Readers, the results from yesterday's local by-elections were as follows:
Cambridgeshire CC, Bar Hall: Conservative 787 (46.0%, +0.6%), UKIP 251 (14.7%, -7.4%), Liberal Democrat 238 (13.9%, +5.4%), Labour 235 (13.7%, +0.1%), Green 200 (11.7%, +2.3%).
Harlow BC, Mark Hall: Lab 586 (42.6%, +8.2%), UKIP 353 (25.7%, -12.2%), Con 334 (24.3%, +4.5%), Green 55 (4.0%), Lib Dem 47 (3.4%, -4.4%). Changes are since May 2014.
Shropshire UA, Oswestry East: Con 629 (47.5%, +17.0%), Lab 247 (18.6%, -10.2%), Green 231 (17.4%), Lib Dem 218 (16.5%).
Given that none of these wards were that favourable to the Green Party, I believe that once again that we are maintaining our steady support and expanding our horizons. I am pleased to say that with 415 Green PPCs in England and Wales, we are rather close to our '75% of constituencies' target as we speak, and there should be at least 500 Green candidates in constituencies across the United Kingdom by the time the general election campaign officially starts in mid-April.
Also, news of the links between tax avoiding banks (especially HSBC) and party donors in both the Conservative and Labour parties, as well as a recent Conservative Party auction (which featured such items as bronze busts of Margaret Thatcher, and fun runs with Nicky Morgan) which was clearly designed for swelling the Conservatives' already enormous election coffers, shows the need to reform political donations and party funding in Britain.
This is how I believe political party funding in Britain should be reformed:
1. Limit the amount of total donations each political party can receive per year. This will not only help get a level playing field for political parties but also reduce the level of corporate influence in politics (in case we cannot eliminate it completely)
2. Allow political candidates to reclaim some election expenses back after the election (although this should be dependent on the proportion of the votes they receive).
3. Implement state funding for political parties, depending on the levels of support they receive at elections.
4. Lower the election expenses limit per candidate at general elections (e.g. from £30,000 to £20,000) and make sure the expenses limit per candidate for by-elections (currently £100,000!) is lowered to the general election expenses limit.