Party funding

Big bold headlines, top of the piece, we should all suck our teeth, shake our heads and worry:

Financiers in the City of London provided more than 50% of the funding for the Tories last year, new research revealed last night, prompting claims that the party is in thrall to the banks.

A study by the Bureau for Investigative Journalism has found that the City accounted for £11.4m of Tory funding – 50.79% of its total haul – in 2010, a general election year. This compared with £2.7m, or 25% of its funding, in 2005, when David Cameron became party leader.

Tsk, eh?

Bottom of the piece, mentioned almost in passing:

Labour saw its business donations plummet after Tony Blair left and Gordon Brown struggled in the polls. Unions account for most of the party\’s funding.

How much more than 50% is \”most\”, eh?

11 thoughts on “Party funding”

  1. Jamie – utter crap (“Tory spokesman in ‘lying’ shock”. Say it ain’t so, Joe). According to a strange man who pretends to be a heretic bishop (and, more to the point, the parties’ financial filings), the latest figure for Labour is 60%; pre-2008, it was less than half.

    It’s also worth bearing in mind that all the “union” donations that Labour gets are actually from individuals who’ve chosen to donate to the Labour party, not from any kind of compulsory bloc. By law, union membership levies and political donations administered by unions are separated, and every union member chooses whether or not they will also make political contributions…

  2. (and the Guido piece is hilariously point-missing. “No, the figures are wrong: the Tory donors aren’t City boys, they’re property developers”. Similarly, the gentleman I’m hiding in my attic until the fuss blows over isn’t an armed robber, he’s an axe-murderer…)

  3. ……claims that the party is in thrall to the banks…….

    Which is why they have just hit the banks with a new tax.

  4. £4 in every £5 raised as ‘Richard’ said.

    But more importantly, ‘John B’ says that:

    ‘all the “union” donations that Labour gets are actually from individuals who’ve chosen to donate to the Labour party, not from any kind of compulsory bloc’

    He makes two common mistakes. First he assumes that monies given for the political levy are given by people choosing to donate. Yes, in theory people joining a union can opt-out, but rarely is that option easy to spot (or even present) on the membership form, and worse still there is usually no discount for actively choosing to opt out. In Britain we have an opt-out system and about 9% of people choose to opt-out; in NI they have an opt-in system, and only a third of people opt-in. If we had a genuine choice (which in other spheres, e.g. e-mail comms, is opt-in) and a genuine cash sum allocated (and therefore a lower rate for those not signing up to the political fund) the unions would have vastly less cash to throw at Labour.

    Second, ‘John B’ assumes the money so aggregated goes to Labour. In fact no union with a political fund has any obligation to give a penny to any political party. That allows the unions to say to Labour ‘if you want the aggregated donations of our members, you’ll have to give us something in return’. Hence the Warwick agreements, the u-turn on royal mail privatisation and Ed Miliband’s recent suggestion of extending the francise in the Labour party to union levy payers.

  5. rarely is that option easy to spot (or even present) on the membership form, and worse still there is usually no discount for actively choosing to opt out.

    By law, anyone who opts out doesn’t have to pay the levy – that’s the point. See here. I’ve been canvassing people on Twitter about the membership form point – definitely, Unison make it completely explicit (and make it a free choice, rather than defaulting to “yes I will contribute”), and everyone includes it on the membership form, but some hide it more than others.

    Second, ‘John B’ assumes the money so aggregated goes to Labour. In fact no union with a political fund has any obligation to give a penny to any political party.

    Well, yes. The money *in practice* almost always goes to Labour (the RMT’s political fund doesn’t, because Bob Crow thinks that Labour are a bunch of far-right top-hatted capitalists). Isn’t that the point? I mean, call me crazy, but I’m assuming the property developers and City boys reckon they’re likely to get *something* back from their Tory support. Even if it’s just a peerage…

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    john b – “The money *in practice* almost always goes to Labour….. Isn’t that the point? I mean, call me crazy, but I’m assuming the property developers and City boys reckon they’re likely to get *something* back from their Tory support. Even if it’s just a peerage…”

    So it seems that donating to the Tories is much less dangerous to the rest of us than donating to the Labour Party. After all, the Unions want something for their aggregated cash too. If only it was as harmless as a peerage.

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