28 November, 2006

Political tossers in debt.

Last week I posted a story about a populist Conservative campaign encouraging young people not be "tossers" and get into debt. Today, the Electoral commission has published details of loans and donations to the main political parties. Both major parties are revealed to be debt-ridden tossers.

Here is the register of loans, available also in spreadsheet form. Donations are dealt with separately, on an individual basis. Essentially, whereas donations are gifts, loans attract commercial rates of interest and have repayment schedules. The relevant legislation is the 2000 Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act.

The Guardian has some figures

In total, Labour had £23,390,992 of loans at the end of September, the Tories £35,315,060 and the Liberal Democrats £1,131,277.
I have no idea why the Tories need such a huge sum. The Daily Telegraph reminds us that that the party hierarchy blew £5m or so on new offices but that still leaves over £30m, a sum which I doubt the constituencies see any of. My best guess would be that most of it has been blown on advertising during election campaigns. A significant amount of Labour's debt is probably due to servicing existing loans with new loans. Indeed, the comrades' severe cashflow problem is picked by both the Guardian (above link) and the Times. The Thunder also makes the obvious "tosser" link.

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