Who runs the Tory party – Cameron or his rich donors?

Comparing the funding of the Tories by one rich man to Labour's contributions from the unions whose funding comes from the contributions its 2 million members.

The latest string of revelations from prominent Tories, Howard Flight and Lord “never had it so good” Young, only serve to highlight the differences between a party funded by the large donations of a few rich men and a party whose funding is made up of the contributions of thousands of ordinary working people, via the unions.

As Rob Carr points out in his blog, the disparity between four union’s (Unite, Unison, USDAW and CWU) donations to Labour – unions representing almost 2 million members in total – and one single donor, David Rowland, contributing a personal donation of more than £1 million to the Conservatives is stark.

By comparison, if you divide the £1.9m of union donations by the 1,998,000 members they represent, it works out at approximately 95p per person.

The fact that places like ConservativeHome can blithely peddle the argument that Ed Milliband is somehow less accountable because he is beholden to the unions, diverse organisations, accountable to the views of their hundreds of thousands of members, is perplexing to say the least.

Howard Flight’s comments are a case in point, his view seems to be that there is something objectionable to any policy which would encourage the poor to “breed” and prevent the somehow more worthy middle classes to add to their progeny.

Putting the distasteful use of the word “breeding” aside, these comments highlight a party committed to the world views of their rich members, rather than a variety of people unions represent. As has already been much discussed, Lord Young’s startling revelations similarly show the lack of understanding of how the majority of people in this country face life’s daily challenges people within the Tory party.

Tory party chair Baroness Warsi recently said “Ed Miliband needs to make clear who is running his party – him or the trade unions” – yet, in light of the latest donation figures, the real question must be who runs the Tory party: Mr Cameron or his cabal of rich (mainly male) donors?

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.