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Friday, March 22, 2019

Tory vultures circle, as UK heads for the cliff edge

In my day, anybody who aspired to leadership would need to demonstrate some gravitas, an understanding of the issues, an ability to put the best interests of the nation first, and a modicum of dignity under pressure.

And whilst a certain ruthlessness has always been a requirement, for appearances sake at least, a candidate would at least attempt to show some grace towards their opponents and the person they seek to replace, so as not to alienate their electorate.

I am not sure at what point, this job description was rewritten to turn every leadership contest into the political equivalent of a pack of wolves devouring a live sheep, but the Tory Party is at that point, and matters are starting to degenerate into the sort of bloody free-for-all that makes the Game of Thrones' Battle of the Bastards look like a Victorian tea party.

The fact is that, as the UK teeters on the edge of disaster, with a no-deal Brexit looking more and more inevitable everyday, with Theresa May standing helpless on the side lines, some of the most senior members of her party, almost all of whom are responsible for getting us into this mess in the first place, and whose subsequent ineffectiveness as Ministers compounded the problem, appear to have abandoned all pretence at acting in the national interest and are manoeuvring to succeed her instead.

This self-interested treachery is evident in the latest incarnation of the register of interests. As the Guardian reports, Boris Johnson has received another £15,000 from the pro-Brexit digger maker JCB. This is one in a mass of donations to potential Conservative leadership contenders with the expectation that Theresa May’s time in office is coming to an end:

The former foreign secretary, a likely standard bearer for pro-Brexit Tories, received £31,000 in donations in the past month, the register of MPs’ interests shows, and has been given almost £140,000 in money or other support since late last year.

Others to receive new donations in recent weeks include Dominic Raab, the former Brexit secretary who has made no secret of his leadership ambitions. He has been given more than £50,000 in cash and other donations this month alone.

In January, JCB – owned by Anthony Bamford, a Conservative peer and donor – gave Johnson £10,000 three days before he made a speech at the company’s Staffordshire headquarters, during which he repeatedly praised it.

As well as the new £15,000 from JCB, given in mid-February, Johnson accepted £16,000 from Johan Christofferson, who co-owns a New York-based investment business. He gave another £20,000 in January.

This is not all:

Raab, who already has a semi-official leadership campaign running under the slogan Ready for Raab, was given a donation worth more than £44,000 to pay for a staff member for six months, from the London-based bank Arbuthnot. He received £10,000 from another, private donor.

Other prominent Conservatives to receive donations include Amber Rudd, the work and pensions secretary, who accepted £7,500 from a private equity executive, and Michael Gove, the environment secretary, who received £3,000 from a firm of management consultants.

The set of MPs’ interests also show the Conservatives have accepted more money from the wife of one of Vladimir Putin’s former ministers, who has been a regular and generous recent donor to the party.

Lubov Chernukhin, whose husband, Vladimir, is a former Russian deputy finance minister, donated £9,500 in cash and other offerings to the Conservative MP and party chair, Brandon Lewis, in February and March. She has given more than £600,000 to the Tories in recent years.

While the UK teeters on the brink, while voters face bigger bills, job losses, and a near bankrupt country hawking a begging bowl around the world's super-powers in the hope of some sort of trade deal, some of our leading politicians are more focussed on succeeding Theresa May rather than getting us out of this mess.
the Conservatives have accepted more money from the wife of one of Vladimir Putin’s former ministers
Johnson accepted £16,000 from Johan Christofferson, who co-owns a New York-based investment business. He gave another £20,000 in January.
am I right in thinking that the equivalent donations would be illegal under US federal law?

Money for Tory vultures all wanting to enrich themselves for their own vested interests. LIB DEMS mostly obtain money from members and some donors not to elect vultures but to try to make things better. People should realise that we are not in it for ourselves but for others to make things better.
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