J.K. Rowling Makes Large Donation to UK Labour Party

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Sep 20, 2008

Posted by SueTLC

Scores of readers let us know that J.K. Rowling has donated £1million to the Labour Party in the UK. The BBC reports this very generous donation from the Harry Potter author was made because “she was motivated by Labour’s record on child poverty.” Jo, who has spoken openly about the pressures she had faced in the past while as a single mother, and supports the One Parent Family charity, issued a statement about this donation. JKR said “I believe that poor and vulnerable families will fare much better under the Labour Party than they would under a Cameron-led Conservative Party.

“Gordon Brown has consistently prioritised and introduced measures that will save as many children as possible from a life lacking in opportunity or choice. The Labour government has reversed the long-term trend in child poverty, and is one of the leading EU countries in combating child poverty.

“David Cameron’s promise of tax perks for the married, on the other hand, is reminiscent of the Conservative government I experienced as a lone parent.

“It sends the message that the Conservatives still believe a childless, dual-income, but married couple is more deserving of a financial pat on the head than those struggling, as I once was, to keep their families afloat in difficult times.”

The head of the Labour party, Gordon Brown, is quoted as saying in response “I am delighted that JK Rowling, who is one of the world’s greatest ever authors, has made such a generous donation.

“I thank her for supporting the Labour Party and our values of social justice and opportunity for all.”

Reuters is also reporting that this comes as”Brown is facing the political fight of his life as Labour gathers for its annual conference this weekend in Manchester with several lawmakers openly calling for a new leader. The Conservatives lead by some 20 points in opinion polls as the economy teeters on the brink of its first recession in 16 years.” You can read more about the UK Labour party here, and the UK Conservative party via this link.

Thanks much to all who emailed





93 Responses to J.K. Rowling Makes Large Donation to UK Labour Party

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The Labour Party. Great Britain´s Gryffindors. Hahahahaha!

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My first impression of hearing this news was of major dissapointment. I actually vote labour, solely because its a family tradiotion! But I was dissapointed that my favourite author has donated so much money towards a political party rather than a charity. But then reading on further, I understood Rowlings action. Her passion was always for children’s welfare and one parent families, etc. Her life experience indicated to her that Labour helped her more in the causes she cared about than the Conservatives did. So I understand her train of thought now. I dont necessarily agree with her action but boy do I have so much respect and love for this wonderful woman. She has a heart of gold.

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JK Rowling proves her intelligence – and compassion – yet again!

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For my American Leaky friend’s information, the Labour party is at a their lowest point in the opinion polls, and the Prime Minister is facing leadership challenges which does not bode well for their election prospects. This is the worst time in more than a decade for Labour, so this is probably why Rowling is donating at this time as she is probably very anxious. Also, she appears to be friends of the Prime minister and family! So who knows, our Prime minister may have gone on his knees and pleaded for a few Sickles and Knuts! I’m curious as to how she became friends of them apart from the fact that Gordon Brown is Scottish!

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I agree with Tauron. I also agree with Professor Potter. It is a very visual step, and one that will bring an important issue, to light. Sometimes I wish, here in America, we had celebrities that were as concerned. Perhaps they are, but I also don’t think this should turn into a “political hot button” for HP fans…..I applaud Ms Rowling, for her efforts. She HAS brought to light, some very important points….that takes a lot of fortitude, on her part. It deserves respect. In a “round about” way, she HAS “donated to a charity”, if you think about it. Well done, Jo, well done.

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If she genuinely wants to help the kiddies she should have donated to a charity. Giving money to a failing government is not the way to do it. Her money will be frittered away on ‘pet projects’ or it’ll find it’s way into the huge black hole of the public finances. It might even be used to fund an election campaign, cos if Brown is booted out by the Labour Party, they’ll have to hold a general election and there’s no way in Hell that Labour can win one of those.

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Good on her! Speaking up for the silent majority! Well done Jo!

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I was flabbergasted when I saw this on sky news this morning – especially in the current economic environment and the feeling towards governments everywhere not just in the UK. This news seems to be getting a lot of airing in the UK media that i can see from over here in Ireland on the english channels and thus it could help the Labour party and inparticularly their policies on lone parents and child poverty. I know that she does a lot for charities (that is both known and unknown) but i feel that this money would still have been better given directly to charities for lone parents or children because I really can’t see Labour (more so Brown) staying top for much longer if that was her agenda.

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Why not donating the money to charities directly?

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I totally disagree with JKR for what is probably the first time ever. I am a married woman in my forties, I have been to school and been to work under both Labour and Conservative governments and I can honestly say that I have never been so bad off and struggling for money as I am now. We have absolutely no money left until my husband gets paid next weekend, we have no savings to dip into,having spent all that on overdue bills, we never go on holiday, we just can`t afford it, and we have no petrol left in the car so if we want to go anywhere this week we`re walking. Celebrities should not get involved in politics, .....Jo, I know you meant well but your money would have been much better spent going to charities, not your best friend`s ailing political party, it`s compassion like yours that they need, not your money.

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Battling against AIDS, cancer research, girls’ education, saving the rain forests, fighting against child prostitution, helping single-parents, advocating women’s rights in developing countries, supporting clean water programs in Africa, helping disadvantaged/depressed young people….

.... I could come up with hundreds of different kinds of charities to give a million pounds. A political party?! Million pounds is obviously pocket money for her but why not give it to different kinds of charities? If she has that much money to just throw in like that then she probably has at least 100 million spare cash to give to some actually important.

A million pounds. Think about how many people would get proper HIV medication with that money.

This is the first time I’ve ever disagreed with her.

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I was really disappointed to read this news this morning. She just should have donated to charity, and not got involved in politics. It’s a surefire way to make at least half the country dislike her. All the money will get wasted in beurocracy anyways.

