Is Dinner With David Cameron Worth £250,000?

03/04/2012 14:39 BST | Updated 03/06/2012 10:12 BST

Privileged access of grand donors to political parties to leading members of the government, and subsequent, frequent malpractice, is a constant topic amongst the British public.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, are heavily criticised in the press, mainly by the Rupert Murdoch controlled Times and Sunday Times, that they surround themselves too much socially and closely privately with important business people who are known to give large sums to the Tory party.

David Cameron, for instance, had invited his richest backers to private dinners at his flat above Downing Street. The newspapers published the names of the guests, business connections and the amount of their donations. Cameron emphasised that he pays for private dinners out of his own pocket. Indeed, there were many names who as 'knights in shining armour' have spent considerable sums on England's public welfare.

The topic whether there should be elites in a democratic society who consider free and easy access to the powerful of the nation as their birth right is frequently discussed. England's 'ruling classes' did not see anything unlawful in the free, intimate association with the upper echelons of the political leaders of the nation.

Looking at the guest lists of the dinners or weekend visitors of England's Prime Ministers during the last half a century, there are differences in composition and procedure. Representatives of a wider social strata figured on the guest lists of socialist Prime Minister Harold Wilson. The Conservative Edward Heath put more emphasise on the world of culture and tried to distinguish himself as patron of music by hiring small orchestras and choirs. Margaret Thatcher loved to be surrounded by important business leaders at every opportunity. And Tony Blair opened the dining room of Downing Street and the garden at the country retreat, Chequers, to the avant-garde of pop music and art.

It cannot be dismissed that the resentment of the Murdoch press against the public reprobation of the hacking scandal is behind this wave of sharp critique of the government.

The original version of this blog has been updated, with agreement from the author, following a complaint.