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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  • guano

    Courtenay Bennett
    Of course I am familiar with and I agree with all the benefits of liberal thinking that you describe. Dreoilin’s account is scary and horrific because in less liberal times those events could have been punished further still in order to silence them.

    My own belief is that sexual politics, the use of oppressive behaviour in the sexual domain, is a mainstream tool the political mind. It is expressly forbidden in Islam, as a tool for advancement of any political agenda, but it is very much a part of the toolbox of Muslims when they want to hurt other people who don’t agree with them.

    Muslims who use sexual politics see themselves as victims of historical oppression who are entitled to use any means available to redress all wrongs. I think those who are sexual liberals are doing the same. Neither seem to be able to see that all forms of sexual politics are intrinsically oppressive. Sexual politics directed at a spouse, because a partner sees them as part of the group that has historically oppressed them, either because they are from the oppressor classes of society or merely on the grounds of gender, can have a devastating, unintended effect on the children.

    Craig might have thought he was using sexual politics to hit back at his posh wife and it might have given him some personal satisfaction to do so. Lots of posh wives take sexual revenge on their arrogant, posh husbands in the same way. But the revenge usually hurts the innocent children rather than the bastard oppressive classes.

    In my lifetime sexual politics has been utilised in class war to remove the powers of the posh and replace it with fresh faces. But those fresh faces have paid themselves more , reversed welfare reforms and launched more wars since coming to power than their posh predecessors. So I come to the conclusion that they were not against oppression, but rather they were jealous of posh power.

    Craig has distinguished himself by taking a stand against all oppressors, unbearable toffs like Cameron and unbearable shite like Straw. My point is this: the use of sexual politics in my lifetime as a tool of political change has not eradicated sexual oppression. The Muslim women of Egypt in the Arab Spring who declared that their faith prevented them from using sexual politics as a tool for political change, thereby protected their children from a deep damage that has been done to Western children. What Courtenay says in defence of liberalism in cases like Dreoilin’s goes without saying.

    I don’t believe either Craig or any other advocates of sexual liberalism

  • Jemand

    @Komodo re victims and responsibility

    You have been drawn into an old, old argument that feminists either cannot comprehend, or choose to invert for self-serving rape politics. And you are quite correct. All of us, as potential victims of crime or misfortune, have a primary responsibility to mitigate the risks of being a victim, if possible. That means wearing a helmet while riding a motorbike, wearing a seatbelt while driving a car, not swimming in rivers where crocodiles dwell, not calling cops “cuntstable”, not walking into a desert without water, not getting drunk and walking home in a mini-skirt at 3am or visiting war zones as tourists.

    I’ve had this argument before and replied “If you think that it is your right to go swimming with sharks and not be attacked, then go ahead. Just don’t complain about losing your legs later.” Blaming vicious criminals makes about as much sense as blaming vicious sharks – do they care? Can we appeal to THEIR sense of responsibility?

  • Villager

    Mary, on your point about the $1 Billion election, here’s an extract from another blog:

    “· The election Editor is feeling tres grumpy about this fraudulent show called the 2012 US Presidential election. In 2008, Senator John McCain opted for federal financing, spending $74-million. In 2012 Tweedledee and Tweedledum have spent $1-billion, with $300-million coming from black funds. No one except those who spend it knows from where it comes.

    · One gazillionaire, some vague fellow by name of Adelman, has alone contributed $53-million known, so that 1 of 20 dollars spent is from just this one person. If anyone thinks their vote is worth the same as vague fellow’s vote, they are delusional. This is an election by the rich, of the rich, and for the rich. This is not democracy, it is an oligarchy. Can’t say we’re constitutional experts here, but last we heard the US constitution says nothing about oligarchical rule.

    · The effect of money is simple. It distorts, indeed renders irrelevant, the will of the people. This vague person, for example, is contributing $53-million not because he likes his candidate’s smile, but because he expects if his candidate wins, the candidate will do favors for the vague person. So again, your one vote is not equal to this gazillionaire’s vote.

