Cameron dodged the Government statement today which has him at the centre of the scandal, and put up Francis Maude instead to take the flak. But he can’t run away for long. There are several unanswered questions which go to the heart of the money for access scandal, and they all involve Cameron and seriously call in question his judgement as Prime Minister. Did he breach the Code of Conduct which inter alia forbids the use of Government property for party fundraising and prohibits the taking of donations from non-UK citizens abroad? Why is he resisting an independent public inquiry into the whole murky affair and trying to fob off critics with an internal Tory party review? How many private dinners have there been with the PM or Chancellor since the election which involved fund-raising and have never been reported, either what was discussed or the level of funding raised?
But above all the scandal revolves round the luring of huge donations in order to gain inner access at the top to influence over policy. Cruddas, the Tory co-treasurer whose ego and bumptiousness betrayed the whole exercise, boasted that people who paid a quarter million to get into the ‘premier league’ were at liberty to “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”. This immediately raises questions whether this secret inner network with a price ticket of £250,000 were behind the decision in the last few weeks to cut the 50% tax rate, and also perhaps behind the sudden about-turn on re-opening the option of a 3rd runway at Heathrow?
Of course none of this is going to get very far if Cameron succeeds in heading off an open independent inquiry. It would then degenerate into an internal review by the Conservative party, of the Conservative party, for the Conservative party.But it’s unlikely he would get away with it. This matter really goes to the heart of the issue of power in a democracy. If the hyper rich can suborn the democratic process by secret access to the levers of policy, what is the point of elections? How can the 99% prevent an effective takeover by the plutocracy, unaccountable, out of sight, out of control? What is really worrying is that the whole point about elected politicians is that they’re meant to hold the ring in the public interest between competing sources of power, yet here they have been found out getting into bed with the most dangerous source of all – unbridled wealth and corporate power.