He looks like a started wee laddie in the photograph doesn't he? But he's no wee laddie and I doubt if he's ever startled, at least not in his position as the biggest influence in the biggest union in the UK - that of Unite. Since March 2007 Unite has given more than £11 million to the labour party.
I'm pleased I don't live in a marginal constituency where the battle is between labour and the tories. That's where Charlie Whelan and his union are spending their time and their members' money. Unite has set up a 'virtual phone bank' to canvass people in the marginal seats urging them to vote labour. Every Thursday thousands of members volunteer to contact other members as part of a campaign known as Unite4Labour. The log in to a computer database and are given name, phone numbers and a script to read asking how the person intends to vote.
It's a strategy of 'peer to peer marketing' borrowed from Barack Obama in the US,
"You can spend billions on glossy leaflets and posters but what really matters in a modern election is convincing people," Mr Whelan says. "If you ring up from a political party then won't listen, but if you ring up from a union, and they're a member of the union, they're more likely to take notice of what you say."
Charlie Whelan, as Unite's political director, is working closely with Douglas Alexander, labour's general election co-ordinator and it would seem he's now once again a powerful figure who is in and out of No 10 and still has the ear of Mr Brown. I'm sure he has. For £11 million he could have mine too.
In Rachael Sylvester's article she states 'Superficially Mr Whelan could not be more different from Lord Ashcroft. One is a former communist, beer-loving football fan whose political hero is Che Guevara; the other is a billionaire fan of Margaret Thatcher who owns a yacht and a Victoria Cross collection.'
My description would differ because Charlie Whelan can lord it as much as Lord Ashcroft and perhaps more so. I know nothing about Lord Ashcroft but I know people who have met Mr Whelan during his fishing sojurns to Scotland and all I will say is that I'm grateful I have never had the pleasure of being in his company.
As Ms Sylvester concludes, 'If the voters in marginal seats realise who is trying to pull the strings they might be even less inclined to vote for either man's (Whelan or Ashcroft) party.
If that were to happen perhaps we'd see a real change in British politics and one for the better. It couldn't be any worse could it.