Conservative Party Reptile takes Michael White to task over the Hayden Phillips review of political party funding. As the Reptile says...
What Labour tried to do was scupper Tory funding while leaving their own untouched. So long as the Union link remains, attempts by Labour to prevent large scale individual donations are hypocritical in the extreme.
Quite so. Now, of course, many Labour supporters defend the Union donations, protesting that it is merely a convenience mechanism: lots of people who are members of a Union want to donate money to the Labour Party and the Union is merely a helpful agent in all this, passing on the money as one big tranche and thus saving on administration.
But if this really is the case, then what is the difference between what the Unions do and what Mr Abrahams has done? Mr Abrahams gave money to
In the case of the Unions, lots of people give money to one third party, the Union, which then passes on the money as a donation to the Labour Party.
As Guido points out, Peter Watt was reminded of his obligations over Abrahams's donations by the Electoral Commission.
If the original source of the donation is someone other than the individual or organisation that transfers the donation to the party, the individual or organisation making the transfer is acting as an agent for the original donor. Where a person acts as an agent in making a donation, they must ensure that the party is given all the relevant information as listed at paragraph 5.4 (s. 54 (6)). Transferring a donation to an agent rather than directly to a party must not be used as an attempt to evade the controls on permissibility and transparency.
So, do the Unions who donate money to the Labour Party supply the names and addresses of all of the members who have donated the money? Because the Union is, surely, acting as an agent to the Union members and should thus pass those details onto the Electoral Commission.
If this does not apply to the Unions, then why not? Is this not a simply a case of Labour, once again, exempting itself from regulations whilst laying down the law on what everyone else must do?
But, of course, whatever the reasons, the spectre of state-funding for political parties is once more hovering in the wings. But as Timmy points out...
However, yes, this will increase the pressure for State funding of political parties. To which the response is simple.
They’ve proved that they are crooks. You want them to have our money as well?
No, no I don't. In fact, I have to agree with one of Abrahams's agents, Mr Ruddick.
"I can't stand Labour. I can't stand any politicians."
I hear you, brother. Fuck them, fuck them all.