Gordon Brown is coming under pressure to change the rules on political donations because Lord Ashcroft's contributions to marginal constituencies could swing the next election.
I would prefer that parties got large numbers of small donations from a large number of people, but I have absolutely no problem with Lord Ashcroft spending his money how he sees fit. There are all sorts of rumours about a "party within a party" and alternative power bases etc. These are all rubbish, I have spoken with Lord Ashcroft in the past (at a party rather than a formal meeting) and it is clear to me that all he wants for his money is to see the back of this Labour government.
If you think that giving the Conservative party money buys you influence you might want to think back to the political donors who have withdrawn their support recently. Those on the left like to parade this as some terrible internal rift, I think it is a good thing, if they are frustrated and walking away it is clear that their money wasn't buying influence.
Lord Ashcroft's donations come out of his own pockets. Labour receives millions of pounds from the union movement, they in return receive millions of pounds from the Labour government in the form of the Union Modernisation Fund. That is your tax money.
Just in case that isn't clear, here it is again. The Labour government gives public money to the unions, the unions then give a comparable sum of money to the Labour Party. Cut out the middleman and what you effectively get is the Labour government giving millions of pounds of public money each year to the Labour party.
So, Mr Brown, before you start bleating about Lord Ashcroft remove the mote in your own eye.
Big thanks to Guido for the image.
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