Lexington compares political spending Britain and the US:
Total spending by political parties in the British general election was £31.5m ($49.9m). Total spending by outside groups was £2.8m ($4.4m). So all in all: $54.3m. With 45.6m registered voters in Britain, that comes out at $1.19 per voter. Scan down the Brookings list, and that is less than the seventh most-costly Senate race (Arkansas), which cost $56.3m, or $26.47 per Arkansas voter. So the seventh costliest Senate race cost more than the entire 2010 general election in Britain.
But, like Americans, “British voters are convinced that democracy is being undermined by vast sums of corrupting money, to the point that elected representatives are essentially bought and paid for by wealthy special interests”:
Yet British election spending is regulated more tightly than any model dreamed of by even the most starry-eyed campaigner in America. Which suggests, I would submit, that when voters say that rich donors control everything, they may not be talking about absolute amounts of money, or even individual election rules. They are—at least in part—saying something else: that they feel the fix is in and ordinary voters are powerless in an economy run for the benefit of the rich and well-connected.