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While her supporting the Labour Party is perfectly fine, the insulting and disrespectful statement she released, as well as Leaky’s headline, are disappointing.

To suggest that the Conservative party, and its leader David Cameron, do not care about children is highly inaccurate and disrespectful.

The Labour Party has proved very damaging to the UK. The financial and economic challenges faced the USA are small nuisance compared the situation in the UK. The government has mismanaged the economy and government finances to a staggering degree. People are loosing their jobs and taxes are higher than before. How does that help single parents with children?

This is also the same government who, in the name of political correctness, has placed such obstacles in front of the police that they have a hard time investigating crime, including those committed against children.

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Everything Jo does, she does for a reason. She’s always got everything thought through. So when she goes through the Labour Party, it’s to make a statement. And I think Professor Potter explained it exactly right…

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To those questioning why Jo donated this money to a political party rather than a charity, I say this: First, it’s her money and she’s entitled do donate it to whoever she chooses. Second, she has raised many millions of pounds for charities, and personally donated more money than most of us will see in our lifetimes. Third, prevention is better than cure. Governments have the power to effect more change than any charity ever will. Jo obviously feels that it is better to try and stop child poverty occurring in the first place, rather than having children become victims of poverty who then need to be helped.

That said, while I respect Jo’s motivation and applaud the sentiment, I totally disagree with her politics. I cannot speak to the Child Poverty issue, because I will never be a single mother, but as far as I’m concerned the Labour party are totally out of touch. Their answer to almost any problem is to either regulate it, tax it, or both. Since they came to power we have paid more and more tax, yet there is nothing left in the Government coffers to help the struggling economy. Americans complains that they are paying far too much for petrol (gas), but I just paid $10.46 per gallon when filling up my car, and aprox 76% of that is tax! Yet this Labour Government were not prepared to help struggling business as the UK was almost crippled when the price of oil went up to $140/ barrel.

Not only that, but they are slowly and steadily taking away our freedoms. Almost every piece of legislation they bring in STOPS us from being able to do something. And if Labour get their way, the citizens of the Country that wrote the Magna Carta will be FORCED to pay for, and carry, an National Identity Card that will contain biometric data about us all. We have one of the oldest democracies in the world, but some times it feels like we’re living in a police state.

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Any chance she might donate to Barack Obama? He’s the Labour party equivalent over here.

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memyselfandi, i doubt it, the US democratic party is still more rightwing.

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First of – I’m a fan of Harry Potter and I respect and admire JK Rowling. I am also one of the minority youth who still believes in the political system in Britain. When it comes to private donations however, I have always been unsettled as to its place in politics. It allows for corruption, such as cash for honours and when donated from such iconic people as JK Rowling it encourages the easily swayed to become just that. The press coverage will likely see a small rise in Labour’s opinion polls at a time when Gordon and the Labour Party’s following is so low.

I am writing this, not to criticise Jo’s decision, or the Labour Party or to encourage support for the Conservative Party. Indeed the Conservative Party need little more support, Labour are falling so far behind that all they stand for at the moment is damage control at the next general election and Jo is welcome to do what she wishes under our democratic system of government.

According to reports, Jo was against the tax breaks for married couples in Britain. I can understand this from somebody who raised a child as a single parent on little income each week but let’s for a minute look at this from another point of view. Thanks to our PM, the ex-chancellor, Britain faces financial ruin, with both married and single people unable to survive the growing prices in food, petrol, taxes and such like. A similar scenario Jo faced over 12 years ago. We are also seeing a massive social breakdown in Britain, with more young single parents, more crime, increased unemployment, a general lack of respect for law and order, increase in divorce…the country it seems is going down a one way road of self destruction, whilst those in charge fail to see what really goes on in our streets. The Conservatives tax break was not an attack at single parents, who already get money and support but a way of encouraging the revival of ‘The Family Unit’ in order to repair our broken society under Labour. Reports suggest that children brought up by single parents are more likely to get involved in crime, whether you believe this statistic or not, the Conservatives plan to reward those families who stick together, whilst continuing to support those single parents is a step forward in fixing the crack before the window smashes.

Reports also suggest that a key motivator in Jo’s decision was the work that Labour had done for children’s charities. This is reminiscent of Jo and one of the reasons why I admire her so much. The work she has done for literature, for children, for charities – it is truly amazing. Yet I cannot help feeling that the donation she has made will be squandered on reports, pet projects (ID Cards for example), the inflated wages of our politicians to fund their second homes and a campaign to save Labour, rather than being spent on those children who suffer as we speak. Little, if any, of the donation will go directly to a charity, or to the people it could influence the most, which is the greatest shame. It is also slightly ironic that a party who has done ‘so much for children charities’ has seen British children become the unhappiest in Europe.

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You can criticse her all you like. Its her decision, her opinion, and she’s not forcing it on you

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I don’t know much about UK politics, to be honest, but I think the people who are saying, “she should have given it to charity” need to realize that it is her money and she can do with it whatever she wants. She could have gone out and bought herself a new car or designer clothes or another house, but she gave the money away. She gives lots of money to charities all the time. She’ s allowed to have political preferences too, just like all of us do. Give her a break.

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This strikes me as a clever move on a number of levels. Firstly it does Gordon Brown a favour by providing some good news to distract from the political problems he has has been having in the press and within his own party. Secondly, it focuses on the child poverty issue which raises its profile and possibly gets the other parties at least thinking about their policies on this issue. If she can make any government do more on the issue then that will be worth more, and lead to more funding than the £1m she spent. But in any case it is her money and she can do what she likes with it.

J: If you look at the articles referenced Jo does explain why she is troubled by some of the Conservatives’ policies around this issue, and given the international nature of many of the economic problems affecting the country, I don’t see any reason to think that we would be doing any better under a Conservative party Government at the moment.

