Labour Leadership: He who pays the piper calls the tune

Labour Leadership: He who pays the piper calls the tune Sir Keir Starmer donations #DarkMoneyStarmer

Campaign donors “always expect to be paid back in the end”, says Long-Bailey

Rebecca Long-Bailey has said that campaign donors “always expect to be paid back in the end”, and suggested that who funds your campaign gives an “indication of what your politics are and who’s going to be influencing you”.

She stresses she won’t attack the other candidates. “It’s wrong to be nasty about people who are within your own party. If you want to have a go with them do it in private, but don’t do it in public.” But she could not hold back at pointing to the fact that Sir Keir Starmer has not publishing all his donations from large donors, although he says what he has revealed is within the rules. 

“People want to see who donates to your campaign because it often gives an indication of what your politics are and who’s going to be influencing you in the future. Those donors always expect to be paid back in the end.” 

She adds: “I’m proud that my donations have come from trade unions, Labour Party members, Momentum members who I know have supported me because we share the same political ideals.” She also teases Starmer about the large posters of him that have been mailed out to supporters. “It is a bit cheesy, isn’t it? It’s just weird because I know Keir. It’s kind of like somebody putting a picture of your brother on the wall.” She isn’t planning one for herself. 

John Trickett, the shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, said all candidates should release all records of their donations now, while voting in the contest was in its early stages.

“I’ve been campaigning against the influence of money in politics for years. Whether it’s in general elections or internal party elections, we need to end the secrecy,” he said.

“By only publishing donations via the register, candidates can self-finance in order to delay accepting donations, allowing them to publish these later on. You don’t have to officially accept a donation for 30 days and then you don’t have to declare it for another 28 days, so it can be 58 days until it’s declared on the register, which will be after the leadership election is over.

“If we’re actually serious about financial transparency, political donations need to be published by campaigns themselves in real time, rather than waiting for the register. Delaying publishing donations until people have voted is anti-democratic. Voters deserve to know what lies behind the candidates they are being asked to vote for, before they cast their vote, not afterwards.”

Matt Zarb-Cousin, an aide to Long-Bailey, claimed on Twitter that Starmer’s latest release of donations would not cover the amount spent during the leadership campaign. “That all-member mailshot alone would have cost their campaign in the region of £300k. That’s the basis of questions about funding, the campaign appears to have spent a potentially unprecedented amount,” he said.

Starmer has declared about £10,000 of donations from Unison previously and his campaign said it received about £100,000 from crowdfunding.

Long-Bailey’s declaration shows donations of around £215,000 from Unite, more than £52,000 from the Communication Workers Union and nearly £120,000 from Momentum.

Nandy’s campaign release shows just under £200,000 of donations from a variety of individual donors and the GMB.

In the interview with the Evening Standard, the Salford MP also spoke about the election defeat in December and said that it takes more than a “couple of door-knocking sessions” to understand the voters in Red Wall seats of the former Labour Heartlands.

On Labour’s Brexit policy shambles, she “wouldn’t pin the blame on any particular individual” but says there was “definitely a tendency to not really understand what was happening in many of our communities and understanding the strength of feeling”.

Did Starmer go up north enough to get it? “I think to truly understand them, you probably have to live in them and speak to people on a daily basis and understand the strength of feeling. A couple of door- knocking sessions isn’t really going to show you.” For someone who says she doesn’t go bareknuckle, Long-Bailey can pack a punch.

She is seen as the protégé of shadow chancellor John McDonnell — who has long touted her as a future leader and affectionately calls her “Becky”. She has also been dubbed the “Continuity Corbyn” candidate after giving him 10 out of 10 in an interview, but she doesn’t like the label. “It’s just really irritating. After the advances that we’ve made in terms of women’s equality, we’ve not come far enough to allow women to stand in their own right without being attached to a man. I’m very much my own person.”

Labour Heartlands-

Long-Bailey was asked “Did Starmer go up north enough to get it? “I think to truly understand them, you probably have to live in them and speak to people on a daily basis and understand the strength of feeling. A couple of door- knocking sessions isn’t really going to show you.”

In our view perhaps if Sir Keir Starmer had read Road to Road to Wigan Pier he would have had a greater understanding of the voter mentality along the Red wall and all the traditional Labour Heartlands.

Democracy has always meant more to the northern working class!

“A Yorkshireman in the South will always take care to let you know that he regards you as an inferior. If you ask him why, he will explain that it is only in the North that life is ‘real’ life, that the industrial work done in the North is the only ‘real’ work, that the North is inhabited by ‘real’ people, the South merely by rentiers and their parasites.

The Northerner has ‘grit’, he is grim, ‘dour’, plucky, warm-hearted and democratic; the Southerner is snobbish, effeminate and lazy – that at any rate is the theory.

Hence the Southerner goes north, at any rate for the first time, with the vague inferiority-complex of a civilised man venturing among savages, while the Yorkshireman, like the Scotchman, comes to London in the spirit of a barbarian out for loot.” – George Orwell, Road to Wigan Pier”

You cannot tell the people to vote again they were stupid because they did not vote your way.

“If you then say to people: ‘We did give you a vote here and we, the remainers, lost the vote, but because you were stupid enough to do what you wanted rather than what we wanted … we’ll give you another chance to get it right,’ that undermines the whole principle of democracy in this country.”

He went on: “You never give as much succour to the extreme right as when you cut off the mechanism of democratic change. “If people want to be able to achieve change through democratic means, if they feel that that is being denied to them, they then turn to other, more socially disruptive ways of expressing their views, and that is the danger here.” -Barry Gardiner

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