A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, the Labour Party and Hackney - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Cash NOT for honours - cash for democracy to be able to function

I was going to try to write something about the CPS decision, but instead I'll link to what Benjamin Wegg-Prosser has written:

http://wpbenjamin.livejournal.com/

My primary reaction is not happiness at the CPS decision but deep anger that fundamentally decent people who were motivated by the desire to see Labour properly funded and able to compete on a level playing field at general elections with the plutocrat-backed Tories have had their reputations dragged through the mud for so long because of a vexatious, politically-motivated complaint by a nationalist MP trying to make a name for themselves. Of course the Police have to take complaints seriously - but surely this could have been resolved faster and with fewer leaks given the personal impact on the people concerned, on their ability to do their day jobs in government and on the reputation of the political process.

Lord Levy is a good man who has spent his life engaged in fundraising for charities and good causes - one of them being the Labour Party. I am delighted that he has been vindicated.

24 Comments:

Anonymous James said...

Hear hear! A total disgrace.

12:31 pm, July 20, 2007

 
Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

With a straight face too. Well done.

12:38 pm, July 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Peter Kenyon said...

Dear Luke

Let's not obscure the central issues around how we pay for our politics by being sentimental about the hapless actors in a Labour Party melodrama scripted out of No. 10 over a prolonged period.

The genesis of this depressing saga can be found in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendum Act 2000, or rather the yawning gap between what actually was put on the Statute Book and the original Green Paper. We failed to cap national election spending, lifted the lid on local spending and the rest is history.

12:45 pm, July 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Ravi said...

I appreciate what you are saying, but that fact loans don't have to be decleared before entering the House of Lords is wrong and smells fishy.
As you correctly point out the Labour Party is a good cause to back so why not make this doantion (sorry loan) public? I have to say this was a big mistake. Trying to free us finacially from the unions was not only objectionable morally but foolish. We are the Labour party and should be proud that the unions back us, we don't need to court these rich donors, they should just back us if they want to! That is true democracy.
It has to be stated the Tories and the LDs are in this up to their scrawny necks too.
I think the link you put to emphise your point was a little over the top, especially the arrest of Ruth Turner, I don't remember people being dragged out of their homes at gunpoint (and being shot as well) for being suspected terrorists for questioning (subsequently released without charge)getting this tripe. THAT is a real travesty, not a kindly tap on the door (in comparison) by the police asking her to help them with their enquiries.
There are some worries I have, mainly steming from our finacial situation. I understand that all the loans have been given back and we are in a bit of a quagmire. What happens now?

1:13 pm, July 20, 2007

 
Anonymous David said...

I presume that Angus MacNeill is now being investigated for wasting police time?

1:44 pm, July 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Ravi said...

My anderstanding of it was that he asked if any laws had been broken, I don't think there was an out and out acusation of wrong doing.

3:00 pm, July 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Ravi said...

Sorry that should read "Understanding"! Just thought you all would like to see this as a gauge to non LP members over this affair.

http://newsforums.bbc.co.uk/nol/thread.jspa?threadID=6911&&edition=1&ttl=20070720150140

3:06 pm, July 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Ted Harvey said...

These allegedly ‘fundamentally decent people’ have left the Labour Party, and national parties in general in a moral, ethical and credibility mess.

Nobody had been ‘vindicated’ by the PP pathetic outcome; the PP has fallen back on the excuse that it’s almost impossible to secure evidence to the standard and specificity required in the long ago outmoded law on the matter.

The archaic and impossible-to-apply nature of this law is something that Westminster parties have been, and will be, very content with. If private industry were left to run under such lax and neutered laws created by the very people affected by them, what a mess we would all be in now.

I agree that the investigation should not have dragged on so long, but I wonder how much of the latter delay was nothing to do with real-time investigation and everything to do with politically-enforced obfuscation from the PP’s office and the consequent demands from the Met for protection for their officers in the event of the inevitable public anger at the failure (yet again) of anyone of political importance or influence to be found responsible for anything.

And 'David said', yes, somebody should be investigated for wasting police time but it should not be Angus McNeill for making a complaint to the Met under an Act of Parliament (I thought the Campbell/Mandelson era of malevolent enforcement was over?) … but what about starting with the PP’s office?

Yet again, a reason to consign the Blair project to history and get on with cleaning up our act. But the reaction of some on this blog to this affair makes me wonder if the self-absorbed political class in the UK is capable of learning anyhting from anything.

3:13 pm, July 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Peter Kenyon et al.

Please have the decency to admit when you are wrong. The people who have been unfairly smeared by this charade are decent people who have worked over many years to get Labour elected, unlike the pathetic bunch of whingers you represent whose main purpose seems to be to make sure Labour stays unelectable for ever. You make me sick. I am ashamed to be in the same party as you. If you want be in a pressure group why don't you go off and join Respect or something.

3:28 pm, July 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Peter Kenyon said...

Dear Anonymous

How sad that you do not feel free to comment in person.

I am at a bit of a loss. When did the Labour Party agreed to appoint/elect Lord Levy as its fundraiser, or approve the fundraising strategy for the 2005 election?

I quite understand that you feel ashamed of the failure of our Party to have sound governance procedures in place in the first instance. So do I.

3:50 pm, July 20, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously very glad that no charges are to be brought. Today has been brilliant for Labour.

