Thursday, 29 November 2007

Labour Fundraising and the Unions

by Charles Pooter

Devil's Kitchen claims that contributions from trade unions to the Labour party can be seen as just as corrupt as rich individuals laundering their money through other people to make anonymous large donations to their political party of choice.

This is clearly not the case. In fact a union does the opposite: it groups together lots of small donations into one large donation. A corrupt individual splits a large donation into many small donations, which are then funnelled through proxy donors.

That aside, there is a scandal when it comes to union funding of Labour: the Union Modernisation Fund. By this method. the regime recycles taxpayers' money, via the unions, into Labour donations. Here is a simple diagram created by Guido Fawkes, which explains how it all works:


More info here.

In my opinion, trade unions should stop taking the Government's dirty money and they should stop donating to political parties who ultimately will do nothing for working men and women. Instead they should concentrate on building the new society within the shell of the old.

6 comments:

Devil's Kitchen said...

It wasn't so much of a claim as asking why the Unions should be treated differently if their donations are, as those in the Labour Party would claim, merely lots of donations from individuals.

The point is that a number of Labour bloggers have said that, for instance, donations from individuals such as Ashcroft should be capped, but this should not apply to the Unions because they are not really donations from one entity. It is merely one entity collecting donations and, for admin purposes, giving them as one big tranche.

Regardless of the size of the original donations, this would mean that the Union is acting as an agent.

Actually, of course, we all know that this is not how they operate at all. They are, in fact, one entity giving to Labour, so if individuals and companies should be capped, so should the Unions.

DK

Tom P said...

I think the point about the union modernisation fund is wide of the mark for a couple of reasons.

First some unions, and the TUC, do not affiliate to Labour or make donations to the party, yet they can still claim money from the modernisation fund.

Secondly it's no different in practice to government grants or rebates of all types available for businesses undertaking certain types of projects.

Charles Pooter said...

"First some unions, and the TUC, do not affiliate to Labour or make donations to the party, yet they can still claim money from the modernisation fund"

True, it is an inefficient money laundering exercise, but why should they care, it is our cash, not theirs.

"Secondly it's no different in practice to government grants or rebates of all types available for businesses undertaking certain types of projects."

Indeed and these should stop too. When companies like Capita, who seem to get large numbers of state contracts including through the farcical PFI system, donate or loan money to the ruling party, this is also money laundering and blatant corruption.

The difference is that trade unions are supposedly democratic, progressive institutions: their members are able to demand that their union executives stop taking dirty state money and stop donating to parties who will do nothing for the working man or woman. They should do exactly that.

Anonymous said...

The real scandal is that Political Funds are mainly run on an opt-out rather than an opt-in basis.

Pat Harrington
General Secretary
Solidarity Trade Union
www.solidaritytradeunion.org

Tom P said...

No, the 'real scandal' is people people who have spent their entire political lives attacking the labour movement setting up a phoney union (that may itself attempt to channel money to a far-right political party) that is already accused by its own executive of financial irregularities.

Surely?

Charles Pooter said...

tom p,

To what is that a reference?