    · If Americans feel this system is fine, then certainly Editor is no one to disagree. After all, he is a guest here. But he has lived here long enough, and knows enough, to be able to tell what’s happening is not democracy, but a sham. What’s happening is anti-American and is subverting the foundations of the Republic – what’s left of the Republic, anyway. Those who subvert the Republic are traitors. Traitors need to be shot.

    · Honestly, we wouldn’t have to shoot too many. Just take the top 10 donors. It wouldn’t even cost money because lots of people with guns would volunteer in a snap and would be happy to use their own ammo. If the rule became the top ten donors to any election campaign are shot, you can bet next year no one will give a penny to any election. Problem will be solved. No need to thank Editor. Solving problems: that’s what he is here for.”

    REPEAT: This is an election by the rich, of the rich, and for the rich.

  • Mary

    Thanks Dreoilin and Technicolour. I miss Clark too.
    That is happening in the Land of the Free of course. Poor Bradley Manning. I wonder how he is coping. Also those recently extradited to the US.

    Meanwhile in our own ‘democracy’….

    This is a reply by Alistair Burt FCO Minister MENA to a question from the MP of a friend about Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons. I hope my friend will be writing it up. Burt cannot bear to use the word ‘nuclear weapons’ and ‘Israel’ in the same sentence.

    ~~~~

    Mr Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to encourage Israel to (a) sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and (b) open its nuclear programme to international inspection. [126611]

    Alistair Burt: The British Government supports fully the universalisation of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). We have called on Israel and other non-signatories to join the NPT as non-nuclear weapons states. We have also called on them to agree a full scope Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In 2009 the IAEA concluded that nuclear material, facilities or other items to which safeguards were applied in Israel remained in use for peaceful activities. The UK accepts these conclusions. We have a regular dialogue with the Israeli Government on civil nuclear and counter proliferation issues.

    My friend replied to the MP –

    What does Mr Burt mean by including Israel among the “non-nuclear weapons states”?

    My original question referred to Israel’s nuclear, biological and chemical weapons although the PQ you tabled, which understandably had to be ‘tweaked’ to comply with PQ rules, does not reflect this. Consequently Mr Burt has been able to sidestep the awkward issue of Israel’s hundreds of nuclear warheads that are not subject to international safeguards while he and his colleagues revel in the punishment meted out to Iran, which is signed up to the NPT and has no nuclear weapons programme.

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm121105/text/121105w0001.htm#12110537000900

  • Dreoilin

    Sorry for my giddiness earlier. There was a reason for it which I won’t go into. I’ve since been watching Channel4 coverage of the Bryn Estyn “care” home. Obviously I’m far from giddy now.

    “I think Wikileaks has been prevented from appearing on US gov search terms since March…”

    That’s weird. As far as I know, that news only turned up on Twitter during the past two days. This Youtube video, a report from RT, is dated 4 November.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=47-qww66Kd0

  • technicolour

    well, it was this:

    The federal government’s vigilance at preventing anything relating to WikiLeaks from appearing on a government computer has tripped up military prosecutors, causing them to miss important emails from the judge and defense involved in the case against an Army intelligence analyst accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and military reports to the web-based transparency organization.

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2012/03/blocking-wikileaks-emails-trips-up-bradley-manning-117573.html

  • Chris Jones

    ….”So you did, so I believe we are joint winners. Craig has to deliver on this and pay up because I’m quite sure we have the correct explanation. I’ll go along with your 70/30 split since you were first – so he sends £70 to a charity of your choice, and £30 to a charity of mine.

    C’mon Craig, ante up”

    ….ha! sounds like a plan. I also believe we have the correct answer to Craigs challenge. Even better if we could agree on a charity/cause – or what about we maybe offer that it go to pay a homeless person to stand outside the gates of number 10 for two days with placards? Or give it to Paul Flynn to make up somewhat for his lost wages that he lost for telling the truth in the Westminster pantomine house?

