Thursday, October 12, 2006

LibDems in the Mire

I was momentarily diverted from easily the best headline in today's Times "Hunt master 'paid for sex, checked wife's underwear and admired Hitler' " (check it out at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2399777,00.html), by news that my good friends in Darlington's LibDems may have reach deep into their pockets.

Before the last General Election, the LibDems took £2.4 million in a donation from a company which was "entireley fraudulent and had never traded" according to a High Court Judge. The company's owner Michael Brown is currently starting a two-year jail term for perjury.

The cash almost entirely paid for the LibDems' posters and advertisements during the campaign. If the Electoral Commission forces the party to surrender the gift, says the Times, "each member will be come liable for a share of the debt." I reckon that's about £35 each.

I'm not for a moment suggesting that Labour and the Tories don't have their own problems with party funding - they do. This story should however prevent another bout of moralising from the LibDems that they are somehow "whiter-than-white" when it comes to donations. The imperative now is for all the parties to agree a consensus on political funding which is transparent and which commands the respect of British voters.

The story in full can be found at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,17129-2400012,00.html

4 comments:

Mike Barker said...

Nick,
I was upset that you hadn't mentioned us for a couple of days. Glad to see we're still rattling your cage.
Oh, by the way, when's the Rose going out in Haughton East? You know, the newsletter you've been hurriedly putting out in all the other wards we're working in. I particularly enjoyed your catchphrase: "Working for you all year round" and the photos of Labour councillors pointing at cracks in the pavements. That's a really novel idea - I must recommend it to our local Focus editors.
Haughton West next.
Cheers
Mike

Darlington Councillor said...

Hi Mike.

Always happy to oblige. We really should debate what "working all year round" actually means. For Labour Councillors, like Chris McEwan and Geoff Walker in Haughton East it entails regular surgeries in ASDA, street surgeries, newsletters and attendance at local meetings like the Red Hall Partnership.

As I understand it, for the LibDems in seats they don't hold it means churning out an identikit Focus grumble sheet nine months before an election, whilst trying to pretend that the candidates have been around in the ward for ever.

Haughton West next? Well it'll be a novelty to see your party - in the last 16 years you've not so much as showed your faces at local election time. No doubt the Focus spiel will try to give the impression you've been campaigning here since the year dot...:)

Glad you like the Rose by the way - local feedback has been very positive.

Best wishes,

Nick.

Anonymous said...

You act like children

Darlington Councillor said...

Bit harsh, anonymous. Looks like Mike and myslef will have to spit our dummies out....:)