THE VIEW FROM HEREVERY disturbing revelations, was Ed Miliband’s verdict on the undercover filming of Peter Cruddas explaining what a potential Tory donor might get for his money.
Mr Cruddas resigned as co-treasurer after publication of the footage, in which he said a donation of £250,000 gave "premier league access" to party leaders, including private dinners with Mr Cameron and chancellor George Osborne.
Very disturbing? I should jolly well think so.
By far the most disturbing aspect was, of course, the news the Tory party had employed a man called Cruddas to look after their piggy bank.
Cruddas? We won’t go into the images conjured up by this horrible name but, suffice it to say, if Mr Cameron couldn’t foresee the disaster that would surely follow this appointment, then he has no business being prime minister.
Anyway, on to the other disturbances in these revelations. Mr Cruddas (I apologise for repeating his name but he’s an essential player in this story) seemed to think the potential donor would be eager to cough up £250,000 in return for having dinner with Messrs Cameron and Osborne and possibly influencing Number 10’s policy committee.
The reason why this story is so outrageous is not that Mr Cruddas was offering a fabulous return for £250,000 but the rewards were so measly.
If he’d waved a couple of tickets to the Cannes Film Festival (first-class flights, luxury hotel and dinner with Brad and Angelina included) we might be talking turkey here.
But dinner with Cameron and Osborne? What kind of a yawnsville experience is that?
Hooray-Henry reminiscences about their Bullingdon Club japes and little George trying to add up his sums on his napkin? And according to Francis Maude, these rewards, if they happen at all, tend to be "kitchen suppers".
What was Cruddas thinking of? You’ve just stumped up £250,000 and in return you get spag bol with a couple of middle-aged poshos in some pokey little kitchen, allowed not so much as a glimpse of any of the fabulous state rooms in Downing Street.
Dave and George will just take the moolah and boot you upstairs and you’ll have to perch at the kitchen table surrounded by the kids doing their homework and Samantha loading the washing machine.
No, no, this won’t do at all. It is nothing short of scandalous.
And you can forget about complaining to the policy committee. That was just a sop thrown in by Cruddas to impress you.
If it weren’t for the IW, we might suppose the Tories have absolutely no idea of the value of money. However, bargains are still to be had within the Conservative Party and, if you want a good time for a very reasonable charge, sign up for the IW Patrons Club.
Under the aegis of the IW Conservative Association, this club has an annual membership fee of just £250. In return for this, you get a coach trip to London for lunch at the swanky Carlton Club in St James’s, all jolly nice and no mention of being shoved into the kitchen.
You also get a knees-up every year at the Royal Yacht Squadron, with a speaker. Past speakers have included Lord Strathclyde, a very cheery bloke and although a posho, much more entertaining than those dolts at Number 10.
You can also tip up to an Island venue for the AGM and listen to Andrew Turner. Nothing’s compulsory, though.
All for £250, and Patrons Club chairman, Alan Stovell, says there’s even enough left over to top up the IW Tories’ kitty.
It sounds fab. I’m almost tempted to become a member myself. Do you have to be a Tory to join up?
And does Mr Cameron know about it? Send for our man from the Patrons Club, prime minister. He understands how these things should be done.
And, most crucially, his name isn’t Cruddas.
What about bashing up Fotherington-Thomas?
THE National Trust has issued a list of 50 things they reckon kids should do before they reach 11¾ .It’s a pretty smug list, in my opinion, best suited to the kind of children who enjoy ripping yarns such as Swallows and Amazons
and complete their eco-projects on time.
"Hunt for fossils and bones", "Catch a butterfly in a net" and "Feed a bird from your hand" are just three of the suggestions for these super-duper boys and girls. There are 47 equally spiffing activities.
Yeah, yeah. All very worthy.
But I see no mention of "Almost choke to death on your first fag down at the bus shelter", "Make puking noises while imagining your parents having sexual intercourse" and "Bash up Fotherington-Thomas, who is utterly wet and weedy and has just skipped in with a butterfly in his net".