The Conservatives Will Be Protected From Their Election Fraud 257

It is hard to think of bigger news than that the Electoral Commission is taking the governing party to court over alleged fraud in its election accounts, with possible disqualifications that could cost the government its majority. Yet the issue has received remarkably little coverage apart from the very dogged work of Channel 4 News. Why is that?

There are a number of reasons. The first is that the media has a major pro-Tory bias and minimises bad news for the Tories as a matter of course. The most remarkable example of this is the continual playing down of divisions within the Conservative Party over Europe, which run to extreme levels of personal hatred and abuse. But you do not see that hatred and abuse reflected, whereas divisions within the Labour Party are reported daily in extreme detail.

If you doubt what I say, consider the fact that it is quite openly acknowledged that, under pressure from No.10, the media are organising the televised debates for the EU referendum so that Conservatives are never seen to be debating each other. That is the most extraordinary piece of media connivance, and even entails the media excluding the official Leave campaign from at least one national debate. What is deeply worrying is that the UK has become a country where nobody is surprised or concerned at this kind of blatant state propaganda manipulation.

Which leads me to the second reason for lack of mainstream prominence for the Tory electoral fraud. The entire political class realise that they are now floating atop a sea of massive popular resentment. There is a wariness of further laying bare the corruption of the system, and darkening the public mood still more. The Establishment wants the EU referendum to go through as smoothly as possible, with people voting how their betters instruct them; it is no time for Establishment dirty linen to be laundered in public. So they pretend that absolutely nothing is happening:

The Guardian briefly ran a story on the front page of their website – it was there only a few hours – explaining that legal restrictions made it impossible for them to publish. This is untrue, particularly when so much has been published by Channel 4. The Guardian also connived to make it appear that the only expenses in question were the costs of a bus. It is very much more than that.

The Ramsgate angle caught my eye because I used to live there, not far from the Royal Harbour Hotel which the Conservatives rented out for £14,000 to house activists bussed in to support their local candidate. You leave the money for your drinks in the Royal Harbour on the counter, it has an honesty bar – evidently as a door policy. The Conservatives did not declare this spending, which would have put their candidate far over his constituency spending limit. Having been rumbled, they claim it was a part of national spending.

I stood as an independent anti-war candidate against Jack Straw in Blackburn in 2005. One of the very many ways the system is fixed against independent candidates, is that while I had to keep spending within very tight limits, all the major commercial billboards in the city were plastered with massive “Vote Labour” posters. This did not count against Straw’s expenses because it was part of a national poster campaign, and his name did not appear on those huge billboards.

But there is a very definite difference between that, and the cost of bringing in workers who were actively canvassing and leafleting for a named candidate in the constituency. This must be constituency spending or the term is meaningless. There is no doubt that at least 14 Tory MPs whose campaigns ran this massive overspending (and that one undeclared hotel bill alone made the total overshoot the limit by 50%) ought to be disqualified.

But they will not be. The other reason that this has not been more of a story, is that everyone in the metropolitan political and media bubble knows that nobody will be disqualified. Because we only live in the illusion of a democracy, and threats to the Establishment are gently put to sleep.

When I stood against Jack Straw, he held specifically targeted “Muslims for Labour” rallies during the election campaign at which all the voters who came were given free food and drink. That is a specific criminal offence known as “Treating”. Jack Straw was foreign secretary at the time, and not only were the police aware of the treating, they were actually both inside the hall and guarding it from protestors outside.

In an effort to have the law of the land enforced, I gathered a number of sworn affidavits from voters who had been present, and gave them to the Police with my own sworn complaint. Here is one example of the affidavits:

1, I attended an event in Audley yesterday on Sunday 25 April 2010 at Jan’s Conference Centre in Blackburn.
2. I heard that Mohammad Sarwar MP and the ex Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir Sultan Mahmood were going to be present.
3. I can confirm that the people on the stage were Mohammed Sarwar MP, Barrister Sultan Mahmood, Jack Straw MP, the ex Mayor Salas Kiyani, Lord Adam Patel and others.
4. They all gave speeches to support and ask us to vote for Jack Straw in the MP elections.
5. We were given free food consisting of roti, meat curry, sweet rice and coke.
Affirmed this 26th day of April 2010
By the within named …… at
BLACKBURN in the County of Lancashire
Before me
M Wrendall,
Solicitor and Commissioner for Oaths”

This is the provision of the 1983 Representation of the People Act

114.-(1) A person shall be guilty of a corrupt practice if he .
is guilty of treating.
(2) A person shall be guilty of treating if he corruptly, by
himself or by any other person, either before, during or after an
election, directly or indirectly gives or provides, or pays wholly
or in part the expense of giving or providing, any meat, drink,
entertainment or provision to or for any person-
(a) for the purpose of corruptly influencing that person or
any other person to vote or refrain from voting ; or
(b) on account of that person or any other person having
voted or refrained from voting, or being about to vote
or refrain from voting.
(3) Every elector or his proxy who corruptly accepts or takes
any such meat, drink, entertainment or provision shall also be
guilty of treating.

