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‘Come dine with Cameron’ scandal

David Cameron must have hoped that the commotion over a threatened tanker drivers’ strike would take the heat off the latest Tory sleaze scandal. Well, he was wrong. In fact, Francis Maude’s dreadful attempt to invoke the spirit of the blitz by telling everyone to fill up jerry cans with petrol only resulted in a woman suffering acute burns. Writes KD Tait.

While media headlines have focused on ‘Pastygate’ (George Osborne’s decision to slap a VAT levy on Gregg’s pasties, among other foddstuffs), the real news was the resignation of the Tory Party treasurer, in the doghouse after being caught peddling influence on government policy in a Sunday Times sting. Whether this was revenge for the Tories’ Leveson inquiry into phone hacking or not, it has exposed corruption at the highest level of government.
For just £250,000 Tory party treasurer Peter Cruddas claimed to get donors into the “Premier League” with personal access to Cameron and Osborne – and privileged access to the No. 10 policy unit.
Many donors have gone to ground, afraid of having their influence over the millionaires’ government dragged into the open. The Tory spin-doctors went into overdrive, claiming that donors had no influence over government policy, and sacrificed Cruddas, who was forced to resign.
Contrast this with the reaction of the Tories’ big business backers, who insist they should be congratulated for funding a party whose policies they support. They claim the Coalition limits their influence.
But a cursory glance across at their Coalition partners suggests this is not the case. The majority of the Liberal Democrats’ own funding comes from giant private healthcare companies. If anyone was wondering why the Lib Dems were so keen to privatise the NHS, this might provide a clue.

Budget robbery
The Tories’ strategy to limit the impact of this latest sleaze scandal seems to be to treat voters like idiots by claiming that party donations have no impact on policy.
But if these businesses and millionaires weren’t getting something out of government policies, then why would they be pumping so much into these parties?
The answer is that the mega-rich are working hand-in-glove with the Tories to make sure that working class people pay for the economic crisis caused by the bankers, bosses and speculators – in fact themselves and their cronies.
These ‘exclusive’ diners are the same people Osborne just gave a massive tax cut to, despite the fact that they already manage to dodge £120 billion a year in tax. Just in case a few tax loopholes are closed for these parasites, Osborne also cut corporation tax from 26 to 22 per cent over the next three years.
The Coalition tries to claim that lowering the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p on salaries over £150,000 is balanced out by raising personal tax allowances by £1,100. This is a con, as even the bosses’ rag the Daily Telegraph points out:
“A senior lawyer, banker or GP earning £250,000 a year will be no less than £5,000 a year better off as a result of Osborne’s tax cut; an investment banker on £500,000 will be more than £15,000 to the good. By contrast, a basic rate taxpayer gains barely an extra £200 a year as a result of the meagre increase in the personal allowance.”
And this was written before the so-called “granny tax” scandal broke. Hidden away in the budget was the removal of age-related personal allowances, meaning around 5 million pensioners will lose £325 a year. Ironically, the figure almost matches the amount given away to the rich by millionaire chancellor Osborne.

A matter of class
The Tories’ union-baiting attack dog Maude called on Labour to agree to a £50,000 cap for party donations. As this wouldn’t just count for individuals but also unions, it is unlikely Labour would agree – and why should they?
The Tories are the party of big business and the rich. They can rely on the super-rich parasites to bung them a million now and then. Workers – who make up the majority of society – can only fund a party by pooling their money through unions and political associations.
We know sections of society fund political parties in order to fight for a certain set of policies. This isn’t corruption. If you want society-wide change, you need a political party to fight for those policies.
With a dozen or so millionaires in the cabinet, we all know who funds the Tories and that’s why they’ve always been – and always will be – the party of the rich, by the rich and for the rich.
To combat that we need a party that fights equally hard for the interests of the working class. This is why Unite and the other trade unions should stop throwing good money after bad and use their political funds to launch a new party – a revolutionary socialist party.

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