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And having prices for particular levels of influence makes the Tories different from Labour...how?

Folk on NHS pensions cant run to club 2000, sadly, sounds fun. CCHQ will have to make to with a donation from me!

If only I had a spare 5 grand. If I did, I doubt I would donate it to the black hole of CCHQ. I would prefer to send it to my local association or a thinktank.

I wonder if all those candidates who have been told they arent on the A list will be digging deep - or alternatively how geneerous some of those new A listers will be??

I wish I was in the financial position to make such large donations.However I await with baited breath to see the outcome of the State funding discussions.If it's approved what would be the point of any individual making any donations (except through their taxes) whatsoever?

I must admit it does seem rather like we ourselves are selling influence. The truth however is that anyone on any level of the membership is able to meet people high up in the party provided you can drop everything and get into London at a moments notice. I can't afford the clubs alas, then again I can't afford to attend any of my associations fancy summer events!

*reaches for chequebook*

Tim, check out the back of the envelope ;)
"Printed entirely on paper sourced from sustainable forests. We support solutions to environmental problems, making life better for everyone."
Looks like DC definitely listened at the Built to last roadshow in Hammersmith!

The Entrepreneurs Forum about fighting "excessive taxation" is a good one...you have to pay to bring up your concerns about high taxation. Heres a suggestion...give your money to the Taxpayer Alliance instead.

Whats even funnier is the fact they use the term Forum at all in describing these...the Party Leadership couldnt care much about its own Conservative Policy Forum...the CPF can help build party policy and will make Associations feel like they have a say. Cameron may not like what I say but when I say this I speak the Gospel...the CPF is a useful tool that will create party unity. Use it!

I've always considered those clubs and forums to be for Hyacinth Bucket type characters who want to impress their friends by saying they have lunched with the shadow cabinet. They serve their purpose but not for me. I bet shadow cabinet members dread them as well. Having to look like they are taking notice of what club members are saying.

You get more bang for your buck if you donate to well run local associations, campaigns, think-tanks or activists groups...

Sorry but this is little more than money for influence. What a disgusting way to do business. Please, no more criticisms of Labour funding methods.

"Printed entirely on optimism sourced from unsustainable forecasts"


I think in this instance Donal is right. If money was no object it would be great to join all those interesting discussion groups. For many - money is an object and what is going to do more to spread the Conservative message - £10 for Tims site or similar or £10 into a central fund which you aren't really sure what the money is spent on.

Now - having said that - elections are expensive things - and the party is right to want small amounts of many people rather than massive amounts of a few.

Right, but it's not quite selling a signed copy of the Hutton report.

No, its selling influence for donations! We give Labour a hard time because they were giving titles away for money, and yet we are playing (what the tabloids will say) the same game. We are just telling people how much itll cost. Is this truly how far political honesty goes?

You get to bore uninterested shadow cabinet members Cornstock. Hardly the same as buying a peerage.

"Right, but it's not quite selling a signed copy of the Hutton report"

No, and I'm not defending that either. But the purchaser of the Hutton report wouldn't have had any influence, or even contact with party figures. This may be less distasteful, but it is ultimatley more corrupt.

I'm begining to think state funding may be the least worst option..........

James M - All political parties have clubs of donors who get to share a stale croissant in some Thistle Hotel with uninterested members of the shadow cabinet / government.

The people concerned hope to influence policy. This shouldn't be confused with a secret funding operation run out of Downing Street where the Chairman of the Labour Party is persuaded to sign papers declaring there is no financial link. This is done openly and under public scrutiny. It is simply trying to appeal to the vain. I will send a donation to CCO as I want some of my money to go to parts of the country not represented by tories at every level.

I wish you'd cut out the 'We' bit as well. You're not a Conservative remember, you're going to oppose us at the next local elections.

Well for those not wanting to donate directly to the party (though I think its important) Im sure ConservativeHome, the Taxpayers alliance and even good old Tory Radio wouldnt say no to a donation :o)

Unfortunately in the case of Tory Radio - you get to influence no one of concern.. though you would get a lovely Vote Blair Out wristband.

