No more BIG Donors, Gordon. Is Labour about to be wound up?

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    Addendum: A wise commenter below says – “Well, Zurich and JP Morgan surely know an asset when they see one. Too bad Labour let go of the man who had (has) the ears of the rich and powerful. If there is anything we learned from the bankers and executives during the course of this recession, it’s to get rid of the toxic asset.”

    14th June, 2009


    Another generous supporter, who would not be named, said he will not contribute again while Brown remains leader and that he should resign.

    “Gordon is a political liability and I think it would be far better for the party if he stood down to give us a fighting chance at the election,” he said. “I will give no more money to Labour while he is leading it.”

    Insiders say auditors agreed to treat election financing, which must take place in less than a year, as a separate issue. They warn that despite the approval Labour is still struggling to meet costs without the £15m-£20m expense of fighting an election. It could even be wound up unless new sources of revenue are found.


    According to The Times Labour is suffering its own deepening recession.

    GORDON BROWN is being abandoned by the multi-millionaire businessmen who bankrolled Labour’s last election campaign, endangering the party’s efforts to fight off David Cameron at the next election.

    Those who have deserted the party include Richard Caring, a restaurant tycoon who lent the party £2m to cover debts that it ran up during the 2005 campaign. This weekend he stated he is now “apolitical”.

    Caring, whose £350m business empire includes the London restaurants The Ivy and Le Caprice, as well as the Annabel’s and Soho House clubs, said he was not planning “any political contributions”.

    Rod Aldridge, former chairman of the Capita business services group who had lent Labour £1m in 2005, said he did not plan to lend the party any more: “I don’t think there’s any cause for it.”

    Labour is already haemorrhaging financial support at a time when it should be amassing an election war chest. It is now clear that Brown has failed to retain the wealthy backers so successfully wooed by Tony Blair. Brown’s leadership is a key factor in the decision of other tycoons neither to lend nor give cash to the party.

    Another generous supporter, who would not be named, said he will not contribute again while Brown remains leader and that he should resign.

    “Gordon is a political liability and I think it would be far better for the party if he stood down to give us a fighting chance at the election,” he said. “I will give no more money to Labour while he is leading it.”

    Two other wealthy backers, with huge outstanding loans to Labour, were also said to have no plans to give the party any more money.

    A number of lenders have been persuaded to give the party more time to pay back loans, but some have refused, despite personal appeals by the prime minister.

    Next month the party has to find £1.5m to pay back Andrew Rosenfeld, the property millionaire who lent Labour £1m to fund the 2005 election, and Gordon Crawford, a software entrepreneur who has been owed £500,000 since April 2005. Caring is still owed £2m and has agreed to give the party until 2015 to pay it back.

    There was speculation that Caring, jointly ranked 146th in The Sunday Times Rich List, was no longer supporting Labour when he donated an evening out at one of his venues as an auction prize at the Conservative party’s black-and-white ball earlier this year.

    The Tory fundraising effort is outpacing Labour’s as it raised more than £4m in the first three months of this year, compared with Labour’s £2.8m.

    The party is relying heavily on the unions for funding and Labour insiders say it could go bankrupt after the next election. Sources who have seen the party’s latest accounts, which have just been lodged with the Electoral Commission, say auditors signed off the party as a “going concern” for the year ahead without taking into account the huge sums needed to fight an election campaign.

    Insiders say auditors agreed to treat election financing, which must take place in less than a year, as a separate issue. They warn that despite the approval Labour is still struggling to meet costs without the £15m-£20m expense of fighting an election. It could even be wound up unless new sources of revenue are found.

    Labour needs £1.2m a year to service debts and spends some £18m a year on staff and office buildings. The party has reduced its debts by £11m since 2005 to £16m. New accounts will be published next month.

    A Labour spokesman admitted the situation was very challenging, but denied that the party could go bankrupt. “We have a fundraising team and work carries on,” he said.

    The last big donation to the party was almost a year ago when J K Rowling, the children’s author and a Brown supporter, gave £1m.


