Gordon Brown is facing a crisis over donations to government ministers and their various election campaigns – it is a crisis that goes to the very heart of the New Labour “project”.
The party that shamelessly loves up to the rich and courts the powerful has always been prepared to do so in the knowledge that its main source of funds – the millions of pounds donated by trade unionists – would carry on regardless.
As the party embraced free market economics, privatisation and attacks on public services, it was natural that some of its cash should come from those who have been the chief beneficiaries of these policies.
So New Labour luminaries were despatched to wheel and deal with property speculators, spivs and car salesmen, while at the same time telling the unions that their demands for a fairer Britain were “unrealistic”.
As this shoddy farce unfolds, the terrible cost of Brown’s pro-rich policies is becoming clear. The former chancellor – who had boasted of lifting “a million children out of poverty” – can now lay claim to of having sunk 200,000 children into poverty last year.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has found that 3.8 million children in Britain live in poverty today – and this in the world’s fourth richest country.
Behind these statistics is the reality of children going to school hungry and without decent shoes, their education blighted because of their social circumstances.
And many of their parents seem to be faring little better, as the gap between the pay of the bosses and their employees has widened still further.
A survey by the GMB union has found that company directors and chief executives earn 714 percent more than those on the average wage, and 2,000 percent more than those classed as the lowest paid workers, such as cleaners and shop workers.
Once Labour claimed to stand up for working people and their families. Now their relentless pursuit of the rich sees them mired in sleaze.
For generations, millions of people have given their votes to Labour in the belief that the party would champion the less well off. And the trade unions hand over millions of pounds every year to further the aims of their members.
But it is clearer now that working people need a different political voice to represent them – in a way that Gordon Brown and his allies, Harriet Harman, Wendy Alexander, Peter Hain and the likes will never do.