Ed Miliband's proposal to cap individual and corporate donations to political parties at £5,000 a year has already set the Tories yelping, so it can't be altogether a bad idea.
It would affect the amount spent by the major parties, including Labour, but who wants to see a return to the days of unnecessary and wasteful expenditure such as Tony Blair's criss-crossing of the country by helicopter in a parody of US presidential candidates' whistle-stop tours?
Baroness Warsi misrepresents how much Miliband's proposal would cost Labour, but her real concern is the body blow it would deliver to her own party now that its big business donors have returned home following their lucrative flirtation with Blair and his cronies.
It will bear less weightily on the Liberal Democrats and, in any case, not so heavily as their leader's shameless sale of every principle he claimed to have in return for a handful of well-padded Cabinet seats.
Nick Clegg's party can kiss goodbye for the present to its pet project of financing parties through even more taxation, which would go down like a cup of cold sick in these straitened times.
The political elite must cut its coat according to its cloth, recognising that party membership is at an historically low ebb and that this means lower spending on political propaganda.
Miliband has finally hit on the reality long voiced by trade unions and the Morning Star that there is a "world of difference between a wealthy individual giving millions and millions of trade union levy payers paying a small sum of money to affiliate to the Labour Party."
Each worker paying the trade union levy makes an individual decision, but such consultation is denied to the workers who make companies profitable through their labour power but have their decision-making on party donations appropriated as surely as the surplus value they create.
Money contributed by individual affiliated levy-payers and passed on to Labour by the unions is transparent and democratically accountable.
Much of the expensive centralised party advertising favoured by Labour was deployed to cover for party members' reluctance to engage to the same extent as before in the unglamorous tasks of leaflet drops and canvassing on the knocker.
This was inevitable, given new Labour's essential adoption of key Tory positions on private-sector penetration of public services, imperialist wars, taxation policies favouring big business and the wealthy and supposed consumer choice, which equated to very little choice for most working people.
Miliband's acceptance of the necessity for major parties to recognise current economic realities must be followed by awareness that offering a slightly less noxious form of Tory policies won't cut it for working-class voters.
Party members and a disillusioned electorate will respond better to a clear statement of Labour priorities than warmed-over bankers' agenda rhetoric.
Labour in Wales, the only part of Britain where the party remains in government, opted for a "clear red water" position, especially in opposing PFI and the internal market in the NHS, in contrast to the self-defeating gung-ho new Labourite stance favoured in Scotland and England.
Not all sound advice is found in the Westminster parliamentary and media village, which is why Bradford West came as such a shock.
Miliband's position on political funding is fair, democratic, sustainable and working class-based. Those should also be the attributes of his party's policies.
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