Saturday, 4 December 2010

Searchlight election expenses?

I’ve spent most of today viewing the electoral commission’s expenses report for this year’s general election and found a few things you may like to know about.

The UAF received donations from the National Union of Teachers (NUT) £ 40,000.00, Public and Commercial Services Union £20,000.00 and UNISON £ 8,000.00. I’ll go into more depth with them at a later date. At the moment it is Searchlight I am interested in.

Searchlight’s expenditure was a whopping £456,640 but there are no records to show where that money came from (If anyone finds them please let me know). They were funded the previous year by the Firebrigade union, Unison and Unite but there is no record of donations since the end of May 2009. Searchlight says ‘Searchlight Information Services is a non-party political organisation’ and they are not funded by the government or unions but the records suggest otherwise.

Now let’s have a look at some of the people Searchlight deal with.

The Guardian’s Daniel Hodges, also of Labour Uncut, charged Searchlight £600 a week for ‘providing PR and communications support for the campaign including drafting articles, drafting press releases, producing press briefings, providing media comment, assisting in media event management and providing general strategic media advice’.

Guardian reporter Jo Adetuni - £700 a week to research into the BNP and £105.44 for expenses.

The Guardian and Mirror’s Ros Wynne-Jones - £6,500 for an undisclosed service.

Taxinform Ltd. After doing a little digging I find that Taxinform Ltd had a change of the director’s particulars on June 4th 2010. The director is listed as a Mrs Sonia Kathleen Emma Gable. That’s right, Searchlight’s very own Mrs Gerry Gable. The invoice above for £2,300 is for sub-editing and checking her own election newspapers and leaflets.

Intelligent Data Services Ltd - used to obtain database profiling of consumers. This information contains personal, household and financial information including telephone numbers, email addresses etc. The bill for the Sheffield area alone was £1748.88.

Tom Gensemer, of Blue State Digital, the company behind the Obama campaign, claimed on television they were not working on the Labour campaign and yet they were paid £6,300 a month for technology and strategy fees. When asked if he was working with the Brown administration he said ‘no, we have done a lot of pro Labour work both with trade unions and some individual campaigns and have really good relationships with the party. We are not currently under contract.”

In effect they are working for Labour because Searchlight works for Labour.

Other companies and examples of their invoices:

Consequential Films - £4500 for 3 months work plus expenses of £989.50 for duplicating 500 dvds

Gtec Printgroup in Oldham – up to £6,000 a time for leaflets including 12,000 salaam muslim leaflets

London Print - £625 for Dagenham brochures

Dotprint Ltd - £36,866.68 for women’s booklet and delivery

Trinity Mirror Printing - £11,783.00 for Hope Not Hate leaflets

Sheaf Graphics - £1,720.00 leaflets

CK Leafletting - £498.20 to deliver leaflets

Philosophy Football of London - £3417.22 to print ‘Organiser’ and ‘Daily Mirror’ on shirts

Blue Panda - £1,715 for cotton shopping bags

Propack - £2,336.39 for data conversion/mailsort

F1 Graphics – Banners

Image - £1880.00 – graphics

Safestore Warrington - £1,749.82 per month for storage

Securostore Trade Storage - £216.00 per month for storage

Big Yellow Self Storage - £480 per month for storage

Manchester Evening News

Swinton travel - £160 for minibus

Andy Vine - £2,420 for work in April - cartoonist to trade unions


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