Tough on the City? Don't make me laugh. Half the Tories' donations come from the Square Mile, while Conservative dads buy their kids internships in City firms.
It's not like anybody needs more proof that the Tories and the City financiers are the best of friends. But in the last few days, we got two pieces of evidence - one pretty shocking, and the other simply outrageous.
That the Tories' piggy bank is much bigger than any other party's is well known. What we didn't know until last week is that more than half of the £22.5 million in donations they received last year came from City businesses and bankers - five years ago, it was just a quarter. Could the widespread feeling that the crackdown on the City is not going to happen be based on facts like these?
But it gets even better. In its relentless drive to make Britain a more equal place, the Conservative Party resorted to an extremely effective strategy: at a party in London, internships in City firms were given to the highest bidder i.e. rich dads bought their kids internships. At the Conservatives' Black and White Party in Battersea, a ticket for which cost £400, five lucrative internships were auctioned off for a total of £14,000.
This was not some kind of elaborate joke to make fun of the stereotype of privileged Tory toffs - they actually did this. It's much blunter than cronyism: you get the job not because you are able to exploit useful contacts, but simply because your family has money (the cheapest internship cost £2,000).
So let's think this through: the Conservatives, propped up by the LibDems, slash public services and decimate the welfare state, increase unemployment dramatically and cause much suffering for the poorest members of society. In order to make sure that their own kids do not have to join the dole queue, they buy them internships in the City. That is the same City that bears responsibility for the biggest economic crisis in 80 years, and that led to a huge bailout and a drastic increase in the public deficit.
And this deficit serves as the justification for slashing public services and cutting the welfare state. The absurdity of the whole thing defies belief. What would the Egyptians do?
Peter Stäuber is a freelance journalist and translator. He writes for English and German language publications and is a member of the NUJ.
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