Blackburn police were obliged to investigate my complaint, and after interviewing witnesses a file was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service. I was told by Blackburn Police that the CPS had decided not to prosecute because it was an “old law”. While it is true that, like murder, it is an old offence, the crime had been included in the 1983 Representation of the People Act. I have no doubt whatsoever that Jack Straw was guilty of treating, ought to have been convicted, and was corruptly protected by the Crown Prosecution Service. Needless to say, the Director of Public Prosecutions at the time is now in the House of Lords. That folks is how the UK works.

The truth is that in this country, electoral law is not enforced against those in power. That is why there is not much publicity around the Tory electoral fraud in at least 14 of their constituencies. It will be made quietly to go away.

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257 thoughts on “The Conservatives Will Be Protected From Their Election Fraud

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  • Peter Collins

    You’re quite right – this could be seen coming from a mile away. The question is, what can we do about it? Suggestions? Any other avenues to pursue?

  • Scott Cameron

    I agree wholeheartedly that nothing will come of this in light of the fact that these same authorities effectively oversaw the exoneration of Carmichael.

  • Bert.

    So the BPS refuse to persecute because it is an “old law”. Really!

    In 1984/5, during the miner’s strike, the cops could find an “old law” from the 14th century to stop flying pickets. A very very very old Justice of the Peace Act prohibited more than 12 men from crossing county boundaries together. This was intended to stop men building armies against the King. They also seem quite capable of digging up the “Joint Enterprise” law when it suits them. There are many laws much older than 1983 that are still in force and are still enforced. If the law has not been repealed then it is in force and enforceable.


  • Dave

    Although in practice there is one rule for the rich and one for the poor, the fact is its impossible to conduct elections without breaking election law, particularly regarding expenses and although the conservatives are guilty the main reason there is a reluctance to pursue the matter is because all parties are guilty and pursuing the matter opens a can of worms and no one would agree to be an election agent.

    And new laws wont help, they will just lead to further malpractice, because if the stakes are high, then politicians will stoop low to win.

    The solution is to take the money out of politics, not by legislation around code of conduct and expenses, but by changing the voting system. At the moment big money counts because under our first past the post system spending a lot of money to win over a few floating voters in a handful of seats wins elections. Change the system to proportional voting and its the message that counts and as long as you have significant support you will win representation and you get transparent coalition politics.

    • craig Post author

      I agree that STV is a far better system. But I reject the argument that it is impossible to conduct a FPTP election within the law. The fact the system rewards illegal behaviour, does not make this illegal behaviour acceptable – any more than the rewards of stealing cars makes stealing cars acceptable.

      • Phil the ex frog

        Except car thieves do not get to make the laws about car stealing. When caught in the act a car thief is most oftent nicked. Surely the consistent fact of impunity against electoral fraud can’t have escaped your notice.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      … not by legislation around code of conduct and expenses, but by changing the voting system.

      No. Both are badly needed. Additionally:
      Controls on lobbying by foreign powers and international corporations, with special attention to any funding from these sources.
      Caps on election expenses. on a per-constituency basis, and on general party funding.
      A wholly – elected second chamber. Salaried, not paid a day’s wage for punching the clock and buggering off.

      And there’s more. In summary, not much of the present system is fit for democratic purpose.

  • RobG

    Make corporations illegal (particularly American corporations), and all the political corruption, all the idiotic wars, all the ‘interference’ in the political process of emerging nations, all the economic schizophrenia will be solved.

    Oh well, one can only dream…

    • Habbabkuk (for accuracy and honesty when posting)

      Sounds attractive, but would you go about making corporations illegal, Rob?

      Can you flesh out your thought a little (nothing too long, just some headings if you’re pressed for time)?


      • RobG

        Habba, I meant to say ‘big’ corporations.

        Corporations exist purely for profit; whereas governments should exist to benefit society. These two things are often diametrically opposed. There are a lot transnational corporations these days that are wealthier than many sovereign nations; ie, they are more powerful (the appalling 3Ts trade deals that are presently going through are a good example of this). I would propose preventing this power.

