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Monday, 26 March 2012

Politics for sale?! PM David Cameron under suspicion of selling his policy to the highest bidder, while renegade MP Hero Brinkman of the Dutch Party for Freedom gave a peek at the people who ‘showed his master Geert Wilders the money’.

It has been a week of shameful exposure for two of the leading conservative parties in Europe: the Tories in the United Kingdom and the PVV (aka Party for Freedom) in The Netherlands.

United Kingdom

PM David Cameron of the United Kingdom managed to manoeuver himself in a position where ‘people might think that the Prime-Minister of the United Kingdom is accessible for political influence, in exchange for vast amounts of cash’. The fact that PM Cameron is in this position now is the result of a ‘hidden camera’-operation, targeting David Cameron’s (now former) co-treasurer Peter Crudass, that has been executed by the Sunday Times.

Here are the pertinent snips of this story that has been published in the Financial Times (

David Cameron has been plunged into a “cash-for-access” crisis after his party’s co-treasurer was forced to resign when it was revealed he had offered access to the prime minister and chancellor in return for donations of £250,000.

Peter Cruddas, the founder of CMC Markets, quit on Saturday night after footage was broadcast showing him apparently making the claim to undercover reporters, posing as international financiers, from the Sunday Times.

The co-treasurer, who also sat on the Tory party’s board, told the journalists that making a “huge donation” was the best way to gain access to senior government figures. “It will be awesome for your business,” he said.

Mr Cruddas also told the reporters he could make sure their views on business issues were “fed into” the Downing Street policy machine.

“Two hundred to two-fifty is the premier league,” he is heard to say in the Sunday Times footage. “What you would get is, when you talk about your donations the first thing we want to do is get you at the Cameron-Osborne dinners.

“You really do pick up a lot of information and when you see the prime minister, you are seeing David Cameron, not the prime minister. But within that room everything is confidential – you can ask him practically any question you want.”

Mr Cameron promised an inquiry following the revelations. “What happened is completely unacceptable. This is not the way that we raise money in the Conservative party, it shouldn't have happened,'' he told BBC television on Sunday.

“It was rogue behaviour,” a senior party member said. “The whole fundraising team has been besmirched by Peter’s ego and hubris.”
The Conservative party was scrambling to distance itself from Mr Cruddas’s actions as the political backlash began. It said in a statement that donations “do not buy government policy” and said it would “urgently investigate” any evidence to the contrary.

Of course, I am not accusing PM David Cameron of being accessible for any kind of bribery. I wouldn’t dare to. I only state here that his henchman Peter Cruddas has made the strong impression that he might be.

Naturally the statements from the Tories were all over the place: Crudass has been a rogue treasurer and a loose cannon that has disgraced the party with his actions and of course ‘policy is not for sale’. And naturally Peter Crudass has resigned, ‘covered with tar and feathers’, stating that he has been a foolish SOB that has staind the party with his actions.

However, think of these questions:

·      Why would it be the first time to happen? In the footage that I saw on Dutch TV, Crudass didn’t make the impression of a nervous and stuttering, first-time offender. It seemed more to be ‘business-as-usual’.

·      Why would the Sunday Times start a very risky hidden camera-action, if it didn’t have the slighest clue that it would catch ‘one of the biggest fishes in Britain’, if you leave Sarah Ferguson (and her ex-husband?) out of the consideration.

·      Why would Peter Crudass ask for at least £250,000, if the money was for his personal use? Five dinner parties for £25,000 each is more than enough to have a decent extra income as a politician and it is much less conspicuous than asking for a quarter million pound.

·      Why would a company or lobby-group pay such vast amounts of money to a co-treasurer, if it didn't have an ironclad guarantee that it would be worth its while.

Whatever the outcome of the investigation might be, this will stick to Cameron and the Tories in general. The United Kingdom has many hard-working, tax-paying, law-obeying and (sometimes) underpaid citizens that will feel betrayed again by politics and will lose the rest of what is left of their confidence. Labour and the Liberal-Democrats would not be smart if they didn’t try to get as much political gain out of this action as possible. In the process, politics itself will again become the ultimate victim.

The United Kingdom, however, is not the only country in Europe where political parties are currently under fire for questionable  sources of party funding.

