What with our politicos constantly whining about how much it costs to run elections, and how they need more state funding, it's interesting to see the following chart of party election spending back to 1855. It was produced by Jack Straw when he was Home Secretary, and purports to show spending at constant 1997 prices. The corresponding figure for 2005 was £18-19m.
As we can see, modern elections are as cheap as chips.
When the novelist Anthony Trollope fought the corrupt Parliamentary election in Beverley in 1868, he reckoned each vote cost about £1, in drinks, food, and financial bribes for the voters. The equivalent today would be getting on for £1,000, which in a key marginal could easily tot up to millions.
I reckon today's politicos don't know they're born.