Why was the alleged “ask” only for £50,000?

Why was the alleged “ask” only for £50,000?

    From a fundraising perspective this story does not add up

For twenty years before switching to work full-time on PB my day job was as professional fundraiser running the operations at Oxford, Cambridge, LSE and York universities as well, in an earlier guise advising on a professional basis organisations such as the Liberal Democrats. And from where I sit the Osborne story as it is being related at the moment simply does not add up.

    The fundamental flaw is the alleged “ask amount” – £50,000. This does not make sense. What was the point of going to all this trouble for such a piffling sum. Either a much bigger gift was being contemplated or else the whole business is being inflated.

For there they were in the summer with what from a fundraising perspective was an amazing opportunity. One of the top figures in the Tory party had the chance to meet socially on a luxury yacht with one of the richest men in the world who had a UK based company which could provide legal donations to the party.

If this was a serious fundraising solicitation then sums well in excess of £50,000 must have been contemplated.

The troubling element from the Osborne perspective is why for the second meeting Andrew Feldman, the Conservative chief executive, was brought in. Had he flown from the UK specially for the meeting? If so then you hardly go to all that trouble for such a small amount.

What I cannot work out as well is why would Mr Deripaska be interested in this in the first place. Russian oligarchs buy English premiership clubs – they don’t make trifling political donations

My conclusion is that either this affair is about nothing – or it was much bigger. On balance it was probably the former.

Mike Smithson

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