David Miliband steams ahead in donations race

Blur drummer and Lord Sainsbury help ex-foreign secretary amass £185,000 in donations.

The Labour leadership race may still be too close to call, but when it comes to donations, David Miliband is streets ahead of his rivals.

Figures released by the Electoral Commission today show that Miliband Sr raked in an impressive £185,000 in June, with Ed Balls trailing on £28,000 (he picked up £15K from the novelist Ken Follett) and Ed Miliband in third place on £15,000. Andy Burnham and Diane Abbott didn't receive any donations over the £1,500 declaration threshold.

Miliband's war chest includes £20,000 from the top Labour donor, Lord Sainsbury (plus £11,188 for office use), £10,000 each from the film-maker David Puttnam and the IT mogul Parry Mitchell, and £6,000 from the Blur drummer, Dave Rowntree. And there's more -- his reported total excludes 94 smaller donations under the £1,500 threshold.

Miliband's fundraising powers help him in two ways. Not only do they allow him to run a well-resourced campaign, they also suggest that, if elected, he could attract and retain the sort of big-money, big-charisma donors Labour has conspicuously lacked in recent years.

In a nod to his Marxist roots, Miliband has pledged to contribute one-third of his donations to a "fighting fund to help Labour win seats back at the next election". It's the sort of smart gesture that shows he is much more than the Blairite clone of popular imagination.

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George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Quiz: Can you identify fake news?

The furore around "fake" news shows no sign of abating. Can you spot what's real and what's not?

Hillary Clinton has spoken out today to warn about the fake news epidemic sweeping the world. Clinton went as far as to say that "lives are at risk" from fake news, the day after Pope Francis compared reading fake news to eating poop. (Side note: with real news like that, who needs the fake stuff?)

The sweeping distrust in fake news has caused some confusion, however, as many are unsure about how to actually tell the reals and the fakes apart. Short from seeing whether the logo will scratch off and asking the man from the market where he got it from, how can you really identify fake news? Take our test to see whether you have all the answers.

 

 

In all seriousness, many claim that identifying fake news is a simple matter of checking the source and disbelieving anything "too good to be true". Unfortunately, however, fake news outlets post real stories too, and real news outlets often slip up and publish the fakes. Use fact-checking websites like Snopes to really get to the bottom of a story, and always do a quick Google before you share anything. 

Amelia Tait is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman.