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A question of money

Brian Taylor | 14:59 UK time, Tuesday, 27 November 2007

The first minister - clutching his third award on the trot for Top Politician - is, it would seem, less than impressed with the assurances offered re party donations from a previous award winner.

Hat-trick Alex thinks that Gordon Brown still has a deal of explaining to do with regard to the £600,000 given to Labour via intermediaries by businessman David Abrahams.

Mr Brown faced the media today for his regular grilling (hideous, if inadvertent, timing, eh?).

He said the money had been improperly donated and would be returned.

He had not known, he said, about the donations to the party - which have already prompted the resignation of Labour’s general secretary. He had himself turned down the offer of cash from this source.

Mr Salmond is not impressed. Heading back to Edinburgh to chair his cabinet, the first minister said the explanation offered by the Labour Party was “stretching credibility”.

The FM’s Westminster colleague Angus MacNeil - also an award winner - said Labour had “hung Harriet Harman out to dry” over the disclosure that she had accepted a donation from an associate of Mr Abrahams.

Is this issue closed down? Not by a long, long way. At the very least, expect it to be raised by David Cameron at questions to the Prime Minister tomorrow.

Scots opposition MPs are also trying to find ways of ventilating their views in questions to the Scottish Secretary - immediately prior to PMQs.

PS: Update on the cost of the new Scottish airport “slogan”. It’s £125,000 for work and materials - and comes out of existing budgets.


  • 1.
  • At 03:22 PM on 27 Nov 2007,
  • P Robertson wrote:


125k for ridding us poor travelers of "the best small country..." is worth every penny.

"Welcome to Scotland" is better, by far.

More common sense from the SNP!

  • 2.
  • At 03:30 PM on 27 Nov 2007,
  • sandymac wrote:

Of course ASalmond thinks he GBrown is stretching credibility, he is an expert himself. Just have to look at who gave donations to SNP and were accepted. Consequence of which Stagecoach is doing very well indeed with new contracts e.g hovercraft from Fife to Edinburgh. ASalmond has run out of ideas.

  • 3.
  • At 03:59 PM on 27 Nov 2007,
  • Colin wrote:

I think there is likely to be a story that runs and runs here.
Some impartial, investigative journalists are likely to have a field day. It'll be like a 'connecting the dots' puzzle from Gordon to Harriet to Hilary to Douglas to the Highways Agency. Probably all NE of England MPs will be involved somehow. And the picture left in the middle has to be Blair or Mandelson or ???

  • 4.
  • At 04:25 PM on 27 Nov 2007,
  • Badger wrote:

The Labour Government are in meltdown and the wee Arab goes with a piece which has been welcomed by everybody and their dug!

  • 5.
  • At 06:50 PM on 27 Nov 2007,
  • mr angry wrote:

#2 How can you possibly compare the underhand illegal donations to the labour party , where the unnamed donor of £600,000 who got planning permission from a government minister, to the hovercraft which Stagecoach paid for all the feasibility study and has now asked properly for public aid for a full service. No comparison whatsover.

#2. Sandymac

Unlike the Labour party though we at least know who are making donations to the SNP.

I find it highly suspect that, during a period of sustained building programmes aimed at achieving affordable housing, we should have a property developer making anonymous donations to the party of Government in Westminster via a third party.

Gordon Brown claims he knows nothing of it. Of course he would hardly hold up his hands if he were involved and say "you're right! It was me! I knew all about it [wink! wink!]"

As for the 'Scottish Slogan', it's hardly the heights of creativity but then it's a whole lot better than "the best small country in the world" ... cringe!

  • 7.
  • At 07:54 PM on 27 Nov 2007,
  • tom gibbs wrote:

'Slogan' no Brian I think you are being a bit tough on them there. They have replaced a 'slogan' not with a 'slogan' but with a welcome message, which as far as I can see will be combined with visuals from the local area of each airport. Sounds alright to me. Its doesnt need to be a competition to see who can create the flashiest combination of words, just something that will get the job done.

  • 8.
  • At 08:34 PM on 27 Nov 2007,
  • sacrebleu wrote:

I detect the hand of Blair in all of this. Many similarities to the cash-for-honours scandal that he got away with. Did you notice how many times GB said 'I knew nothing'? Is that implying that his predecessor may have known something?