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I don’t know much about UK politics, to be honest, but I think the people who are saying, “she should have given it to charity” need to realize that it is her money and she can do with it whatever she wants. She could have gone out and bought herself a new car or designer clothes or another house, but she gave the money away. She gives lots of money to charities all the time. She’ s allowed to have political preferences too, just like all of us do. Give her a break.

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Mrs. Rowling wants power! Maybe in the background but it seems to me she is participating in the election campaign. She acts and speaks out very obviously. Of course she blames the Conservative Party. She works for the Labour Party. She wants them to win the election, even with such an unpopular Prime Minister like Mr. Gordon Brown. Maybe Mr. Brown is the only politician in the UK who takes Mrs.Rowling seriously.

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Ouch, its almost as if Harry actually caved to Scrimgeour and gave the MOM his backing. I’m disgusted, i thought JKR could see past the spin.

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roonwit:

The current PM, Gordon Brown, has a policy of excessive borrowing and has had one since he was the chancellor. If the government finances were in a better state, the UK could afford to lower taxes for the British people to help ease the pain of the current situation and stimulate business. Instead, borrowing is going up. The national debt is constantly going up, forcing more and more of the budget to towards interest payment on said debt. Add to it that the nations doing the lending aren’t exactly very friendly (OPEC and China).

Also, many of the current problems are self inflicted. Economists have been warning for years about the problems in the banks and other financial institutions and how it would come crashing down. Neither the American or UK government did anything about it. To the contrary, government policies helped create some of this situation.

James: No one is disagreeing that Jo can do this. Of course she has the right to do this and to speak her mind. But we also have the right to disagree with her and publicly criticize her. (though I would argue it would not be best to engage in ad hominem attacks).

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Well said NickM. Here here!

Chandler, from my limited knowledge of US politics I would tend to agree with you, though I would say that the US Democratic party is more liberal, than right-wing ( that’s the Republicans isn’t it?), and the UK Labour Party is still pretty Left-wing. As someone else said in the comments, the Trade Unions have huge sway over the party. I would also agree that Jo won’t donate to the Democrats. I think that whether she agrees with Obama’s politics or not, she would want to get involved with US politics. I have a feeling she’s gonna get enough stick for this as it is.

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No criticism, just a conclusion: Mrs. Rowling wants power! Maybe in the background but it seems to me she is participating in the election campaign. She acts and speaks out very obviously. Of course she blames the Conservative Party. She works for the Labour Party. She wants them to win the election, even with such an unpopular Prime Minister like Mr. Gordon Brown. Maybe Mr. Brown is the only politician in the UK who takes Mrs.Rowling seriously.

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Neil is Scotland:

Jo can’t donate or help the democrats. US law forbids foreigners from getting involved financially.

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Good!

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I don’t care if famous people want to give their money to political organizations, but I do care when they do it so publically – what else is there to conclude but that she wants to influence people? Does she think writing a highly successful fantasy book series makes her qualified to influence people’s political views? I mean, anyone can state their views and they have the right to do so, but I hope she doesn’t thinking that writing Harry Potter somehow makes her politcally knowledgable or gives her some sort of special position when it comes to this sort of thing.

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i’m disappointed.

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Sad. Very sad.

zr

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You can criticse her all you like. Its her decision, her opinion, and she’s not forcing it on you

But we can disagree and comment, and seeing as this is a comment box, what else would you expect?

I completely agree with Neil in Scotland, I don’t see the problem with her giving to a political party and she has done and given far more to charity, the two are definitely not mutually exclusive, and it’s definitely arguable that just policy can do far more good in the long term.

However I definitely do not agree with her political views. I don’t know what the recent Labour Party issues have been about but honestly I really don’t get how she could express open disapproval of Bush numerous times and then openly support Blair’s party (my understanding is that Gordon Brown doesn’t deviate much from him, please correct me if I’m wrong.) I do realize that foreign policy isn’t the only issue Brits have to think about (and sorry I’m not much of an expert on the current domestic situation so I can’t really comment on the details of those) but this still strikes me as pretty weird.

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Some of the comments here make me laugh out loud!!!

Why is it that some Leaky fans always think they know better than JKR about how she should live her life???

YOU REALLY NEED TO GET OVER YOURSELVES!!!

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To those asking why not donate the money to charity, could I ask which planet you’ve just arrived from? JKR’s work and donations to charities are well known. So why should this preclude a donation to a political party whose ideals she shares? Feel free to disagree with her but there are many, like me, whose admiration for this lady as only been increased by this news.

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The LABOUR party? I think I’ve gone off JK a bit…haha

Oh well, I suppose it doesn’t matter…even with magic, they wouldn’t have a hope in hell of winning the next election! :)

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the problem is, Jo is responsible for this. In the UK, politics and entertainment don’t mix in the same way as in the States and it will sit uncomfortably with the general public. Yes J o has every right to put her money where she wants, but by putting into a poltical party…any political party means shes put herself up for this criticism. What about all the negatives re the Labour Party, taking the country into anpopular war, ‘sexing up’ documents, politising the civil service, the scandal of ‘Cash for honours’.i think shes been niave.

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My first, knee jerk reaction was ‘What?! Surely that money would have been better donated to a charity’.

But then I realised, Jo is always quietly donating to different causes without drawing attention to it, and £1,000,000 donated to a charity for single mothers would just be a drop in the ocean, and wouldn’t benefit every single mum in Britain. Whereas supporting a political party that has plans to ensure single mums have support will automatically effect everyone.

At the end of the day, it’s her money, and what she choses to do with it is her business. Jo supports many many charities, so nobody has the right to criticise her for spending her money this way.