  • Ben Franklin (head honcho CIA Office for Craig Murray Operations)

    “· If Americans feel this system is fine, then certainly Editor is no one to disagree. After all, he is a guest here. But he has lived here long enough, and knows enough, to be able to tell what’s happening is not democracy, but a sham. What’s happening is anti-American and is subverting the foundations of the Republic – what’s left of the Republic, anyway. Those who subvert the Republic are traitors. Traitors need to be shot.”

    The Constitution, like the Bible, is a template which depends upon the good auspices of the participants. Alas, we are dealing with human beings. Just as criminals use the Document to further their own selfish aims, politicos fall right in line. But I’m assuming this is not just your
    bitch and moan moment, yet you provide no solutions, other than simply bypassing the document. Since that’s what you say is wrong with some of Obama’s policies, I doubt that’s a serious consideration.

  • technicolour

    Mmmm – violent deluded thugs are like sharks – beware everyone, your fault if they gnaw off your legs with their often poverty-stricken misguided teeth – remember, it’s your fault if they do…no point trying to understand them or stand up to them…best to stay indoors, indoors, indoors…..

    nice supporter, Komodo!

    Guano, thanks for post – agree that freedom from guilt about sex between happy consenting people does not a revolution make. Perhaps a start though? And of course this can take place within a monogamous marriage too 🙂

  • Anon

    McKellen says:
    “I’m currently touring secondary schools in UK, attacking homophobia in the playground and discouraging kids from the careless use of ‘gay’ which might make their gay friends (and teachers) feel less about themselves.[.]”

    oooh, the poor luvs. he’s breaking my heart…

  • Anon

    Mr Messham, who until now has not named his abusers, said he is hopeful that the inquiry will be successful, but added: “If I feel nothing’s being done then names will come out”.

    http://www.channel4.com/news/photographs-of-abuse-was-handed-to-police

    He would be better off just coming out with it for the sake of his own safety. When you have an inquiry into an inquiry, and no-one’s talking anymore because of the inquiry, then you can say “nothing’s being done”. It’s all about allowing public anger to abate, and then a long drip-feed of information, a few show prosecutions, end of story – at least that’s their hope.

  • Dreoilin

    Technicolour,
    Thanks. I think that’s a slightly different matter … But clearly they’re sometimes too smart for their own good!

    “C’mon Craig, ante up”

    Craig stopped reading long ago. 😀

  • Ben Franklin (head honcho CIA Office for Craig Murray Operations)

    Matt Taibbi; the putative heir to the Gonzo dagger…

    “Years from now, when we look back at these last days and weeks before this 2012 election, what we’re going to remember is how intensely millions of Americans hated during this time, how many shameless and dishonorable lies were told as the race tightened (we scratched and clawed at each other like sewer rats over every absurd factual dispute, finding ways to shriek at each other even over things that by definition are nobody’s fault, even over acts of God like Hurricane Sandy) and how reflexively people on opposite sides of the race disbelieved each other and laid blame at each others’ feet over just about every issue, important or (more often) not.
    People who live in other countries, who grew up in the third world or live now in terminally wobbling mob states of the ex-Communist variety, they must look at our behavior now in election years and think we’re crazy.

    You have to have lived in a country with real problems and real instability to realize this, but life doesn’t change too terribly much in America no matter which party wins the presidency – not real change, the way people in the rest of the world understand real political change, i.e. in terms of reprisals and collapsed currencies and assassinations and other such disasters. For most of us, our day-to-day lives won’t change a lick no matter who wins tonight. If we just turned off our cable channels and stayed off the net, it would take months, maybe years, for most of us to guess who won.

