One of my photos

Is Gordon our Steve McLaren?

November 28th, 2007 · Posted by Skuds in Politics · 3 Comments · Politics

I am beginning to wonder if Tony Blair is going to turn out to be the Labour party's Sven Ericsson – hounded out of office after seeing his popularity plummet due to a monumental lapse of judgement (sending Theo Walcott to Germany/sending troops to Iraq) only to see his replacement start well and then lose to Croatia.

Gordon did not cause Northern Rock to have problems any more than McLaren caused Michael Owen to get injured, but in politics you need luck as much as you do in football.  The only thing he is definitely in the frame for is allowing speculation about an early election to turn into a frenzy, and my views on that are already well documented.

Two crumbs of comfort:

  1. Its still early in the season for Gordon Brown, plenty of time to climb back up the table.
  2. I take some comfort that our reaction in the Labour party to this funding business is to be angry that it happened.  I still believe that in the same situation the Tories would only be angry that they got found out.

I find it hard to get my head around it all though.  If I was filthy rich and wanted to give some of my wedge to a political party which I supported and was a member of I would be proud to do so.  I can't empathise at all with this compulsion to remain anonymous.

Of course a Tory supporter would not have to go to such lengths to remain anonymous.  They can just hand over funds to the Midlands Industrial Council anonymously, safe in the knowledge it will get given straight to the Tories. (Yes so they published a list of members last year, under pressure, but with no obligation to do so there is no guarantee of it being a complete list)

The big question is how can someone manage to make millions in business if they don't even have the ability to find a plausible patsy to make donations on their behalf?   Here's a tip to anyone who wants to make a political donation on the quiet – give the money to a millionaire who already donates and ask them to pass it on.  If Abrahams asked, say, Lord Sainsbury to make donations on his behalf nobody would have noticed, like nobody would notice if Lord Ashcroft gave a few hundred thou more than he already does to the Tories. 


3 Comments so far ↓

  • Ash

    If the Labour Party had accepeted the Phillips Review on party funding like the other parties and committed itself to accepting nothing more than £50k then it wouldn’t keep getting caught up in these sleazy deals.

    Until Labour stop trying have 19th Century special deals with organisations like the unions rather than becoming a 21st Century political party then this sort of sleaze is bound to occur.

  • Danivon

    Well, ash, the Labour Party didn’t exist in the 19th Century, but aside from that, it was the Conservatives who walked out of talks on Phillips, because they didn’t like the idea of restrictions on spending between elections (because that nice Lord Ashcroft, who wasn’t a peer of the realm before he started his largess, spends lots of money in marginal seats).

    The Union thing could conceivably be worked around anyway. The unions can only donate out of the political levy, which is collected from individual members (and they can decide not to pay the levy). If unions individualise the political levy, and bundle it up on behalf of their members, each individual donation will be very small. Of course, that would mean that unions would have to decide up front how much goes to the Labour Party, and how much is spent on other things (such as their own campaigning and other political activities).

    Alternatively, unions could break up into smaller units which act alongside each other but don’t individually have enough members for the political donations to exceed £50K.

  • Danivon

    Anyway, Skuds, I am pretty annoyed about this, it was beyond stupid of Watts (and possibly his predecessors?) to allow this arrangement to exist.