Nothing quite says, “Austerity, we’re all in it together” like a Tory fundraising dinner where multi-millionaires bid hundreds of thousands of pounds for skiing holidays and evenings with Boris Johnson.
The Conservative Party, plumbing new depths of insensitivity and sheer bare-faced gall, did just that at last night’s Black and White fundraising gala.
The event, held at the five-star Grosvenor Hotel in Mayfair, was attended by the Prime Minister and dozens of Conservative donors who reportedly paid up to £15,000 for a table, at which they were able to bid for lots such as a beach holiday in Barbados or dinner with Michael Gove.
The guests, who included Lycamobile founder Subaskaran Allirajah and lapdancing club owner Peter Stringfellow, reportedly paid sums up to £220,000 for a week-long stay in a 17th century fortress in Spain and £210,000 for a bronze statue of Margaret Thatcher. But they were seemingly unfazed by the earth-shattering scale of the hypocrisy involved in the event during a time of supposed austerity.
When asked the obvious question about the “A-word”, as Tory party donors like to call it, one guest told journalists: ““At the end of the day, it’s businesses who are going to get the economy back on its feet. That’s where all the money comes from for the NHS, for schools, for education. The money comes from taxes and taxes are paid by businesses.” This is a statement which, given the recent headlines about corporate tax evasion, was about as well-timed as when the guy in Jaws 2 said he was pretty sure it was safe to go back in the water.
As if to showcase the finger-off-the-pulse callousness of the night, the auction lots themselves glinted with a sheen of elitism while, at the same time, giving putting the final nail in the coffin on the supposed Tory concerns over poverty and the environment.
Lots included a five-night break in Santorini via private jet, and the latest gas-guzzling Subaru 4x4. You could even buy your very own JCB digger (I kid you not) so you can personally tear up areas of green belt before retiring to your country home to dig your own moat.
Another lot that amply illustrated Tory donor pastimes was a day spent shooting peasants with eight double guns. Sorry, I misread that – it was pheasant shooting. Pheasant.
In a bid, as it were, to shame themselves even further, the Tory party politicians outdid even these preposterous gifts by actually managing to sell themselves. Among the prizes were a chance to have tea with Boris Johnson while he would “enlighten and delight” you with talk about his latest book; or a “hearty weeknight roast chicken dinner” with Michael Gove and his wife.
And it doesn’t end there. You could go on a 10km “iron man” run with Ian Duncan Smith where you would negotiate obstacles like hedges, ditches and groups of clinging benefit scroungers.
Finally there was the opportunity to go shoe shopping with Theresa May – no you are not dreaming, this is really happening – where you would get to enjoy tea with the longest-serving home secretary for 50 years before “agreeing on what will best suit your wardrobe,” which, presumably, will be blue.
Alternatively you could have George Osborne dance for you in vulcanised rubber hot pants, like the recurring dream scene in Alan Partridge. Okay, I made that one up, but for the right price, honestly, who knows?
I can only say, wow. Wow. How do even the Tory party beat that in a time when they’re pushing austerity down everyone else’s throats?
Actually they have a plan to do just that. If they win the next general election there will be an even bigger auction in which the remains of our education and healthcare systems will be sold off to the highest bidders. And I’m sure they’ll throw in tea with Boris Johnson if you ask nicely enough.
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