Craig Murray Banned From Candidates’ Education Debate 90


It has realy started in earnest now. Before the election was called, we had booked halls for the meeting schedule which you have seen. One of these was Hellesdon High School this Friday, 10 July.

The school has now phoned to say the Governors have decided not to permit my meeting -despite Nick Clegg having already held a by-election meeting there.

This is not just unfair, it is illegal. The Electoral Commissions rules state:

6.1 Once an election is called, candidates are legally entitled to use publicly funded schools and other public meeting rooms for election meetings free of .charge…..

It is happening again exactly as it did in Blackburn, where I was never permitted my entitlement to public rooms. Exactly as in Blackburn, I have followed Electoral Commission guidance and complained to the Returning Officer, who has done nothing. Returning Officers, as with Colin Bland here, are usually the chief executive of the local authority, and as such are normally party loyalists of the governing party. In our current state of politics, I don’t trust them at all.

STOP PRESS

In fact the Returning Officer Colin Bland has now told the school they are not legally entitled to bar candidates, and the school have apologised for not being aware of the legal position. So we are back on. A small but pleasant victory.

It is also worth adding that, while maintaining my distrust of returning officers, particularly chief executives of Labour councils in Labour rotten boroughs, here Colin Bland appears to be doing the right thing so far.

I am also being excluded from candidates’ hustings. The first is a debate on the future of education. I am far more qualified on this than any other candidate. The debate is being organised by the Univerisities and Colleges Union (UCU). This time the excuse for banning me is that I did not score highly in a poll which was conducted before I was a candidate and in which my name was not mentioned!

Hi Craig,

Lisa tells me you are enquiring about our event this Thursday. I took the decision to invite only those candidates shown by our poll to have a chance of winning the seat.

It is nothing personal, or any reflection – either positive or negative – on your platform and I wish you all the best for your campaign.

Best

Matt

[email protected]

I have really had enough.

Matt,

That is not acceptable. Your poll was conducted before I declared my candidacy and as you know well, I was not included in your poll.

As you also know well, at every bookmakers I am currently on shorter odds than the Lib Dems, just behind the Greens and overhauling them in the odds day by day.

As you know, I am the Rector of the University of Dundee and I have a much higher profile on education issues than any of the other candidates in Norwich North. I am also an honorary fellow of the University of Lancaster.

I have played a leading role in anti-cuts campaigns in Scotland’s universities in close liaison with the UCU, and have defended UCU members in individual cases on University Court. For someone who has voluntarily given so much to UCU members, to be kicked in the teeth like this by the UCU over an education debate is completely outrageous.

I will take direct action to take my rightful place in your debate, and you will need to call the police physically to prevent me.

I think the UCU having one of their higher profile allies arrested should be a fascinating spectacle for all. It would be much better if you were prepared to speak to me. I am on 07979 691085.

Craig

They will also need to ask the police to act illegally in stopping me from speaking at Hellesdon High. I have taken enough of this.


90 thoughts on “Craig Murray Banned From Candidates’ Education Debate

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  • George Laird

    Dear Craig

    I have put a post on my blog asking people to email Waddup.

    It is just starting out but it already getting a few hits.

    Turn and make a speech outside if denied entry and contact the press before you go.

    Yours sincerely

    George Laird

    The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

  • Roderick Russell

    Craig

    You have spent the last few years offending the establishment with the truth, and yet you expect fair play. There is a naivety in the UK that still thinks the country is a democracy with a respect for human rights. Challenge the establishment too much and they may get a lot tougher. The following URL outlines what happened to me:

    http://zerzetzen.wikispaces.com

    As the BBC relies on public funding, it is unrealistic to expect fairness from them. They like extremist parties like the BNP since they are easy to criticize and have no chance of being elected.

    Roderick Russell

  • subrosa

    Anon ( since you don’t want your UCU membership publicised), I would disagree with you. Being an academic doesn’t make Dr Rupert Green a font of all knowledge on the subject of education. Indeed his ‘font’ appears to be analytical philosophy.

    Fair enough he has written a book entitled Politics and Culture but certainly not all academics who write such books have the in-depth knowledge Craig has acquired in the subject of education.

    Dundee University is one of the oldest institutions and has had a world-wide reputation for generations. Being a successful Rector is a demanding and intense vocation which I know Craig does not shirk in any way.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    James D – I’m doubting most lawyers or courts would agree with your bizarre interpretation of electoral commission rules that read “Once an election is called, candidates are legally entitled to use publicly funded schools and other public meeting rooms for election meetings free of .charge…..”

