlands.  Labour introduced vegaid, a £120 cheque for pregnant women to buy healthy food (for all we know some will spend it on cigarettes because the cheque is irrespective of actual purchases).  A month ago a top official was overheard saying that Brown would give a £150 fuel cheque to every family receiving child benefit.

Buying votes is not limited to the Labour Party.  Giving help to “hard working (swing- voting) families” is on every politicians’ lips.

Another characteristic is that when large numbers of voters are made to believe that they benefit from a particular financial measure or a service, that perceived benefit will never be abolished.  The CAP and the NHS are good examples.  Politicians in rural seats dare not propose the abolition of the expensive, wasteful and market hostile Common Agricultural Policy.  Numerically there are few farmers.  But many country voters believe that subsidised farming protects their own way of life.  This belief differs from factual evidence.  Since New Zealand abolished all its farming subsidies it has become the most profitable farming country in the world.  More people work in it than before.  Promoting a particular interest as a general benefit is of course what every lobby group does.

The NHS is still pretty much untouchable even though the great majority of us will never take out more than we put in.  It could be replaced by insurance a private sector provision but not politician will take that electoral risk.

How do we stop politicians from buying their votes with your money?  There is only one way: to shrink the size of government and to cut taxes.  So you can keep and spend your hard earned money as you – and not the politicians- see fit.

Councillor JP Floru
Prospective European Parliamentary Candidate 2009 (London)

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience.  More info. Okay