Glen Turner has good things to say about political parties showing their comittment to a cause. Why aren't they out there building houses, paying doctors' bills, rather than just promising to use our money to do it?
In some parts of the world that's exactly how parties build their power base. Both Hamas and Fatah have social services at the heart of their power base in Palestine. Ditto Hezbullah in Lebanon. Many political movements based around the poor and the left in Europe and South America work this way.
But what services would a political party supply to gain the support they need from the swinging, debt-laden middle classes? Help pay their mortgages? A Labor or Liberal childcare centre? Not sure I'd trust my offspring to those bastards though -- these are the kind of people where you'd count your fingers after shaking their hands.