Speaking as a supporter of a liberalised market economy and as a capitalist myself (though in only a small way!) I have no problem with Labour receiving donations from businesses. Provided it's publicly declared, it is for the owners of a business itself to decide who benefits from the profits (though of course, there should be a cap on donations to prevent wealthy individuals or well endowed organisations buying influence in the corridors of power.)
That said, please read on for another thrilling installment of the Parliamentary Story of Dave Anderson, Labour MP for Blaydon constituency (where I live in Gateshead!).
Our regional newspaper, The Evenign Chronicle, carried an article a few weeks ago about a group of law firms that had made over £250 million out of the taxpayer by dealing with miners' compensation claims. That didn't really attract my attention. After all, they were doing their legitimate work and were rightly paid to take on the cases of miners for whom they successfully won compensation for the diseases and injuries caused by working in the mining industry. One firm alone, Thompsons, made £100 million.
What did attract my attention was the attack on the firms made by Kevan Jones, Labour MP for Durham North, next door to Blaydon. Mr Jones described the money made in fees by the firms as a "feeding frenzy by lawyers."
But hold on a moment, didn't Thompsons advertise in Dave Anderson's literature, just before the general election? I went off to check my collection of leaflets and sure enough, a large advert was included in a glossy colour Labour leaflet encouraging miners to claim compensation through Thompsons.
And a quick check on the Electoral Commission website found Thompsons had made a donation for printing to Blaydon Labour Party in March 2005 of nearly £5000.
Mr Anderson loves to posture as the working class socialist defending the downtrodden workers against the capitalist oppressors. But it's also interesting to learn that he is ready to have his election campaign at least partly bankrolled by a successful capitalist concern! A case of having your capitalist cake and eating it!
As for Mr Jones and his comments, perhaps he should have checked with Mr Anderson before he opened his mouth.
Photo: the advert that helped to bankroll Labour's general election campaign in Blaydon.