But there's no point pretending that the current system of party funding isn't dodgy. Whilst its sad that this has been negative news for Labour for so long and has put some rich Labour donors in the spotlight (I'm sure they'll get over it) I don't think it was a complete waste of time. Its focused attention on problems such as appointed peers and party funding which are very important issues.

Also: I think you come across as slightly naive if you think all these multimillionaires giving money to Labour are doing so out of support for the fundraising underdog. Could it not be that they just want to stay chummy with the highest figures in government? It would be dangerous for Labour to become reliant on these peoples' money. We need to become a mass membership part able to survive and campaign without being dependent on a few super wealthy donors.

7:30 pm, July 20, 2007

 
Blogger Chris Paul said...

Many of them are long term Labour supporters if not tribal since birth. How dare you impugn their honourable motives.

Yates runs a leaky old ship and that is why he is ending up failing in his pursuit of Moby Dick and festering in Davey Jones' locker (posts passim).

9:09 pm, July 20, 2007

 
Anonymous David Floyd said...

"Many of them are long term Labour supporters if not tribal since birth. How dare you impugn their honourable motives."

This is inevitable while we continue to have a system where people can be appointed to the legislature for supporting a party - rather than on the basis of the public voting for them.

This investigation has been a farce. If Brown sorts out the House of Lords and the party funding laws he can make sure it doesn't happen again.

4:04 pm, July 22, 2007

 
Blogger El Dave. said...

The people I feel sorry for in this saga are those like Ruth Turner who had their good names besmirched by the police in dawn raids and then dragged through the muck by the press when they had done absolutely nothing wrong.

Whether or not trials should have happened is less important than the perception that both Labour and the Conservatives were not being entirely open about funding. It would have been far more useful for a serious debate to have taken place around funding. There are a range of issues, from state-funding to tax deductions to internal party organisation, that need to be considered that, frankly, aren't in the public arena other than in quite a superficial way.

The Tories are being, I think, quite disingenuous with their desire to restrict trades union funding. It seems that they are using the debate as a way of hobbling Labour rather than improving the political arena.

5:15 pm, July 22, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke writes of 'Vexatious politically-minded complaints' Sounds like a history of Hackney Labour Party. What a short memory you have!
The vast majority of the public will continue to believ that undecalred loans from dogy millionaries in return for Peerages STINKS!

7:03 pm, July 22, 2007

 
Blogger El Dave. said...

"The vast majority of the public will continue to believ that undecalred loans from dogy millionaries in return for Peerages STINKS!"

Quite. That's why it'd have been better to settle the issue politically than fail to settle it judicially.

10:11 pm, July 22, 2007

 
Anonymous Shambolic said...

So now that NuLabour has paid back all those undeclared loans does it make the party financially bankrupt as well as morally bankrupt, one wonders?

Akehurst's faux moral stance reminds one of Vespasian's claims: pecunia non olet.

11:11 am, July 23, 2007

 
Blogger Sham said...

Well said Luke!

I see all the loons are out in force again! Two by-election wins, cleared of all the charges, it's a fantastic result for Labour, a kicking for Cameron and a slap in the face for the SNP scum who should now be charged with wasting police time.

Those Lefties just can't stand to see a good news story for the Government, the Labour government; far better for them for us to have lost the by-elections, so they can twist the knife into Brown's back.

It's pathetic.

3:10 pm, July 23, 2007

 
Blogger el Tom said...

"a level playing field at general elections with the plutocrat-backed Tories have had their"

Um. Wasn't this all about us being plutocrat backed ourselves? Just a thought...

3:26 pm, July 23, 2007

 
Blogger el Tom said...

"This is inevitable while we continue to have a system where people can be appointed to the legislature for supporting a party - rather than on the basis of the public voting for them."

Sensible stuff.

3:28 pm, July 23, 2007

 
Anonymous Ravi said...

Sham said

"...cleared of all the charges"

Well to be exact the CPS stated whilst peerages may have been given in exchange for loans, they could not find direct evidence that that had been agreed in advance. If this agreement was evident then they could mount a prosecution. So my understanding of it is if one person makes a donation (loan)in the hope or expectation of being given some honour, beleiving that it might bump thir name up the list when nominations are being considered, that is NOT an offence. Conversely, if one person grants, an honour to another in recognition of that the other has made a loan/donation, that also is NOT an offence.
So for a case to proceed, the prosecution must be able to prove that the two people agreed that the loan/donation was in exchange for an honour. As there is no direct evidence of this agreement between any two people subject of this investigation no prosecution could be mounted. That is not a clearing any charges rather a nice precis into the innate corruption of our Upper House and Honours system. I personally think it was right of Angus MacNeil to ask the Police to investigate. There should be no appointments to the House of Lords, they should be elected and there should be political interference in the issuing of honours.

You also said
"Those Lefties just can't stand to see a good news story for the Government, the Labour government; far better for them for us to have lost the by-elections, so they can twist the knife into Brown's back."

According to the BBC, Gordon thought it was right and proper the police investigated the case.

12:14 pm, July 24, 2007

 
Anonymous Ravi said...

Sorry that should read

"NO policial interference" what a diffence a word makes to a sentence!!!

12:16 pm, July 24, 2007

 
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8:20 am, September 07, 2007

 
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