Peter Hitchens cannot conceivably have imagined that any of his readers did not know that Conservative Governments never legislated against Labour's trade union links for fear of future Labour action against corporate donations, while Labour Governments never legislated against corporate donations for fear of future Conservative action against trade union affiliation to the Labour Party.
Everyone, absolutely everyone, has always known that, or at the very least been able to work it out. There is nothing wrong with it, anyway.
He has some other motivation here. Doubtless, it will become apparent in due course. Is he just aiming for a younger readership? It would have to be too young to vote in order to regard this as a story.
The key difference, one need hardly add, is that the political levy is a subscription, not a donation (it brings with it a vote in Leadership and Deputy Leadership Elections, for example), and that one only ever pays it if one has specifically chosen to do so. That is in the starkest possible contrast to the rights of shareholders in relation to corporate donations. They don't have any.
Anyone who claims to have paid the levy without knowing is either a liar or illiterate, which are not mutually exclusive categories. I don't mean politically illiterate, although that, too. I mean unable to read a simple form. Or else, the person making that claim is a liar.