The first rule of Tory Club is you do not talk about Tory Club. The second rule of Tory Club is you do not talk about Tory Club. The third rule of Tory Club is that if you do talk about Tory Club you will be marginalised, disowned, denied and turned into a pariah. You will also be described as a lone rogue operator (sound familiar) with aspersions cast as to your mental health.
It has not been the best of weeks for the cesspit of slime known as the Conservative party. Killing the ‘N’ in the NHS followed by rewarding the rich at the expense of pensioners, the poor and the squeezed middle. And now this...
The sting operation run by a Murdoch paper (yes, a Murdoch paper!) exposing payment for access at the top of government lifted the lid on the way corruption is endemic within our system. It is hardly a surprise when the political class are nearly all from public schools and are skilled operators of the old boy network. Who you know is more important than what you know. It is a small step to selling influence and access.
The video footage of Co-Treasurer Cruddas (what a great name for a sleazeball) offering access to Cameron and or Osborne has featured across the media this morning. The Observer pays due respect to the Sunday Times.
“Cruddas, the founder of online trading company Currency Management Consultants, is heard discussing how much access different-sized donations would get, during an undercover operation run by the Sunday Times.
In the footage, he is heard to say: "Two hundred grand to 250 is premier league … what you would get is, when we talk about your donations the first thing we want to do is get you at the Cameron/Osborne dinners.
"You do really pick up a lot of information and when you see the prime minister, you're seeing David Cameron, not the prime minister. (my italics) But within that room everything is confidential – you can ask him practically any question you want.
"If you're unhappy about something, we will listen to you and put it into the policy committee at No 10 – we feed all feedback to the policy committee." Observer 25/3/12
The remark about seeing David Cameron, not the Prime Minister is important because it means that there will be no record kept of the meeting. Nice!
The revelations contradict previous claims by the Tories that their high-value donor groups, such as the "leader's group", ‘are for genuine supporters who do not seek to influence policy in return for their cash.’ (Oh Yeah).
It costs £50,000 to have a meal with Dave or Gideon. The sort of small change out of reach of everyone but the 1% who currently rule the world.
They also raise huge questions about the honesty of the prime minister. Months before taking office, Cameron warned that this type of "secret corporate lobbying" was the "next big scandal waiting to happen". The Sunday Times claims the meetings, at which Cruddas claimed "premier league" donors could lobby the prime minister directly, have not been declared to the public. But they were not meeting the prime minister - they were meeting David Cameron - off the record. Stinky. Stinky. Stinky.
And just in case anyone thinks Labour and the LibDems are much better just remember ‘Cash for Honours’ and the convicted fraudster Brown.
The Tory Club revelations heap more fuel on the revolution bonfire.