    Your interpretation seems to be that that sentence means publicly funded schools can refuse candidates access for meetings as long as they don’t charge them to not use the building.

    Can you explain how that makes the slightest sense?

  • James D

    “You are both talking total nonsense. The law states that “candidates are legally entitled to use publicly funded schools and other public meeting rooms for election meetings”. It also says that the returning officer must keep a register of candidates’ rooms for public use.”

    It doesn’t – it states “without charge”, that’s the legal status. You can’t be charged. (Fnny how you edited that bit out of your reply, Craig – a true politician in waiting)

    But you don’t get unfettered access. That would mean making teachers and caretakers give up their free time. Are you willing to pay them?

    Also, the register of rooms is just that – a register of suitable rooms. It isn’t a guarantee that you can use them! It’s like a list of licensed premises or child sex offenders – the list isn’t a right to access… Your interpretation of the law is a little bit off.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    James D “But you don’t get unfettered access. That would mean making teachers and caretakers give up their free time. Are you willing to pay them?”

    It requires only one person to be present, not the entire staff. Stop making up ridiculous side issues.

  • James D

    Duncan:

    “James D – I’m doubting most lawyers or courts would agree with your bizarre interpretation of electoral commission rules that read “Once an election is called, candidates are legally entitled to use publicly funded schools and other public meeting rooms for election meetings free of .charge…..”

    Your interpretation seems to be that that sentence means publicly funded schools can refuse candidates access for meetings as long as they don’t charge them to not use the building.

    Can you explain how that makes the slightest sense?”

    Easy. Look at the sentence. It means you cannot be charged a fee to use a publicly funded space. It does NOT mean you have the right to use it despite the wishes of the people who manage it.

    The clause is there to stop people making money out of an election, not to call open doors on every tax-payer funded space. Unfortunately even though a school or village hall or whatever is “paid for” by the tax payer, opening them up outside normal hours incurs a cost. If every candidate chose to hold a hustings at the same school it would bankrupt it.

    Look again at the clause and read it carefully. It is the “without charge” bit that is important. I’m sorry if that doesn’t match your anger and frustration but that’s the truth of the situation.

    “Most lawyers and judges” would agree, I’m afraid. Your interpretation of the rule would place an undue burden on schools and voluntary organisations.

  • James D

    Duncan:

    “It requires only one person to be present, not the entire staff. Stop making up ridiculous side issues.”

    Really? Well how many schools have you kept open late at night? I happen to have some experience here.

    A) The caretaker needs to open it

    B) There needs to be a member of senior management present

    C) Any spaces which are not securable need to be watched – that would mean classrooms without locks, computer suites (which are usually open access), cloakrooms and changing areas

    D) There would need to be extra cleaning duties either that night after the event or early the next morning.

    E) There would need to be police present as well – policing for events like this is charged, it doesn’t come out of the local force’s budget. It would normally be charged to the hosting institution, i.e. the school.

    Given all the above, it is not surprising the school governors have made the decision not to offer the school for the event. To have done otherwise would have been a drain on the budget and an imposition on hardworking staff.

    These are not “side issues”. Considering Craig is making out he’s the candidate best qualified to speak on educational issues, demanding a local school stays open late and the staff give up their free time is hardly the headline he’s after is it?

    There are more important fights than making a school open especially for you – if I were a local taxpayer I wouldn’t thank you for coming in and wasting my money in that way.

    And if I were the school caretaker I’d tell you where you could go if you think I’m giving up my free time to open the building for you.

  • spiv

    @JB – wow, I can see from your comment above that you are as far removed from being a knuckle-dragging neo-nazi fascist supporter of Craig’s as I am from the typical BNP member. Keep going, my friend, maybe one day you may break out of your brainwashed state and see the hard realities of the UK as it is.

    Getting back to my point laboured above, Craig is now starting to see the unlevel playing field of the non-mainstream politicians in this ‘Mother of all Democracies’, supposedly the UK political system.

    Good luck Craig, but you may soon realise that Zimbabwe and the UK have many similarities. Then you will really be able to say that you are coming of political age and experience.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    “Good luck Craig, but you may soon realise that Zimbabwe and the UK have many similarities.”

    Yes – they both have a large minority of racists in them. In the UK many of those racists are in the BNP whose constitution on its website rants on about the “Celtish, Irish, Norse and Anglo-Saxon folkish peoples” – echoing the Nazis and Hitler who always went on about the ‘volk’ of the ‘fatherland’.

