Monday 2 August 2010

2009 Party Accounts

Every summer the political quiet time begins with the Electoral Commission's release of party accounts for the year previous. For political anoraks it's an opportunity to pick over the financial standing of one's opponents during the previous year, and for those of us specialising in the ultra-niche domain of the leftist trainspotter, it provides a chance to see how the Trots and Tankies who've embraced bourgeois legality are doing in terms of members and funds.

2009's accounts continues the established tradition of fining the BNP for late submission, again. Unfortunately it means income and expenditure for their "breakthrough" year remains clouded in smoke until the Commission have finally received them. You could be forgiven for thinking something crooked's going on ...

Before the main course of far left party accounts, I know some readers will be interested in the starter: the incomings and outgoings of the three main parties and the 'major' minor parties:

Conservative Party Income £41,984,000 Expenditure £37,154,000

Green Party Income £813,841 Expenditure £813,382

Labour Party Income £26,798,000 Expenditure £24,732,000

Liberal Democrats Income £6,497,013 Expenditure £6,679,089

Plaid Cymru Income £798,805 Expenditure £768,982

Scottish National Party Income £1,842,127 Expenditure £1,737,609

Sinn Féin Income £1,177,727 Expenditure £1,183,693

Ulster Unionist Party Income £392,868 Expenditure £357,430

UK Independence Party Income £1,221,422 Expenditure £1,201,617

You can compare previous years at a glance on
these charts. There's nothing really to note except the Labour party were in dire financial straits - but we knew that already. And I see the LibDems had to sell some of the family silver to fight the European elections.

But anyway without further ado, let's look at the far left's accounts. All +/- are on 2008 figures.

Alliance for Green Socialism Income £11,864 (-£658) Expenditure £12,582 (+£4,226)

Alliance for Workers Liberty Income £63,856 (N/A) Expenditure £65,544 (N/A)

Communist Party of Britain Income £102,499 (-£84,034) Expenditure £149,073 (+£10,853)

Left List Income £15,967 (-£87,806) Expenditure £3,040 (-£81,513)

Respect Income £32,852 (-£3,385) Expenditure £40,277 (+£126) (Members 1,085 (+591))

Scottish Socialist Party Income £72,228 (-£5,939) Expenditure £69,258 (+£324)

Socialist Labour Party Income £11,705 (+£2,450) Expenditure £9,466 (+£3,342) (Members 3,194)

Solidarity Income £38,424 (-£8,285) Expenditure £37,494 (-£8,814)

The major decline in the CPB's income isn't as bad as it appears. In 2008 their monies were temporarily boosted by a one off legacy of 70-odd grand. However, going over the accounts show an absence of
Halpin's millions. Of course, it's up to her how she spends her cash, but she could afford to give the party she's been a member of all her adult life a nice wadge of dosh. It begs the question, why ever not? Is it because she has no confidence in the dozy old outfit?

SSP folk gearing up to refight the fratricidal battles of the Scottish left ahead of Tommy Sheridan's court appearance will find welcoming ammunition in the accounts. The SSP and Solidarity finances have more or less stabilised and neither are looking down the barrel of bankruptcy. Well, financially at least. I was struck by a particularly stupid and arrogant comment in Solidarity's accounts. Quite why they had to boast to a faceless Electoral Commission bureaucrat that they are the biggest force on the Scottish far left is beyond me. Especially as a comparison shows their income is approximately half that of their erstwhile SSP comrades. For those surveying the scene without sectarian blinkers fixed, it is entirely reasonable to assume the members' base is half theirs too.

The SLP's submission tickled me. It claims to have 3,194 members in total - 150 affiliated and 3,044 individual. I'm pretty sure the comrades are being a little economical with the truth. Swapping the individual for the affiliated figures around is closer to the mark. Long-time sect watchers will remember how Arthur Scargill wielded the 3,000-strong bloc vote of the North West, Cheshire, and Cumbria Miners' Association to see off pesky oppositionists. It's fair to assume this is now clumsily being used to give the impression the SLP has a sizable membership (by far left standards) rather than being the hollow shell it actually is.

The accounts give Respect some cheer. Despite a minority who were switched onto No2EU in last year's European elections (incidentally, no No2EU accounts were filed), 2009 was a period of consolidation. Finances have stabilised since the catastrophic split with the SWP and its membership more than doubled over the course of the year. Now Labour are in opposition I wonder if Respect can maintain this momentum under the coalition government? I doubt it.

This brings me to the Left List, the SWP's electoral front that contested the London Assembly elections in 2008 as an anti-Galloway spoiler. Its accounts make confusing reading. For all intents and purposes the front ceased to be after the elections. The Left List didn't rear its head in the European elections nor at any time since. So what campaigns did it spend £3,040 on in 2009? Also included are a number of general office costs - again, for what? And lastly, some £13,600 came in as individual members' donations (this is put under the 'donations below £200' category'), implying there was a Left List appeal of some sort. But there's been nary a mention of it in
Socialist Worker since the 2008 contest. What's going on?


