The Denis MacShane Prize 415


This is a genuine offer. I will pay £100 to any person who can provide a convincing reason why Denis MacShane’s expense fiddling, involving his creating false invoices, was not a criminal offence. Your argument does not have to be unanswerable – merely respectable. Up to three prizes will be given, for the three first and not essentially the same convincing arguments.

This competition specifically is open to employees of the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service; we would love to know their reasoning. It baffles me. I confess I can think of no single circumstance in this case that would prevent MacShane being convicted for theft and fraud. What is the answer?

Denis MacShane is a criminal. If he wants to try his chances with a jury, the libel courts are open to him and I am here.


415 thoughts on “The Denis MacShane Prize

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  • Tony

    There is no place for Macshane to hide from the law now, Craig. I think you are safe from the libel lawyers as well as the Labour Friends of Israel.

  • craig Post author

    Tony –

    Thanks. Problem is he doesn’t have to hide from the law. The Metropolitan Police have said they are not investigating him.

  • Dale Martin

    Try as I may the only arguments I can even conceivably come up with would be blatantly fraudulent on my part in the attempt to win the money. lol
    .
    Its a strange old world, when the working class falsify benefit claims, which are very similar to expense claims in essence, then it is called “fraud” and not foolishness as MacShane self described it. Just how did this soft language and response for deviancy committed by those in privileged positions evolve whilst far harder language and judicial response remains applicable to the great unwashed?

  • Alex

    Crimes of dishonesty require the guilty mind (intent), to be proven beyond reasonable doubt, so if I were his lawyer I’d be making a case that it was negligent rather than deliberate… I don’t know enough about the facts to know whether that would be a runner though. Just playing devil’s advocate!

  • johnf

    The Crown Prosecution Service and the Metropolitan Police are obviously not bringing a prosecution simply because they have the public interest in mind. They know that the second there is the whiff of a prosecution he will do a Lady Porter.

    They are thus saving us the tax payers hard earned dosh for us. Gawd bless ’em!

  • Colin Carr

    Long ago I read somewhere a Western view of why communism was a flawed system. It went a bit like this. If Ivan Nikoleievich a party member in, say, Bratsk, did something wrong, the local committee would summon him and most likely ban him from attending party meetings, or even withdraw his party membership.
    However, Russians are human, and the remaining members were still friends with Ivan. So after a couple of months, someone would propose that he be reinstated. And very often he was. He then returned to his old party tasks just as before, having effectively had a light slap on the wrist for whatever he did wrong.

    This failure to effectively discipline wrongdoing within the party ranks was central to the fall of the USSR, or so the article claimed.

    Compare & contrast with Macshame. He committed a criminal offence -theft from the British taxpayer he sas supposed to represent and, allegedly because of parliamentary privilege, he cannot now be prosecuted.

    I’d like to believe the moral of the story, but I’m not holding my breath for the imminent collapse of our fundamentally corrupted plutocracy.

    Seems to me that it’s the same old mutual back scratching in both cases.

  • Dick the Prick

    Yer money’s safe. I reckon he’ll go for the Margaret Moran defence – blub blub blub penguin. Even the CiFers aren’t too upset – seems he was a bit of a bully to some of his interns but gave away taxpayers laptops to others – nice boss!

    That he didn’t respond to John Lyon for 4 months is akin to a child just ignoring it so it’ll go away.

    This guy could have easily got away with it if he wasn’t such an ejeet. I bet the IPSA clerk just sat there, slack jawed thinking – ‘and what the fuck do you call this?’ as he was handed an invoice in crayon. It’s truly staggering that an MP can reach 60ish years old and be so mind bogglingly useless as basic admin.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/02/mps-expenses-maxed-out-editorial

  • OldMark

    Tony’s link includes a statement issued by MacShane in the last 24 hours in which he claims he’s been ‘judged harshly’ !

    This man’s sense of entitlement, and implicit contempt for his constituents, and the UK taxpayer, is boundless.

    Johnf- the Law of Return doesn’t apply to MacShane (a gentile) so the Lady Porter option isn’t available to him.

  • Andy Hards

    Surely the reason that it is not an criminal is that the amounts involved were so large as to cause our allies to rethink intelligence sharing and put pressure on the Govt to clear this whole mess up PDQ. Nothing to see, move along plebs.

  • Andy Hards

    Also wasn’t the Parliamentary Priv excuse rejected by the courts when the last lot ended up in jail. What has changed in this case?

  • larry Levin

    The labour party elected as its leader Tony Blair, what more do u need to know about these clowns. How many died under the US/UK/Israeli sanctions on Iraq? The proper way to deal with this is look at the pro israeli voting record and make this transparent to his constituents, how many know they are electing Israeli puppets as their MP’s

  • Komodo

    Relevant material is in the public domain. How can it be privilege-protected?

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmstnprv/635/63502.htm

    See #19 -25, (enclosures), in particular.

    The only thing standing between MacShane and court is the intentionally ill-defined notion of parliamentary privilege. If this ensures that an MP is immune from prosecution under criminal charges, it is time the system is overhauled and put into legally valid form.

