The dark money driving the Scottish Tory surge : Open Democracy UK

Electoral Commission ‘looking into’ Scottish Tory £100,000 donation after openDemocracy exposes potential rule breach.

The latest polls suggest the Conservatives could win up to ten seats in Scotland on Thursday. That’s ten times more than they’ve won at any point in the last 25 years. And it hasn’t come from nowhere: last year’s Scottish parliament election saw Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Tory party more than double its number of seats.

But new revelations today cast a shadow over that success. While the Scottish Tory surge is often put down to Ruth Davidson’s charisma, or to a polarisation on the independence question, this simple fact is often ignored: households in Scotland are being flooded with Conservative propaganda in a way they never have never been before. And it is unclear who is bankrolling it.

To be precise, Tory election spending in Scotland has more than trebled in five years. In the 2011 Scottish parliament election, the Tories spent nearly £275,000. In the 2016 election, they splashed out £978,921.07: more than three and a half times as much. Now, an openDemocracy investigation has triggered important questions about the sources of major donations to the party over that election.

Where did the Scottish Conservatives get all of this extra cash?

Thanks to the laws of the United Kingdom, any donation over £7,500 has to be registered and the source of the donation named. So: a search of the Electoral Commission website should easily provide the answer of who has been paying for this unprecedented Tory spending spree. Except that it doesn’t.

Partly, this seems to be because most of the donations come through the UK-wide office. But partly, it’s because a significant amount of the cash seems to have come through obscure trusts and unincorporated associations.




  1. The electoral commission need to go through ALL Tory election expense accounts with a fine tooth comb, especially after the way they fiddled their expenses in 2015.

    It’s wrong that they are allowed to accept very large donations, when Labour have to rely on donations from the unions and members and supporters.

    Hopefully, Corbyn might consider putting restrictions on electoral spending for all parties.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Not only that, but restrictions on telling outright lies via the mainstream media.

    A new law…It will be a serious criminal offence to deliberately and knowingly tell pork pies to the public in order to besmirch any political party.
    The editor (and also the owner) and not the journalist will be held responsible for any publication either on paper or online that is a deliberate falsehood.

    Jokes, satyr, cartoons etc are accepted.

    A mild example would be, deliberately and knowingly messing around with already published and accepted figures (wither it’s about the NHS, GDP etc) and publishing fallacious figures knowing they’re not true in order to get a political advantage.

    That will put an end to (or at the very least make them stop and think first) the Dacre’s and Murdoch’s of our world.

    Liked by 1 person

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