Neil Stephenson is CEO of Onyx Group, a Newcastle-based IT firm.
I wonder if they realise how businesspeople like me feel when we read about the chairmen of wealthy Home Counties Associations blackmailing the party with threatened funding-strikes and carpeting the Tory Chairman in closed-door meetings? Or news that a group of the best-connected Conservative donors are using their influence on the Conservative party to kill off a once-in-a-lifetime infrastructure project of national economic significance, partly because they have properties nearby the proposed railway line? Or that Conservative donors are drawing up plans to use their considerable wealth to thwart the will of Parliament by employing expensive QCs to sabotage through judicial review an election commitment by all three major parties?
To those of us trying to create jobs in difficult circumstances in the North of England, it seems tasteless in the extreme and reinforces many negative stereotypes about the Conservative Party. It serves to reinforce the impression that the Conservative Party has no time for anything outside of the stockbroker and banking fraternity around the Home Counties. That it has given up any hope of rebuilding its support outside the Blue-and-Yellow heartlands – an impression reinforced during recent by-elections – and only has time for schemes like Crossrail and the Olympics that help marginal seats in the South. That there is no appreciation for how tough life is for those living outside the gilded world of the Midsomers villages, City money and K&C. And certainly no inclination to share the wealth.