After all the FUSS caused by the Bernie Ecclestone BUNG, Mr Mandy Mandleson's MORTGAGE, the Hinduja Brother's Passports and of course Lord Blairimort's CASH FOR CORONETS you would have thought that the Labour would have put its financial house in order.
Not so, as it turns out.
Hold onto your hats because the latest goings on are going to get a bit twisty-turny, and developments are still developing! And the money involved, like some kind of out of control roll-over lottery keeps going up and up: first it was £400,000, then £500,000, then £600,000. Latest: a devilish £666,000.
It all starts with a newspaper investigation of some of the biggest donors to Mr Frown's Labour Party: Mr Ray Ruddock, an itinerant builder, and Ms Janet Kidd, a secretary. They deny everything…
…then they change their story. Ms Kidd works for a North-Eastern Business Man with a, well if not "shady" reputation, at least a reputation that is, shall we say, not without shade, Mr David Abrahams. Mr Ruddock occasionally does some building work for him. Yes, they admit that he gave them the money in order that they might pay it to the Labour for him and thus keep his name off of the list of donors that goes to the Electoral Register. Mr Abrahams denies everything…
…then he changes his story and admits that he is the mystery donor. But this is against the law; the Labour has broken electoral law by hiding the true identity of their donor. The General Secretary of the Labour, Mr Peter Watt QUITS.
Mr Watt clearly has not been replaced by an energy saving light bulb and looks rather DIM. Perhaps he saved energy by not switching on his computer! Otherwise he might have read the e-mails from the Electoral Commission explaining the law WHICH HE WAS IN CHARGE OF MAKING SURE THE LABOUR FOLLOWED. He says that he and he alone knew about the SPECIAL donation. Everyone else denies everything…
…then they change their story. It turns out that some other people in the Labour DID know what was going on. More fake donors emerge. The amount of money gets larger. Mr Abrahams – clearly not satisfied with dropping one Labour supremo in it, goes for another one and reveals a LETTER from Mr Frown's new chief fundraiser, Mr Mendelsohn that shows that HE knew about the scam. Mr Mendelsohn denies…
…well, actually he admits knowing it but claims he was trying to fix the problem on the quiet before anyone found out. Although THAT may not stack up as he appears to have sent the letter in question AFTER the newspaper investigation began.
Meanwhile, the scandal reaches CABINET LEVEL when it is revealed that Minister for LANDFILL, Mr Benny Hill, was offered a donation to his deputy leadership fund on the same would-you-take-some-dirty-money-from-me-via-my-unknowing-chums basis. Tipped off by Lady Jay, he turns it down. Not so cautious is the victorious but unwise Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Ms Harriet Harpic, who pockets five grand from Ms Kidd. Ms Harpic defends her actions as "in good faith".
…but she still admits she's going to have to give the cash back.
Mr Frown faces the press and is repeatedly asked to give her his full support. The Prime Monster denies everything…
It is no wonder that Mr Frown was under fire in today's Prime Monster's Questionable Time: the fire was coming from HIS PANTS!
The Prime Monster – only last summer the MASTER of all CRISES – seems to have totally lost control.
As Mr Power Cable puts it:
"Mr Frown has gone from SECRET STALIN to BLATANT Mr BEAN in a matter of weeks!"
Not only does the left hand not know what the right hand is doing, it clearly doesn't realise that it DOES know what the right hand is doing and tipped the right hand off that the coppers were on to it, only to conveniently FORGET everything and look I plead the FIFTH!
Mr Frown has set up an inquiry, headed up by Lord McCluskey, a retired judge and close personal friend of, er, the late Labour leader Mr John Smith. Still at least he's got the former Bishop of Oxford on board to keep him honest.
There are several questions that they could do with answering:
- Who knew what and when?
- Why didn't any of the people who DID know DO anything about it?
- How come none of the people who work for the Prime Monster thought it was worth TELLING the Prime Monster what was going on?
- And, most importantly, are we ABSOLUTELY SURE that this is the ONLY time that this has happened?
The man at the CENTRE of this affair, Mr Abrahams, complains that these events have CRIMINALISED HIM – well duh! That is because you are a CRIMINAL!
You broke the law about disclosing his identity… mainly on the grounds that you really didn't feel like disclosing your identity.
It is quite simple: the law says that you have to declare the ORIGINAL source of the money, not just the last person to handle the lolly. Let us think about WHY. The POINT of declaring who the donors to a Political Party ARE is so that the public can easily SEE if the Party is trading favours for funds.
It is in people's INTEREST to know if, just for example, a person made a LARGE donation and then had, say, a controversial PLANNING APPLICATION to which the objections were suddenly dropped; or if they got selected for a SEAT in PARLIAMENT – or the House of Lords Club, remember that!
People OUGHT to be able to trust that decisions are made for the RIGHT REASONS and NOT because their supposed representatives have received a FIGURATIVE "brown envelope". They OUGHT to be able to, but SADLY years of GOINGS ON from the Poulson Buildings Scandal to Cash for Questions have tarnished that trust.
Because of this, the Labour – quite rightly – brought in more rules for political parties about the money that they receive. Unfortunately they KEEP on reminding people of this as though it is some sort of EXCUSE for immediately going out and finding a whole load of ways AROUND their own rules!
Just because they SAID it was wrong does not make it impossible for them to DO IT ANYWAY.
I mean, I think that stealing STICKY BUNS is BAD – but that is NOT proof that I wouldn't yum them up if I got my fluffy feet on them!
All political parties – including the Liberal Democrats… even the Conservatories – struggle with this. They are all always in need of more funds, and short of staff and under pressure the requirements of open democracy make if difficult to get it right every single time. People do the best they can, yet still mistakes can be made. But some people seem to go OUT OF THEIR WAY to make "mistakes".
Loans instead of donations; hiding donors behind stolen identities. It is possible that the Labour's motives really ARE pure… but you have to wonder why they KEEP ON looking for underhand, under-the-counter ways of receiving the cash.
Democratic accountability RELIES on the people being able to SEE what goes on so that they can make FULLY INFORMED decisions. It isn't good enough just to CLAIM that you are whiter than white – people also have to be able to do the doorstep challenge on you!
(Though, when the POLICE do the doorstep challenge on THEM the Labour complain that it is unfair victimisation!)
From everything that has happened, it seems that the Labour quite simply DO NOT UNDERSTAND this simple truth.
Which ought to be FUNNY coming from the "if you've nothing to hide you have nothing to fear" people!
PS:Even after I took them along to the London Hustings, my Daddies STILL cannot choose between the excellent Mr Clogg and the excellent Mr Huhney-Monster.
Clearly the PROBLEM with the Liberal Democrat Leadership contest is that there has been a TRANSPORTER ACCIDENT and Captain Kirk has been split into his AGGRESSIVE KILLER side and his FLUFFY BUNNY side.
The ANSWER is obviously that we need Mr Scotty to FIX it so that we can RE-COMBINE him.
Vince Cable was my new hero, but I might have found a new one!
You rock, small grey elephant! May wisdom continue to flow from your plush trunk.
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