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    Why The Conservative Party Is Bound To Work In The Interests Of The Rich

    On Thursday, George Osborne will deliver the Autumn Statement, one of two crucial budgeting announcements made by the government each year (the other being the Budget itself). It's likely to hit the poor harder than the rich and go light on the City. This article explains why we shouldn't be surprised.

    1. The Conservative Party is a dying institution.

    House of Commons Library / Via parliament.uk

    Membership of the Conservative Party peaked at 3 million members in 1950 (7% of the population). Today it has just 134,000 members (0.2% of the population).

    2. The Conservative Party is a dying institution (literally).

    Telegraph / Via blogs.telegraph.co.uk

    The average age of Conservative Party members is 68, compared to 38 for the UK as a whole.

    3. In fact, there are more Jedi Knights than Tories.

    Zanda / Via zanda.com

    In the last census, 176,000 people in England and Wales listed their religion as 'Jedi Knight', making it the seventh most popular faith. This means there are 42,000 more Jedi Knights than Tories.

    4. With declining membership, the Tories are increasingly reliant on a handful of rich donors.

    Daily Mail / Via dailymail.co.uk

    Research by the London School of Economics showed just 50 individuals and organisations were responsible for over half the Conservative Party's declared income in the last decade. Amongst the top donors was trader Michael Spencer (pictured), whose firm was recently fined for its role in the Libor scandal.

    5. These donors are often connected to the City.

    Daily Mail / Via dailymail.co.uk

    Money from financial institutions in the City of London made up 50.8% of all Conservative Party donations in the year of the last general election. The City's contribution to the Conservative Party has more than doubled since David Cameron became its leader.

    6. You won't be entirely surprised to hear, then, that the government favours the City.

    7. Oh, and the rich.

    IFS reported in the Guardian / Via theguardian.com

    An Institute of Fiscal Studies assessment of tax and spending decisions made by the Coalition government showed "the impact of the changes taking effect in 2012-13 falling squarely on the poorest".

    8. It seems to us that for as long as a party is financially dependent on donations from the rich, it is bound to act in the interests of the rich.

    Guardian / Via theguardian.com

    In some unfortunate sense, the Tories are only doing what's rational.

    9. The solution? We need to restrict how parties can receive money.

    We reckon the only way parties should be able to raise funds is through membership fees, with the same low fee for all members. Any further funding should come from the state as a fraction of total membership receipts.

    Got other ideas? Let us know on our Facebook page.

    – Undergr0und