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Why it’s in public? Well, all political donations over a certain amount have to be declared, so it would be public knowledge, no matter what she gave. I prefer her donation than that of Bernie Ecclestone, certainly. Money given to political parties helps fund policy research and can be earmarked by the donor in order to ensure that it goes to causes that match their intentions.

A lot of the roots of the current crisis begin in the early 80s, when the Tories were in power, de-regulating and privatising the public services, as well as making consumer debt easier to get hold of. Moving the public services off the balance sheet made a short term gain in the national finances, but long term have been disastrous. As someone who was the child of a single mother in the 80s, I am well aware of how bad the Tories were at many levels. Friends who are single parents do seem to have a bit better time of it, for example with childcare availability, parental leave and so on.

For what it’s worth, I’m actually a paid up libdem. I don’t support a lot of what Gordon Brown did as chancellor, as had he tightened up the regulations about consumer debt we wouldn’t be in this mess. As it is, he put is in hock to business with public-private partnerships for the public services.

JKR knows Sarah Brown, Gordon’s wife, from way back, I believe when they worked for the same charity, and they are close friends – the browns were among the early visitors to see David and Mackenzie, if memory serves me well.

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The best things to come from this Headline are:- Political discussion and sharing of ideas. That most of these comments, whether they agree or disagree, are respectful of others. That this kind of discussion encourages those to stand by their beliefs and vote for their leaders, whi ever they are. That UKers and USA-ers (et al.) are comparing and discussing their politics instead of arguing.* (see the Daniel Radcliff interview post for a comparison!)

*my tuppence worth.

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why do people think it’s wrong to criticise? A goodly portion of her fans are not Labour voters! they’ll be voters of any of the other parties. The fact that Jo has done this and it’s public knowledge means Jo has made herself open to criticism, she’s made the rod for her own back, no one else.

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Bless JKR

always giving her money to those less well off

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Are some people saying she wants power!? Ha, Rowling for Prime Minister …hmmmm….yeah, why not?!? She’s got endless more charm than our current PM, she has sincerity, can talk the likes of Mr Hammer out of the ball court, and seems to know more about real politics than some politicians. She’ll get my vote! Well no…on second thoughts, I want to her to write books…at least finish the Scottish book first, then rule the world ;)

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i don’t think American people here are realising that the labour party is the SOCIALIST party, nothing like the democrats or the republicans – its WAY further to the left (or its supposed to be anyway) so don’t make comparisons.

also, i can’t help but be a little disappointed that she did this. The labour party have shown that they can’t be trusted, her money will go to waste. She means well i think, but still. she should have done her homework a bit better on this one.

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Jain, you can criticise her views, who says otherwise? And of course she’ll expect criticism (the same as all public figures). But as a previous poster said, donations of this size have to made publicly. It was her choice, however, to state the reasons openly. That is a good thing – I’m sure she doesn’t expect all tory voters to switch because of her own stance (unfortunately IMO!).

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It’s her money and she can do with it as she will. However, when she made that donation public, it ceased to be a ‘personal matter’. I don’t think it was a very wise choice and probably not the best choice she has made in her career.

Mostly for Chandler: Why this ID card phobia? It works a treat in a lot of other European countries. If you are a law-abiding citizen, then you really have nothing to worry about, ID cards solve a lot of problems, providing a quick and easy method of identification in a lot of different situations, if you’re NOT a law-abiding citizen, then I can have no sympathy for your wanting to withhold your identity.

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I wouldn’t describe the labour party as socialist. They were at one point, but not since Tony Blair took over.

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The problem is that we haven’t had i.d. cards for 50 years, when post WWII, the gov were told they couldn’t keep them. The gov have shown that they can’t be trusted with the information, and they’re demanding more information than most other European countries. The registration process is going to be open to a lot of fraud, and we don’t have the infrastructure to cope with 60m i.d. cards from scratch. We already have the situation where government agencies have catastrophically confused people (for example with the CSA and the CRB) causing pain and misery till it’s sorted out.

i.d. cards don’t offer much more than passports and driving licenses.

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First off I really admire JK Rowling for doing this, I never thought it possible for me to respect her more than I already do. It shows that she is very unselfish as a Conservative party government would actually benefit her financially. Also hopefully it will give the Labour party some good press, as I was almost resigned to the fact that the Conservatives were going to win the next election (startlingly these messages seem to be very pro Conservative).

For all the Americans who don’t understand British politics the nearest comparison is that:- Labour=Democrats Conservatives=Republicans As to the person who said Labour are Socialists have the Labour party does have Socialist roots but had to reinvent themselves as New Labour as the UK was no longer in need of Socialism (all the battles had been won) I don’t think anybody could say the present government is a socialist one.

As for all the people who say she should have given this money to charity, Jo has given loads to charities. This action could save the country from another Conservative government which would most certainly not good be in the interests of the people of the country as a whole.

I’m not sure what upsets me more about the messages people are posting, their ignorance of what Britain was like before the Labour government before 1997 (either because they are to young to remember a conservative government or because they have conveniently forgotten) or that posters are just very SELFISH.

Everybody knows that the Conservatives help the wealthy and Labour helps the poor. Labour have always supported State education, the NHS etc…where as the Conservatives have always supported private education and private healthcare (which only the rich can afford).

I mean the country is in a much better state than it was back in 1997 we have a minimum wage, hospital waiting times have decreased, unemployment is much lower, the State education system has vastly improved, and far more people are having the opportunity to attend university.

I know the War in Iraq was awful but the Conservatives admit that had they been in government they still would have gone. And as for the financial state of the country part of it is due to the mess that the Conservatives left and another part of it is due to the situation in America, anybody who believes the country would be any better financially under the Conservatives is very naïve. If the Conservatives come in the rich would get richer whilst the poor would become poorer.

