Cash for votes – Conservatives win by millions

“British political parties received a record £40m of donations in the three months before the election, with the Conservatives bringing in more than twice as much cash as Labour.

More than half of the money was given to the Conservative party, which raised almost £25m between April and June compared with £9.5m for Labour.

The funding received beat the previous record high for a three-month period, which was set during the runup to the election in 2015, by more than £9m.

The biggest donation to the Conservatives was £1.5m from Anthony Bamford, a Conservative peer and industrialist who also helped fund the Brexit campaign. Labour’s largest sum was from Unite, the trade union, which donated £1.3m.

Other wealthy businessmen who gave more than £1m each to the Tories including John Armitage, a hedge fund manager, John Gore, a musical theatre impresario, and John Griffin, the founder of the Addison Lee taxi firm.

The Liberal Democrats raised about £4.4m, while Ukip managed to get £150,000, the Greens around £175,000, the Women’s Equality party almost £300,000 and Plaid Cymru just £5,300.”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/aug/24/uk-political-parties-received-record-40m-of-donations-before-election

One thought on “Cash for votes – Conservatives win by millions

  1. If democracy is about fairness of elections, this amply demonstrates the lengths to which the Conservatives have gone to bias general elections in their favour.

    1. The figures quoted above are only for the 3-months before the election. If you include the funds accumulated by the Conservatives in the prior 3 months, when Labour had no idea that an election was forthcoming (because the Conservatives had made it crystal clear that they were not going to call one), then the Conservatives had a war chest of more than 4x that of Labour. With that amount of money to burn on billboards, newspaper wrap-arounds, and individually-targeted social-media messages (telling people what they want to hear i.e. different and possibly contradictory stories for different people), the election is hardly likely to be a fair contest.

    (And with that amount of advertising, is it surprising that Hugo Swire didn’t feel it was necessary to get out and campaign or take part in hustings.)

    2. But even if you look at the period quoted, the Conservative party raised most of its funds from ultra-rich donors for whom their donation is really a straightforward investment, and when donated by businesses a tax-deductible one too. The Conservatives will continue to make tax cuts for the rich, whilst Labour have said they would raise taxes for the top 5%, so an investment of (say) £300k might net a billionaire a return on investment of 130% per year for the following 5 year parliament – quite possibly BY FAR the best investment any billionaire could ever make. This is why I tend to refer to Tory donors as SPONSORS – because they are paying for the Tory party to make them even richer.

    (If you doubt this, recent research shows that the top 1% of earners in the UK have more than tripled their incomes since Margaret Thatcher took power in 1979. If you need me to, I can probably find the graph.)

    3. However, the most impressive feat is that Labour managed to raise £9.5m the majority of which was given in small amounts (in the £10s rather than the £100,000s) by hundreds of thousands of individual donors who cannot claim tax relief on their donations. This is the real demonstration of democracy – real people, donating real money that they will miss, to a cause they believe in.

    If we ever get a government that is not Conservative, perhaps they would ban donations by businesses and donations of more than (say) £5k by individuals as one change will will start to realign democracy with the ordinary people for whom it exists.

    (P.S. If you feel sorry for Plaid Cymru (who only raised £5k), you can make a donation by sending a cheque to…)

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