Don’t let revelations about Paul Abrahams’ £664,000 donations to the Labour Party overshadow Scottish Labour Party leader Wendy Alexander’s own outstanding contribution to the Labour Party sleaze scandal!
For our readers’ benefit, we attempt to answer the outstanding questions.
Isn’t the amount involved a paltry £950?
Yes — but that’s the point! When Alexander stood for Scottish Labour Party leader in the summer, her campaign team had the brilliant idea of soliciting donations a fraction under £1,000. (The sources of donations beneath that figure do not need to be publicly disclosed.) Ten donations to Alexander’s leadership campaign were for the not-really-mathematically-round figure of precisely £995.
But don’t the sources of all donations need to be disclosed to the Electoral Commission?
Yes, but that’s where Alexander’s problems really start to get serious. The £950 donation from Jersey-based property developer Paul Green was recorded for the purpose of disclosure to the Electoral Commission as a donation from the Glasgow-based company Combined Property Services. But Green is a client of that company, not its owner. And the £950 was paid by Green as a personal cheque. Concealing the source of a donation is a criminal offence.
But isn’t Jersey part of Great Britain? As in the statement: “During the Second World War the only British territory occupied by the Nazis was Jersey and the Channel Isles.”
Yes and no. As any tax-avoidance expert or adviser on party-political donations can tell you, Jersey is not really “British”. Its inhabitants (aka: tax exiles) cannot go on the electoral register. That’s why, under Labour’s own legislation, it’s a criminal offence for political parties to accept donations from them.
Perhaps Alexander didn’t know anything about this donation?
That’s what Alexander is claiming. One slight problem, though, is the letter signed and sent by Alexander thanking Paul Green (not Combined Property Services) for his donation. And the letter from Alexander was sent to Green’s Jersey address (not Combined Property Services’ Glasgow address).
But hasn’t Alexander’s campaign manager claimed that the first Alexander knew that the donation came from Green personally was on Thursday 29 November?
Yes indeed! Last week’s Sunday Herald detailed a document compiled by someone in Alexander’s office, apparently on 5 November, which shows that at that time it was already known that the source of the donation was Paul Green, and that he lived in Jersey. “Permissible?” has been entered against his name and the donation. A few days later the Electoral Commission was informed that the donation in question had come from Combined Property Services.
Any other problems for Alexander from that document?
Only that it lists a £995 donation from the First Group Chief Executive Moir Lockhead, but then lists the same donation, for the purposes of disclosure to the Electoral Commission, as having been made by John Lyons, a former Labour MP who became a First Group consultant after losing his seat. Lockhead denies having made any donation, and Lyons says that he never asked Lockhead for a donation.
But, irrespective of where Green lives, isn’t he a respected businessman who has even been proposed for a knighthood?
Oh, yes... Labour MSP Charlie Gordon backed Green for recognition in the Queen’s honours list. And that’s the same Charlie Gordon whose Holyrood election campaign received a £950 donation from Green, drawn on his personal bank account. The same Charlie Gordon who approached Green for a donation for Alexander’s leadership election campaign, likewise drawn on his personal bank account.
Wasn’t Alexander’s status so high that only eleven weeks ago she was elected unopposed as the Scottish Labour Party leader?
Yes — but all that that tells you is that Labour’s MSPs are a bunch of tossers, who couldn’t even muster enough signatures to mount a challenge to Alexander. They just don’t make social-democrats like they used to.
Will Alexander be resigning?
Not if she can get away with it. Without wishing to stereotype lame ducks, she’s the ultimate lame-duck leader. But the Labour Party national leadership is afraid of a “domino effect”.
You mean that if Alexander falls, then Scotland will go Communist, and after that so too will Lapland, Iceland, Greenland, and the whole of Scandinavia?
No, that’s the SSP you’re thinking of. The “domino effect” is that if Alexander resigns because of £950, then Harman will have to resign because of £5,000, and then how many will end up having to resign because of £664,000?
Alexander has to stay put in order to save the skin of London-based Labour MPs and Labour apparatchiks. In the absence of more revelations, Scotland is expected to put up with Alexander because of the knock-on effect which her resignation would have in Westminster. If that’s not proof of Scotland’s second-class colonial status, then what is?