Michael Ashcroft is is a major donor to the party and has focussed his support on the marginal constituencies that we need to win in order to form a government. He is a sucessful business man, clearly understands strategy and it looks like his support is making a difference. It is that sucess which is driving the attacks on him.
The two main lines of attack are that he is "buying the election" and that he doesn't pay UK tax. Let's look at the hypocrisy of both of those.
Michael Ashcroft is a Conservative and wants a Conservative government, he doesn't dictate policy or try to lead the party around by the nose. The headline of the Independent's latest attack on him today talks about "Ashcroft's election war-chest" and of "Ashcroft money" upon reading it turns out that the vast bulk of the "Ashcroft money" is actually raised by the local grassroots within the constituencies themselves. Far from relying sole on Michael, local parties are doing it for themselves.
It is also worth comparing the decentralisation of Conservative funding with the Labour party who receive about 60% of their fundings from the unions and 75% of the value of their Q4 2009 registered individual donations came from just three people.
Incumbant Labour MPs might not like the fact that Conservative's are well funded by the should remember that they are spending public money on their communication allowance (which I have always opposed) and the Conservative opponents are not.
The other main attack is about Michael's tax status. I don't know if he is a full UK tax payer but I do know that the Conservatives will bring forward legislation to ensure that all political donors are. If Labour feel that it is so important an issue why have they not brought in similar legislation? Might it be because it would cut off funding from Lord Paul, one of their own super rich major donors?
Michael Ashcroft's donations are also made from his own money, as far as I'm aware he has never syphoned off public money to fund a political party unlike the union movement who take part in the government supported money-go-round.
It's funny how the left are so worried about high spending in elections over here when I know of many who were more than happy to lend a hand in Barack Obama's ultra high spending presidential election campaign.