VM said...

Good call by Halpin. Buying into the old Stalinist parties hasn't been a wise investment strategy for some time. Chinese financialized Stalinism is where it's at. Don't believe the slow-down stories from the CC; I'm getting into copper and I'm getting into Chinese green energy start-ups.

Anonymous said...

Should you trust a left party that isnt running on an overdraft?

A Marxist with Money, is like a Preacher with two suits.

Nick Wright said...

You cannot buy into the Communist Party!

And Anita Halpin was enthusiastically received at the Communist University this weekend last while the archive footage appearance, in the premiere of the film celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Communist Party, of a youthful Kevin Halpin raised cheers.

Funny isnt it that this 'dozy old party' is the only left formation with a daily media presence and a youth organisation. And it is always skint.

Phil said...

Well, seeing as the Morning Star is at pains to say it is the daily paper of the left rather than the CPB kinda scotches the idea it's a party publication. And on youth movements, sorry, but the Trots are miles ahead. The miniscule Workers' Power has Revolution (or whatever it's called these days) which gets fairly sizable numbers (in relation to its parent organisation) out on demos, protests and the like. The SWP has SWSS, and the SP has Socialist Students, International Socialist Resistance, and Youth Fight for Jobs.

tutulma türkçe dublaj izle said...

thank you

George said...

Don't worry nick I am sure that Phil's distorted view of the Communist Party is down to the fact that he believes what he reads in the Weekly Worker about us.

It is strange how such rumours continue to be spread predicting imminent splits or the complete collapse of the party. Perhaps when they were first issued during the mid 1990s they may have had some sort of basis.

But then I suppose there will always be anti-communists spreading lies.

Perhaps if you gained all your information from ultra-leftist blogs you may think that the Communist party is 'dozy' that it's entire membership consists of pensioners and that it is only just about to disapear entirely.

When are these sectarians going to admit that 20 years down the line they have been proved wrong. While membership continues to be very small it has doubled in the last 5 or 6 years. The YCL is actually functioning with a considerable impact in demos and festivals.

And I know tiny trot sects only measure success by how many social outcasts they can force to sign Direct Debit forms, but the Communist party measures it's success in the influence and respect from it's supporters in the labour movement that number many more than all the nutty trot cults put together.

Phil said...

How easy it is to rile some people up.

Of course, there is a legacy of influence the CPB has in the trade union movement thanks to the penetration of the old CPGB, but none of that changes the reality that a) the Trots are bigger and more dynamic, and b) will be playing prominent roles in the anti-cuts campaigns to come.

Btw, I'm very impressed you've doubled your membership. What has it gone from? 200 to 400?

George said...


You can carry on attempting to dismiss the Communist Party by constructiong lies about it and then pretending to be surprised when members of it put you back into your place, but I am confident you have been proven wrong.

The pathetic comment about membership further demonstrates this.

My point was that you are still looking at politics through the eyes of some sectarian trot, cult-dweller.

You seem to be measuring support by how many insecure people you can bully into filling out forms.

Your point about the Morning Star further displays this attitude. While some trot may feel the need to stamp their name over anything they can get their hands on, we do not feel the need to strangle campaigns into being front groups and alienate the broader labour movement.

Come on man your in the labour party now its time to grow up!

Phil said...

Firstly, I'm not a Trot and haven't been for years - even if I was a member of a Trotskyist organisation until recently.

Second, as much as you like to squeal and protest your over the top reaction owes more to the denunciatory style of your chosen antipodes. Face it, the Trots have got the far left all sewn up. The CPB has very little to offer compared with the much more dynamic but largely sensible Socialist Party - a look at the very patchy involvement of the CPB in the No2EU campaign is enough to tell you that. And while I think your criticisms are spot on where the SWP are concerned, such practices were unknown to me during my four years in the SP.

Incidentally, seeing as the CPB has a very low profile, has been pretty doggedly Labour-loyal throughout its 20 years of existence, and seems to enter the electoral fray in the manner of a dilettante, why bother continuing a separate existence? You may as well call it a day and move your few hundred members into the Labour Party.

Chris said...

Hi Phil, CPB is actually extending it's reach, increasing it's membership and providing effective input to burgeoning anti-cuts movements across the country. Visit our new, improved website, it's a great resource. And, I thought we contributed a fair bit to No2EU; I enjoyed the banter whilst liaising with the SP in Stoke at various meetings, stalls, leaflettings, etc. But that was before I left the Potteries and you left the left. Have you had any success getting the dynamic and youthful Labour Party out onto the streets of Hanley?

Neil said...

Phil, who let the (mad) dogs out? Woof, woof, woof-woof-woof!