I can now answer the question I posed earlier this week: Does Hain Do Joined-UpWriting? In the light of his confession that he has failed to register some seventeen donations worth more than £100k with the Electoral Commission, it is definitively answered in the negative. Not only that but the nature of some donations have a rank reek to them.

In this instance it is not necessary to return to the observation that I made this week in relation to US elections, that outspending your opponents is no guarantee of election, though one can be forgiven a bit of a snigger behind the bike sheds at Hain’s inability to do better than fifth out of six despite such lavish spending since its suggests that this perma-tanned arriviste (he was once a member, until 1977, of the then Liberal party, a fact curiously omitted from his web site biography) is not exactly the toast of the Comrades.

He is, though, the toast of some other intriguing people, some of whom felt it necessary to express their admiration for him and their support for his candidacy for the vanity post of Deputy Leader of the Labour Party by channelling their donations through a shadowy group called “The Progressive Policies Forum”. Guido also has a series of posts giving yet more intriguing information about the chums Mr. Hain seems to have been so coy about.

One wonders if this is the same as THE PROGRESSIVE POLICIES FORUM LIMITED Registered No. 06019490 83 WIMPOLE STREET, LONDON, W1G 9RQ which was incorporated in December 2006, not long after Hain entered the lists.

If so, it is a rum sort of limited company that is notionally set up to trade that has no obvious existence outside its company registration and registered address. Googling the name “The Progressive Policies Forum” produces the magnificent total of eleven hits, all but one of which are reports of this story and the other is an entry on a company search site. There is no website nor any other sort of internet presence which in this day and age is enough to excite interest and the question: if PPF is a bona fide think-tank, why, after a year’s existence does it have no apparent purpose or presence?

So perhaps, Mr. Hain, you might care to explain it so that we can all understand: what is “The Progressive Policies Forum”? Who is behind it? What is your relationship to it? When did you first hear of it? What work have you done for it? What work has it done for you? What research work has it done or published, period? What was the purpose of having something like £45,000 in donations (that have only just been disclosed) channeled through this body? What is the relationship of those donors who channeled money through PPF to the think-tank? If PPF is the above limited company, who are its shareholders? If you do not know, what enquries have you made to find out?

And, bearing in mind, as the Guardian reports, that you personally solicited these loans, are you really asking us to believe that you somehow forgot all about them in the meantime? And if it was due to overwork, then does that not demonstrate in your case and in that of Des Browne that the doubling up of your jobs leads to mistakes being made and was therefore a grave error of judgment by your boss?

Until those questions are answered satisfactorily, it is certainly a legitimate inference to draw that this ‘organisation’ is simply a front for concealing the politically embarrassing origins of the pile of moolah received by his campaign.

And one is bound to repeat the question: if you were unable properly to run your Deputy leadership Campaign, in particular properly to register no more than forty donations by filling in a simple form, why are you a fit and proper person to run one of the highest spending government departments?

Perhaps you can help Mr. Hain.