A blog for the socially and politically conscious, written by a young, gay activist who strongly believes in equality and justice.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Not just unfortunate coincidences for Tories

In the race to accumulate the millions which it seems that political parties now need in order to get elected, it would appear that the Tories are far outstripping the Labour Party. And it isn't much of a surprise to learn that their donors are rather a different bunch to those supporting Labour, which gets the bulk of its cash from the two giant unions Unison and Unite. It takes a bit of work but, if you can bear to sit in front of a computer for a few hours, some careful searches are quite revealing about the lucky old Tories. At first glance, the list of Tory donors contains, as you might expect, quite a few hefty donations from companies totting up to around £1.5 million. But, as you might not expect, the vast majority of the donations, some of them extremely substantial and running into tens or, in one or two cases, hundreds of thousands of pounds, come from individuals. In fact, as you browse through the list, you start to wonder just where all these incredibly wealthy individuals come from.
These are, after all, people who can afford to give away thousands with no expectation of gain from it. Or are they? Turn to the wonders of the web and Google a few of those names when you have the time. And what you will find is that a huge number of these so-called individual donations are from hedge fund managers, high-level bankers, wealth fund directors, private equity company executives, property speculators, emerging markets brokers and the like. The list seems almost endless. It is leavened with some of the usual suspects that you would expect to be on it, of course. At least one high-level Migrationwatch associate, a few Tory academics and the odd decaying Tory aristocrat, but in the main the connections to the City dominate the roll call. So now we know what all those bankers do with the dirty great bonuses that they are being paid out of taxpayers' cash and the huge profits that they reaped and are still reaping from the unprincipled and reckless speculations that nearly brought the economy to its knees. They give a rake-off to the Tory Party.

It's an informal rake-off, of course and, being informal, is strictly speaking legal. But the ethics of this link-up are another thing altogether. Ethically, the whole mess stinks of something rotten. It is the pay-off that the Tories receive for being the voice of the City in Parliament. Which, of course, makes it all the more ludicrous for new Labour to claim to be on good terms with big business and to be the natural party of business. In fact they are just a load of mugs, being taken for a ride by financiers who they fawn over but who are quietly sliding the knife in new Labour's back while, at the same time, happily trousering public aid. And that isn't the worst of it. The Tories also appear to be taking money from Poju Zabludowicz, a man who has invested rather a lot of the cash he inherited from his father's arms company in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Mr Zabludowicz heads the British Israel Communication and Research Centre or Bicom which is one of the slickest lobbying organisations in the country, pressing the Israeli case for its illegal war on the Palestinian people on members of the British government.

And, as such, it is hardly appropriate for the Tory party, which expects to be in government soon, to be taking money from him. Not that I would suggest that Mr Cameron and his Tories would take money for political favours. The fact that the Tories are supported by bankers, speculators, hedge fund managers and pro-Israeli lobbyists is just an unfortunate coincidence. Isn't it?

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