    So all this freaking out and vicious invective-trading looks nuts from the outside: it looks like we’re making up reasons to hate and fear each other, summoning the language of violent civil unrest with a hedonistic zeal that only people who haven’t experienced the real thing could possibly enjoy.”

    http://m.rollingstone.com/entry/view/id/33205/pn/all/p/0/?KSID=60a003f6286a1620caae07657cf884dd

  • Chris Jones

    Ben – i don’t quite see what you’re saying – are you supportive of the American constitution or not? – you have heard of the totalitarian and very dangerous Patriot and NDAA acts i take it?

  • Ben Franklin (head honcho CIA Office for Craig Murray Operations)

    Chris;

    Yes. There is nothing wrong with the Constitution. H.L. Mencken; “The problem with people, is people”

  • technicolour

    How to write a derivative Gonzo article from the sidelines:

    1. Include words like ‘rats’ and ‘scrabbling’. This will give your piece momentum and suggest you have actually seen things like rats, possibly even rats scrabbling, even though you are writing from a fifth floor Manhattan condo. Add ‘shriek’ if possible.

    2. Use the word ‘we’. This will give your readers the impression that you are ‘one of them’ even though you are repelled by their circumstances and are in fact writing from a fifth floor Manhattan condo.

    3. Further chum up with phrases like ‘most of us’ in the sure knowledge that your readership, while desperate to cling to some kind of comradeship, are actually surviving on food stamps, or have relatives doing so, while you are being paid for this article.

    4. Repeat.

  • oddie

    have seens a few posts saying $1 billion spent on the US 2012 election campaign. sorry folks, that figure is merely for last-minute ad blitz in ten battleground states:

    Washington Post Blog: An obscene display of campaign spending
    The Center for Responsive Politics, according to National Public Radio, places the total cost of the 2012 presidential and congressional races at an estimated $6 billion…
    Gain a guaranteed four-year seat in the White House for $2.6 billion (the total presidential portion of that $6 billion). For goodness sake, that $6 billion is more than the gross domestic product of nearly 50 countries in the world…
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/post/an-obscene-display-of-campaign-spending/2012/11/06/b53708d4-284d-11e2-96b6-8e6a7524553f_blog.html

    CBS: AP: 2012 ad blitz: big money, smaller audience
    One million ads. More than $1 billion. Ten battleground states.
    Those numbers tell the story of the 2012 presidential campaign TV ad blitz. Never before has so much money been spent on so many commercials aimed at so few voters…
    That’s almost 40 percent more TV ads than the number that ran in the same period four years ago when Obama defeated Republican John McCain.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505245_162-57544820/2012-ad-blitz-big-money-smaller-audience/

  • Ben Franklin (head honcho CIA Office for Craig Murray Operations)

    Technicolour; I think the spectrum of your colouring has been dutifully established….

    Tones of tan, but mostly brown.

  • Ben Franklin (head honcho CIA Office for Craig Murray Operations)

    American blogs are similar……lots of carping, without real solutions. It seems the human race is

    ‘pessimista’ first, ‘ottimista’ as afterthught.

  • Dreoilin

    Oddie

    It’s $1 billion each. How long could $2 billion feed the whole of America? In style? How many houses would it build? How much health care would it cover?

    Sky News are having a ball. Guaranteed hours and hours of semi-live coverage until sometime tomorrow, or even the day after. A visiting ET would think the election was in the UK.

    Anyone know how many people the BBC have sent over there?

  • Ben Franklin (head honcho CIA Office for Craig Murray Operations)

    For the uninitiated, brown is the generic for shite.

  • technicolour

    Dreoilin: “A visiting ET would think the election was in the UK.” – was just re-reading Bill Bryson’s ‘Notes from a Small Island’ where he points out that, if the UK press coverage is anything to go by, the USA is situated somewhere in the region of Brussels, while France is located in the region of Antigua.

    Still wish Romney won’t win – had passionate (on their part) conversations with Americans about this, along the lines of ‘ok, you;re voting for the lesser evil, but that still means the less evil wins’.

    Personally would have voted Green, not for smugness’ sake but because my vote has to somehow reflect the way I think, damn it,

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