UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Political establishment mired in ABC of sleaze but unions clean as a whistle

A is for Abrahams 2007 a secret Labour donor who ran a political money laundering operation described as unlawful by Gordon Brown.
B is for Brown 2005 a fraudster who donated £2.5m to the Liberal Democrats
C is for Cruddas 2012 Tory Party treasurer who ran a cash for access operation repudiated by David Cameron but only after he was caught red handed eliciting £250k to secure meetings with Senior Ministers.

The mainstream political parties and the professional political class, unable to be self sustaining with declining membership levels, privately hanker after the life support machine of state funding. In the current climate of austerity this is a non-runner and we have had the long running saga of successive but inconclusive reviews of party funding. Usually initiated after the latest expose of funding sleaze from private sources.Today it is a case of deja vu: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/cameron-faces-demands-for-inquiry-over-donations-7584785.html

Of course the default position of both the Conservative and Liberal Democrats when their murky fundraising operations are exposed is to wheel out union funding of Labour as though the modest voluntary donations of 2.5 million trade unionists somehow has an equivalence with the venal, self seeking donations made by the rich to parties of Government. The difference is of course trade union political expenditure is tightly regulated (and subject to statutory review ballots) under trade union legislation whereas both private companies and the political parties have hitherto spared themselves similarly transparency.

It is to Labour’s credit that it has defended the integrity of the union link through the various funding reviews although it should be noted with concern that it was necessary for Margaret Becket to issue a minority report against a switch to trade union political fund ‘opting in’ during the recent Sir Christopher Kelly led review by the Committee on Standards in Public Life. http://blogs.ft.com/westminster/2011/11/no-sign-of-end-to-political-party-funding-impasse/#axzz1qClesfIr

For more on party funding go to: http://unisonactive.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Party%20Funding