    Now THIS is interesting, from James Cusick at the Sunday Herald. He says that Brown (at Mandelson’s suggestion?) threatened to dissolve parliament immediately rather than stand down.

    “Last Monday morning and early afternoon, with the PLP meeting scheduled for later that day, Mandelson resorted to an old parliamentary trick – bribery. One MP, who had told colleagues he would not support Brown, was contacted by Mandelson. Did Mandelson threaten that the full force of the whips would be unleashed? No, just the opposite. The MP was not the first and not the last on Monday who was offered instant promotion by Mandelson. One MP said: “Peter told me it was time I was back in government. That I’d been away too long. That it was easily arranged.” Others tell the same story of Mandelson either telephoning or arranging meetings with potential rebels and offering jobs at ministerial level to those willing to back off and support Brown.

    Some of Mandelson’s offers were rejected, but enough were accepted to defuse the potency of the PLP meeting. What mandelson and Brown however did jointly was to let it be known that Brown would rather dissolve the government than be made to step down as Labour leader. That meant he would go to the Queen on Tuesday morning with a general election then a matter of weeks away. For those in marginal seats and facing an end to theior parliamentary careers, the message was plain enough: if I lose, everyone loses.

    Mandelson is said to have met with Brown just before the PM went into the meeting. The supreme irony of what Brown was about to say was not lost on those who, during Monday, had listened and either accepted or rejected the dark arts deal offered by Mandelson.”

    If this is so, and was at Mandelson’s suggestion, Brown owes Mandelson BIG TIME, does he not?

    Meanwhile this poll taken on Friday, indicates that the Tories, at 12 points ahead of Labour, are still “wobbly”, and only on 36%. To WIN outright next time they need to be well over40%. Now WHO, I wonder, could bridge that gap for Labour, AND get their BIG Donors back? I wonder.

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    16 Responses to “No more BIG Donors, Gordon. Is Labour about to be wound up?”

    1. Caela Says:

      Well, Zurich and JP Morgan surely know an asset when they see one. Too bad Labour let go of the man who had (has) the ears of the rich and powerful. If there is anything we learned from the bankers and executives during the course of this recession, it’s to get rid of the toxic asset.

    2. A Blairite Says:

      Yes, I agree, beautifully put. I wonder if Tony Blair will return to serve the third full term that he promised. What do you think? Let’s stay in touch. Best, Ingrid.

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        Hi there,

        I spotted your blog earlier today and was pleased to see it. I think there are more Blairites out there than we are led to believe.

        Whether he is likely to come back, sadly, I doubt it. He has other fish to fry now, where he is more appreciated.

        But still, I AM keeping a close eye on Mandelson, the Great Tactician.

        Yes, I’d very much like to keep in touch.

        Best wishes.

      • Caela Says:

        I seriously doubt this as well. When he left, he told the party: “you’re the future now, so make the most of it.” He did his part, time to move on to bigger things. Besides, he’s “not got a reverse gear”, remember?

        I agree with KTBFPM, Mandelson is something. He’s the come back king to say the least. Very talented and very good in policy as well.

        • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

          And what a “most of it” they’ve made!

          He knew this would happen under Brown, didn’t he?

          Fancy Mandelson for PM?

          • Caela Says:

            I never really saw Mandelson as one who like being at the driver’s seat (I think he prefers the back seat, more room to stretch out) but he’s the best they’ve got right now, IMHO. Besides, his track record has shown that whatever job he’s got, he gives his all. (I think that’s part of why Blair really wanted him in his cabinet.)

            I think he’d do a better job than the leaders of the 3 main parties combined. But then I am not in the position to say who should be leader of your government. 😛

            • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

              No, I agree. And Mandelson has never been seen as a driver, but perhaps a backseat driver – a strategy man. Still, considering what we have now as a leader, Mandy looks attractive. Then again anyone seems attractive! In a poll it seems 51% think Brown’s leadership is “damaging the UK”. At the same time a leading economist has said Britain is faring the BEST in Europe in the present downturn.

