KEITH NEWBERY Political parties wrestle over funding issues

Every time Labour and the Conservatives bicker and squawk at each other about party funding, it reminds me of those professional wrestling matches which were the mainstay of Saturday afternoon sport on ITV during the 60s.

First, the fit young things threw themselves around the ring, shrieking, shouting and rebounding spectacularly from the ropes as they attempted to make a good impression.

Then the old bruisers took centre stage, grunting, groaning and slapping each other with fake fury while lumbering arthritically through their tired choreography.

In the end, no-one got hurt, the combatants repaired to the nearest bar to share a drink and the audience – bored by the same old routines – switched over to watch snooker on the BBC.

The fact is that ‘stories’ about political parties dancing attendance upon potential donors are no longer of any interest or consequence.

It’s been going on for years, they’re all at it and they all pretend to be outraged when a rival’s methods are ‘exposed’.

David Cameron has been entertaining billionaire businessmen to dinner at Downing Street? You don’t say!

And there were we thinking he probably spent his evenings breaking bread and enjoying some intellectual jousting with the likes of Katie Price and Robbie Savage.

And was that Ed Miliband turning up in a Rolls Royce to display a previously-unsuspected affection for Hull City, who just happen to have a left-leaning, millionaire businessman as chairman?

Are we really expected to muster faux outrage at such opportunism from the party which gave us Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson, those consummate schmoozers and accumulators of cash?

The reputation of parliament – and the Commons in particular – is so threadbare that the mere mention of money and politicians in the same breath has voters sucking their teeth and glowering suspiciously.

However, the only alternative is to have political parties paid for out of the public purse.

But with the budget making a stealthy raid on pensioners’ meagre incomes, while simultaneously providing millionaires with a tax cut, the last thing the majority of voters want is for their money to be used to fund the support networks of those responsible.

It’s bad enough having to put up with most politicians.

Expecting us to pay extra for the privilege is a tax too far.

** Ooooh, errr, that’s not a good look

Marty Wilde was never a huge star when rock music was in its infancy, but he had a few hit records and fathered the lovely Kim.

He has continued to perform over the years and was foolish enough to begin wearing a toupee many years ago as his quiff began to thin and fade.

I saw him recently on a television programme about the 50s, and it quickly became apparent that while time and gravity has taken a toll on his face, the wig has retained its unlikely nut-brown lustre.

I kept trying to think who he reminded me of – and the answer arrived with depressing clarity.

A minor British pop icon is now the spitting image of Frankie Howerd.