This entry was posted on
Thursday, June 15th, 2006 at
12:32 pm and is filed
under Tony ‘King Blair.
The UK Today – You were warned: With all the hulabaloo surrounding Prescott and the various travails of the Home Office, the Party Loans scandal has been pushed into the background. Which is a shame as the story that the Electoral Commission warned the parties about accepting loans hasn’t had the profile it deserves.
BBC – Poll watchdog warned about loans: Electoral Commission chief executive Peter Wardle meanwhile said they had only known about the scale of the loans after last year’s election. Mr Wardle said the commission had issued the parties with guidance on the subject in 2004. “I really do not think that the major parties were unaware of what the law provided or what our guidance said,” he said.
The Labour Party campaign return for 2004/2005 (still being processed, folks… hang in there) shows that the Labour Party employed the American fundraising consultancy OMP (see freshly-updated Sourcewatch profile here) from mid-December 2004 onwards, paying them a total of 35,581.23 in consultancy fees in the period spanning Dec 2004 – Feb 2005.
The Telegraph cites ‘Spring 2005′ as the time when; “Labour Party chairman Ian McCartney, gives Lord Levy and Matt Carter, Labour’s general secretary, permission to seek loans from individuals.”
So it would appear that Labour and OMP parted ways before Ian McCartney issued this instruction.
Now, it could be that the Labour Party became frustrated with itty-bitty donations (after finding that they simply didn’t have the genuine grass-roots support required) and then parted company with OMP because someone had come up with a better idea.
But it’s equally possible that this blue-sky thinking originated from across the pond.
(Point to ponder: Australian ‘guru’ Lynton Crosby is almost certainly the reason why we saw cinema ads for the Tories in the 2005 general election. Politicians in Australia do not have the same TV advertising restrictions we have in the UK, and common sense would suggest that the cinema ads were Crosby’s response to his somewhat limiting brief.)