        In the early 20th century Rockefeller’s Standard Oil (one of the world’s first and largest multinational corporations) was dissolved into 33 smaller companies. The US government managed to do this because the Supreme Court ruled that Standard Oil had a monopoly on the market. I wouldn’t go down the monopoly route, because it’s not always easy to define. Instead I’d put a cap on how much a corporation is allowed to be worth; say, 500 million dollars. That should go some way to preventing the murder and mayhem in this world, perhaps.

          • Habbabkuk (for accuracy and honesty when posting)

            Bot a good idea. Companies as an economic vehicle and as an essential driver of economic growth only took off after the introduction of the concept of limited liabilty .

          • lysias

            By the time Blackstone wrote (late 18th century), limited liability was still limited to organizations that it could be claimed had a public purpose, according to his chapter on corporations. In Britain, stockholders in joint stock companies still had unlimited liability until the Limited Liability Act of 1855, well after the Industrial Revolution got started.

          • lysias

            One can certainly imagine setting conditions that a business must satisfy before it is given limited liability. The idea that corporations have a single overriding duty to maximize profits for the stockholders is certainly open to challenge. German business law is very different.

          • Habbabkuk (for accuracy and honesty when posting)

            One is of course aware that the British industrial revolution started well before the 1855 Limited Liability Act. But the key word is “started”.

            However, it is interesting to note that Hobsbawn (of whose views many on here would doubtlessly approve) , in his “Industry and Empire”, distinguishes between a first and a second phase of the industrial revolution (1780-1840 and 1840-1895), saying of the second phase that

            “The first, or textile, phase of British industrialisation had reached its limits or looked as though it might soon do so. Fortunately a new phase of industrialism was about to take over, and to provide a much firmer foundation for economic growth: that based on the capital goods industries, on coal, iron and steel. The age of crisis for textile industrialism was the age of breakthrough for coal and iron, the age of railway construction.”. He goes on to demonstrate – if proof were needed – that the period 1840 – 1895 were the heyday, the goiden age if you will of British industrialism and British dominance of world manufacturing, trade and so on.

            It is therefore not unreasonable to see the extension of the limited liability company concept through the 1855 act as being one of the key drivers of economic growth in this much more important second phase: one would be justified in saying that the extension of the limited liability concept was an essential condition of that economic growth and that that economic growth on that scale would not have occurred without it. At the very least, the coincidence of dates (1855 / 1840 – 1895) is remarkable. :).

            Hence the abolition of limited. liability companies, as suggested by some on here, would seem not to be a very good idea even if it were feasible.

          • Summerhead

            Assuming, of course, that you believe continued economic growth is the be all and end all. Some might think our planet cannot sustain indefinite economic growth but no doubt a woman of your intellectual breadth, Habbacuck, can think of a way for such a feat to be possible.

          • RobG

            I had a limited company back in the 1980s, when I was earning eye-watering amounts of money; but don’t worry, I’m not a champagne socialist: for many years now I’ve been as penniless as the sheep and cows in the surrounding fields, and I’m quite happy.

            Which brings me onto the Industrial Revolution: how could people leave rural poverty – poor, but clean air and food – for the ‘dark, satanic mills’, where life expectancy halved? Same thing’s happened in China, where some companies now have suicide nets around their roof tops to prevent employees from jumping off.

            In the early 19th century William Blake wrote a short poem about the horrors of the Industrial Revolution called ‘And did those feet in ancient time’. In 1916 Sir Hubert Parry set Blake’s poem to music. Feck ‘God Save The Queen’. ‘Jerusalem’ should be the British national anthem…


          • Habbabkuk (for accuracy and honesty when posting)


            I’ve just realised that you’re the Charlie who first posted suggesting abolishing limited liability companies. No wonder it’s you who’s trying hard to divert after I owned you.

          • Habbabkuk (for accuracy and honesty when posting)

            I suspect that a certain poster is speed-reading Hobsbawn in an attempt to find a counter-quotation.

            As long as he doesn’t bill his firm’s clients for the hours.

        • Habbabkuk (for accuracy and honesty when posting)


          “Assuming, of course, that you believe continued economic growth is the be all and end all.”

          You can assume whatever you want, Dimmerhead, but my point was that limited liability companies were an essential component (even a driver) of economic growth. That’s a historical fact and I said nothing about continued economic growth being the be all and end all.

          As matter of interest, do you believe economic regression is now called for?