The Netherlands

In The Netherlands, the Party for Freedom (PVV) has already been under fire for a long time for their very opaque form of party funding. This party, that has been led with an iron fist by founder Geert Wilders, has been categorically refusing over the years to disclose where its party-money is coming from. Even the recent deployment of new legislation, that makes it mandatory for parties to disclose their funding sources, has been discarded by the PVV. The party stated that it would rather pay the non-compliance penalties than to unmask their main funders.

What made this statement even more daring is the fact that the PVV is the silent partner of the VVD-CDA minority government, chaired by Prime-Minister Mark Rutte. Allowing the PVV to discard this legislation would be the same as giving the party’s actions a ministerial ‘stamp of approval’.

This silent partner, although not an official part of the Mark Rutte-government and not responsible for the fulfilment of ministerial positions, has been very influential on government policy.

Their vote has been indispensable for many governmental majorities, but the ‘change’ for the party has been formed by (a.o.):
·     much stricter rules for immigration from non-western countries;
·     no access yet to the Schengen zone for Romania and Bulgaria;
·     double passports being prohibited for Dutch expats and new immigrants;
·     an extreme pro-Israel and a fierce anti-PIIGS (anti-Europe) stance of the Dutch government
·     a prohibit of the burka.

It could even be that there comes an end to the Christian-Democrat dogma of supplying 0.7% of Dutch GDP in development aid to the developing countries, as the PVV is strongly opposed to this.

However, this might be about to change: Hero Brinkman, the former sorcerer’s apprentice of Geert Wilders and by far the most colorful PVV MP, turned into a renegade; an action that will probably have led to a desperate tooth-grinding among the remaining MP’s of the PVV.

Not only took Hero Brinkman the majority of the CDA/VVD/PVV combination in the Second Chamber of Dutch Parliament away, but ‘revengeful as a woman scorned’, he is planning to reveal the best-kept secret of the PVV in a book on his stints as an MP: the sources of party-funding for the PVV. I am sure that the opposition parties will have chuckled on this intention.

Brinkman supposedly could not longer live with the dictatorial party-structure and the blind obedience of the PVV MP’s and representatives to their master’s voice and with the fact that ‘the party placed whole groups of Dutch citizens and other Europeans into the ‘naughty-corner’ of the country’.

The million dollar question is of course: who were the parties involved in funding the PVV?

Although Brinkman is not willing to disclose this yet, he did state that influential American lobby groups are behind the party-funding of the PVV. People that kept a watchful eye at the party during the years can’t find this very surprising. The often well-informed foreign editors of De Telegraaf ( called the following names as possible sponsors of the PVV:

David Horowitz is often called as somebody who lobbies for Wilders, Horowitz is one of the fiercest contestants against progressive America. He collects billions of dollars in support annually and exploits a whole array of websites. A very important one is Jihad Watch.

An other prominent figure that came forward is Daniel Pipes. He is the founder of the pro-Israel Middle East Forum and a known proponent of an Israeli/American attack on Iran. Also Pamela Geller is a Wilders adept. Geller is a very influential conservative blogger and a renowned networker.

It is a sad truth that many well-respected politicians in Europe and the US are almost nothing more than puppets-on-a-string for extremely wealthy and influential lobbyists from the arms business, the financial industry, the oil and energy industry and powerful political pressure groups.

With the disappearance of the socialist Eastern Block and especially the demise of the American archenemy the Soviet Union, it seemed that capitalism had gained an undisputed status in the world. Unfortunately, this meant that forces that formed a natural counterweight for the Anglo-Saxon kind of capitalism, like social-democratism, (of course) communism or the Rheinland model of capitalism, lost their power, influence and splendour.

During the last decade, the world has seen the results of this capitalism without boundaries and the unwillingness of leading political figures to withdraw themselves from its influence, addicted as they are to the massive funding from the representatives of this piranha-capitalism.

To summarize this issue around British and Dutch party-funding, it is good to use the (in)famous quote of former US Defense Minister Donald Rumsfeld. Although this quote was produced in the context of the hunt for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, it fits wonderfully to the opaque business of party-funding in Europe and – as a matter of fact – the whole world:

There are known knowns; there are things we know we know.
We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don't know.

It couldn’t have said it better, could I?

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