Labour has resumed a secret courtship of influential donors before new funding rules are introduced to cover the party from future sleaze allegations, The Times has learnt.
Labour fears being left behind by the Tories in building up their war chest to fund the next general election. Labour, now £20 million in debt, generated only £580,000 from individual donors in the last quarter of last year, while Tory fundraisers brought in £9.8 million over the same period.
Jon Mendelsohn, Mr Brown’s leading fundraiser, is inviting small businessmen as potential donors to a series of private dinners to mingle with Cabinet ministers. They have been told that they could help to shape the next Labour manifesto.
Now, what's that saying about when businessmen get together it is always to conspire against the consumer? Let us be clear: the Labour Party is selling government policy to its donors and it has always done so.
One of the very first examples of this was also one of the very first NuLabour sleaze accusations: the Bernie Ecclestone affair. In return for £1 million from Ecclestone, NuLabour exempted Formula 1 from the ban on tobacco advertising.
And this will always happen when political parties need such big donations: they will sell policy. In short, as long as legislators have the power to legislate, they will always be bought: every man has his price.
The solution is to allow the legislators to legislate on almost nothing at all and thus minimise the amount of influence that is for sale.