The City’s contibution to the Conservative Party has more than doubled since David Cameron became its leader.
The latest research from the Bureau details for the first time the full extent of Square Mile donations given to the Tories. It reveals that the percentage of donations from companies and individuals connected to the financial services industry has now reached more than half.
Last year City money made up 50.8% of all Conservative Party donations, a leap from 25% five years previously, when Cameron and Osborne took over the helm.
The article points out that there is little direct evidence that donations from the city directly affects policy, but one only needs to look at the US system to see how the game works. In America, various industries and lobbying groups shower candidates with money to fund their campaigns with the explicit assumption that they will be rewared should their candidate get in. These industries and lobbyists often chuck money at the the least preferred option so that they will think about changing his or her mind if they win (just look at the money Wall St donated to Obama in 2008). The gamble almost always pays off – the more money you throw at politicians, the more likely they will be sympathetic to your interests. A good case to look at is Senator Chris Dodd’s dalliance with Countrywide Financial. Dodd received VIP loans from the company, and in return did his best not to regulate the industry he was supposed to keep in order.
The Tory Party in the UK has been historically friendly to the City, and the growing financial contributions merely symbolizes how mutually beneficial and symbiotic the relationship is. The Tories get in with the help of the City, the Tories respond by crafting pro banking legislation, and the banks come back and chuck more money at them.
It is a sad indictment of our modern political system that policies are bought, not voted for – a trend that unfortunately looks to be getting worse.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.