Monday, September 27, 2010

What Is the Future of Labour's Finances?

Debt-riddled Labour Party refudiates former Deputy Prime Minister

With the British Labour Party's treasury swimming up to its gills in debt, tbe party has made the peculiar move of rejecting a former Deputy Prime Minister.

In doing so, the party also put some distance between itself and the spectre of New Labour.

Lord John Prescott, former Deputy PM under Tony Blair, was defeated for the office of party treasurer by Diana Holland, an official with Britain's Unite union.

Holland seems to share Prescott's dismal view of the party's finances, even if she doesn't phrase it in the same apocalyptic language as Prescott.

Her plan is to right the party's finances on the strength of small donors.

"I will work hard to build a stronger party in all respects, not just financial, and I will make putting us on a sound footing to win the next election my top priority," Holland announced. "I will make recruiting and involving new members a real priority, helping to build a mass membership movement and also helping to secure our finances by maximising small donations from ordinary members and supporters."

Holland was able to defeat Prescott on the strength of the votes coming from affiliated labour unions. Prescott received 60% of the votes from the party members, but only 0.14% of the vote from affiliated unions.

In other words, Holland received nearly 100% of union votes in the race, in addition to 40% of the votes from party members.

Even with the ballot favourably weighted toward party members, the math seems to add up to a near-overwhelming defeat.

Even with Holland's promises to correct the disastrous state of Labour's finances, the question remains as to what the future of Labour's finances will be.

Given the role the union vote played in her election, Diana Holland may have some favours to repay. Whatever effect that will have on Labour's finances remains to be seen.

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