The Plutocratic Pandemic: How Millionaire Donors Corrupt British Democracy

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The corrosive influence of millionaire donors has become a cancerous growth on our political system, metastasizing into a very real threat to democracy itself. These shadowy human ATMs represent nothing less than the cronyism and plutocratic takeover of our parties and governance.

The latest operative to make life uncomfortable is Frank Hester, who disgracefully made racist remarks about Diane Abbott that even he cannot deny. But he is far from alone in seeking to buy political influence — the Tory fundraising circuit reeks of dodgy donors at every turn.

Look around the ballroom at one of their recent cash solicitations and you’d see a rogue’s gallery of the disgustingly rich and ethically compromised: an Egyptian billionaire who backed the autocratic regime of Hosni Mubarak; a pair of tax-dodging brother oligarchs currently being investigated by HMRC; and a Lebanese playboy who boasted to a luxury magazine about living like the corrupt Wall Street sociopaths in The Wolf of Wall Street.

And don’t dare think for a moment that the Labour Party are any better. Just last year, they hoovered up an obscene £13 million from millionaire and billionaire donors and companies. Among the entitled 1%ers lining Sir Keir Starmer’s pockets were supermarket fat cats; a hippy capitalist who owns a vegan football club; and some shadowy South African random.

The stench of this aristocratic racket is overpowering. It harkens back to the New Labour days when Peter Mandelson said that he was “intensely relaxed” about the inevitability of people becoming “filthy rich” — as long as they paid some token tax on their unearned income here and there. Those were the years when the Cash for Access and Bernie Ecclestone scandals made a mockery of democracy.

Until sweeping reforms are implemented — at the very least, strict caps on donations from individuals — it is clear that billionaires and millionaires will keep infiltrating and hijacking the machinery of both the Labour and Conservative parties to appear to distort policies for their own financial benefit.

The sad reality is that for all his sanctimonious rattling about a “New Britain” and belly-aching about Boris Johnson’s lies, Sir Keir is just as compromised and beholden to big money as Etonian Rishi Sunak. This oligarch-coddling is systemic and ingrained into the very fabric and hierarchies of British politics.

At the end of the day, the only real difference between Labour’s donors and the Tories’ is the colour of their red or blue branded merchandise. Strip away the branding some graphic designer slapped on, and you’re left with two sharply divided marketing arms of the same Established social club.

That’s why faith in our political system is plummeting to new depths each year as Britons become rightfully disaffected by big money’s stranglehold over modern British democracy. Without root-and-branch reforms to stop our parties linking themselves to the highest bidders, we are treading a slippery slope towards outright plutocracy and the death of any remaining democratic legitimacy.

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