As a treasuer of a local association, I can recommend this as a good route of donating money (although make sure they spend it).

Afraid I have better things to spend 2-5k on. It would be better if the Party took advice from Tory teachers/health workers instead. I W Hague's day there was a lot of goodwill to him and Theresa May from the Chalkface but they squandered it. The Party has never taken public services seriously since.

"Afraid I have better things to spend 2-5k on. It would be better if the Party took advice from Tory teachers/health workers instead"

Indeed. Leaving aside party rivalry for a moment, what the hell hope have the rest of us got of a government (of either colour) that listens to the 'common man'(or woman), be they working class Tory or Labour, when the whole system is so stacked in favour of wealth and privilege?? The people who need political help the most are take for granted by Labour, and ignored by the Tories (because they mostly live in safe Labour seats) and getting involved in politics costs them one or two months salary!!

Rant over-phew!

kingbongo, you are wrong.

I really don't have a problem with that at all. If we were saying "£10k and you can give us a shopping list of things you want achieved and we'll commit to them," it would be different, but this is just access. I'm not at all bothered that all parties do this. It's not ideal, but hardly a loan for a peerage.

There should also be regional/area things, say with £100-£200 price tags. These sums are a lot of money.

Cash for access to events where you can hob-nob with the party's leading lights - hurrah! Chequebook democracy is alive and kicking!

I think it is a fair comment re where these things take place . Unfortunately politics is very much London based. I am lucky as the day job takes me to Westminster quite a bit - but if it didn't and EVEN if I had a spare £2000 I really would struggle to get to any regular London events.

The letter does give options of donating what you can. What I would say is look at the interaction you get with MPs and Shadow Ministers on this site - and its free.

Hmmm, so I take it that people such as myself that can't afford a few grand don't have the opportunity to help decide the future of the party? Good ideas don't come from super rich people - they come from intelligent people, maybe the party should try to realise this. The party are trying to pander to ordinary people; surely they should start by allowing ordinary people to contribute.
And if I were able to afford these membership fees, why on Earth would I want to go to London all the time? It's a 4 hour journey each way for me to get down there. Surely events should happen in the North, the place where they need to appeal to if we're going to win the next general election.

In the interests of free-market economics:

*** for a mere £1,000 *** you can buy me a drink any time and discuss whatever you like

*** for a derisory £4,000 *** you can join my Property Forum and have dinner with me and talk about house prices

*** for a bargain £25 *** I promise you'll never see me again and I shan't send you any more begging letters

Oh - and whatever happened to the "Number 10 Club"?

If the party wants good ideas I'd like to point them to http://www.civitas.org.uk/ and http://www.mises.org

David Cameron is clearly attempting to appear as a diplomat to the populace. I don't oppose this, however, I would quote a piece of graffiti/wisdom which appeared on the wall of President Putin's press group during a recent BBC2 documentary. It said, "Diplomacy is the ability to tell a person to go to hell in such a way that he looks forward to the journey." May be Dave should apply 'tough love' to some of those closest to him?

This thread is unbelievable. Some of those that have posted here were also critical of the Party agreeing to support public funding of political parties on another thread, arguing that the Party should seek the support of its own support base to survive. Now that the Party is trying to do this - you criticise it!!! Why?

What CCO is trying to do is simply leverage existing business interest in political risk management into an opportunity to keep the show going. If it's in the rules and in reasonable taste (unlike Labour), where's the problem?

Arguing that it's all about the Associations and how well resourced they are, or should be, ignores the reality that modern party political combat is expensive, slick, and a bit spivvy. Desirable? No. The raw, upfront reality? Yes. Get used to it.

Reading some people on this site, you'd think campaigning was supposed to happen only in some sort of political nirvana where campaigning was done on the cheap, and was all about dull PPBs, even-duller manifestos, and wearing poncy rosettes and going to fetes. Saying in response "it should be" completely ignores reality. Welcome to 2006.

I agree with Donal's 17:26 post. £20 buys paper for an effective IN TOUCH local newsletter campaign.