              Funny old world.

              So if the Left are warming to Mandelson and Brown still can’t find a winning way with the public, even if we are out of the recession earlier than predicted, well, you never know!

              He may be clever – well he IS clever – but he lacks the ‘je ne sais quoi’ of Blair, in common with all the rest.

    3. A Blairite Says:

      Hi, yours is the only pro Blair blog that I’ve come across. Where are all the others? I’d be interested in reading them. Thanks for visiting my personal blog where I’ve recently filed quite a few news reports. I’m in the midst of transferring the reports to a new blog that I’ve created (Blair Foundation Watch – A Blairite’s blog).

      Thought you might be interested in reading a comment I wrote in response to Alastair Campbell’s recent blogpost. I posted it in the comments section of his website yesterday but he has not published it which I feel quite miffed about as it took me the best part of a day to write. Here is the link. Regards, Ingrid.

      SATURDAY, 13 JUNE 2009
      YouTube: Keep The Dead Flag Flying

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        Hi Blairite,

        I think mine is the only pro-Blair blog actually. There are a few journalists who are with him on most issues, notably Oliver Kamm and John Rentoul. I often comment at Rentoul’s Independent blog. But apart from them and a few others – Harry’s Blog I think was initially pro-Blarite (not sure now) there are not a lot in Britain. The Labour MP Tom Harris is a Blairite and one of those few with the guts to speak out against Brown last week after the PLP meeting. He says that Blair inspired him in his politics, and considers him a great political leader.

        Tom is a Glasgow MP, btw, and I too am from that city. Being a Scot does NOT stop any of us from appreciating Tony, and not because he happened to be born in Scotland. I couldn’t care less where he was born, it’s what he did and still does in politics that makes him unique as far as I am concerned.

        When I started my blog I did expect that there would have been others. Perhaps not a lot because people are only moved, mostly, for negative reasons, to start a blog. But I did expect some. I find that when you speak to people right across the parties or apolitical people a lot of people admire and miss him. But admiring and missing a politician is not something many people get THAT bothered about that they will give time to writing a blog about it. Apart from that, to be blunt, most people can take or leave politics. And most of the time they leave it.

        On the other hand those who are AGAINST something or someone feel that way with a visceral hatred of who/what they see as “the enemy”. The mainstream press encourage these kinds of tirades, and usually to suit their own political agendas.

        The press are in many ways the enemy within, in my humble opinion.

        Several times over the last (almost three years) I’ve considered just stoppping this blog altogether. But, as someone once said “it’s hard to let go.” Apart from that if I don’t speak up for The MAN, who will?

        Maybe YOU now, Blairite! Now that you’re on the scene, perhaps I can get back to making money from this computer instead of giving it so much of my time for nothing!

        Btw, would you like me to use the whole of your article here at my site, since Alastair Campbell didn’t? If you’re interested I’ll use it as a guest writer’s post, and I will add links to your site and to Alastair Campbell’s. He’ll at least, through the links I will send to him, see that some of us will publish stuff which might be too close for comfort for some of them.

        Of course, I can see why Alastair would not publish it. Above all else he is faithful to Labour, and will not wish to be seen to throw up his arms in despair saying “Well, effing bloody Gordon. Look what you’ve effing bloody done now! Tony was effing bloody effing right, wasn’t he?”

        He and Mandelson (and I still believe they are both with Tony in their hearts far more than with Gordon but they can’t admit it) are also faithful to what remains of the New Labour project. They were both in on it, after all, from its inception. Since the political assassination of The King, who else is there left to try to keep the dream alive apart from them?

        So when I write on any blogs closely associated with such as Campbell, I temper my remarks with their positions in mind. Otherwise, they won’t publish me.

        They know, after all, that Tony is not coming back to an ungrateful public and a ‘feral beast’, distrusting, know-all, judgemental press, and a party which would never in a THOUSAND YEARS admit that they got it wrong to dump the best and most successful leader they ever had.

