Currently election broadcasting funds are allocated in an unfair manner which favours larger parties over smaller ones. This may create self-fulfilling prophecies of success and failure. A fairer allocation scheme would leave the choice of our government up to the voters, rather than the Electoral Commission.
Section 75 of the Broadcasting Act 1989 lays out the criteria for the allocation of funds. These are:
(a) The number of persons who voted at the immediately preceding general election for that party and for candidates belonging to that political party; and
(b) The number of persons who voted at any by-election held since the immediately preceding general election for any candidate belonging to that political party; and
(c) the number of members of Parliament who were members of that political party immediately before the dissolution or expiration of Parliament; and
(d) Any relationships that exist between a political party and any other political party; and
(e) Any other indications of public support for that political party such as the results of public opinion polls and the number of persons who are members of that political party; and
(f) The need to provide a fair opportunity for each political party to which subsection (1) of this section applies to convey its policies to the public by the broadcasting of election programmes on television.
Amend s75 to give a fairer allocation. This could either be a stict division among all registered parties, or it could divide the funds in proportion to the number of electorate candidates a party is standing (on the basis that it is easier to get list candidates than electorate ones).
- There is likely no majority for this. The bill would be symbolic only, aimed at positioning the relevant party and exposing the collusion between the two major parties in stacking the deck to maintain their duopoly.
- The ground is likely to be canvassed in the government's "consultation" on a new electoral finance regime to replace the Electoral Finance Act.