David Cameron and Boris Johnson campaigning
Cameron and Johnson will play oligarch in tennis match Reuters

David Cameron and Boris Johnson are to go ahead with their tennis match against Vladimir Putin's former ministers and his wife, insisting the oligarch "certainly wasn't" one of the Russian leader's cronies the government is targeting.

To use a much overused phrase that seems to fit the bill: "They just doesn't get it."

Leave aside the fact that to raise the £160,000 the Tory party won by auctioning the the match, the Prime Minister and the Mayor of London would have had to have battled their way through to the men's doubles final at Wimbledon, then lost.

The real problem for the pair is image and the fact they don't appear to see it, which is odd for a couple of politicians driven even more than most by image and spin and who routinely attack Labour for being in the pocket of the union barons.

Oligarch Vladimir Chernukhin and his wife, Lubov, may well now be British citizens, as Cameron pointed out, but his rise to power and fortune came under the patronage of Putin.

Len McCluskey
Len McCluskey's Unite funds Labour Reuters

He now lives a glittering, multi-millionaire's life in London, apparently exiled by his former friend in the Kremlin, and has undoubtedly become one of "Cameron's cronies".

Bloomberg Businessweek lists him as a "private investor" so he possibly contributes to the nation's wealth and may indeed no longer have any enthusiasm for the current leadership in Moscow.

But he is one of the elite club of oligarchs who has recently brought their millions to the UK and bought football clubs, newspapers and high-value property, while helping to rebrand the capital abroad as "Londongrad".

Many see nothing wrong with that but there has been a growing sense of unease about these new, powerful figures operating in London, often shunning the limelight to get on with their businesses.

And, as Cameron and his spin doctors know, perception is everything. That is why they were quite happy to attack Labour's Peter Mandelson earlier this year for refusing to abandon his lucrative ties to Russian firm Sistema, claiming it had interests in defence equipment.

That is why they ruthlessly attack Labour's relationship with the unions, claiming Ed Miliband and his policies are bought and paid for by Unite leader Len McCluskey and others.

So it should come as no surprise if Labour attempt to turn the tables by pointing out where the Conservative party gets its cash from. Does one oligarch trump one union baron?

And, now this tennis match has taken on a sort of celebrity status, will Cameron and Johnson allow the broadcasters in or will they keep it under wraps until well after the event?

We may never know.