I see nothing wrong with the party appealing for money to its supporters. At the same time much of the money spent on election campaigns is wasted, for example the billboards. Even if they cut back on it they still need a lot of money for central campaigning. I dislike state funding so the only alternative is funding by members.

Alexander - what you have to remember is that many of the posters on this site are not Conservatives, so it's hardly surprising that they take every opportunity to criticise the party.

That's one of the reasons why this site is so dangerous - it's called ConservativeHome yet it's overrun by those who want to cause the party harm.

I completely agree with Cameron's approach on this.

It is far more honest than seeking to force people to pay for political parties bloated expenses through state funding of political parties.

So what if someone wants to pay to have lunch with a shadow cabinet member? They will be choosing how to spend their money, not being forced to by law.

Conservatives are much more honest about funding that the thoroughly dishonest Labour party. State funding stinks, this approach does not.

I guess my previous comments were a bit strong, and my message didn't come out very clearly. My point was that it seems the Party thinks that good ideas come from those who can afford to pay the money. I have a wealth of ideas (whether they're good or bad I don't know). I was also concerned about the fact that these membership groups seem to be London-based. It's all well and good considering it's a centre of UK and world business, but it's quite a remote place when you're a Northerner. I personally think it would do the Party a world of good to move one or two of them further north, or out of London at least.
I dont agree with public funding of political parties, and I applaud the fact that the Party seems to be actively encouraging members to donate in this way. It was a well-presented leaflet that I hope will work well.

Who is "many", David?

"it's called ConservativeHome yets its overrun by..etc

Hmmm. Well I support these proposals and am a conservative (I'm even standing as one) but I also often criticse Cameron. Where does that leave me, apart from confused?

I must admit I was smiling at the diatribes above complaining about differentiated outcomes in a hierarchical membership system. This is the Tory party remember? Not some demented Marxist sect. We want: lots of small-ish, significant donations. They (the people who'll be supporters or members but less likely to stuff and deliver leaflets) want something back for their money. Why the hell not?

I am also agnostic about this purity line about how it's better to join locally than nationally (hastening to add that I donate to both). When I was a local member only I was constantly frustrated at not getting information passed on through the non-functioning exec committee. Since I switched to be a national member, I get all the invites and info and stuff on time. So I think if you've got a crap run assoc, don't for god's sake join locally, you'll never hear from them again.

I would only pay to attend a function, as long as I get a firm assurance, I will not be seated next to Michael Fabricant.

I don't see what the problem is. Of course money buys you access and influence in the Tory tradition. That's the whole point.

Tories can't be accused of hypocrisy over this, it's just a straightforward example of Conversative policy. It's exactly the same as money being the determining factor for access to education, the best health care, transport and the arts under a Tory government.

As Ive said in the past, even if thats not what the truth is, the papers will pick up on it eventually. Perception is more important than reality...as Cameron well knows. Telling people that if they pay a certain amount of money, they can have a private meeting with Shadow Cabinet members, it stinks of paying for influence.

I am irked at the increasing frquency of CCO's direct appeals to our members for cash. They have a limited amount of cash and CCO can always afford the glossier literature and appeals from the leader etc. which, no doubt, get a better response than, for example, a letter from the association chairman.

At the same time, associations are expected to fund local and general election campaigns (we are a key parliamentary target seat and all our council seats require fully funded campaigns 3 years out of 4) AND make a donation to the centre. I intend to propose to my exec. that we find out how much money the appeal raised from our assoc. and deduct that sum from our quota payment this year. I will also forward every letter from a member who refuses to buy summer draw tickets this year on the basis that they contributed to this appeal, to the party chairman.

CCO is the only part of the party structure that can raise large quantities of money from sources other than the members. Why not direct mail non-members using their much vaunted (and expensive) life-style data base thingy (the name of which I forget)?

Voter Vault I believe it was called...either that or Blue Chip...

Voter Vault! That's the thingy!

Why not make use of that as a funding tool. Assocs. have no access to it and it ought surely to provide some 'value added' fundraising rather than fishing in the same over-fished pond as associations?

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