BY HELEN NIANIAS
As someone who worked closely with Margaret Thatcher, it’s fair to say that Lord Nigel Vinson fits into a decidedly 1980s view of the world. Vinson was made a Conservative peer in 1985.
Alongside Thatcher, Vinson co-founded the Centre for Policy Studies, a neoliberal British think tank, which has come under fire recently for not disclosing its backers
The think tank still hosts the annual Margaret Thatcher lecture, which last year saw Mayor of London Boris Johnson invoke the old greed-is-good belief by saying greed is a “valuable spur to economic activity”.
He was director of Barclays bank from 1982-1986. During this period protesters boycotted the bank because of its investments in South Africa which was still under the brutal and racist apartheid regime. Barclays pulled out of South Africa in 1986 – the same year that Vinson stepped down.
In recent years, it has emerged that Vinson invested in legal but ethically questionable offshore tax arrangements.
Run by David Cameron’s father, Ian Cameron, the network of offshore investment funds were designed to help wealthy people avoid paying over the odds into the public pot, and a charity set up by Vinson put £82,000 into the Panama fund in 2009
Vinson is also prominent donor to right-wing think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs, which has received money for decades from oil and tobacco firms.
Euro-phobic Vinson threatened to pull out of the Tory party in 2012 and defect to UKIP unless Cameron loosened British ties with Brussels. It is, however, interesting to note that one Yvonne Collin donated two batches of £5,000 to UKIP in 2012. The relevance? She’s Vinson’s wife.