Treating Jack Straw Differently 97

A UKIP candidate has been obliged to report to the police for breaking the law on “treating” for providing sausage rolls at an event. Yet Jack Straw at elections in 2005 and 2010 held rallies for the Muslim community in Blackburn at which the Labour Party provided hundreds of voters with full sit down meals, free of charge, and Police refused to take any action – indeed they were protecting the event. This is yet another example of the political elite being above the law.

This is what I posted on this blog seven years ago:

On 24 April 2005, in an election rally in Jack Straw’s Blackburn Constituency, over one hundred Blackburn electors were given a full free meal by the Labour party, with Jack Straw present, having just made an election speech to the lucky partakers of this generosity.

Every reader involved in electoral politics will know that this is a criminal offence under the Representation of the People Act, formally known as “Treating” – the provision of free food and drink to electors in an attempt to influence their vote. Conviction leads to forfeiture of the election, banning from public office and a prison sentence of up to two years.

It is also an offence of strict liability – a candidate is liable even if it was organised by someone else on his behalf. A candidate is viewed in law as responsible for his campaign. But in this instance, Jack Straw was actually present.

There was no shortage of witnesses – protestors were ringing the hall. The police were actually providing protection for this criminal event, and showed no interest in the fact that the proceeding was illegal. Jack Straw runs Blackburn as a personal fiefdom.

I therefore went to a police station and made a formal complaint. This obliged the police to investigate, and to do them justice, the detectives of Lancashire Police did a very good job, establishing the facts of the incident. They then sent a file to the Crown Prosecution Service.

The Crown Prosecution Service returned the file to Lancashire Police, saying that the offence was “Trivial” and there would be no prosecution. As this was one of the worst examples of large scale electoral treating since it was made a criminal offence in 1832, presumably this means the CPS has decided that the law on treating has fallen into desuetude, and candidates may now provide food and drink to electors.

Or only New Labour ministers?

I have no sympathy for UKIP. But if action is taken against UKIP where none was taken against Jack Straw for an absolutely blatant example, on a far greater scale, of the same offence, then that would be sickening, and yet a further example of the fact that the law is in no sense applied equally in the UK.

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97 thoughts on “Treating Jack Straw Differently

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  • John Goss

    Yes, I agree, and like you I have no sympathy for UKIP, as is fairly well-known. But getting things into perspective he has a lot more to answer for than buying the electorate of a rotten borough, namely rendition to torture, and support for the illegal Iraq War.

  • MBC

    Quite agree Craig. I have no sympathy for UKIP either though I do find Douglas Carswell’s blog quite interesting. What on earth an intelligent man like him is doing in UKIP I do not know. Perhaps he has plans to oust Farage and turn it into a more progressive version of the Tory Party. He claims to be a Gladstonian Liberal.

    Jack Straw is a contemptible figure. I can’t forgive him for suggesting the day after the referendum that a law should be passed outlawing any future Scottish referendums. This was far worse that EVEL as a way of sticking it to the Scots.

  • willyrobinson

    @John Goss
    Al Capone had a lot more to answer for than tax evasion, but that’s what they got him for. Sometimes you have to make do with what will stick…

  • FergusMac

    Jack Straw could also be driven at 103 mph in 2000. The authorities decided not to prosecute the driver of the ministerial limo. Tip – don’t try this yourself – you and your licence would be hung out to dry.

  • John Goss

    “Al Capone had a lot more to answer for than tax evasion, but that’s what they got him for. Sometimes you have to make do with what will stick…”

    That’s true but it did not stick. Perhaps his war-crimes and extraditions can be made to stick some time in the future. 🙂

  • Ishmael

    Like UKIP, maybe they had no proper health warnings.

    “Jack Straw runs Blackburn as a personal fiefdom”

    I though that was aim of power, to be able to flout the rules. Why else become a politician?

    Can we imagine where ukip would end up? Somewhere near the extremists they reflect.

  • Ishmael

    We need Scotland to get independent, and to form a constitution for this country.

    I hate all that stuff, but jeez, we need some responsibility, rules, guiding principles? something.

  • dramfineday

    Ukip, detestable lot but with plenty of wealthy backers. In the words of the late Gerald Nabbaro – if you can afford justice you can have it – so get on with it Ukip, after all you support this system don’t you?

  • Ishmael

    See to me, though worthy, straw is a symptom. And it’s important to consider the cause of that symptom.

  • Ishmael

    It always brings be back to the obvious, We do have a royal family, who do treat this country as their own personal fiefdom.

    What to we expect….

  • Ishmael

    If people marched to the gates, ended this farce, everything would fall into place. Or much would.

  • Mary

    The flummery on 26 March.

    Straw made his valedictory speech.

    Afterwards the oleaginous Mr Bercow referred to him as a ‘hugely respected figure’.

    They are so revolting – all up one another’s …….

    What’s next for him? Full time rather than part time employment with
    ED & F Man or a seat on one of those well polished red benches up the corridor?

  • Ishmael

    We still have the Parthenon Marbles marbles, does that count for nothing? Why have them if your not going to use em.

    This is a cowardly country. We don’t even talk about it seriously.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Sorry, this is offtopic and onhobbyhorse, but Straw is as nothing to this raving psychotic, now in the terminal throes of megalomania, and in complete denial about the disastrous effects of what he probably calls his philosophy.

    I have no reason to doubt that he has been misreported. He means it. Straitjacket, Nurs(ultan)e!

  • Ishmael

    I can’t see it being much of a problem, There is a massive part of the population who identify as republican. The one who are ‘monarchists’ do we seriously think they want it? No , it’s just there…

    I’d do it just to see the few who would come out, defending the fiefdom, lol.

  • Ishmael

    Anarchy claims to be God, King, and Law, rejecting all traditional sources of authority and power. Some choose to follow him. As his forces proceed with their destruction, even Hope cries out in despair. Finally, however, a mist of hope emerges, carrying thoughts. This revives Hope and kills Anarchy. The land of England seems to speak to the English, asking them to rise and retake true freedom, since they really have been oppressed and should fight back. Instead of trading “blood for blood” and “wrong for wrong,” the people should finally turn back to justice, wisdom, peace, and love in order to achieve liberty. They should be guided by “Science, Poetry, and Thought” and quiet virtues. The true revolution should be “measured” and use words instead of swords, drawing on the “old laws of England” instead of the new laws of the oppressors. When the tyrants fight back, the people should let their anger show itself until the tyrants fall back in shame. The people will then “Rise like Lions after slumber / In unvanquishable number” to reform England.

  • craig Post author


    I should be saddened if you did not post again. However if you posted rather less than on this thread, and rather more meaningfully, I should be grateful.

  • jake

    Would the anti-treating provisions of the RoP Act also apply to prospective candidates helping out at foodbanks? Just wonderin’

  • Abe Rene

    Perhaps the police will overlook it as they did Jack Straw on the grounds that the sausage rolls were also trivial?

  • Ishamel

    You require a response Craig.

    I’ll leave you to ‘meaningfully’ stamp out all the fires you want.

    Have no fear, that long awaited slight, and frankly imo ignorance, will certainly be keeping me off this blog.

  • Rose

    I’m no supporter of UKIP either but our candidate is energetic in taking on matters of local concern and has earned some respect from unlikely quarters amongst people I know. There is little chance of a UKIP victory here, but IMO the sitting member will see a big dent in his majority from this individual.

    Top tips for Ukips: confine yourselves to local issues, speak only about what you know, don’t believe your own BS and stay off the beer.

    There – that should knock a few of ’em out of the running.

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