  • 9.
  • At 09:27 PM on 27 Nov 2007,
  • Derick wrote:

Gordon Brown "had not known, he said, about the donations to the party"

Aye, Right!

GB - A guy most known for obsessive attention to detail (or control freakery as us plain Scots speakers would cry it)

Oh - the Bells of Hell go Ding a Ling a Ling etc

  • 10.
  • At 10:08 PM on 27 Nov 2007,
  • PMK wrote:

Think ... you have just become a leader of the ruling political party ... funding picks up as a result of the old leader leaving ... a cluster of clearly interconnected individuals donates six-figure sums. You "dont know anything about the donations": you dont send a thank you note, you dont invite the donor for a private meeting and you dont try and find out something of the individual's background to see how you could best appeal to them for future contributions. AYE, RIGHT!

How can only one person be aware of these donations, when the same thing happened under the previous two General Secretarys as well? How can anyone believe the official Labour line on this one?! After the close shave in cash-for-honours (remember the most compelling evidence never became public, according to the head investigator) you might think they would learn their lesson. This must not become an excuse for increasing public funding to political parties! Corruption would not be stopped simply by replacing individual's money with taxpayer's money.

  • 11.
  • At 10:59 PM on 27 Nov 2007,
  • Bill McMenemy wrote:

Brown goes from manse to trance.

  • 12.
  • At 11:11 PM on 27 Nov 2007,
  • Sandra wrote:

The difference between SNP donators and this apparently 'brown envelope' Labour crowd is that the SNP declared them as is required by the law.
Why the Labour officials seemed to be oblivious of their obligations to check where their money is coming from, quite literally, has a rather nasty odour.

  • 13.
  • At 11:39 PM on 27 Nov 2007,
  • Neil Small wrote:

I'm slightly more worried about Alex Salmond's latest attempt to wrest power from Westminster. I refer to the fire on the oil rig. Every opportunity he says that Scotland (ie the SNP) would handle it better.

As for donations, he'd best be careful about criticising other parties, especially when his best know supporter is a tax exile.

He may have won his latest award, but it says little when with the exception of Nicola Sturgeon, he has a very ineffective and dull group of MSPs.

  • 14.
  • At 03:41 AM on 28 Nov 2007,
  • Baron Naemoney wrote:

David Abrahams. The future Baron Lots-a-money of John Smith House?

Although I do believe that the PM didn't have a scooby about it. I think a lot of people forget that the PM is just the public face of advisors, special advisors, consultants, special consultants. Although why the chose Gordon "Crabbit Features" Brown as their spokesperson is beyond me.

  • 15.
  • At 11:34 AM on 28 Nov 2007,
  • Hezza wrote:

I'm sure this is illegal under money laundering rules, if nothing else. All we need is Osama bin Liner donating money under the pseudonym "Janet" to put the final nail in.

  • 16.
  • At 01:09 PM on 28 Nov 2007,
  • Hamish Mitchell wrote:

Regarding the 'intermediaries' who received money from Mr Abrahams, and then 'donated' it to the Labour Party ...

I trust Messrs Ruddick, McCarthy, Dunn and Kidd will be declaring this as income on their Income Tax returns ... ?

And I trust that the Inland Revenue will investigate and ensure that they have all paid the full tax due on this 'gift' that they received from Mr Abrahams ... ?

  • 17.
  • At 02:53 PM on 28 Nov 2007,
  • Malcolm wrote:

Quote: Vince Cable, Lib Dem acting leader on Gordon Brown, "a remarkable transformation in the last few weeks from Stalin to Mr Bean, creating chaos out of order rather than order out of chaos".

You simply cannot say it better than that.

  • 18.
  • At 08:54 AM on 29 Nov 2007,
  • Ed Gray wrote:


Anyone with Sean Connery’s wealth and status should rightly be able to live anywhere they see fit, without being censured on what he can and can’t say on behalf of his homeland – particularly given the revenues his work pours into good causes here, not to mention the UK treasury.

Most of the rank and file Westminster government have never lived in Scotland, but has that prevented them ruling us for the past 300 years??

Again, if you’re seeking to draw comparisons between Sir Sean’s admirable position and the Labour’s hopeless inability to follow their own funding rules, reeking as it does of underhand practice – and you can’t or won’t recognise the radical differences in dynamism and openness between Labour and the SNP – exactly what planet are you on?

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