Cash For Access
It is a sign of how much of a mess the tories are in when they have to rely on unconvicted expenses cheat Maude to defend ‘cash for access.’ In case anyone has forgotten, Maude bought a flat in London a few minutes walk from a house he already owned. He then rented out the other property (to Tory Boys apparently) and began claiming on the new flat: the taxpayer has since covered over £50,000 in mortgage interest payments. He owns several properties and is a multi-millionaire.
On the Today programme he said it was perfectly reasonable for very wealthy people to have dinners with Cameron and Osborne. He also denied that this would give the donors any special access. A small tremor was recorded across the nation as a million households cried ‘bollocks’ in unison.
John Harris, writing in the Guardian Online has this take on the scandal..
“....Questions bound up with wealth, privilege and a disquiet about Cameron and George Osborne have been building for months, were heightened by the budget and now threaten to turn critical....
....This fiasco fits so snugly into recent political events that it surely represents the perfect Conservative nightmare.
Five days after Osborne delivered the most butterfingered budget in living memory, it's worth reflecting on its ongoing aftershocks, and how neatly they fuse with the Cruddas affair. The questionable idea that the rich would somehow end up paying five times as much tax as they did pre-budget has vanished. Instead, the cut in the top rate is the prism through which every controversial aspect of the budget is now seen, from the ubiquitous granny tax, through the prospect of an extra 1.3 million paying the 40p rate, to Labour's under-reported claim that £500m has been taken out of the NHS. Note also the unsolved question of which senior Tory politicians stand to gain from the end of 50p, talked up most frantically by those two renowned wagers of the class war, the Daily Mail and the Telegraph.”
One of those probably benefitting from the 50p tax cut is of course Maude. He may well have his finances in such good order that like our estimable Chancellor he did not pay the top rate. Either way these venal creeps lose in the public opinion stakes. They are either very rich and avoiding tax or they are very rich and benefitting from a tax cut.
Cameron will eventually be forced to publish his guest list. His credibility is on the floor. He will do what he can to avoid this because he will know the embarrassment factor for him and the government will be immense. This issue goes to the heart of our democracy and will outrage many tory activists who already feel marginalised and ignored by the leadership.
As for who is on his ‘Guest List?’. How about Charlie and Rebekah Brooks? James Murdoch? Sir Philip Green?