Real Zorro

Mission - to challenge in East Devon. To hold elected representatives & their officials to account.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Hugo Swire raises funds for Conservatives by insulting Greece

All political parties need to raise funds. That’s surely a given. And many parties turn to their supporters to help raise their funds in order that they can keep their party machines running and to fight elections.

It must therefore have come to no surprise to anyone that on Monday evening the Conservative Party held a fund raiser. But, this was no ordinary political party fund raiser held in a draughty village hall where supporters buy raffle tickets to win a donated unwanted box of chocolates or bubble bath. Oh no, not this make do and mend type of fund raiser for the Conservative Party!

Instead it was a dinner suit and black tie fund raising event held in the salubrious Grosvenor House Hotel on glittering Park Lane in Central London.

Zorro really can’t criticise the Conservative Party for raising funds. It has an election to fight! And here in quiet East Devon a fight is what the Conservatives have on their hands. Not only do they have the pretenders to their europhobic crown, UKIP, snapping at their heels, but more worryingly for them they have Independent candidate Claire Wright giving them a real challenge.

So, Monday evening will have brought much needed money into the Conservative Party’s coffers.

In reporting the event the Observer reported – For a Party that is sometimes accused of receiving disproportionate funding from hedge funds and the super-rich, the Conservatives’ choice of chief organiser for their winter Black and White Ball is, perhaps, unfortunate.

The chairwoman of the glamorous and lucrative event’s organising committee is Zoë Law (nee Purvis), wife of Andrew Law, one of the hedge fund industry’s most successful money managers. Described by the Financial Times as an “unassuming master of the universe”, Law is the chairman and chief executive of Caxton Associates, a giant in the industry registered in the US tax-haven state of Delaware. The company’s highest paid partner took home £97.1m in 2013”.

How was the money raised? Apart from the £15,000 a head cost of having a table of guests at the event there was the highlight of the evening, an auction.

This auction had an amazingly glittering array of prizes that were auctioned. A full list of the prizes can be seen at -

All very nice, but really what has all of this to do with us here in East Devon? The answer is in our incumbent, and rarely spotted, Conservative MP Hugo Swire. Those who know anything about our MP will know two things that have direct links to the event on Monday evening. Firstly, Hugo used to be an auctioneer in his past life (always a useful skill as we will discover). Secondly, Hugo is a Minister in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Therefore he’s bound to be someone who knows how to get along with other countries. Isn’t he? Err.....possibly not!

Here Zorro, almost choking on what I am about to write, has to hat tip the Daily Mail for reporting part of the auction proceedings. In reporting this online the Daily Mail, under the heading Joke of the night tells us –

Constantine Logotheti, the founder of shipping and aviation conglomerate Libra Group, whose wife Cristina helped organise the dinner, donated a private jet flight to the Greek island of Santorini. 

He is the co-founder of the global conglomerate Libra Group, which invests heavily in shipping and aviation. It went for £75,000".

Sell a holiday in Santorini & insult Greece - all in a evening's work for Hugo Swire!

Auctioneer Hugo Swire, a Tory MP, inviting bids for the flight, said: ‘For an extra £1,000 we will throw in a case of wine. For an extra £5,000, we will throw in Greece as well.”

Congratulations Hugo you have just insulted a European ally, Greece, which is in the process of trying to stabalise its ailing economy and raise the poor living standards of its people. Making a cheap distasteful xenophobic joke at Greece’s expense surely is not what this country expects from a Minister in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office?

Certainly it isn’t what electors in East Devon want from their MP. A tired cheap joke from a tired cheap MP!  Will Hugo be apologising to his electors, or more importantly the government and people of Greece? Mmmmnnn...answers on a postcard to..........

Like Monday evening’s event it’s time to bring things to a close. To do so we can ensure that on 8 May Hugo returns to doing what he is clearly very good at – being an auctioneer and humiliating those struggling to make ends meet. The prawn cocktail circuit beckons Hugo!

The full Daily Mail’s online report of Monday’s event -

The Observer’s online report of the event –

It’s time for change! It’s time for challenge!

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