20 September 2008

Harry Potter to the Rescue

Today the author of the popular Harry Potter books, J. K. Rowling, has made a substantial donation of £ 1 million (€ 1.25 million) to the British Labour Party.

Joanne Rowling (photo right), once an unemployed single mother living on social welfare benefits, is now - thanks to Harry Potter's wizardry and great success - one of the richest writers and women in the world, with an estimated personal wealth of more than € 700 million. So the donation will not burn a hole into her pockets.

The best-selling author is a known supporter of the party and also a personal friend of Sarah Brown, the wife of Britain's Prime Minister and Labour Party leader Gordon Brown, who was delighted with the donation.

Quite understandable, as the British Labour Party has in recent years (under the leadership of Tony Blair) accumulated debts of more than € 22.5 million, much of them due to borrowings to fund the 2005 general election campaign, which was the most expensive in the party's history.

Gordon Brown (photo left), who succeeded Tony Blair as party leader and Prime Minister in late June 2007 without an election, had a difficult first year in office, which was made even worse by the global economic crisis created by reckless gamblers in US banks and financial institutions.

In his own party Brown is meanwhile facing strong criticism and is seen by many as a weak and reluctant leader (even though this might be unfair to him). A few days ago twelve dissident Labour MPs have even called for a new leadership contest to replace him.

For the time being he seems to be still in control, as the Labour Party begins its annual party conference. The extra million pounds will help, not only in financial terms, but also with the clout attached to it by the donor. And who knows, perhaps Harry Potter himself is riding to the rescue of Gordon Brown and his party. Everyone knows that wizards can do magic, and given the state both Britain and 'New Labour' are in, that would be more than welcome assistance.

The Emerald Islander

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