Sadly I feel that the main problem with the government is not how they run the country but the PR. Gordon Brown Unfortuantly lacks the charisma that Tony Blair had, which might lose him the election.

Let’s not forget that historically the conservatives only supported the rich having the vote and did not allow people who did not have a property of a certain amount to vote. So if we had always had always had the Conservatives in power most of the people posting would not have had the opportunity to Vote.

All I can end with is GO JO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Firstly, the criticism of JKR is not what I oppose. It is misinformed criticism which is annoying me here. Firstly, the Labour party is not a spin party! When was the last time you saw a positive headline about the government?! Chameleon Dave, anyone?! They may be trying (obviously, someone seeking to be elected tries to persuade people that they’re… er… good) but I certainly wouldn’t call up a Labour supporter for jumping on a bandwagon!

Also, I am astonished at some people’s hypocrisy! We criticise all these new laws which ‘restrict our rights’ (including rights to abuse, discriminate, and incite hatred. In a society governed by negatively-defined rights, we may do whatever we choose unless legislated against. Is anyone missing any of these?) yet we oppose the simple freedom of speech allowed to any member of a democracy: to donate money to and publicly back any political party we choose. I personally applaud Jo’s support of a political party which (as any party in government will experience) has been victim of bandwagon spin media politics for the last five years, due to an ailing global economy and a war, neither of which can be pinned on the current Prime Minister.

I think her public support, against the ‘clever’ daily sarcastic comments of wannabe-political half-celebrities (who have probably never voted in an election in their lives), is far more valuable than the money she donated. And if it elects a government which will not introduce taxes that persuade unhappy married couples to ‘stay in it for the money’ then I think it is entirely worth it. (Statistics may show that single parent families aren’t ideal; I don’t think a viable alternative is to pay couples wanting a divorce to stay together. For married couples who don’t want a divorce: what does this non-means-tested tax relief achieve – an extra bag of carrots a week?)

To anyone who is telling J. K. Rowling how best to spend her money: do you remember the last time you bought a DVD, a book, an item of unnecessary clothing? That money would probably have been better off going to Oxfam. And yet we all spend our money as we choose. We privately decide an amount we will give to charity each year, and to tell someone that they have misspent their left-over money, especially when said money has gone to promote (through an accompanying statement) support for families living in poverty, is incredibly presumptuous.

I am always surprised how short-term some people’s political memory is. I wasn’t yet born for most of the 80’s, and yet I still associate Conservative government with economic crisis (Black Wednesday?) and short-term fixes (yes, it was a good time for anyone who was able to buy their council house at slashed rates, and the country earned some cash at the time. Now that their property has paid the dividends, of course, anyone who lives in poverty today has nowhere to live, and that subsidised cash fund dried up about two years after it was created. So how much has that cost today’s government in building new council housing, to replace the sold?)

Ahem. This is a little longer than intended, and I apologise for hogging space. Also, most posts I have read have been very interesting and intelligent, and have contributed to an interesting debate. To the minority of commenters who do not fall into the 99% of sanity I beg of you: please don’t make insulting, asinine comments if you are simply rearranging this morning’s headlines from Idiot Weekly.

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I am thrilled to see Jo get involved in politics, more people should be. I “work” for a very small grassroots campaign in the U.S. (by work I mean volunteer 60 hours a week for nothing) and we are always struggling to make ends meet. Charities are great but government actions affect so many more people including charitable organizations. Many times in the U.S. the candidate who has deeper pockets wins over the candidate that cares, this could be changed if more people would give, so please don’t think a political contribution can’t change people’s

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Very well done JK. I love this woman, always so kind as well as being the best author in the world.

We love you Jo.

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Only the fabulously wealthy who want a peerage give this sort of money to political parties. This news has gone down VERY badly in the UK. Her best friend is Sarah Brown, the wife of the PM Gordon who is fighting for his political life right now. Someone needs to give Ms Rowling a heavy dose of reality. Millions and millions of people are worse off under this Government. She really has no clue anymore.

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Firstly: well done Jo. Despite my own political preferences, I think it’s great she’s giving money to support the one she favours. Also, to all the people saying she should give to a charity: did you not read what she said about it? By donating the money, Jo’s trying, in the long run, to provide more resources for a party she believes will help single parents and their children, which is ultimately a charity. Surely you can’t begrudge her for trying to improve the life of those people?

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Deeply disappointed. Will always love and respect jo for obvious reasons but I truly believe the labour party have seriously messed up the country since they gained power in 97.

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First off, JKR can spend her billions as she sees fit.

BUT, this has been publically announced and so she can also swallow the condemnation that will follow because of it.

It is now not a question of if, but when, the Labour party will be voted out of office, so exactly how will her million be spent helping children? It won’t – it will pay off the debts of her friends.

Millions and millions of people in the UK are now worse off because of the Labour Government. People are losing their homes and jobs. They are not living, they are existing. It got so bad I left the damm country.

Like joanne above, I am really disappointed in Jo. She seems to have no sense of reality now.

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heard this on the news, when it was read out as a headline i was like WTF? but then when i heard the full story i was like YES JKR YOU REALLY DO ROCK. “helluin” totally agree with you, these people need to appreciate it’s her money to do with what she wishes. i must add also that im 99.9999% sure she already gives and will continue to donate large sums of money to charities, and this isn’t her thinking “oh i’ll give a million pounds to gordon brown”, it’s to support poorer single parents, she struggled when she her children were young and it’s natural she wants to help out families in that position. pidwigeon, she’s not “getting involved with politics” she’s donating money for a good cause.

but anyway, this post is about JKR giving money to an party led by gordon brown which will stop the most poor and vunerable families being penalised by the a party led by david cameron. she’s honestly deserves a medal for what she has and continues to try to do for charities and other people. actually, make that a couple of medals. JKR is truely an inspiration.

