When it comes to the motives of donors there is a presumption of guilt. Base motives will be assumed by most, if not all. However, that said we happen to believe that overwhelmingly the donors to all political parties are not venal. They are putting their money where their mouths are. Backing the causes they believe in and/or hedging their bets.
Given donation scandals have happened to all parties, should we still continue to be surprised by donations currying favor and/or preferential treatment at local or national level?
Moving on from yesterday’s blog about Tory donor’s at national and local level, today we reveal the donations made to the Labour Party at local and national level.
It’s clear when one looks at the Kent Labour party machinery, it is not as capable as persuading donors to part with their cash as the Kent Tories are.
Evidence from the Electoral Commission database shows that for every £1 Kent Labour parties have raised in donations in the last twenty years, the Tories have raised £3. And they’ve had less than half the number of donors the Kent Tories have had.
Thanet Labour Party (North & South) have received the most donations and the largest combined total in value – £109,135. Yet Thanet has the highest levels of deprivation and poverty of any district in Kent. Gravesham comes in second with the Dover Labour Party taking third place.
Moving on we have set out the donors to the local Labour party. If there is anyone on them you believe we should know about please do drop us a line.
So why do those on the spreadsheets above donate locally?
Have they received preferential treatment?
Have they won a tender/contract with a council?
Had a planning decision go through with no issues?
Or have they simply donated because they’re nice innocent people and just want to give money away to their local Labour party? After all political donations are legal.
But it is not just those who donate locally. There are individuals and companies who donate to the central Labour party from Kent.
Between 2004 and 2018, they have sent just £34,450 in donations to the central Tory Party based in London.
According to the electoral commission data there have been just five donors, three of who are in the property development business.
And there is Mark Quinn, the local Kent property developer donating to the central Labour Party. As we know any property developer who gives money/donation to any political party is inviting special opprobrium.
The Tories have an “unhealthy financial reliance” on property developers, with more than a fifth of all donations to the party over the past decade coming from the residential property sector, according to Transparency International, but Labour locally and nationally have received donations from developers but just not on the scale of the Tories. Why might that be?
It is often suggested that Labour is profligate and the Tories are the naturally ‘safe pair of hands’ when it comes to running the economy hence the Tories, receive more donations, even though the publicly available evidence proves this is simply not true.
Just a simple analysis based on government borrowing as reported by the House of Commons Library and other data supplied by the Office for Budget Responsibility proves beyond all reasonable doubt the Tories are more profligate and have been since 1946. Furthermore, Labour repay national debt much more often in absolute and percentage terms than the Conservatives. In fact, one in four Labour years saw debt repaid. That was true in less than one in ten Tory years.
So given this evidence why then do people and companies donate more to Tories?
Better spin machine perhaps, a love of living beyond one’s means, or something else?
Back on track, if donations give the perception of currying favor and or preferential treatment, locally and nationally, why donate to local Labour party or the national Labour Party given they are not in power? Is it in the vain hope they’ll have a long memory when they do finally return to power in the future?
It is right that there is transparency for donations to any party and that the media should be free to scrutinise and report on them. However we should not forget cynicism is a human failing that can not easily be overcome.
Many in the public rightly feel that politics is a rich person’s game. One way to counter that is to reduce the power of money in politics. But like Saint Augustine, British politicians regardless of party often say they are all for probity. Just not yet. Until they are, a little bit of money at local and national will continue to go a very long way.
The Shepway Vox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime