Despite Partygate. Despite the Covid contracts. Despite Brexit and the Northern Ireland protocol. Despite a spiralling cost of living crisis and a vote of no confidence from within his own party, a recent Observer poll found that UK voters still think Boris Johnson is a better Prime Minister than Keir Starmer would be.
According to an anonymous source in the cited article, Starmer’s main task in his two years as Labour leader has not, as you’ve been led to believe, been to hold Johnson and his Bullingdon brigands to account, but rather “repairing the party’s internal workings after the strife during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.” (The source does not state that most of this strife was, of course, caused by Starmer and his associates, and their ongoing purge of any truly Socialist politics from the party.)
The gory details of this internal conflict have been documented ad nauseum elsewhere, so this article will attempt to look forward rather than back. If Starmer’s wet-wipery becomes too much of a political liability, who is likely to be his successor, and, more importantly, who are the individuals and groups likely to be dictating that successor? (Hint: it won’t be actual Labour Party members or trade unions!)
Recently, Wes Streeting boldly (but not inaccurately) claimed that the Conservative Party existed to serve the interests of its millionaire patrons, rather than its constituents (don’t tell Richard Leonard).
From the profiles below, can any potential future leader of Labour claim to be any different?
Many of the candidates have received significant donations from individuals and groups who also acted as key bankrollers of leadership challenges from Owen Smith and Starmer. Sir Trevor Chinn and his personal pressure group Labour Together are profiled here. Sir Waheed Alli and many others are profiled here. Another clue as to the priorities of the ostensibly socialist candidates below is the amount of Trade Union funding they have received.
THE MALEFICENT SEVEN
In 2015 when Andy Burnham stood for Labour leader, in a contest that Jeremy Corbyn would go on to win, Burnham received over £300,000 in donations for his campaign. These were from 33 private individuals and companies. He received no donations from any trade unions for his campaign. His donors included Waheed Alli (£11,000) and Alli’s partner Charlie Parsons (£20,000).
Wes Streeting has never stood as a candidate in any Labour Leadership contests. From our in-depth investigation of his donors you can see that he has only ever received donations from one trade union, Community (£6,000). He has however received donations from both Trevor Chinn and Waheed Alli (both personally and through Alli’s company BM Creative.) Streeting was a signatory of the founding statement for Chinn’s front group Labour Together. He is also a beneficiary of Peter Hearn/MPM and Jonathan Mendelson/ Red Capital, as is Yvette Cooper.
Rachel Reeves has also never competed in a leadership contest. From another of our articles you will see that she is a major beneficiary of Labour Together and Trevor Chinn, as well as Labour Together start-up financier Paul Myners. In her 12 year career as an MP, she has registered 2 donations from trade unions, £3,000 from UCATT and £3,500 from GMB Yorkshire. The other £197,994 has been from private individuals, companies, or pressure groups, with Labour Together donating £38,641. Chinn donated £35,210 and Myners £10,000. That’s a total of LT affiliated payments of £83,851.
Angela Rayner won the race for deputy leadership of the Labour Party in 2020. In her campaign she was sponsored by 4 trade unions (GMB, USDAW, CWU and UNISON) who contributed a total of £145,756. Donations to her campaign from private individuals and companies totalled £125,500. This includes £50,000 from Waheed Alli, and £25,000 each from Labour Together financiers Trevor Chinn and Martin Taylor.
Rayner is the only candidate who can legitimately claim to have received more funding from trade unions than wealthy private donors, by a margin of £20,000.
Yvette Cooper also contested the 2015 Labour leadership election. As you’ll see from our profile of her as a Labour Renaissance board member, she has had no funding from any trade unions in 20 years, never mind in her leadership campaign. She received £315,783 from private individuals and companies. Labour Renaissance founder, Joe Jervis, also founded the Labour Network In England, which registered its only funding as coming from Labour Together. Cooper also received funding from Waheed Alli’s company BM Creative, but not during her leadership campaign.
Nandy co-chaired Owen Smith’s leadership campaign against Corbyn in 2016 and herself stood for leader in 2020. She is a registered director of Labour Together. She received £75,135 from one trade union (GMB) during her leadership bid. Nandy received £191,185 from private individuals and companies, including £20,000 from Labour Together financier Simon Tuttle and £8,000 from Labour Renaissance director Vaqas Farooq’s company, Innovation In Housing. She has previously received donations from Trevor Chinn, but not during her leadership campaign.
Bridget Phillipson has not contested a leadership contest as an MP. Despite being an MP since 2010 she had very few registered donations. In fact, until the end of March 2022 only one, from GMB for £5,000 is of note. However, since 25th March 2022 she has registered 4 donations from 4 private donors totalling £19,500, including £2,500 from Trevor Chinn. She is also a founding signatory of Labour Together.
Maleficent is an action or agent characterised as “working or productive of harm or evil”.
It could be argued that Keir Starmer has in fact been an incredibly successful leader of the Labour Party. If the intent was to completely neuter and neutralise the Party, and to ensure genuinely progressive candidates from the Left, such as Jeremy Corbyn, are prevented from even contesting a future leadership vote, then Starmer can consider his mission accomplished.
Organisations such as ours are frequently derided as “Tory enablers” by Starmer’s supporters because we refuse to forgive and forget the harm inflicted upon Labour by the Socialist witch-hunt under his tenure. As you can see, the candidates lining up to replace him are funded by the same patrons and are supported by the same groups. They offer no real alternative to a careerist leadership captured by corporations and capitalists, a leadership that has enabled Johnson for the last two years. Even if a new leader could oust Johnson, what meaningful, progressive change are any of the above likely to enact? As Bakunin says:
“When the people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it is called the People’s Stick.”
Follow Sean Rankin: @ClydesiderRed
Have any thoughts on the funding of high-profile Labour figures? If so, please let us know in the comments below. You can also subscribe to our mailing list and receive a monthly Free Press update direct to your mailbox!