British Blairite Owen Smith’s fat cat money

This music video from Britain says about itself:

The Owen Smiths – “This Pharming Man

22 August 2016

Non-patented drug, a generic substitute
That’s no good for the Big Pharma suits
While employed by Amgen, this Pharming man
Why hamper their whole industry
By making cheap drugs for epilepsy?
I will step down tonight, ‘cause I have no faith in Jeremy
He’s old and dishevelled, so the Labour rebels back me

A Pfizer lobbyist, you never knew my name
But that’s besides the point
I’m just as radical as him
I’m just as radical as him

By Solomon Hughes in Britain:

Loser on the money

Friday 13th January 2016

Owen Smith may have failed in his bid to unseat Jeremy Corbyn but he still managed to raise more than £800,000 for his abortive campaign from fat-cat backers, says SOLOMON HUGHES

DONATIONS are still flooding in for Owen Smith’s failed Labour leadership campaign, according to the latest register of MPs’ interests.

Smith lost on September 24 but, as the continuing cash flow shows, he knew how to raise money among Labour-supporting rich people. He just couldn’t raise as many votes among Labour members. These two facts may even be related.

The register shows that Smith took another £35,000 in November for his leadership campaign, which he then listed just before Christmas. The latest donations are mostly from Labour’s regular big business funders.

Aberdeen-based property developer Alan Massie, who has given Labour over £200,000 over the years, gave Smith £25,000 to retrospectively fund his failed leadership bid. Massie tends to back the Labour right when he can — he also helped fund Caroline Flint’s abortive 2015 run for Labour deputy leader. The property big shot makes a lot of money developing office blocks and shops but seems less able to pick a winner in the Labour Party.

Smith also took £5,000 to cover costs of his losing leadership bid from TV producer Charlie Parsons, who’s also a big money donor — he gave £100,000 to the party to fight the 2010 election.

Again, Parsons’s business success in always backing “hit” TV programmes like The Big Breakfast and The Word is matched by his Labour failure in picking the “miss” candidate. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to Massie and Parsons that the businessman’s choice for the working-people’s party might not be a winner.

Late donations to Smith’s campaign include a second gift of £1,000 from Tony Langham, bringing his total Smith Campaign investment to £3,500. He’s not a big Labour donor, though he gave £3,200 back in 2003.

Langham is the founder of Lansons, a PR firm and lobbyist specialising in representing banks. Lansons’ current clients include Barclays, NatWest and JP Morgan.

They offer to “communicate” to “parliamentarians and mandarins,” helping the finance sector get its message over to Westminster and Whitehall. They have an invite-only champagne reception at every Labour and Conservative conference.

According to the Electoral Commission, who count donations over £1,000, Smith won the money campaign. He got £820,000, mostly from Labour’s big business donors.

His biggest donation of £100,000 came from Hull tycoon Assem Allam, who offered half a million pounds for Labour MPs to set up a breakaway party and he also gave £10,000 to future Tory Brexit minister David Davis’s election funds.

By contrast, Jeremy Corbyn only raised about £268,000 in donations and loans, with the biggest chunks coming from trade unions.

The votes went in inverse relation to the money, with Corbyn getting 61 and Smith 38 per cent. Smith stood on a leftish platform but the structure of it looks like a zombie version of New Labour, in which Blair took the Labour, trade-union and working-class base and added more betteroff voters. He did this by using millionaires’ money to fund slick campaigning and their support to help neutralise hostility from the right-wing press.

But, over time, Blair’s need to placate his rich and powerful supporters turned off the base, so New Labour lost. Smith’s campaign had the support of the media, the vast majority of MPs and the millionaires but little at the grassroots.

So at the top it probably felt a bit like the old days of New Labour — the polling reports, position papers, slick graphics and friendly press.

But it was a hollowed-out version of New Labour, with no base. Corbyn, the winner, is trying to rebuild that base but doing so amid the hostility or resistance of many MPs.

It’s a sometimes heroic, sometimes painful struggle, fighting both for and within the party. Winning the leadership election proved nearly every millionaire donor, journalist and run-to-the-press MP wrong.

Translating that into success for the party is, unsurprisingly, a lot harder. But Smith’s well-funded failure shows the old New Labour way is also empty.

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