Auctioning off politicians isn’t a joke. It’s corruption
Maybe I'm naive. Maybe selling off politicians to the highest bidder is just something that happens now and we should all just laugh it up.
Perhaps I should join in by rolling my eyes and chuckling about anonymous donors paying to eat chicken with Michael Gove, or buy shoes with Theresa May.
But I can't. You see to me the idea of government ministers being put on sale to the highest bidder isn't amusing. It's a disgrace.
It's a disgrace that government ministers are listed in a brochure, then bought and sold on the open market. It's a disgrace that we are not even told the names of the donors who have bought them. It's a disgrace that this continues without the barest whiff of protest from the rest of us.
Is it me @Aiannucci or does 'Shoe Shopping with Theresa May' and 'Iron Man Challenge with IDS' sound like Alan Partridge pitches?
— John Prescott (@johnprescott) February 11, 2015
— Jim Waterson (@jimwaterson) February 10, 2015
— London24 (@london24) February 10, 2015
It is a feature of British politics that the smallest scandals get the most attention, while the biggest scandals go largely unnoticed. So a single tweet of a house sent by a Labour MP becomes a resignation issue, while widespread cash for access continues year after year, without anyone lifting a finger.
In many ways it's understandable that we've grown immune to this. After decades of cash for access scandals, we understand that British politics is up for sale and we have just grown to accept it.
Much of the blame for this lies with the opposition, who last night held their own fundraising gala in London. Just like the Tories, Labour donors paid upwards of £15,000 for a table. Just like the Tories, we won't be told who attended.
But big money donors paying to play football with shadow ministers isn't funny. Anonymous financiers buying access to senior government figures isn't a joke.
It's corruption. And rather than laughing about it we should all get very angry. The fact that we're not is almost as worrying in itself.