System political parties in the UK have sources of finance which are well known: wealthy donors, membership dues, fundraising drives, donations from big business or trade unions, as well as “Short money”, i.e. State monies given to parties depending on the number of MPs they have in the House of Commons. Smaller political parties, without many or any MPs, have to rely on trying to get large and smaller donations as well as collecting money from their members via subscriptions, collections and/or sale of items such as newspapers, magazines or, in some cases, memorabilia etc. There is another way.
When I lived in the United States in the early 1990s, I discovered that not only did many suburbs or little townships have countless churches (the names of which were unknown to me, usually), but that most of these churches were replete with cash. I was told that that was because they insisted, often, on the practice of “tithing”, i.e. the members had to give a proportion (usually 10%) of their income (post-tax income, usually) to the church to which they belonged. As a result, these churches had full-time staff, real property, vehicles etc. They were also able to help out members of the church fallen on hard times and had no difficulty raising the funds to print books. Some even owned radio and TV stations!
Returning to UK politics, were a social-national party or movement to operate the same system, the funds would be available for both pure political activity and wider work. A party might have as few as 100 full members, the income of which, after tax, might be only about £20,000 each (approx. UK average), but even that tiny party would, on the premises, have an annual income of £200,000. Small by the standards of the System parties or even UKIP, but still significant. A party with 1,000 members might have an annual income of £2 million. Now you’re talking…Such an income would enable a party to do more than conventional political activity. It could, for example, buy houses and flats wherein some of its members could live. The rents would thus go to the party, not to some buy-to-let parasite. This would also assist morale and esprit de corps.
Another way in which such income can help a political organization is in allowing it to operate a commercial arm and so not only make operational surpluses (“profits”), but also provide employment to members who need jobs.
As in many marriages, difficulties and dissent in political parties often arise out of money troubles. The tithing system is a way of avoiding that. A well-funded party is a credible party in a way that a shoestring organization can never be. An air of serious purpose pervades such a body.
It might be objected that it will be hard to persuade people to give up their (in many cases) hard-earned money. If so, their commitment must be questioned. There are enough “hobby politics” organizations around already. Most will never amount to anything. If someone wants to belong to something as a hobby, then fine, go do it..elsewhere. If, on the other hand, someone wants to belong to a serious movement, with a serious world-view, a serious plan and a serious chance of accomplishing something, then the need for tithing must be apparent and will be accepted by those most able to carry out the objectives set.
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