    It goes on to make it clear that anyone in the UK who was born here and has lived here all there life – or even who has parents and grandparents born here – but has the wrong skin colour as far as the BNP are concerned will be ‘persuaded’ to leave the country because the BNP doesnt consider them British.

    If you’re going to complain about being a persecuted minority you really need to avoid persecuting other people for the colour of their skin, or else you’ll just appear hugely hypocritical spiv.

  • David Allen

    Craig, I’m delighted to hear that the Hellesdon School meeting is back on. Perhaps someone realised that too blatant a show of bias would rebound on them?

    JD, I see that you have considerable experience as a schools-related jobsworth who thinks it is too much trouble to bother providing election candidates with what the law says they are entitled to. Well now JD, how would you implement your jobsworth policies if you ran the schools?

    Would you refuse to open up your schools for all candidates at all times? If so, you would rather make a mockery of the election law that says candidates should be able to use your facilities, wouldn’t you?

    Or perhaps you would open up when you felt like it, but not when you didn’t? And you would happily make your facilities available to the candidates you liked, but not the ones you didn’t like? Does it occur to you that you might just look a teensy bit biased in that case?

  • SJB

    The LEA prepares a list of rooms in school premises that candidates are entitled to use: see s95(6), sch5 para 2(1) of the Representation of the People Act 1983.

    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/RevisedStatutes/Acts/ukpga/1983/cukpga_19830002_en_37

    Providing the candidate gives reasonable notice then he can use the room to hold a public meeting free of charge: s95(1). But he must stump up for certain expenses (e.g. lighting & heating): s95(4). Although, how on earth do you arrive at a figure for these items for a 3-hour meeting?

    To answer James D’s point, I suppose if governors could revoke the use of school premises then it would be easy to disrupt particular candidates’ campaigns.

  • SJB

    UCU Member at 6:56PM: “They [UCU] are not required to abide by any sort of equal right of access.”

    Probably not if the meeting is held on private premises but I wonder if that holds true if the venue is one controlled by a body exercising a public function?

  • Chris

    I don’t think there’s any conspiracy against Craig, all smaller parties get this – it’s a novelty that the Greens aren’t being shunned this time.

    I think those concerned, the press, the Churches, managers of public buildings are looking for any excuse to exclude the BNP.

    This will happen again and again until either the race realtions act is altered to ban the BNP, or they are treated like any other party.

    And before anyone says, no, I’m not a BNP supporter.

  • Ruth

    Chris,

    Do you think for one minute that the permanent unelected government/Establishment would want Craig pouring forth in parliament?

    Their ways of manipulation are subtle and I think in this situation they would be working through the machinery of the Conservative party to make sure at all costs Craig is not elected.

    There is massive corruption going on under the layers of government that cannot be exposed.

  • Jaded

    I emailed Waddup and hope others who haven’t yet do so. Great news on the school meeting Craig. I quite agree with your view above Ruth. That’s why they all paid back a few hundred grand. It was just chicken feed really. I’m sure there’s going to be a few subtle ‘rebates’ doing the rounds. *Nods head*

  • Ingo

    ucu, as it shall be written from now on, should hold their heads in shame, what petty farce and control freakery by a student union body that purports to be ‘social’ to students.

    By denying them access to Craigs views?

    denying a candidate who wants to uphold the integrity of politics and safe its sorry arse? what illogical peabrainery is that?

    Direct action it is. I’m sure the Greens will understand.

  • Denim Justice

    “It doesn’t – it states “without charge”, that’s the legal status. You can’t be charged. (Fnny how you edited that bit out of your reply, Craig – a true politician in waiting)”

    We have the truth. Craig is just like the politicians he criticises for cheap political gain.

  • Jon

    @Denim Justice – I am guessing you have a problem with Craig’s politics, and that you are championing these petty stumbling blocks as a result. Surely you are not *still* a supporter of New Labour, after everything that’s happened?

    @Craig – thrilled to hear the meeting’s back on. I’ve not received an email reply from Matt Waddup or other members of UCU, but nevertheless I would be heartened if this change of mind comes as a result of several of your readers taking action!

  • anon (since I don't want my UCU membership publicised on the web)

    @UCU member (6:56 PM) and @Jon (7:12 PM)

    you are wrong. UCU is _not_ affiliated to Labour. It has a political fund that, presumably, is being used to pay for this meeting and the opinion poll, and has been used to pay for stalls at Lab, Tory and LD conferences; but members are explicitly told that UCU does not affiliate to the Labour Party before being asked to approve or contribute to the political fund. There may be questions to ask about whether there is bias towards the establishment parties in the way the political fund is spent, but in theory at least it shouldn’t be used in a biassed pro-Labour way.

