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Money and electoral politicsLocal parties and funding at general elections$
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Ron Johnston and Charles Pattie

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781447306320

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447306320.001.0001

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Follow The Money: Cash, Party and Electioneering in Britain

Follow The Money: Cash, Party and Electioneering in Britain

(p.9) One Follow The Money: Cash, Party and Electioneering in Britain
Money and electoral politics

Ron Johnston

Charles Pattie

Policy Press

This chapter looks at the general environment surrounding party finance in the UK. Political parties remain key institutions in British politics, channelling interests, developing and promulgating policy agendas, recruiting political elites, and mobilising voters through their campaign activities. But the decline of the mass party model and of strong partisan alignments, the growing importance of national campaign strategies and growing public scepticism regarding politicians present parties with serious challenges, not least around finding adequate funds to run their campaigning activities. Parties increasingly have to balance the need to obtain scarce funding with public concerns over the potential for large-scale donors to buy influence and an increasingly strict regulatory environment. Despite widespread belief to the contrary, however, British elections in the early 21st century are no more expensive, in real terms, than contests in the mid-20th century. What is more, even though the headline figures involved sound large, the actual costs of UK elections are modest compared to elections in the USA, and to other more frivolous activities.

Keywords:   Political parties, Post-modern campaigning, Public opinion, Money and political influence, The cost of elections

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