A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - 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.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Nice work if you can get it

From today's Mail on Sunday:


A leading Left-wing activist was last night facing questions over ‘secret’ consultancy payments worth £110,000 from the influential Labour-supporting pressure group he chairs.

The payments to Neal Lawson came to light after an item in the Compass group’s annual report marked simply ‘consultancy – £60,000’ was challenged by a member at last weekend’s annual general meeting.

Sources say the member was surprised to be told that the money was paid to Mr Lawson, who has repeatedly attacked bankers’ bonuses.

Mr Lawson angrily defended the payments of £60,000 last year and £53,498 for the previous financial year, saying they were ‘a pittance’ compared with what he used to earn.

He said he was due the cash because he worked for it ‘24 hours a day, seven days a week’ and acted as Compass’s ‘fundraiser, the strategist, the talker, the thinker, the go-to-meetings person’.

But one MP said last night: ‘As far as rank-and-file Compass members were concerned, these were secret payments to Neal.

‘Compass sees itself as the Left-wing soul of the Labour Party and scourge of City “fat cats”. Now we discover that the chairman is earning what to many people is a very comfortable wage. It’s disgraceful.’

Anti-sleaze campaigner and former independent MP Martin Bell said: ‘I don’t think £60,000 is a pittance and I don’t think most people in these difficult economic times would think so either.’"


Anonymous Mike said...

He is the talker. He is the thinker. He is the banker.

"Left-wing" though? Don't make me laugh!

10:01 pm, December 05, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If he had been a Tory the Mirror would be screaming from the rooftops.

As one who is having to raise and support a family on £15,000 a year I get really impressed by so called 'progressive' political activists like this man. Real 'Animal Farm' stuff what?

Mind you, the party is riddled with these money grabbing, limelight seeking champions of the people. Kinnock, Blair, Mandelson, Prescott, Scargill, the list is seemingly endless of trough snouters!

9:35 am, December 06, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was sad to hear Labour MP Tom Harris attacking those who demonstrated against those high street shops that have avoided paying their taxes. It was wrong to inconvenience shoppers, apparently. Instead, people should target the government for allowing the loopholes in the first place.

However, many of those loopholes are put in at the behest of these companies. And it is very inconvenient to lose your job because of spending cuts caused by their failure to pay taxes.

Of course, this was not the only unfortunate thing on the Today Programme this morning. There was an interview with Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary.

10:16 am, December 06, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who's doing the dirty on Compass?

One of Luke's conspirators.

The ginger one wouldn't normally pick up the Daily Mail with tweezers let alone quote from it.

On another topic. That socially incompetent twerp Gordon Brown redeems himself with an article in today's Guardian on page 29.

How can a man who thinks so thoughtfully not be able to read an autocue in a vaguely human way.

11:23 am, December 06, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Today programme interview was probably the best laugh since Botham 'got his leg over' some years back during a test match commentary. Now I know what Culture is about!

11:57 am, December 06, 2010

Anonymous Julian Ware-Lane said...

This is really beneath you, Luke. Neal Lawson is entitled to an income. Attack Compass for the politics if you like, but if the membership are happy so what?

2:15 pm, December 06, 2010

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...


the article suggests their membership are not happy. Indeed the only source can have been a Compass member at their AGM.

3:52 pm, December 06, 2010

Anonymous Jonathon Hawkes said...

You often believe what you read in ther Mail on Sunday, Luke?

I was at the AGM. When the Accounta and Annual Report was moved to be approved by the membership, a question about the consultancy fees was asked from the floor. It was answered in full. That was the end of the matter. To try and dress it up as unrest in the membership is nonsense - it's just stirring by whoever it was who went to the Mail with the story (and thanks for that Comrade!.)

Does the centre-right of the party really hate Compass so much it wants to join forces with the Daily Mail in order to rubbish it? Maybe you should rethink your priorites.

10:29 pm, December 06, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does Compass hate the Labour Party so much that it will work with other parties? Maybe you should think about YOUR priorities.

1:35 pm, December 07, 2010

Blogger Jimmy said...

In what sense is a consultancy fee published in the annual report a "secret"?

1:55 am, December 08, 2010

Blogger Robert said...

£96 a week is a pittence to what I use to earn, before my accident, be nice if somebody came out and offered me a job I take it for £35,000 in fact £25,000.

11:15 am, December 08, 2010


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