The undesirable association between Tory donors and offshore has been well noted in the past. I am delighted that the Daily Mail (unlikely as it may seem) has decided to keep the issue alive – concentrating on what it calls “The shady City past and friendship with Air Miles Andy of new Tory treasurer”. Yes, that is Prince Andrew they’re referring to whilst the new Tory Treasurer is David Rowland, said to be worth £730 million, and the new favourite offshore donor to David Cameron.
Rowland, about whom the Mail makes serious allegations, takes secrecy to the extreme. He lives in Guernsey (a secrecy jurisdiction par excellence, of course) from where he donated £2.7 million to the Tories in the run up to the general election. He won’t have his picture taken or published and he also runs a bank in Luxembourg – which was raided by fraud detectives in February, although there is, the Mail says, no suggestion of wrong doing despite which the Mail seems quite happy to report other matters that, if certainly not wrong doing, seem less than desirable business activity, if the Mail is right. And as they say:
One concerned Tory grandee told us: 'Usually the Treasurer would have to demonstrate a long tradition of supporting the party. Yet this man has been giving us money for only 12 months.
'The Treasurer has to be a charismatic figure who can persuade a room full of 400 people to hand over large sums of money.'
Yet David Rowland is so paranoid about his privacy he won't even have his photograph taken. In the past, Prince Andrew has clearly enjoyed Mr Rowland's hospitality.
Now it is the Tories who are benefiting from his largesse.
Which poses the extremely awkward question: Why isn't he ready to pose in a publicity picture as the party's new Treasurer - a post, which by its very definition, needs its incumbent to be whiter than white?
No wonder the Tories are queuing up to support offshore. It seems like they need it rather badly.
The rest of us should be asking why they want to associate with tax haven funding.