It has recently been revealed that Robert Jenrick, the Tory minister for Housing, Communities, and Local Government, has provided planning permission to rich Tory donors in exchange for donations.
Boris Johnson has attempted to sweep this corruption under the rug by declaring “the matter closed”. But this is not simply a matter of ‘Tory sleaze’. Rather, it exposes the government as being little more than the organising committee of the capitalist class.
Through his friendship with Jenrick, property tycoon Richard Desmond managed to save an estimated sum of around £50 million on a £1 billion property investment in East London. This saving was thanks to planning permission being fast-tracked, as well as Jenrick overruling other decision-makers to approve it. This all followed a £12,000 donation to the Tory Party from the ever-generous Desmond.
In an attempt to quell the backlash, the government has released the text conversation held between Jenrick and Desmond. It provides evidence of them organising meetings together, as well as Jenrick mentioning that he cannot appear to have been influenced by outside sources in making his decision.
This not only demonstrates that the Tory housing minister was complicit in this act – it also provides evidence of him actively deceiving the public as to his intentions.
Assisting the rich
Desmond explicitly states in the text thread, referring to the Labour-run Tower Hamlets council, that “we don't want to give Marxists loads of doe for nothing!” (This, as an aside, is the same council that is currently attacking its own workers, provoking three days of strike action, starting tomorrow.)
In summary - Tory minister, Robert Jenrick allowed pornographer Richard Desmond to steal £45 million from the poorest London borough to keep the money out of the hands of ‘Marxists’ in return for a 15K bung to the Tory party.— Daisy Ecksmakina 🇫🇷 🇮🇪 🇪🇺 (@Broken_Politiks) June 25, 2020
These remarks summarise the mentality of the ruling class: they think only of increasing their own level of profit and power. To use their immense wealth to help the working class is unthinkable for them.
If Desmond was correct – if Marxists were in fact the ones running councils and the government as a whole – there certainly wouldn’t be any billionaires using their wealth to exempt themselves from the law!
This isn’t the first time that Jenrick has given benefits to his billionaire backers. In 2019, he met with Idan Ofer, a billionaire in the mining industry and a close family friend, to discuss a request for financial support made by rival company, Sirius Minerals. A £10,000 donation from Ofer soon decided the fate of his rival. Sirius were denied financial support by the government and promptly collapsed – a result that we can be sure pleased Mr Ofer.
Once again, the hypocrisy of the Tory Party is put on display for all to see. Whilst claiming to support the ‘free market’, they are always happy to provide active assistance to wealthy monopoly owners and party donors.
The idea that modern capitalism operates on the basis of ‘free competition’ – where everyone’s position is owed to individual merit and work – is a fantasy. Jenrick has aptly demonstrated this.
In a spiral of contradiction and spin, Tory ministers have released conflicting statements as a result of Jenrick’s actions. The business secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, defended his colleague by saying that anyone could attend a Tory fundraiser to rub shoulders with their local MP.
Later on Tory home secretary Priti Patel absolutely denied the role of party donations in speeding up planning permissions. This naturally raises the question: which one is it?
Priti Patel challenged about Nadhim Zahawi’s Radio 4 comments about access to ministers.— Jonathan Bartley (@jon_bartley) June 28, 2020
Starts by saying it’s not the case.
U turns in 30 seconds.
Ends by saying it is the case.
Conservatives know that donors buy access and influence and cannot justify or defend it. #marr https://t.co/PMUEXnnyS5
Looking at the reality of the situation, it is abundantly clear that Zehawi is right here. All you have to do to get a Tory MP or government minister to ‘hear your concerns’ is put your hand in your pocket and pay a few grand for a fundraising dinner – and perhaps splash another few grand on a donation to the party!
Since Johnson began his tenure as prime minister, the party has received a shocking £11 million from donors connected to property and construction alone. It seems that many people are already following the business secretary’s advice!
Revealed here is the true nature of the capitalist state and its governing bodies. They are a product of class society, serving the interests of the elite, in order to exploit and oppress the rest. The Tories are demonstrating this clearly for all to see.
Liberal commentators feebly dance around the topic. When, occasionally, they recognise the problem, they suggest tepid solutions such as donation caps and modifying the tax system in relation to political parties. But these are meaningless, petty solutions to enormous issues.
Firing guilty ministers or – more realistically – slapping them on the wrist is not going to fix the cesspit of corruption in the government and the Tory Party.
The problem and its solution are clear. Corruption and capitalism go hand in hand. Rather than attempting to patch up this rotten system, we must do away with it.