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“joanne” how do you know the country wouldn’t be “messed up” like it is now under different parties, how do you know it wouldn’t be worse?

the fact is she’s trying to help single parents and their kids, if thats something to be disappointed at her for, then fair play. but in my opinion, it blatently isn’t. once again JKR has proved she is not only an amazing writer, but a caring person with a heart of solid gold.

“weazly” and so many people are going to be worse off under another party, single parents and their children, for example. these people are most probably the ones who need help the most. she does ‘have a clue’ she’s doing the right thing; if you see trying to help single parents and their families as a bad thing, then thats your opinion, personally i think JKR is a saint. whether it’s the political party i want in control, she’s doing what she thinks right.

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I respect JKR for doing this when Labour is at its least popular. It shows she has the courage of her convictions. She is doing what (she believes) is right rather than what is easy.

That being said, it kind of seems like she is saying the rest of the country can go to hell in a handbasket as long as the single mothers are taken care of. I mean, Labour is unpopular for a reason, because people are worse off, but does that matter? No, as long as the single mothers are taken care of, the rest of you will just have to suffer.

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Anyone who thinks the current financial situation is Brown’s fault is an idiot. This is a global problem, and Britain is better off than most to deal with it. And the fact is, a Cameron government wouldn’t have done ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY.

Labour are behind in the polls because people have a little less in their wallets, and they need someone to blame (rather than blaming themselves for using too much credit). People aren’t being drawn to Cameraon because of his policies, because he doesn’t have any. The truth of the matter is, Cameron has no substance, and we risk losing one of the greatest politicians of the age, to be replaced by a vacuous public school ponce with no ideas and no political weight.

Make no mistake – under Cameron, the state of the country can only get worse. Under Labour, at least there’s a CHANCE of it getting betteer.

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I think it’s a little odd that Leaky is calling this a “donation” when it is really a political contribution. I don’t have anything against Jo for doing it, nor do I doubt her reasons, but a donation goes to an organization that’s sole purpose is to help me. This is a political contribution that will go to elect candidates of a political party. I think it’s wrong to lump the two together.

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Okay, I’m an idiot! I meant to write that “a donation goes to an organization that’s sole purpose is to help people in need”, not that it must go to me!

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i notice she didn’t do it when Tony needed some TLC. well, the labour party is about £13millon in debt, so every little helps.

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She can donate to whomever she wishes! It’s her money, and she supports the party- she should not be given flak for not giving that donation to a charity. Government is quite a bit more powerful than a charity anyhow.

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I totally agree that Jo is free to give her money to whichever cause, political party, charity or designer fashion house she sees fit. I am just very disappointed that she has chosen the Labour Party. Unlike a lot of people who have posted here, I am old enough to have been an (albiet young!) adult under the last Conservative government AND I am now a single (working) parent and I can assure you that I am a lot worse off financially now than I ever have been, to the point that I am seriously worried about how I will be able to heat the house this coming winter. This government’s official inflation figure is something ridiculous like 2.x%, as a consequence of which my (National Health Service) payrise what also 2.x%. I can tell you that the real rate of inflation is far higher than that. My food bills had increased by about 1/3 (until I stopped buying as much fresh fruit, veg and meat as I can no longer afford it). My gas and electric bills have gone from £60 per month to £90 per month and don’t even talk to me about the price of petrol. If that adds up to 2% then there’s something seriously wrong somewhere. This is the reality for a single parent living under this current labour government. Sadly Jo seems to be very out of touch now.

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Upon further review, I notice that TLC didn’t start the use of the phrase “donate”. Perhaps in Britain a donation has less of a charitable conotation than it does for me. Jo has every right to contribute to a political party, the only question I have is whether it should be viewed as a part of her philanthropy. I believe her when she says that she sees it as a continuation of her commitment to children in poverty, but political contributions are of a different sort, in my opinion.

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No Karen, JKR may be ‘out of touch’ with how you and the majority feel in the UK right now, but if that means supporting a party based on self interest and privilege then I’m proud to be out of touch with her.

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Steve K: Ha HAA!! Love the Freudian slip!! XD (“Now, THOSE kind of organisations, I could get on board with!”)

People shouldn’t blame the government for their financial trouble now. The state ought to do what it can, but the principle problem with the economy now is that people have been borrowing more than they can afford. The trouble with increased privatisation is that the government have less power to regulate corporate policy (e.g., on lending) – so really, the Tory shadow chancellor ought to shut up. ;-)

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Cool. I assume that the Labour Party is the mainstream British equivalent to the US’s Democratic Party. Other stuff confirms it, but that’s irrelevent.

For those saying that she should have given to a charity, I say the following things: She definitely has the money to do both, even if there isn’t a statement for the charity. Frankly, while a charity can do great work, government can do more work even faster if the right people are in charge. Heck, even Fidel Castro did something positive; he mandated a switch to the compact flourescent lightbulbs or whatever they’re called. She has every right to get involved, even as a celebrity. As hard as it is too admit, without celebrities supposedly being politically active, a lot of people wouldn’t pay attention. (At least in America.) To endorse a party is completely legitimate; nothing is wrong with promoting a worthy cause.

Hmm…I believe she sort of endorsed whoever would be the Deomocratic nominee when Obama and Clinton were still fighting it out. Didn’t she say something in an interview (I think with Time) that we needed a Democrat in the White House? Hmm.

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Steve K: Ha HAA!! Love the Freudian slip!! XD (“Now, THOSE kind of organisations, I could get on board with!”)

