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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Winning Ceredigion

I am not going to comment on the £2.5 million donation to the Liberal Democrats campaign fund as I do not yet know all the circumstances and so I am unable to form a judgement about it. However, Plaid Cymru's have now complained that we may well have used the money to win Ceredigion. Again I do not know if this is true or not, though I am happy to take my party's spokesperson's word that none of the Michael Brown money was used for this purpose.

Whether this is "foreign" money as Elin Jones asserts is a matter for the Electoral Commission to determine and I am surprised that she is prepared to pre-judge due process in this matter. However, I am interested in her view on political parties receiving money from tax exiles. These are people who are British citizens but who have taken up residence abroad so that they do not have to pay the same taxes as we do. One such tax exile is Sean Connery, who gives very generously to Plaid Cymru's sister party, the SNP.

As I have said in the past, until there is proper reform of political donations accompanied by state funding, then there will always be questions about large donations and their impact on the political process.
Comments:
Just sounds like sour grapes from Plaid to me.
 
But wouldn't any other party act in the same way?

PS. Are you going to censor this post as well Peter?
 
I am not in the habit of censoring anything, least of all your fantasies about Welsh politics. However, I do reserve the right to moderate comments to ensure that they remain on topic, are not spam and are not repetitive.
 
Back on topic - I see that the tories certainly need to pay back a larger sum to one of their key donors.

Peter (a different one)
 
Peter you are simply wrong on this. Sean Connery pays taxes in the Uk to alow him to continue donating...though sadly not to Plaid :)......secondly a London based Lib dem spokesman stated the money was used for bill boards and national newspaper advertising.

Whilst none of the swiss donation will appear on ceredigions election expense return clearly someone paid for the massive bill boards around wales....and the adverts in national newspapers that are sold in Ceredigion...given the LDs only won by 200 or so no doubt every little helped. The Times stated clearly....and the lIb dems have not denied ...that the money came from the account of the Swiss holding company and that the individual is not a resident or a UK voter....its clearly against the spirit of the act if not the exact letter(though its hard to see how it is legal). The guy has an "interesting background" and made his initial $millions in the Florida property market....probably best not to ask to many questions...

It was an astonishingly stupid decision to take the money...under Paddy ashdown the Lds turned down a £1million from a dodgy source....seems that standards have slipped....
 
I am aware that most of the money was meant to have gone on billboards and national newspaper advertising but cannot say with any certainty that this was how all the money was spent as I do not know all the facts. Even if some of it was spent in Ceredigion, then so what?

I am reluctant to say that the Party should not have taken the money or that doing so was againat the spirit or the letter of the Act until the Electoral Commission determines its view. There is no evidence whatsoever that this donor was 'dodgy' in anyway as you suggest.

We may not like the system but we have to work within it so I feel perfectly justified in defending any legitimate donation no matter how large until the law is changed and provided that it can be shown that no illicit benefits were given in return. At present Michael Brown's donation meets all those criteria.
 
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