Saturday, 17 May 2014

Tory Donations or Corruption?

The gap between the rich and the poor in our country is widening. The haves are demanding - and getting - more from their chums in the coalition government. At the same time, the have-nots are suffering as their disposable income plummets and they are paying for the austerity measures brought in to compensate for the actions of the rich. 

What has this got to do with corruption? 
A sentence in a Guardian article ‘City donors help Tories raise £6.7m this year as Labour relies on unions’ had this to say. “Much of the Tory funding came from the City, especially hedge funds, which were given a £150m tax break in last year’s budget.”  Fancy that! (my emphasis)

There is also a group known as ‘The Leader’s Group’ where members pay £50,000 a year to join Cameron and senior members of the government at dinners. Must be bloody good food at that price. Or is the ‘exclusive’ access used for other purposes? Buying influence over future policy? Getting access to lucrative government contracts? Persuading the treasury to continue talking tough on tax avoidance while simultaneously helping rich plutocrats get more of their lucre off the tax balance sheet?

How does this differ from the graft and corruption so rife in many parts of the world? Is it somehow more legitimate because it is done in closed rooms over the Eton Mess? Granted the days of the brown envelope, so beloved of that paragon of virtue, Neil Hamilton, are declining, they are not gone. The Honourable Patrick Mercer was recently caught red-handed with his snout in the trough by a sting operation. He laughably declared as he resigned that he ‘fessed up’ to his crime. He had however maintained his salary and contacts for 11 months as the Commons disciplinary process worked ridiculously slowly.  As it did for the egregious Maria Miller - and the way the club closed ranks to reduce the amount she had to pay back was a further insight into how rotten our system is. 

Britain’s richest 1% own as much wealth as the 55% of the poorest in our population have all together. The very wealthy are using sweeteners - or ‘party donations’ - to not only maintain their position, but also to ensure they enhance it in the future. Very greedy people are never satisfied with enough. They always want more. 

We cannot rely on their mates in the Tory party to rein them in. Sadly Labour are tarnished in this area too. It will take a groundswell from below to stop this fracturing of our society. It underpins everything that happens in the country.

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