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?!

  • noel adams

    One area that might need to be looked at is loans. Donations are now declired to the monitoring body but loans MAY be included in 2010.

  • joeCanuck

    I can only speak for myself.
    I have never donated a penny to the DUP.

  • Nevin

    Presumably, there could also be conflicts of interest if, say, politicians and judges invested in a development company.

  • joeCanuck

    Don’t stop there, Nevin. What about government department officials?
    How many citizens have been privileged by visits to their homes by such officials?

  • Nevin

    Or if such a senior official just happened to pay the ‘market rate’ for an apartment in a top flight secluded developer complex, Joe. Northern Ireland, as they say, is a very small place with a flourishing grapevine.

  • Gum

    No danger of the SDLP ever getting into this problem! Nobody’s going to inject cash like that into the Stoops!

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Another reason Non Iron wont have a David Abrahams style scandal is the there is no chance of someone influencing the foreign policy of a government by giving money to a Non Iron political party. As an supporter of Israel’s foreign policy it was convienient for Mr Abrahams to have the ear of the Labour party. The apparent shift towards Israel by Blair may of of curse just be a coinicidence. If I may stray of topic a little bit further the Jewish conspiracy theorists will have a field day with this but also exraordinary claims on a recent BBC Panorma program called ‘Palestine’ that Balfour ( of declaration fame) and Lloyd George were both Zioinst Christians and agreed to the setting up of the state of Israel for mainly religous reasons.

  • dewi

    Slightly tangential but personally I think Brown’s fucked. Brutal analysis but “loser” seems to fit the bill. If he didn’t know about 600 grand of donations then he’s an idiot – if he did then he’s screwed.

  • PeaceandJustice

    What about Sinn Fein IRA getting money from bank robberies. As usual, they try to talk up the problems of everyone else. When is the Northern Bank money going to be returned? And of course their friends in the media help out by not asking any awkward questions.

  • joeCanuck

    Assumes facts not in evidence, P&J;

  • Rory

    It should be noted that Labour politicians shown to have been in receipt of donations from Mr. Abrahams have all now said they will be returning the donations.

    I would just like to say that I would never prove to be so ungrateful and that if there are any wealthy businessmen out there, tuning into to Slugger, they can be confident that if they choose to curry favour with me in order to seek social or political advancement by sending me large cheques that I would never dream under any circumstances, come hell or high water, of being so ungracious as to return the money.

    Someone’s got to have standards.

  • Danny O’Connor

    Alternatively the taxpayer could fund political parties and ban all donations.

  • joeCanuck

    They introduced that in Canada about 4 years ago Danny.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Dewi,

    lets hope you are wrong – the public school boys ( the Olde Cons. as opposed to Labour the Neo Cons ) will be trying to cut all sorts of deals with the DUP – difficult times ahead.

    And talking of difficult times – if Munster dont give Llanelli a good beating on Saturday – it will be curtains for Munster as well.

  • Danny O’Connor

    Recent reports suggest Brown is considering it at a cost of about 90 million .It is a lot of dosh-but if you consider how much is lost to the public purse by rewarding private donors(contracts, planning,peerages etc…)it could be worth it.

  • Aquifer

    So if a minister got the use of a car from a local developer and his party got the planning permission brief, what should we do about it?

    Ensuring that public representatives and parties are properly funded to represent the public interest in the first place would be a start.

    The problem would be that we would then begin to expect local parties to do more than wave flags at election time, and may even ask them for a policy or two.

    The other problem is us. We don’t want to pay politicians and parties to do a proper job. We don’t want complexity and grown-up stuff like skilling up for globalisation. See teams of smart party advisers and we seethe. We pay peanuts and get three colour soundbites.

    There is some comfort for all of us seeing local people with familiar accents put a brave face on failing to cope, but when excuses and blamecasts are laced with sectarianism failure can cost more than money.