Richard Willis's Blog

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Scottish Defections Rock Labour

paulmcbrideqcFollowing yesterday’s news of the Lib Dem PPC for Chelsea and Fulham joining the Conservatives, today I hear that a longstanding Labour supporter called McBride has defected. Fortunately it is top Scottish QC Paul McBride not Damian (the author of the email smears); we would not want the former aide to Gordon Brown in our party.

In a damning statement McBride says “I have been a supporter of Labour all my life. However, I now find myself in a position where I can no longer support a party that is serially mendacious and incompetent….The sooner there is a change of Government the better and David Cameron is that change.”

McBride has endorsed Scottish Conservative Leader Annabel Goldie and will be addressing the Scottish Conservative Conference next month. He will also now advise the party on legal matters.

In a further blow to Labour’s rapidly shrinking base in the business community, Scottish lingerie millionairess Michelle Mone has withdrawn her support (no pun intented) for the party.

These defections are doubly significant for being Scottish. Until recently Labour have dominated Scotland, almost like an old-fashioned one-party state. However, the SNP have made serious inroads into Labour support and now (as I predicted in an earlier post) the Conservatives are doing the same.

Labour has become increasingly reliant on business donations to keep their party afloat as Union contributions have shrunk. They will also find that it will become increasingly difficult to finance their party conferences as business support melts away.

It was one of the noticeable consequences of the post 1997 Labour ascendency that the number of trade stands and sponsored receptions at Conservative conferences plummeted as business leaders switched their support to Labour as the party of Government. Conservative conferences became a rather hollow affair as a result. However, last year’s Conference in Birmingham was notable for its number of stands and the buzz about the place.

Businesses survive and flourish by reading the movement of the market and the movement in the political market is no different. The next few Labour Conferences will be pretty lean affairs I would suspect.


April 26, 2009 - Posted by | National


  1. “as business leaders switch their support to the party of government”
    Now does that mean that business people all suddenly bacame Labourites overnight——or does it mean that sponsering the opposition is not going to get you any big government contracts or Ks or big Ps?
    That is why Labour are struggling for big donations and the ‘smart’ money is going to the Tory party.
    People hate sleaze —-its one of the reasons that that Tories lost out to Blair —-and its one of the reasons that Cameron will take over from Brown (not the only one I might add)
    These big money donations that switch allegencies with the changes in governmnent make a good case for donations to be capped at perhaps £10,000 per annum, and for political parties to be funded from the public purse.
    At first sight that may seem wrong,but if it helped to clean up our political system then maybe it would be a price worth paying—-and in the real world of £600 billion and more of government spending each year it would be virtually insignificant.

    Comment by howard thomas | April 26, 2009 | Reply

  2. Howard,

    There is NO way that the taxpayer should be forced to fund political parties ( would you seriously like to pay money to the BNP or The Marxist Liberation Front?)

    There is a simple answer to this. Political Parties no longer really represent large numbers of the electorate. It is now the domain of political “geeks” and career politicians. All donations to parties should be from member subscriptions and ALL donations over £5000 MUST be published for the public to see. That way our parties may just may start to represent the people again.

    Comment by Woolfie | April 26, 2009 | Reply

  3. “SNP have made serious inroads into Labour support and now (as I predicted in an earlier post) the Conservatives are doing the same.”

    That is the truth. For many years I have wondered what is the point of Labour? They are a spent force, lack any ideas or vision. What is clear is the left are increasingly turning to the SNP while the centre and the right are turning to the Conservatives. And Labour and the Lib Dems are being squeezed in the middle. I also believe that a small factor in that increase is the personalities of Alex Salmond and Annabel Goldie, both giants of the politics in Scotland. While the other leaders are pygmies in comparison.

    Comment by B Griffiths | April 26, 2009 | Reply

  4. Woolfie—you are so right that the political parties no longer(if they ever really did) represent large numbers of the electorate.
    That is exactly why the Common Sense party was formed and we base our policies on public opinion—just the way all parties should!
    All donations over (I think its about £250) are already published ,but that doesn’t stop the corruption of the system. My take on this is that if for example a wealthy businessman donates a million pounds to a party(no doubt the one in power) and then receives a bloated government contract worth £100 million there is no doubt that included in his contract will be his original million pounds repayed several times over. The taxpayer,my friend, is paying for this! ,when a better and cheaper company may have been overlooked to reward the donation.
    This type of thing has happened time and again.
    As for funding the Marxist Liberation Front ,when Brown came to be prime minister he floated the idea of party funding by way of ‘payment by number of votes cast ‘over the life of a parliament and by setting a realistic but not too high minimum the marxists would not benefit.
    As for the BNP it is clear that they are becoming more ‘popular’ but to be quite honest it is not because the average voter is racist or anything like it—no, the problem is that the major parties have all left a big void on the subject of immigration and therefore the only well known party that is prepared to talk about the subject is the BNP.
    When we have a government that is actually prepared to take a tough stance and seriously limit immigration into the UK, then we will see the BNP decline, but until this happens they will prosper.
    The people of the UK are totally fed up with politiians in general and the fact of the matter is that if the BNP do very well then it will give our big parties a well deserved kick up the backside.
    This is not meant to be support for the BNP ,but simply an observation of what will happen.It is quite possible(even likely) that the BNP will score at least one MEP in June ,that in itself may be a wake up call to the big boys.

    Comment by howard thomas | April 26, 2009 | Reply

  5. I dont want my taxes going to political parties I dont support. Let them raise money from voluntary donations or go bust. Either way I dont agree with government funding from our taxes.

    Comment by Doodlebug | April 30, 2009 | Reply

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