Tories face Fraud-Charity Smear over Atlantic Bridge

Monday, 5th October 2009 at 14:08 UTC 1 comment

This morning, as I settled down to catch up on the world, having slept two hours longer than I should have, a labourite friend’s twitter screamed at me with the following: “The Tory scandal the media are too scared to touch” – an obscure charity called Atlantic Bridge, set up by now-shadow defence secretary Liam Fox, designed to promote the special relationship so many of us loathe.

It does seem rather silly to have set the thing up as a Charity, and I wonder whether the public and press would react differently if Atlantic Bridge were a set up as a company. Either way, this situation says more about the Conservative Party today than any of their conference speeches; an organisation that was set up just as the Conservatives left power in order to ensure good relationships with America along the lines of those ‘enjoyed’ during the Thatcher-Reagan era.

I’m actually really happy to see Britain reduced in America’s priorities. My belief in a need for democracy and equality of power does not shy away from recognising ways in which my own country has sought special favours that significantly disempower others. I long for the day we will rescind our automatic seat at the security council, for instance. To face up to such moves willingly is brave and can only make the world a fairer place.

The Conservatives might want to look like a clean and fresh political force, but much of the old dogma remains in tact. This is the organisation that hosted William Hague’s book launch in America and it employs, or is advised by, five senior Tory figures, including Mr Fox. This is clearly not an organisation to promote understanding and solidarity between ordinary British and American citizens, but rather a club for the rich. Whilst the former would be worth keeping as a charity, I can’t help but think, and I know others agree with me, that this organisation is without any charitable merit, instead founded on a deeply political premise.

Its been noted that this story has received little media light, and this article draws attention to way in which this story jolts against the current flow of news media narrative. This is why I want to draw it to people’s attentions; not because gossip is good, but because something like this requires a good airing for all to inspect it. But with a news media that is becoming more and more slack in reporting and employing good reporters, its harder and harder for us to rely on this kind of dirt being found for us. And as no one has told us that the social contract we have enjoyed with the media is no longer being adhered to, its not surprising many assume there is less sleaze just because less is being dug up.


Entry filed under: America, Conservatives, Ethics, Media, News, Party Politics, The Right.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Stephen Newton  |  Monday, 5th October 2009 at 16:08 UTC

    Thanks for highlighting this issue Graham. You ask if anybody would be bothered if the Atlantic Bridge wasn’t a charity. The answer to that is no, nobody would care.

    The point is that as a charity they receive tax relief and so British (and in the case US) taxpayers effectively subsidise their activities. That means we have every right to scrutinise them.


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