Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sometimes, I wish I was a debt collector

There are times when even contemplating a particular outcome is just too, too beautiful and the possible bankrupting of not only the Labour Party itself, but also the Labour NEC, is one such thing.
Senior officials in the Labour party, including Gordon Brown, could become personally liable for millions of pounds in debt unless new donors can be found within weeks, the Guardian has learned.

The party has five weeks to find £7.45m to pay off loans to banks and wealthy donors recruited by Lord Levy, Tony Blair's former chief fundraiser, or become insolvent. A further £6.2m will have to be repaid by Christmas - making £13.65m in all. The sum amounts to two-thirds of the party's annual income from donations.

The figures are a conservative estimate as they do not include interest that will also have to be paid. A Labour source said that although the total debt was listed as £17.8m on the Electoral Commission website, the true level, with interest, was nearer to £24m.

The possibility that party officials and members of its national executive committee could become liable is being taken seriously by union leaders, and has been underlined by the decision of equity fund chairman David Pitt-Watson not to accept the post as Labour's general secretary.

Though he was Brown's candidate for the post, he declined the offer after receiving independent legal advice that he would be personally liable for repaying the loans and could be bankrupted if Labour's finances collapsed.

The advice from City solicitors Slaughter and May said unequivocally that leading party officials and members of the NEC would be " jointly and severally" responsible for the party's debt.

There are currently thirty-three members of the Labour Party NEC, which means an average possible liability of nearly £730,000 per person. Now, I know that there will probably be a bail-out—the lenders will extend the loan terms, there will be a donation drive or the party will negotiate some bank loan or somesuch—but wouldn't it be fucking amazing to see these arrogant, evil bastards slapped with a debt of nearly a million quid each? It would certainly release some much needed housing into the market, I would imagine.

Now, if the Labour Party goes bankrupt, I don't believe that it has any effect on the government. But let us contemplate, for a moment, the effect on the personal fortunes of people such as Gordon Brown, Economic GeniusTM; could the Gobblin' King stump up £730,000 at short notice, I wonder?

What if the Gobblin' King was forced to declare himself bankrupt? Does anyone know if an undischarged bankrupt is allowed to hold public office?

And—should any of this actually happen—if anyone has any experience of stitching sides back together, could they get over to my place as soon as they hear...?


Gman said...

They can just roll up full state funding for political parties and this "£23,000 tax free lump sum payment" for giving up their perks.

The Pork Act 2008 - its a catch title

Anonymous said...

"The figures are a conservative estimate..."
Love it.

Not a sheep said...

One way or another the UK taxpayer will foot the bill.

Anonymous said...

"What if the Gobblin' King was forced to declare himself bankrupt? Does anyone know if an undischarged bankrupt is allowed to hold public office?"

MPs who become bankrupt aren't allowed to sit and vote in Parliament. (Nor can bankrupts become elected.)

Not sure if Brown (or his cabinet) would be booted out, but you can be pretty sure he'd try to avoid resigning even if he can't vote on his own Bills.

Mac the Knife said...

I used to be a mortuary technician DK, so I can have you back together in a matter of minutes. However, I will need the same treatment myself, so can we go halfsies on a ball of mattress-twine?

Benj said...

£730,000 each, hmmm now where did I put those expenses forms?

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see the monocular mucophage offering the Judge £5 a week from his fucking dole money, the fat useless twat.

Don't forget he's got us all up in front of the Judge for £9 TRILLION.

Anonymous said...

Do those liable include Cherie and Tone?

wonkotsane said...

I used to be a debt collector.

It wouldn't result in a liability of £730k each, it will result in a joint and several liability of £24m for each and every one of them. Joint and several liability means they are all responsible for repayment of the full amount, whether one party pays it all or they all share it equally. Regardless of what they decide between themselves, the creditor is entitled to - and will - pursue all parties to the debt equally. In fact, creditors have a responsibility to pursue all parties. If Gordo or any of the others are made bankrupt then all the debt they are liable for will be included in the bankruptcy order and the Official Receiver will start trying to recoup the money from them (after taking their fucking obscene costs of over £100 per hour out first) so we'd best hope Gordo is the first one to be declared bankrupt because they'll start collecting off him first.

And no, an undischarged bankrupt can't be an MP.

I spoke to the Electoral Commission last week and they aren't interested if Liebour goes bankrupt as long as they put in annual accounts.

Tim Worstall said...

Worth noting that while an undischarged bankrupt cannot be an MP nor can a discharged one.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't NuLabour write the laws as they wish? They'll just pass an Act to make all these debts go away.

Anonymous said...

An interesting analysis of the implications for members of Labour's NEC (including those on the GMB union) can be found here

My Photoshopped update of the Labour Party logo can be found here

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