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Would you take a donation from this man?

Tony BlairLast week, Jon Lansman argued that Blair’s donations were “dirty money, best refused”. Today Phil Burton-Cartledge takes a different view.

Tony Blair wants to give 106 Labour candidates fighting marginal seats a thousand quid. For CLPs used to campaigning on a shoestring, that could stretch a long way. Yet because this largesse comes from Blair’s pockets, some parliamentary candidates have a problem with it. All perfectly principled reasons of course, and I respect the right of these comrades to snub the cash. But they’re wrong to do so.

We know Blair is a problematic character for a lot of Labour members and supporters for all sorts of reasons, not least the Iraq war. Yet this is a problem not shared by everyone. By now most voters are quite indifferent to Blair and his works. Those that were opposed to his war, which was a majority at the time, might feel negative vibes toward him but few, if any, are going to be basing their vote this May on what happened 12 years ago. In a very few places, like Norwich South, rejecting Blair publicly as Clive Lewis has done might add a sprinkling of Green and wavering left-Laboury votes to his tally and push him across the finish line, but he’s virtually unique in that position. For most voters, the principled stand of their Labour candidates will barely register.

Were I a candidate, that money would be going into my campaigning war chest. This for three reasons. In the first place, a cheque from Blair’s office won’t be dropping through the letter box of your CLP secretary – the cash is going to the national party and then distributed out to marginals. Second, if Blair was dangling a thousand quid with the promise of future favours, or getting chummy with Progress, that is a problem. If Blair was trying to engineer backing for a policy agenda, that is a problem. Yet it’s none of those things. The donation is no-strings attached. The money is being distributed without fear or favour, regardless of candidates’ politics, on the basis of what the party defines as a marginal.

Most importantly, comrades who want to turn down the money have to remember that ultimately, this campaign isn’t about them. This general election really does matter, it’s between a party absolutely determined to screw our people and another that will provide some of the poorest and most vulnerable immediate relief. A thousand quid can help in seats where the Tories have been throwing dosh round like confetti, it can help ensure we get most votes, most seats, and get the party vaulting that overall majority hurdle.

My advice is take the money and carry on campaigning. There’s more than your possible future parliamentary career at stake.

10 Comments

  1. Phil,

    You are completely wrong on this, if it is wrong for the Tories to take tainted money then it is wrong for LP and Blair’s money is more tainted than most, as he has become a multimillionaire because he was a neoliberal toady and for no other reason. Get real comrade!

  2. Robert says:

    Some of those looking to be MPs feel that taking this money is wrong including a wing commander who was on duty in Iraq.

    I think Blair wanted his name up in lights and that is why he did it.

    What I think of Blair is that the man is a money grabbing right wing Tory, who took labour to the right and left it before the banking crises and of course Bush had stepped down.

    I think Blair will ensure labour is in opposition again, best place for it , until it finds socialism again

  3. John.P reid says:

    After taxi driver David Wilkie was killed in the miners strike ,labour should have refused money from the NUM

    1. James Martin says:

      Except the NUM didn’t kill him did they, in fact they condemned it, not that reality has much bearing on your outlook.

      1. Robert says:

        John keeps a condom in his draw for Blair sadly he is trying to become a lefty but it’s hard for him.

      2. John.P reid says:

        Are you saying the miners who threw the brick off the bridge weren’t in the NUM, so 2 people who were innocent went to prison, don’t know how Robert knows what I keep in my drawer,

        He’s so bitter and twisted, he probably, has fantasies about he won the strike after all

        1. Robert says:

          F*ck off John….

  4. Shirley Knott says:

    The money Blair has amassed since he left office is covered in blood. He *only* has it & the various sinecures that go with it as his rewards for dragging us into the Iraq quagmire. He ought to be so ashamed of what he did that every penny should go to victims on both sides. He is vile and an anagram of that word.

  5. James Martin says:

    Of course this money should be rejected. This is not just because Blair is a war criminal, responsible for an illegal war that has killed over half a million (and counting), but because of the unexplained nature of where his very sudden and very large wealth came from after he left office. It is simply not the case that he was able to amass a large property portfolio and employ large numbers of staff on the back of his savings and public speaking money. Nor did Cheri’s part time occasional earnings appear to add much. That extremely large and sudden wealth was clearly for services rendered to his masters in the US, and to take it would be like taking money from a drug dealer or mafia hitman. Phil B-C should be ashamed of himself.

  6. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

    Forget his blood,(-y) money just arrest the tw*t.

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