​Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy election ride - Vladimir McTavish

Tory donor Frank Hester and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Credit: PA/Getty/Mark HallTory donor Frank Hester and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Credit: PA/Getty/Mark Hall
Tory donor Frank Hester and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Credit: PA/Getty/Mark Hall
​​If you were in any doubt that the 2024 general election will be a dirty fight, that would have been put to bed this week after the furore over the Tory Party’s donor Frank Hester’s overtly racist comments about former Labour MP Diane Abbott.

If you missed the story, Hester who has made a £10 million donation to Conservative Party funds said that Abbott made him “want to hate all black women” and also suggested she “should be shot”.

These are the sort of views that would even get him cancelled by GB News, but the party of government are still happy to bank his money.

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Rishi Sunak has said that his party is more than happy to hang on to Hester’s cash and then made the ludicrous claim that the guy isn’t a racist because he apologised for his comments.

What? Is the PM trying to claim that the guy has suddenly given up racism? As if he were doing some sort of racist equivalent of Dry January or giving up bigotry for 40 days during Lent?

The bottom line is that apologies are cheap. Unlike the ten million quid he’s sunk into Tory coffers.

Conservative apologists claim that taking the bloke’s mullah doesn’t mean that they agree with his view.

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No, it absolutely does. Are they trying to suggest that he doesn’t want something in return?

This in the same week that Michael Gove announced a new definition of “extremism”, under which certain groups will be blocked from receiving government funds or meeting officials and MPs.

Gove defines extremists as being those who promote an ideology based on "violence, hatred or intolerance”.

Sounds pretty much like the same kind of people who are donating millions of pounds to the Conservative Party.

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Hester’s comments were not only racist, sexist and deeply disturbing. They could actually be construed as a hate crime.

It probably is against the law to go around saying that people should be shot, while waving an empty cheque book. Let’s not forget that two MPs have actually been murdered since 2016, one of them a Tory.

Yet the Conservative Party is still happy to accept large amounts of dosh from someone who appears to be suggesting there should be even more crimes of violence against elected politicians.

This whole scandal paints the starkest picture possible of the funding gap which exists between the main parties, and it also exposes the hypocrisy of many in the Tory party who were delighted to point fingers at the SNP over the missing £600k, a tiny amount by comparison, and who constantly go on about Labour’s “paymasters” in the trade unions.

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So while Labour are funded by the unions, the SNP finds cash down the back of the sofa and the Lib Dems probably still fundraise through jumble sales and coffee mornings, the Conservatives seem happy to accept huge wads of cash from people whose views would appear to be akin to the more knuckle-dragging elements of the far right.

Dirty money for a dirty election.

Frank Hester obviously hopes he will get some return on his ten million quid from the Tories, should they win the next election. I dread to think what that return might be.

Hopefully, they will lose and we will never find out.

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