          You’re a typical Eminence hanger-on, it seems: you can’t produce an argument to prove me wrong (who can, on the other hand?) and so you attempt to divert the argument.

          Gamma minus.

          • Summerhead

            Calm down dear. You claim economic growth is dependent on the limited liability company so if economic growth is not essential, what is the advantage of limited liability to the majority of people on Earth? Has it ever occured to you that there might be alternative business models? If you think historical economic growth was triggered by the advent of limited liability, perhaps you could provide some evidence, I’m sure one of you in that sweaty Tel Aviv office could find the time to research it. As Rob G pointed out, the rapid industrial growth of the 19th century was not beneficial to all. I keenly await another avalanche of haughty verbosity.

          • Habbabkuk (for accuracy and honesty when posting)


            I said historically . And an essential component, not triggered.

            How can you blame me for being haughty when your replies demonstrate that you are either unable to read or obtuse?

          • Summerhead

            Is obtuse now a verb in Israeli English? It’s interesting how an eight word reply to Rob G pondering whether limited liability was a good idea has created such ire on your part. It’s good to have a passion but a passion for limited liability is quite a marginal interest I must say. It must be very satisfying to always be right, and no doubt you gain a lot of friends as a result. Goodbye old dear.

          • Habbabkuk (for accuracy and honesty when posting)


            “It’s interesting how an eight word reply to Rob G pondering whether limited liability was a good idea has created such ire on your part”


            Now who was it who write the following at 13h41 today:

            “How about putting an end to limited liability?” ?

            Why, I do believe it was you and not RobG.

            It appears you can’t even read your own posts. Or perhaps you’re just obtuse. 🙂

          • Habbabkuk (for accuracy and honesty when posting)

            No – and neither do I wear one, fwl.

  • fred

    ‘Blackburn police were obliged to investigate my complaint, and after interviewing witnesses a file was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service. I was told by Blackburn Police that the CPS had decided not to prosecute because it was an “old law”.’

    I think the CPS would have found it difficult to prove corrupt purpose in this case, they would have had to show that food was given with the intention of influencing the way someone voted.

    Technically someone campaigning for independence before the referendum saying they would throw a huge party if Yes won would be guilty of the same offence but that’s all it is, a technicality.

    • craig Post author


      The intention of the legislation is very plainly to outlaw precisely the behaviour Jack Straw was engaged in – giving voters food and drink at meetings in support of a candidate. The affidavit states that at the meeting where they were given free food and drink, there were speeches made urging them to vote for Jack Straw. That is sufficient evidence for a prosecution.

      • fred

        I don’t think so.

        As I said they would have to prove that the food was given with corrupt intent not out of common hospitality and they would also have to show that at least one person voted for the candidate as a result of receiving the food.

        Is there any precedent? The practice is not uncommon has there ever been a conviction under similar circumstances?

        • craig Post author

          Fred They would not have to show that anybody voted for the candidate as a result of the food.

          I am afraid your position is betrayed by a lack of historical knowledge. You can google Dickens Eatnswill to get the background, and read the Hansard debates to understand further the purpose of the legislation on treating. It is intended precisely to stop the giving out of food and drink at meetings for voters. Before treating was outlawed (about 1833 purely from memory) it was common practice to do what Straw did. After treating was outlawed, there was a stop to it until Straw.

          You always, in all circumstances, wish to defend the Establishment and in this case there is absolutely no point in your comments.

          • fred

            When treating was outlawed it was before the days of secret ballots.

            I’m just stating how Richard Mawrey QC interpreted the law.

            “45 138 The two key elements are
            a) the treating must be done corruptly, in the sense that it is done intentionally, knowing that what was being done as wrong and with the object of inducing votes;

            b) at least one person ‘treated’ should have been corrupted and induced to vote for the
            candidate for whose benefit the treating was provided.”


            Why do you always have to try and assign ulterior motives to my opinions?

          • Alan

            ‘You always, in all circumstances, wish to defend the Establishment and in this case there is absolutely no point in your comments.’

            Don’t Labour voters always defend the status quo? You know proud of their status as ‘workers of the state’ when the simplest way to bring the state down would be to stop working, and thus stop paying taxes?