  • doug scorgie

    The reason, Craig, is as follows:
    The Director of Public Prosecutions is a political appointee and is a puppet of the government. If you look at some cases dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service it would appear that political considerations are taken into account after the police have submitted their files:
    Guardian 31/10/12
    The City of London police have dropped their year-long investigation into whether Adam Werritty committed fraud by posing as Liam Fox’s official adviser.
    The police said the case against Werritty had been dropped after the Crown Prosecution Service advised that there was insufficient evidence to justify criminal charges.
    Regarding Simon Harwood, the police officer that assaulted Ian Tomlinson before his death:
    The Crown Prosecution Service had initially ruled out prosecuting the officer because of conflicting post-mortem reports.
    Jimmy Savile and the 2 year police investigation file submitted in 2009:
    Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement that the case was dropped because a crucial witness declined to testify and because there was “insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.”
    From the Daily Telegraph 2/11/12
    Regarding the report on MacShane
    “In the report, the standards commissioner John Lyon said the investigation was suspended for almost two years because of the police enquiry.
    However, although Mr Lyon reported Mr MacShane to the police in October 2010, he noted in his report that his evidence was not requested by the police, raising serious questions about the police investigation.
    The enquiry was dropped after the Crown Prosecution Service concluded that the file passed to them by the police in December 2011 contained insufficient evidence to try Mr MacShane.”
    Though the other way round. From the Sunday Times 29/07/12:
    KEIR STARMER, the director of public prosecutions (DPP), stopped his staff from dropping a case against an accountant who joked on Twitter that he wanted to blow up an airport, it was claimed today. Chambers was later found guilty of sending a menacing tweet. Crown prosecution service (CPS) lawyers told Chambers they saw no public interest in opposing his appeal, but Starmer allegedly overruled them at the last minute. Chambers won his appeal.
    I believe MacShane will be re-investigated and maybe charged now that it seems politically expedient to do so.

  • gyges

    Spend your money on launching a private prosecution.

    (As an aside, all prosecutions brought by the RSPCA are private prosecutions; what I’m suggesting is not without precedent).

  • Mary

    The present DPP is also i/c of the Crown Prosecution Service, Keir Starmer QC. ‘Baroness’ Scotland appointed him (enough said) and in his previous life as a barrister he worked for ACPO (a private limited company and not a state organisation as many people believe)

    ‘He is generally seen as supportive of the Labour Party.[6]’
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keir_Starmer

    He came from Doughty Street Chambers. There you can see the names of Geoffrey Robertson and Helena Kennedy. Also Gavin Millar, brother of Fiona Millar, wife of war criminal Alastair Campbell.

    The whole set up of the establishment is an incestuous nest. Not what you know but who you know. Justice? What is that and where is it in this country in 2012.

    It seems that it is down to Attorney General Grieve to proceed but look at his record including throwing out the request for an inquest for Dr Kelly.

  • Habbabkuk

    Craig, I believe you owe Doug Scourgie 100 smackers.

    PS – I love the frequently-trotted line “..has decided that a prosecution would not be in the public interest” – precious!

  • Jerôme

    Mr MacShane is rather well-known on the continent, so permit me to comment. I don’t think he’s an especially evil man, and certainly not a stupid one, and a (rare) open pro-EU voice in the government was appreciated. What strikes one is the smallness of the amounts in question; the man has sacrificed his political life and general reputation for a few thousand pounds. Toutes proportions gardées, of course, but he seems to be almosrt a Shakespearean tragic figure, a person brought down by a tragic flaw in his character. I leerave the question of what that flaw was to tohers to judge.

  • David McCann

    The theft of public money by members of parliament, including government ministers is nothing new. Alasdair Darling, made four second home designations and charged the taxpayer for accountancy fees to work out his complicated financial affairs. The taxpayer also footed the bill for stamp duty and legal fees on his £226,000 home in South London. He then began claiming £900 mortgage interest payments on it. The cost of furnishing followed, to the tune of £950, which he claimed along with a chaise longue, sofa and oven mitt, as well as a 75p Ikea carrier bag!
    Harriet Harman, spent £10,000 of taxpayers’ money on “media training”. The list goes on.
    At the time of these expense scandals, not one political reporter or Westminster commentator, revealed a shred of this scandal. It took a whistle blower and the Telegraph to reveal the depth of the widespread theft of public money.
    Alasdair Darling is currently leading the ‘Better Together’ campaign to save the Union.
    They are well named!

  • guest

    “While we working on the documentary he told me that he had become interested in political conspiracies because of his experiences at the BBC and in government. He had been appalled about how the BBC had quashed great stories while he was working as a political journalist. He told me one story that involved a paedophile ring in the British government in the 1980s.”

    http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=19658&hl=

  • Chris2

    “Clearly I deeply regret that the way I chose to be reimbursed for costs related to my work in Europe and in combating antisemitism, including being the Prime Minister’s personal envoy, has been judged so harshly.”

    There is the defence: he needed the money to combat anti-semitism. He didn’t like to bother Tony Blair, who was too busy, fighting anti-semitism himself, so he forged a few invoices.

  • Tom Welsh

    Good point, Gyges.

    Maybe we should found the RSPCT (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Taxpayers).

  • Komodo

    Spend your money on launching a private prosecution.

    Leave it. E ain’t wurf it. There’s bigger fish to fry. Like bringing a 19th.century parliamentary protection system, designed to prevent the law embarrassing the squirearchy, kicking and screaming into the present day.

  • OldMark

    ‘What strikes one is the smallness of the amounts in question; the man has sacrificed his political life and general reputation for a few thousand pounds.’

    Jerome: MacShane’s wikipedia entry includes this description of him (by Ian Buruma)- “one of the few British politicians with a deep knowledge of France.” Your take on his actions (and MacShane’s own perception that he’s been treated ‘unjustly’)could reasonably be termed ‘typically French’.

    Another example of the Jerome/MacShane mindset here-

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1329860/France-appoints-convicted-criminal-Alain-Jupp-defence-secretary.html

  • Fooldefencecounsel

    A subject of the crown is not deemed to have committed a criminal offence until he has been found guilty. Mr McShane has not been found guilty and therefore he has not committed a criminal offence. I claim £100 and if you agree to pay I will nominate a charity.

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