THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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How lame is this?

Prudence?

Link: Labour cash crisis could bankrupt party leaders | Politics | The Guardian.

Exactly how did Labour voters expect such a bunch of spendthrift incompetents to behave in charge of the nation's finances? With so many lawyers amongst the Labour luvvies, it's really rather surprising that the party is organised "like the local cricket club", with National Executive Committee (NEC) members personally liable for its debts. Not that limited liability would necessarily have saved them, as they now fondly seem to believe. The directors of a company which continues to trade while insolvent can become personally liable anyway. I suspect the Labour Party has been insolvent for most of its life.

Presumably, when incurring the Levy debts, Tony Blair imagined that the trade unions would have no choice but to bail out the party that has been their creature for most of its existence. Are the unions really prepared though to raid the funds of their working class members to save Blair from personal bankruptcy? He organised the borrowing, after all, with little or no regard for how the party might repay it. His chum Lord Levy set up the loans and negotiated their terms, while Tony (and the rest of the NEC) signed them off. Unless NEC members were stupid enough (and we shouldn't underestimate their stupidity on this showing) to indemnify outgoing members, Blair is probably still (jointly and severally with other members past and present) liable for the debts incurred on his watch.

Even if they did indemnify him, most current NEC members are probably not worth suing for such sums. Mr Blair, on the other hand,  now seems to be worth a few bob. If I were one of the Labour Party's creditors, I think my most economical litigation strategy would be to sue only him. Past and present NEC members are jointly and severally liable, so I could choose to sue all, some,  or any one of them. Blair could then choose either to join in as many of his chums as he liked as co-defendants, or to sue them in his turn for their share. Leaving him with the costs of that further litigation would seem the best approach. Stupidly, the GMB union has also made itself a good target for this tactic, by agreeing to indemnify NEC members Debbie Coulter (the union's deputy general secretary) and Mary Turner (its current president). I think I would still prefer to sue Tony Blair though, as the embarrassment the global publicity would cause to the Labour Party would drive its backers to a quicker settlement.

Enough of these delightful fantasies though. I am sure the unions will bail them all out (at the price of recapturing the party and driving it even further to the Left). I sadly predict that the Blairs will enjoy the gains and the glory which seem to have motivated them all along, while leaving the party they never really liked in the lurch. I am sure their assets are all in Cherie's name anyway, as she's the only half-talented lawyer in the bunch. If Tony Blair ever faces justice, it is more likely to be in the divorce court than any other. Especially as not only would cupiditous Cherie walk away with all the possessions in her name, but such a story would give her the material for another lucratively salacious book.

One final thought. Why did the NEC employ the services of one of Britain's most expensive law firms to give it advice? Slaughter & May is a fine firm and I would not hesitate to recommend it for complex work, but the legal issues here are pitifully simple. Any high street firm could have advised for a lot less. It seems that Labour's NEC is congenitally profligate. Anyone can make a mistake, but not learning from them is the hallmark of real idiocy.

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