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Ethical finance

Donations to political parties are, contrary to the received wisdom, on the increase. In February, the Electoral Commission announced that the amount given in 2007 had risen by £12 million compared to 2006.

Set against the £26 million David Cameron has been able to raise for the Conservatives, Iain Duncan Smith's 2003 total of £8.5 million looks pretty paltry. In the same period Gordon Brown has been a third more successful than Tony Blair, and Menzies Campbell almost doubled Charles Kennedy's total of £2.9 million.

The amounts have encouraged further scrutiny of party finances, and the Commission has identified a number of late declarations. But guilt also falls outside Westminster. Among the recipients of late declaration fines were three bastions of principle: the Green party, the Christian Peoples' Alliance and the Christian Party 'Proclaiming Christ's Lordship'.