It has been brought to our attention that some people in our community have viewed our crowdfunding campaign as an attempt for politicians to scrounge off the general public. We would like to clarify some points and explain why we have chosen to go down this path.
Our candidates, executive members and regular members will be donating to the campaign, each within their economic means. We have always tried to lead by example, and will continue to do so.
Campaigns are expensive. The limit is currently set at 30,000 pounds, but lax rules, and lack of accountability allows for parties to spend much more.
Funding for campaigns is completely opaque. Parties do not publicise their campaign donors or their expenses, nor is there a legal imperative forcing them to do so.
Campaigns are funded by corporate backers. Big companies and lobbies fund election campaigns in Gibraltar, sometimes funding all parties standing. THESE DONATIONS ARE NOT FREE. They come at a cost, which is a place of privilege at the table where important decisions are made. This is not exclusive to Gibraltar, but is a global phenomenon that is being increasingly decried.
We have heard of people claiming that “Together Gibraltar expects the taxpayer to fund its campaign.” This is a factually incorrect accusation. ‘Taxpayer’ money only applies to spending from the public purse. Asking for donations from independent members of the general public does NOT involve the ‘taxpayer’.
WHEN IN GOVERNMENT, WE WANT TO ANSWER TO THE GIBRALTAR TAXPAYER ONLY.
We want to keep our independence to implement an agenda that allows for fair access to prosperity and opportunity, as opposed to a crony system that supports particular interest groups. In order to fund our campaign costs in a way that allows us to maintain 100% independence, we are asking those, and only those who support our party and our politics to help us. If anyone expects to get preferential treatment for any money donated to our campaign we ask them please, DO NOT DONATE.
HOW WE WOULD CHANGE THIS IN THE FUTURE
If voted into government we would break this cycle by providing public funds to finance political campaigns. In order to assess the value of this public expense, independent candidates would have to present 500 verifiable signatures and parties with a slate of 10 would have to present 5000. The funding would amount to £2000 per party candidate and £4000 for independent candidates. The difference would account for the advantages that economies of scale provide.
Although some might consider this a waste of public money, publicly funded political campaigns are considered one of the most efficient ways to spend taxpayer’s money and reduce corruption. Take this into account: One single tender given in exchange for campaign backing can cost the taxpayer millions!
We would also implement strict control over all expenses. Limits would be tightly enforced and every single penny of public money would have to be accounted for, timely and transparently. Parties would have to make a detailed breakdown of their campaign expenses and make them available to the general public.
If you believe this is the best way for our electoral campaigns to be run, please support our crowd funding campaign. It is the only way to keep our elections, and subsequently access to opportunity, transparent and fair. Together we can make this happen!