Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Actually, I'm more than a little happy that fundraising for most EU based parties is not modeled on the US system. From reading your post, it appears that at least Ireland and the UK still have openings for the abuses of the American system where big money guarantees access and more...something of a legalized and entrenched buying of votes even if it's not called that.

While the blogosphere has recently turned the tables, my concern is about donor fatigue. Look at some of the comments whenever a new thread goes up about giving to X or Y. You always have a few people who simply cannot give or have given this month or are doing without something rather basic because they are giving. How long can this go on?

Despite these concerns, fundraising in the US works because of the structure of its electoral system. This was figured out; something of a mass consumerism adopted to campaign finance. Get lots of small donations and you can outdo just a small number of larger donations. The analysis looked at the system and figured out how to make a difference.


The EUlogosphere or EUblogosphere (or whatever, take your pick) needs to see how it can make a difference. I totally agree with Colman that we should think about this. Let's look at the current structures/processes and do an analysis to see the strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats.

We need to look at this as two different, yet connected networks.

The first is a networking of different national political systems. The political systems of all European states are much more connected than we realize. We have to find those links and use them. One way, for example, is simple information flows; the diffusion of good policy examples from one society to another. We can serve as a channel for this type of policy information diffusion. Another is to work on the national dailies in the ways that the dKosers do...letters to the editor and such.

The second is to look at the EU institutional network. In this one, Parliament is the first opportunity, but we need to find other ways of approaching the EU network as well. It's precisely because the EU has not been a system with great accessibility and permeability that we had the Non-neen (sp?) votes were so easy to come by. (I'm not saying that this was the only explanation; all complex phenomena are multi-determined.)

We're not going to figure this out today in one thread, particularly not in early August. But this is a good dialogue for us to be having. Jerome et al have provided the first step in creating this, now let's see what comes next.

by gradinski chai on Wed Aug 3rd, 2005 at 08:20:23 AM EST
One side-effect of the system is to prevent any pan-European parties from forming. We can have the sort of alliances you see in the Parliament, but they can't share resources effectively.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 3rd, 2005 at 08:39:47 AM EST
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Absolutely. And the parties themselves don't communicate much (at all?) about their EU-level alliances. Each wants to hang on to its home turf. (Possible exception for the Greens).

Let's say that the will to pan-European parties isn't in evidence among pols. Something that needs discussion here, no doubt.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 3rd, 2005 at 08:50:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If one means financial resources, then that's absolutely correct, but those resources may not be the ones that need sharing.

We don't have to model the next form of poltical activity on past activity. We don't need 20th century modeled political parties on a European scale. We need networks of parties, but networks that really work. This allows flexibility and coordination. The EP's political groups work on this model. It has drawbacks, but it also has strengths. We may not have seen them all yet if we're looking at them with the expectation that they can only be effective if they look like traditional political parties that we're accustomed to on a national level.

by gradinski chai on Wed Aug 3rd, 2005 at 08:51:12 AM EST
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networks of parties, but networks that really work sounds fine to me. And I was thinking of EP groups when I wrote about EU-level alliances.

But my point was that, for most citizens, these groups are practically invisible. And not because people are looking for something they shouldn't be (ie old-fashioned type political parties). It's because there's no communication, no doubt because the democratic link, the voter link, is too indirect to push the pols to feel the need to communicate.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 3rd, 2005 at 09:00:32 AM EST
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Hands up anyone who can name any of the groupings? Not me.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 3rd, 2005 at 09:08:43 AM EST
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unless you watch Euronews. But if we analyze the current construction, we can figure out where the access points for citizens are. These may be underdeveloped now, and if so, then we need to develop them more. If they are noniexistent, then we create them. But we don't need to go about looking only at the EU level center of the political group. We could go through existing political parties and demand responses to EU level questions. Force the parties to become more knowledgable about and see the need to coordinate more effectively. Our knowledge of what other states are doing to address problems (knowledge that we can get through our own network here) can be used to provide possible solutions and to shame national political leaders into closer coordination.

I'm still thinking a lot of this out right now, so my apologies is some points are not clear. I do hope we can keep up this topic in several different threads if need be over the next several weeks.

by gradinski chai on Wed Aug 3rd, 2005 at 09:33:05 AM EST
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There are limits of €6400 or so a year on donations, but I'm not sure if that applies party-wide or to each candidate. I also don't know how the rules on donations coming from a group of entities controlled by one person would apply.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 3rd, 2005 at 08:43:32 AM EST
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And as to working it out in August, I'm hoping to start raising the issue now and then have another go later on when people come back to the real world.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 3rd, 2005 at 08:45:10 AM EST
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