David Cameron under pressure over ‘cash for access’ claims

David Cameron by Remy SteineggerDavid Cameron by Remy Steinegger

Another government, another scandal; all that changes is the faces.

Now we have a fund raiser telling potential donors that they could buy access to policy makers, not just any old politician but into the bowels of Number Ten and the Prime Minister himself.

The ex co-treasurer of the Tory party, John Cruddas, resigned immediately after footage of him apparently offering to give access to the PM to undercover reporters.

Cameron has promised a full party enquiry and Labour has unsurprisingly called for an independent inquiry into the ‘incredibly serious’ claims about being a Tory donor.

To try and head off further problems at the pass, David Cameron has accelerated the cross–party political party funding talks and given it the heavyweights Francis Maude and Andrew Feldman according to Paul Goodman in torydiary.

A hundred grand is not premier league” Cruddas told the undercover reporters “Two hundred grand … two fifty is premier league”. And then talked about putting anything the donors were unhappy about into the “policy committee at Number Ten”.

This may not come as much of a surprise to many. After all, whatever the colour of the party, why are rich people and unions alike giving so much money away if they don’t expect something in return you may ask.

But what should worry us is how many people has this sort of thing been said to over the decades? How many decisions and policies have been made for the donors’ benefit and to the detriment of the rest of us? And even more worrying, these people will be giving money based on track records. They will know other people who have given money so will be in a real position to judge whether it was worth their while to do so.

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What will happen now though is potentially just as damaging to democracy. Under some proposals for reform the tax payer will start to pick up the tab for party political funding. You will have no choice.

But which organisations qualify for funding? They would have to be approved, but by whom? Would the top two or three parties get equal funding? Would the BNP for example get funding? Just because some people think some parties are distasteful it does not make them non-legitimate politically.

Just think how easy it would be to shut down ‘unacceptable’ parties. Outlaw funding and only allow ‘approved’ parties to get money and TV time etc. That would make forming a new party very hard.

The Lib/Lab/Con dynasty would last forever on that basis. And just think who would be voting these new laws through; political self-preservation in action.

David Cameron by Remy Steinegger

David Cameron by Remy Steinegger

Image by World Economic Forum, swiss-image.ch/Photo by Remy Steinegger. [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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