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The legal status and role of parties varies considerably by jurisdiction. In some (corrupt) countries, membership of the ruling party can be a prerequisite for doing business, getting considered for state contracts etc.

In most Western democracies, whether you join a party or not is purely a private matter, and parties can also make up the rules of membership pretty much as they like. Most are struggling to get people to join in large numbers, so expelling dissidents or embarrassing members can be a low priority. Expelling Blair would be problematic as many of the leadership figures are still broadly Blairite in their views.  a More likely candidate for expulsion would be someone like Ken Livingstone for expressing anti- Zionist views...

In Ireland and the UK Unions can affiliate to the Labour party which means some of their members contribution goes to the party whether individual members like it or not. Generally speaking contributions from lobbyists, businesses and wealthy individuals are tightly controlled in terms of transparency and amounts but who knows what goes on under the table? Most political parties are also in receipt of state funding to help defray election expenses generally in rough proportion to their share of the popular vote but that can come with strings attached - such as minimum quotas for female candidates etc. The idea here is to reduce their dependency on corporate or wealthy benefactors.

In polities with proportional representation there are generally several viable parties and so if people don't like how one party is run, they have several other options to choose from.  In countries such as the US and UK with first past the post systems, the two main parties are enormously advantaged and privileged in many ways and people have little choice if they don't like how they are run. Insofar as they receive public funding it can also be argued that they should be more subject to public regulation to assure transparency and fairness etc., but basically they make up their own rules as they see fit, often at a local level with little public oversight.

My own view is that first past the post systems are primitive and polarising, that all corporate donations should be regarded as bribery, and that any parties in receipt of public funding (which I support) should also be subject to strict regulation governing membership entitlements, transparency, funding limits, fair procedure etc. with judicial oversight of same.  Other than that, the more and more diverse, the merrier.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 6th, 2016 at 06:56:54 PM EST

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