IF GORDON Brown hoped the smell of scandal would be blown away with Peter Hain’s resignation, a new scandal soon dispelled his hopes. Hain was forced to resign his two cabinet posts in the DWP and the Welsh Office. The Electoral Commission had called the police in to investigate apparent attempts to conceal £100,000 in donations to his Labour deputy leadership election campaign.
Then news of Alan Johnson’s dubious campaign contributions hit the news. Five of the six candidates for the internal party election for Labour’s deputy leadership have now been linked with improper campaign donations, mostly from business people obviously hoping for a quid pro quo from someone with influence at the heart of government.
If there had been a leadership contest, Brown too would almost certainly have been sucked into the vortex of revelation and denial that engulfs those caught with their hands in the wrong till.
The real scandal is why shady business people would want to give thousands of pounds to a Labour minister. Why would an anti-union businessman like Isaac Kaye, a past supporter of apartheid in South Africa and facing prosecution for defrauding the NHS of millions of pounds, want to donate £15,000 to a candidate for Labour’s deputy leadership for example?
Trade union members will want to know why their money is being used in a bidding war with right-wing businessmen for the ear of Labour politicians.
The Tory press is more aggressively targeting New Labour as it begins to doubt Brown’s ability to deliver more rounds of cutbacks and privatisation and it considers the possibility of a Tory government replacing Brown’s hapless administration.
But the Tories have been at least as corrupt as Labour politicians. Every pro-business party is mired in sleaze and corruption as big business’ corrupt practices wash over into politics.
To most working-class people, mainstream party politics stinks even stronger today. A new party for working people is needed.