Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Very, very disappointed

Sir Tom Cowie has delivered a broadside against the Cameron leadership and also decided that the Tory party should no longer benefit from his wealth. As a man who has given £630,000 to the party over the past few years - including £500,000 towards the last general election campaign - that can't be good news. His parting shots really hit home:
The Tory party seems to be run now by Old Etonians and they don't seem to understand how other people live. They seem to be very arrogant like I suppose Old Etonians can be. They certainly don't understand about grammar schools.
Just how out of touch do you have to be for a multi-millionaire to criticise you for lack of understanding? The shift was brought about by the poor decisions that have characterised the recent weeks of Cameron's 'leadership.'

Always, follow the money and John Kampfner reminds us of why, despite their current fumbling ball-skills, we still need to worry about the Tories. Cowie was only part of their money-machine that's giving them a massive advantage in targetting the marginals that will be the electoral battleground come the next election.
The man Labour most fears is not Cameron but Michael Ashcroft. In April, the New Statesman reported figures that should send a chill down Labour spines. Of the 36 Tory gains last time around, 24 had been targeted by a consortium of high-value donors coordinated by Ashcroft, who is not only chief fundraiser but also party deputy chairman with special responsibility for target seats. And, as every election observer knows, elections are won and lost by a democratically unrepresentative number of floating voters in a small number of constituencies.
It would not take a large swing for many of these seats to change hands. The Conservatives have quietly been pouring money into them. Much of their work is below the radar - telephone and online canvassing.

Remember the Midlands Industrial Council, which funnelled money from anonymous donors into supporting key seats locally? That's how it works. The battle for the next election will be a ground war in a small number of seats, with the national fight almost a secondary issue.

While we're talking about funding, today's the day that UKIP find out if the courts will insist upon them forfeiting an illegal donation - something that Nigel Farage bombastically blamed on an administrative error (UKIP failed to check that a donor was actually on the electoral roll). You'll be next, Ming...

1 comment:

Praguetory said...

UKIP exonerated by the High Court. I hope the Electoral Commission takes it on the chin.