The Conservative Party: the political wing of the hedge fund industry

Some wag was on Twitter earlier this week, observing that if, during the 1980s, the media used to refer to Sinn Fein as “the political wing of the IRA”, then these days we should be referring to Britain’s coalition government as the political wing of the financial services industry.

Sounds like a cheap shot? Then have a look at yesterday’s FT, which has a full page analysis article (£ – or free blog post here) documenting an interesting fact about where the Conservative party gets its funding from:

In the past decade, a dramatic shift has occurred. Super-rich hedge fund managers have become the biggest single interest group to bankroll the UK’s current main party.”

Wondering what effect this has on policy? Here’s Tim Montgomerie, editor of ConservativeHome.com and the Tory world’s blogger-in-chief:

“The City’s influence is that top Tories spend a lot of time in the company of people to whom the City matters. If the party was reliant on northern industrialists, it would be a different party.”

Or try this observation from “one of the 10 biggest hedge fund donors”:

“There probably aren’t many votes in cutting the 50p top rate of tax – but among those that give significant amounts to the party, it’s a big issue, and that’s probably why it’s a big issue for the party too.”