Ruth Kelly dodges the questions on dodgy donations

The Labour party line is clear – as Ruth told us they are profoundly "shocked" and "saddened" by the dodgy donations row. They speak about it as if about the death of some respected colleague, in sad tones. They then move on quickly, say this is a crisis for all political parties and tell us they will solve the whole problem by changing the rules for party funding in future.

How absurd. This is a crisis for Labour, because their own senior figures claim not to have understood the law their government put in place. It is being made worse by the refusal of most of the top people to answer any questions about it, or for one or two to provide incomplete answers which turn out to contradict other testimony or evidence. Ruth Kelly notably did not defend the Leader in Scotland, Wendy Alexander, saying she did not know about that case. Surely she was briefed before going on air to discuss this very subject?

Ruth Kelly was unable to answer the question how are they sure that Mr Abrahams (the main donor) is wrong in saying 10 senior Labour figures knew about all this? She retreated into Labspeak about helping the police and awaiting the enquiry.

Why can’t all these figures just make short and accurate personal statements, having checked their diaries and files? Surely by now they have all recollected what they did know and who they did talk or write to?

They should not behave as if they are the solution, not the problem, or they are at a funeral where they had nothing to do with the bad news. If this is a funeral, it is for the straightforwardness of this government. Their words and actions now will define whether its reputation can be revived.

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5 Comments

  1. Henry Garnett
    Posted December 2, 2007 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    I could not agree with you more. There is a complete unwillingness on behalf of all the Labour Party leaders & members I have heard this week to admit that any individuals broke the law. Even after Brown has admitted that there WERE unlawful acts.

    As regards Ruth today, her attempts to switch the discussion to yet more lawmaking were pathetic. Even though the interviewer on the lunchtime news was far too gentle on her.

    I am fascinated by this "group mental illness".

    New Labour has built itself on a formula for commincations; immediate rebuttal, deny, black = white, & a smear – even if you have to go back 15 or 20 years. They seem completely unable to understand that these tactics would eventually react violently back on themselves. No amount of rebuttals, denials, painting it as a minor error or smears on Ashcroft can change the situation now.

    The British people refuse to accept any party's permanent right to power for its own sake.

    PS – Hattersley's piece in the Snuday Grauniad is even more sad. An old man's broken dreams.

  2. Tony Makara
    Posted December 2, 2007 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    We mustn't really expect Labour party functionaries to have anything by way of personality, originality or honesty. The have a pre-programmed response to crisis situations and repeat the same old cliches like poll-parrots. This is the essence of the Labour career-politician. A person who goes into politics, not with the aim of public service, but with the aim of being a politician. This breed of person didn't exist in the days before parliament was televised. However now there is a whole breed of grubbing non-entities who believe the world revolves around them. Its rare to find an honest politician on the Labour benches, someone who will speak from the heart. The problem is these Labour MPs have been brought up in the Mandelson spin culture. Its all they know. Ruth Kelly has some affable qualities and I admire her stance on abortion. However she must learn to respond in a less robotic way(unflattering comments left out – ed).

  3. [[NAME EDITED]]
    Posted December 2, 2007 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    "Why can't all these figures just make short and accurate personal statements?"
    Presumably a rhetorical question. We know why, because they are all in it up to their necks. Oh, how long we have waited for this!

  4. Letters From A Tory
    Posted December 3, 2007 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Errr, I don't think this came as a 'shock' to the Labour Party seeing as the vast majority of them knew exactly what was going on….
    http://lettersfromatory.wordpress.com

  5. Patrick
    Posted December 3, 2007 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    John,

    Please have a quiet word in David Cameron's shell like. Tax funding of political parties is completely stupid and any notion of supporting this will only serve to make Cameron look like Brown -when there is now an open goal to create some clear space on funding integrity. Political parties should spend what they can raise from their memberships, or trade unions and openly declared donations – and no more. Joe Blow the taxpayer (that's me by the way) has precisely zero appetite for the parasite state to milk even more tax to pay for party political broadcasts and leaflets etc. Just don't go there.

    Reply: I agree

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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