People shouldn’t blame the government for their financial trouble now. The state ought to do what it can, but the principle problem with the economy now is that people have been borrowing more than they can afford. The trouble with increased privatisation is that the government have less power to regulate corporate policy (e.g., on lending) – so really, the Tory shadow chancellor ought to shut up. ;-)

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The Labour party in Britain long ago stopped being a socialist party – in Scotland they are behind in the polls, but the Conservatives trail even further behind. In Scotland, where JKR lives, the party ahead in all recent opinion polls is the SNP (Scottish National Party.) They have formed the Goverment in the Scottish Parliament for the last year. If JKR wanted to give to a true party of social justice her money would have been better given to the SNP. Of course she has every right to do with her money what she wants – she just can’t expect everyone to agree with her. My teenage daughter, when she heard news of the donation, vowed never to read another Harry Potter book! She thinks Scottish Independence is more important than what she likes to read!

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In a “round about” way, she HAS “donated to a charity”, if you think about it. Well done, Jo, well done. Posted by Confederate Lady on September 20, 2008 @ 08:47 AM

No she hasn’t. She has donated to a political party. A party that is fighting to stay in power. She may as well have burnt the money in the street.

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Someone said on here that the Labour Party are ‘for the poor’, but that’s just blatantly wrong. They don’t stand up for the poor at all. What the Labour Party do is subsidize those who don’t want to work and don’t want to better themselves, and they do this by penalizing those who do. It’s how they make sure they remain in power in poorer areas – nobody who is long-term unemployed will vote for a prty that will take away or cut their benefits.

The Conservative viewpoint is to make people get out and work for their money. To make them want to better themselves and get out of poverty. To reward those who do this by reducing their tax burden.

And to the person who talked about how bad things were before 1997, I say this; You wouldn’t be as well off as you are if it were not for Margaret Thatcher. It was she who freed up the banks and made it easier for people to get mortgages. It was she who made it possible for people to buy their council houses. It was she who stood up to and crushed the Unions, thus putting an and to the 3-day week and constant strikes and power cuts.

It was her party’s financial and economic policies that Brown stole and implemented for the first 8 years of his Chancelorship. It was only after he abandoned them and adopted his own policies that things started to go wrong for him and the Labour Party.

All of us in the UK will be better off (both financially and personally) once Brown and his cronies are booted out in favour of a new Conservative government.

... and as for giving money to the SNP, don’t make me laugh. We’ll be forced into the EU and into adopting the Euro and we’ll have no say whatsoever in how we’re run if they stay in power. (I’m Scottish by the way).

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I find it extremely amusing, no, worrying, how some people believe that the recession is the fault of Gordon Brown. The Conservatives are the Lucius Malfoys of our world. When they come to power, the poor will suffer more than ever.

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Scully, if you think Rowling made this donation out of “self interest and privilege”, then you are indeed out of touch.

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The timing of the donation just before the Labour Party Conference in Manchester is interesting. It was given to try and give Brown a boost but will back-fire . However it will be Dame Rowling . It takes a million to get an honour under labour.

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Tom, if the Conservatives are the Lucius Malfoy’s of the world then Labour are the Mundungus Fletchers. They pretend to be on your side but really they’re stealing everything they can from you and trying to rip you off every chance they get.

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When I first saw this, I was like, “WHAT?” I never really expected Jo to be donating to a Political Party, but hey! As people have said, it’s her money at the end of the day.

I’m one of the biggest fans of Jo and I totally completely love and admire her, but I guess I am a bit disappointed. Though, her intentions were clearly honorable and I can completely understand how she must’ve felt during the time of her struggle, still, I’d prefer she keeps away from politics. It’s too murky a business and it just seems strange. Anyhow, this most definitely isn’t going to change anything else. She’s still one of the most charitable people on Earth and a wonderful person!!

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Good grief why should JKR an English born woman (okay she is 1/4 Scottish) donate money to the SNP, a bunch of English hating bigots who would rather Scotland be ruled by unelected European civil servants than stick with the union with England and Wales?

As for giving money to the Labour Party, sorry Jo that is like investing in the Titanic.

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“krist” single mothers with young children are some of the most needy, she’s not saying “oh people are worse off so but aslong as single parents aren’t thats fine” NO political parties that are perfect, they all benefit some people and worsen then position of others. but children ARE the most vunerable, and to be honest they need the most help!

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I am OK with Jo’s decision. She believes in the Labour Party beeing capable of solving the poverty problem more than the other ones, so she is right to do so. Others can do otherwise as they please.

I agree with Neil, Jo sees the problem solving from a higher point of view. If you stop poverty from above so you don’t have to spend for charites – well written, Neil. You have to go to the prime source.

I suppose that Jo donated asking to use the money for programs where kids and families are involved ?? Can you do that with a donation ??

Anyway I am a single Mom living in Mexico and it’s a tremendous struggle to go on with everything seeking to make the best for my kid’s future. Sometimes I am at a breaking point and faith in the benevolence of the universe and putting a lot of effort into my job helps me go on with the daily struggle.

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Interesting … I must admit I find it a tiny bit annoying that she’s getting involved with politics like this but then I realized that by donating this money she IS still helping people who need help. I just hope the politicians don’t do what every politician does best: Screw her over. I hope they use her money to actually do good.

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The truth is, JK rowling donated this large sum to Labour because she wanted to contribute a political debate to the new Leaky politcal Forum established this week…

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“Good grief why should JKR an English born woman (okay she is 1/4 Scottish) donate money to the SNP, a bunch of English hating bigots who would rather Scotland be ruled by unelected European civil servants than stick with the union with England and Wales?” -Quibbler

Excuse me? English hating bigots? I’m Scottish and a supporter of the SNP. I can assure you I do NOT hate the English and that is not what Scottish independence is about. If we can break free from a Labour government then I think Alex Salmond would be a good leader, and its not like we’d be cut off completely: we live right next door to England for goodness sake!

