The weekend debate: Is it part of government’s role to encourage political campaigning?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

During the week, Lord McNally said in Parliament, as part of an answer to a written question, that “The Government do not have a role in encouraging party political activity on the ground”.

Is he right: should it be part of the government’s role to encourage party political activity or should government have nothing to do with it? For example, should the government fund (directly or indirectly) publicity campaigns to encourage people to get involved in politics, including via parties? Should it look to regulate elections and political finance in a way that positively encourages activity on the ground? Or is this something that all should be left to someone else, or not done by any part of the public sector at all?

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Frankly, I think they’re doing an excellent job of encouraging campaigning. I mean, look at UKUncut, the Tuition fees protests, 38Degrees and the forests thing, the upcoming 26 March protests …

    You don’t need money to encourage campaigning, just carry on doing what you’re doing.

  • Patrick Smith 19th Feb '11 - 10:40am

    Lord Mc Nally is right that it is not the job of Government to fund Political Parties but there is still the issue to do with how much local elected members pay back from their Allowances in terms of the `levy’ each year.

    The important freedom to remember is that each citizen or pressure interest group on `Student Fees’,`Save the Forests’,`Support for Free Elections in the Middle East’ or anything else have the right to register their protest on the public streets with the public security proviso and demonstrate their grievience with Parliament.

    This does not require any initiative on the part of any concerted Government orchestrated political campaign funding but happens naturally and is the most vital cog in our representative democracy, since the `Bill of Rights’ 1689.

    When I was a UEA u/g student I went on `Pro-Abortion’ reform Marches and `Amnesty International’ rallies and as a School Governor and Teacher marched on more spend for schools-now happening with the £ 2.2 Billion `Pupil Premium’.

    But is it time to raise the bar for Government to now consider a debate on future financial support to the individual `Voluntarism’ of Magistrates, who perform their public spirited community duty, without payment?

  • “but there is still the issue to do with how much local elected members pay back from their Allowances in terms of the `levy’ each year.”

    But that isn’t a Government provision

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