Political Scrapbook want to have their pasty scandal and eat itPosted on May 5, 2012
I’m a fan of Political Scrapbook – acerbic and witty, they embrace a tone of blogging that many of their fellow travellers remain snooty towards. Today, though, they’ve struck a bum note.
“Throughout the controversy over George Osborne’s “pasty tax”, huge donations were made to the Conservative Party by the owner of pasty firm Ginsters – sparking a row over whether the donation may have been in support of the tax on hot pasties (Ginsters are known for cold snacks) or to protect their emerging line of heated snacks.
Mark Samworth, who heads Samworth Brothers which owns the Ginsters brand, gave £100,000 to the Tories, between the announcement of the VAT change in the budget and the government’s volte face on Monday.”
they conclude “could this be an emerging “cash for pasties” scandal?”
As John Rentoul might say, this is very much a Question To Which The Answer Is No.
The awkward thing about the Scrapbook story is rooted in the fact that they are not the first to allege these donations were dubious and related to the pasty tax.
They suggest today that Mark Samworth was giving money to the Conservatives to buy a u-turn over the pasty tax, on the flawed assumption (presumably from people who’ve never eaten a Ginsters) that his pasties are all sold hot. In fact, Ginster’s products are mostly sold cold.
Amusingly, that fact was the reason given by the Labour Party as recently as Saturday – crucially, before the u-turn took place – when they alleged that he was, err, donating to the Tories in support of the pasty tax, on the basis that his business is based on selling cold pasties.
Which is it? Was he a fan of the tax, donating to say thanks, or an opponent of it, donating to get it overturned? At the moment, Political Scrapbook and the party they support have managed to allege both.
In fact, Ginsters mostly sell cold pasties – a business model that benefits from the pasty tax – but had recently expanded into hot food, a move that would suffer from the tax. Cutting the tax may hit their core business, but raising it apparently hits their expansion plans, so there’s no clear motive either way.
Those who seem obsessed with hammering Samworth whatever happens need to make their minds up – he can’t be alleged to be buying influence on both sides of the same debate. Apparently, they’ve decided he is a target and will shift their conspiracy theories 180 degrees to fit the latest set of events, regardless of what they’ve previously said.
It seems that when it comes to seeking out wrongdoing, Political Scrapbook on this occasion want to have their pasty scandal and eat it.
Interestingly, since I first made this point in a comment on Political Scrapbook this morning – a comment which they still haven’t published – they’ve changed their text (without posting it as an update) to add in the following:
“– sparking a row over whether the donation may have been in support of the tax on hot pasties (Ginsters are known for cold snacks) or to protect their emerging line of heated snacks. ”
That wasn’t present in the original post, suggesting that to at least some degree they’ve realised the illogical and unfair allegations they were making, but don’t seem willing to apologise to Mr Samworth or confess the error to their readers.
Tags: #PastyTax, Bloggers, Coalition, Conservatives, Cornish Pasties, David Cameron, Funding, Ginsters, John Rentoul, Labour, Mark Samworth, opinion, Parliament, Pasty Tax, Political Blogging, Political Donations, Political Parties, Political Scrapbook, Politics, PSBook, QTWTAIN, Socialism, Tax, Westminster