Anyway thats not the point, I must admit I am disappointed. Labour supported a war which the majority of the population did not agree with. I can understand that she wants single parents to get benefits too, of course they should. But surely she could have put her money and name into backing this single cause rather than a political party? As for Labour being ‘for the poor’- yes possibly, about sixty years ago when they introduced the NHS and many benefits. I dunno, its up to her but I saw many comparisons between Mr Fudge and the ministry and our government so its all a bit of a confusing message. Doesnt take away from the wonderful books though.

Sorry I’ve gone on for ages. But why Jo, why?

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Buying a peerage are we, Jo? You know the bleeding heart story about being a single mom is wearing a bit thin now. How about the millions of adults who are now in poverty thank to the Labor party, eh? You become more foolish by the day.

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Well JK is getting a storm of bad press because of this here in the UK. What about the millions of people who are worse off because of the tax hikes? Some people just have too much money and too little sense.

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I’m also an admirer of Gordon Brown, a man of vision & heart who realizes the need for a disciplined long-term plan to get off oil dependency, to create jobs and opportunities for everyone, and to combat the suffering caused by poverty. I’m an American, so I didn’t donate to the labor party, I gave a bit to the CARE charity in honor of Brown’s commitment to fighting poverty, and sent a note to the UK embassy in Washington.

People who say she should have given to charity have a point, if this was her only giving. But I’d guess Rowling probably gives a lot to charity, much more than a million pounds. It’s also important to realize that government policies, for good and for bad, have an impact that no charity can match.

To give one example, Doctors Without Borders has an annual budget of $400 million dollars, a lot of money. But the War in Iraq has cost just the US at least 1 trillion dollars, more than 2500 times the budget of DWB. To say nothing of the cost of the Iraq war to the UK, or to the Iraqis.

You can’t make up bad government policies with charitable giving, you just can’t. You have to support charities, but you also have to realise that charity is not enough, you also need government programs, and good policies.

It’s not my place to tell UK voters how to vote, but from an outsider’s perspective, I have to tell you that the coming UK election reminds me a lot of the US 2000 Presidential election, with Gordon Brown as Gore, David Cameron as Bush, and Nick Clegg as Nader.

We too were dealing with the bursting of the Internet bubble, the same as you’re dealing with the fall in house prices and the rise in oil prices. We too were happy to vote for the charming, smirking tax-cutter who promised to keep the party going, instead of the stodgy, stiff figure who kept talking about poverty and climate change and doing our duty.

Well, you know what happened to the US. I hope the British people don’t have to suffer like we did, but I’d urge them, before they vote, to look at the policies carefully, and to vote on the basis of substance, not style.

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Kes have you seen the EU maps of their New Europe the east of Scotland is now part of the east of England and the west of Scotland is now part of the west of England? Strange the SNP ignore this?

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Not sure it’s a good idea for her to get involved in politics…

For the rest, I know noting about UK politics so…

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To be quite honest, I don’t care what her politics are. JK can spend her money how she likes. If it is for charitable causes then by all means shout it from the roof tops it all helps said cause. When it comes to anything else and especially politics, I just don’t want to hear about it. I’m glad the HP series is over and done with, because this would put me off buying any more of the books. JK has made millions from the voting public by writing a fictional series that distracts from the cold hard truth of reality. Knowing that by buying her books I have indirectly contributed to the wealth that has now enabled such a public contribution to any political party at all has left me very disappointed in her as a person and actually tarnished my enjoyement of her work. Any honor she may receive as a result of her work will be tarnished by this and whether true or not will be seen to have a price tag of 1 million on it. Politics and entertainment just do not mix.

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I just wanted to say thank you to KS for saying what I have been thinking of saying all day.

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I agree with Karen the Veggie. I spent ten years of my adult life under a Conservative government and ten years under a Labour one and I have seen no difference between them; they are in effect the same political parties throwing out the same rhetoric and bringing in the same swingeing policies to beat down lone parents and pin the blame for society’s ills on them. Under the Conservatives, benefits for lone parents were often curtailed, stopped for no reason at all, and guess what? Yup – under Labour I am still going through the same thing today. The difference I have is that under a Conservative government it was difficult to get a job, with more than 300+ people applying for each job. Under Labour’s sound bite of “Education, education, education”, I went to university, fitting my children around the course work, got a degree which has left me in fifteen thousand pounds of student loan debt, and two years later I am still looking for work and being faced with upwards of 300 people applying for the same job, same as I was twenty years ago. I despise the Conservatives right-wing attitude, but at least I could have got a degree free of charge under them. To be honest, I find it hard to tell each parties policies apart because they occupy the same right-wing police state views.

Giving money to a children’s charity wouldn’t have made much difference here, since most of the donation would be swallowed up in wages of around £100,000+ each for the top executives of the major charities, and I don’t know of one other lone parent who has ever had any assistance from a charity that helps lone parents.

I could never bring myself to vote for either of those two parties. Personally, I would rather vote in the Monster Raving Loony Party (and for those outside the UK, yes, there really is a party called that! – see omrlp dot com – read the manifesto, it is brilliantly funny) because it couldn’t make the country any worse off than it is now.

JKR’s donation has left a bad taste in my mouth because she could have done so much more with it, for example by starting her own charity which would identify the most needy families (whether dual parent or lone parent) in the most deprived areas of the country. Instead, it will all go in the pockets of admin staff and advertising executives. Obviously it has been quite a while since JKR had to live on lone parent benefits, and she now wears her rose-tinted spectacles with pride. Not one penny of the money she gave to the Labour party will make the slightest bit of difference to my life, my children’s lives or the lives of other lone parents in the UK, we will all just carrying on living in submission to the whim of rhetoric and self-obsessed politicians of whichever party is in power.

Avatar Imagestevenk12468 says: J.K. Rowling is very generous, and I like how she stands up for what she believes.

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