    @subrosa (7:41 PM)

    I neither claimed that Craig was not knowledgeable about education, nor that Rupert Read was ‘the fount of all knowledge about education’. I don’t want to get into an argument about whether Craig is more knowledgeable about education than Rupert – but I stand by my view that Craig was a little overblown in his claim to be ‘far more qualified … than any other candidate’. The claim, in my opinion displays either arrogance or ignorance, neither of which reflect well on Craig.

    @Chris (10:41 PM)

    I suspect you are correct. My knowledge from within UCU tells me that there will be a determination to not give the BNP a platform: and they probably will be aware that if they did invite BNP, then the Labour, and Green candidates would probably refuse to appear (other candidates may also).

    I have thus emailed Matt Waddup, as a UCU member, asking him to include Craig and suggesting that “While betting odds are not always a good way to determine the relative likelihood of election results, they should provide sufficient grounds for selection of who is worth inviting”, and pointing him to an appropriate set.

  • Jon

    @anon – thanks for the correction. I based my understanding entirely on the earlier comment from ‘UCU Member’ at 6:56.

  • James D

    “JD, I see that you have considerable experience as a schools-related jobsworth who thinks it is too much trouble to bother providing election candidates with what the law says they are entitled to. Well now JD, how would you implement your jobsworth policies if you ran the schools?”

    David Allen – there’s nothing “jobsworth” about it. Don’t be such an idiot. People who work in schools work damned hard – to call anyone who won’t work for nothing and interrupt their free time for politicians to hold an event a “jobsworth” beggars belief.

    So here at last is how Craig Murray gets headlines in Norwich: “Candidates supporters label school teachers and caretakers jobsworths for not opening up in the evening”…

    Nice.

    How can anyone at one point ask for people to volunteer to help with the campaign, and then next effectively demand that anyone working in the public sector give up their free time? Double standards!

    I tell you something – if anyone working in a school were considering opening it up for you, that pathetic little comment would have sealed the deal. Forget it.

  • George Dutton

    Despite the efforts of the UCU/BBC to ignore Craig Murray’s campaign, word is reaching the people of Norwich. Ladbrokes have shortened their odds on Craig’s victory and he now has shorter odds than the Liberal Democrats.

    The UCU is doing all it can to give New Labour a platform when they are doing this…

    http://tinyurl.com/luulxr

    Craig Murray who would do all he could to promote educational needs gets blanked. What is the REAL agenda off the people who run the UCU ???.

  • Jon

    @JamesD – it is rather unfair to conflate everything that Craig supporters say with Craig – this is, after all, a public forum, and supporters can say (nearly) anything they like.

    I do agree with you that keeping a school open does incur a cost to someone, and no-one is expecting that staff should work for free. However, David also has a point, which is that if there is a legal requirement to provide publicly funded buildings for election purposes, one cannot just say that it is cost prohibitive, as that would be – as far as I can tell – against the law.

    Perhaps you are right that electoral candidates should ask nicely though!

    Meanwhile, I apologise if I have this wrong, but I sense that you are opposed to Craig’s candidacy. May I ask who you prefer for this election, or if you support a specific party?

  • Jon

    (My post at July 8, 2009 10:14 AM was of the view that an invite to tonight’s hustings had been extended. It hasn’t – it is tomorrow’s use of Hellesdon High School that is now OK.)

    @Peter – no, received nothing. Emailed Matt and all the members mentioned in this thread. Didn’t expect to get anything, however, to be honest. One can but try!

  • eddie

    I watched the four candidates at the UCU speed dating event on BBC’s Look East tonight. The Lib was awful, the Green is a nincompoop, the Tory was easily the best at slick presentation. She is going to win the seat, no doubt about it.

  • George Dutton

    Posted by: George Dutton at July 8, 2009 8:28 PM

    Despite the efforts of the UCU/BBC to ignore Craig Murray’s campaign, word is reaching the people of Norwich. Ladbrokes have shortened their odds on Craig’s victory and he now has shorter odds than the Liberal Democrats.

    The UCU is doing all it can to give New Labour a platform when they are doing this…

    http://tinyurl.com/luulxr

    Craig Murray who would do all he could to promote educational needs gets blanked. What is the REAL agenda off the people who run the UCU ???.

    ********************************

    UPDATE

    “Union anger over uni jobs threat”

    “Almost 300 jobs are under threat at two Scottish universities, a lecturers’ union has warned.”…

    tinyurl.com/ntonnv

    “Union anger over uni jobs threat”

    I don’t think so.

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