Why Northern Ireland won’t have a Abrahams-style scandal…

THE scandal over property developer David Abrahams’ disguised donations to Labour has the potential to lead to a change in government in Westminster after the next general election. But, as a couple of commentators have noted, if a property developer in Northern Ireland gave money to a political party through a third party – for example, in order to be able to deny having made direct donations so no questions are raised over potential conflicts of interest about planning permission – you wouldn’t even know about it. Nor could it lead to a change in the government anyway. Jim Fitzpatrick wrote that if Abrahams had “been giving the money to the Social Democratic and Labour Party and not Labour, there would have been no names needed, no questions asked and therefore no problem because our electoral law is different. The same would be true if the donation had gone to any of our local parties.” The rules on donations to political parties here mean not only that donors names aren’t revealed, but even where impropriety is discovered, those who gave illegal donations remain hidden from public view. A recipe for corruption?!