        I also asked here a few weeks ago “Is Blair about to start a New Party”. Not that I’ve heard anything to make me wonder, but the time might be right if Labour is decimated at the election. After all they WILL then split. And the Left think they are on the rise. They are SO wrong.

        The Tories show me nothing of interest or excitement, and anyway, Cameron’s hero is Blair. In that, if little else, he is right.

        I sincerely hope Blair gets the EU job. It would certainly help to move us forward where we should be in Europe. Though recent reports (not sure if they are kite-flyers) have suggested that Sarkozy is moving away from supporting him.

        So if he doesn’t become President Blair, and has managed to help the warring Israeli/Palestinians to sort things out by the time Labour collapses in turmoil, he can rely on some of us to join the New Blair party. Well, two of us for a start!

    4. A Blairite Says:

      Hi KTBFPM, Super interesting comment thanks. Did you watch the YouTube clip? I loved the great German oompah beat! Please feel free to publish anything from my blogs. I’m off to re-read your comment and digest – along with this op-ed, just in.

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        Wiil do, Blairite, probably tomorrow, as it’s getting late.

        Yes, I saw the video, thanks. Didn’t check it out at the YouTube site, but it is probably from a Tory group, or at least an anti-Labour group. They wouldn’t want Blair back, imho.

        I read the article you linked to by the Lib Dem, btw. OK, but as so often before they miss the point.

        The point is inspirational, visionary, explicable LEADERSHIP. And with Brown, Cameron & Clegg, we ain’t got it.

        Things are hotting up in Israel, aren’t they? Netanyahu has agreed “in principle” to a two-state solution, though will all those provisos, it is clearly a non-starter as far as the Palestinians are concerned. No control of their own airspace & no army!

        I wonder how Obama will deal with this?

        And Blair?

        And then there’s Iran and Amanutjob.

        A new revolution on the way? I wonder. Tanks on the streets?

    5. A Blairite Says:

      Hi, what do you think about this food for thought from brussels blog?
      I find it exciting. Best, Ingrid.

      MONDAY, 15 JUNE 2009
      Yay! Gordon Brown as the EU’s First Full-Time President?

    6. A Blairite Says:

      Hi, as I stated in the blogpost, such a triumvirate would be a dream ticket and a great solution to Old/New Labour’s woes: British Prime Minister Tony Blair with Peter Mandelson as his deputy and Gordon Brown as the EU’s first full-time president. New Labour would win a whopping great landslide victory, again. As you can see, i’m not giving up on the hope that Tony Blair might return to complete the third term that he promised. Note that the FT brussels blog report mentioned there’s a problem with Belgium backing TB – I’ve read elsewhere that France is backtracking.

      • keeptonyblairforpm Says:

        Right, Ingrid.

        Still can’t quite see how it could be done practically. But I’ll paste the reply I sent to you privately:

        With reference to your ‘Brown for EU President’ thoughts, as per the FT … this looks like trouble-making by Blair’s enemies to me. The very idea that Brown would be seen as a conciliator is LAUGHABLE. They MUST know this if they have been reading anything in the British press in recent times, especially in the last few weeks. He is quite UNPOPULAR in the EU anyway after his late arrival to sign the Lisbon Treaty. And they all know that HE, rather than Blair stopped us getting into the euro with his 5 economic tests.

        The rest of Europe do NOT approve of his handling of the present recession, especially France & Germany. He’d have to be proved right and they wrong before they’d look at him kindly. And that may take some time.

        And just HOW exactly could Brown be persuaded to stand down from the PM’s job in Britain at the right time to make him eligible for the EU Presidency job? And how and WHY would he be able/willing to hand over the premiership to Blair without losing face in Britain and the rest of Europe?

        And how could Blair be guaranteed to win a fourth term? He wouldn’t put himself up for it unless he knew he’d win. This Winner is not about to become a Loser in the history books if he doesn’t need to.

        So, I don’t see any of this as practically possible.

        Of course, if Mandelson is at the back of it all, and he HAS recently said that we should still aim to join the euro, well, you never know.

        Oh the intrigue ….

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