        • nevermind

          Jack Straw has been elected for over three decades by the same methods, one of them was/is treating and both Craig and myself have ample experienced evidence that he has subverted electoral law, more than once.
          A massive hall of a restaurant was hired, the kind designed for large weddings, and Jack Straw as well as Mohamed Sarwar were there to speak. Lord Patel employs 3000 people locally and he encourages those eating free food, not to forget to vote for Jack. And the expense does not turn up on the electoral returns, it has never happened. Three people, attending this dinner, signed an affidavit and after Craig waited for three hours to present it to the police, they finally were ready to receive it. The local police, the local council, its chief executive, all threw time consuming hurdles into our path. We had posters ripped off, were told to move our advertising trailer by the police, I was pushed against a stone pillar by the Sacrister of Blackburn cathedral, in front of Jack Straws personal police, because Jack Straw did not want to be seen with a Muslim candidate on the same stage, that she was a woman did not help.

          So, Fred, when did you last stand in Blackburn or worked as an election coordinator, Fred?
          The electoral Commission is in a similar position to that of the BBC, dependent on the Government of the day for their franchise, they do as they are told, they are not Independent at all, indeed they are open to suggestions for change from parties, but not much chance for others to work for political reform, academia does not pay the Commissions wages.
          I will rejoice when justice catches up with Jack Straw, he has a lot to answer for and we have to see what Chilcot dares to come out with.

          Why postpone the report until the UK referendum is over, what could a Brexit possibly change? the date of release? could the report be shelved in secrecy? just a thought.

          Look Fred, next time you stand for public office in the black country, let us know, I’d love to study how you’ll get on there with your unionist gobwash.

  • Habbabkuk (for accuracy and honesty when posting)

    An interesting and informative post, Craig and good you flagged the issue. But should we not wait a little and see what happens before saying “it will be made quietly to go away”?

      • Habbabkuk (for accuracy and honesty when posting)

        Can’t argue against that :).

        But seriously: while agreeing that the argument “it’s an old law” * is ridiculous (even of the law were older than 1983!) I wonder whether the CPS decided not to proceed in the Blackburn case for “de minimis” reasons? Amoung those might have been: the size of Straw’s majority, the real value of the treat, the fact that (correct me if I’m wrong) Straw had had the Blackburn Muslim vote tied up not only at that election but also at previous ones …..

        If your prediction is correct and nothing happens in the 2015 election cases, it may well be that the same “de minimis” consideration arises (after an quantitative examination of pertinent elements

        ° are you sure that this was the reason given by the CPS? To whom? Or was it simply what you were told by the police? A much saner – and justified – reason would have been the very useful “not in the public interest” one (cf connection with the “de minimis point). Is there anything in writing (either from the CPS or the police) and do such CPS decisions exist in written form available to the complainant (or other parties)?

        • craig Post author

          The only information I have is what I was told by the police.
          The impact on the result is not a test in the legislation. If I had given a lot of voters free meals, I should have been guilty irrespective of the fact I had no chance of actually winning. The crime – and it is a crime – is treating, not obtaining a fraudulent result.
          I have no doubt whatsoever that if I had done what Straw did, I would have been convicted. I had the Returning Officer in person seek me out on a Bank Holiday to order all my posters removed as they did not have a “published by” imprint. Actually all of them did have the imprint.

          • Habbabkuk (for accuracy and honesty when posting)


            Re your second para, I ‘m not saying either (1) that treating is not a criminal offence under the law or (2) the result arising out of treating is.

            You know that the CPS will proceed (or not) on the basis of two criteria : (1) is there a realistic chance of a conviction and (2) would proceeding be “in the public interest”.

            It is in the light of the second criterion that I’m suggesting the CPS may not have proceeded and this is where my “de minimis” thought comes in. And the “de minimis” factor might be based on considerations such as the ones I mentioned, in particular on whether or not the actual result would have been different had the treating not occurred.

            And that, in turn, made me ask about the reason – I find it very difficult to believe that the CPS would have given as its reason that the law in question was an old one: it is simply too ridiculous given that the law dates from 1983.

            And that ,in turn, made me ask who had given you the reason (the police or the CPS) and whether you received the reason orally or in writing, and, more generally, whether CPS decisions are given in writing with at least some minimal explanation of the reasoning behind the decision (whether the chance of conviction reason or the not in the public interest one).


            Notice to the Eminences and their hanger-on: I’m discussing this with Craig and therefore do not wish for your comments. Thank you.

          • sifih

            If nothing is done in the UK, wouldn’t there be some way for the people to take this ti the EU ??

          • Habbabkuk (for accuracy and honesty when posting)

            The EP has a petitions procedure but a petition on this matter would not get very far.

            Why not let the Electoral Commission get on with it and see what happens?

  • Gordon Hardie

    I have been following the story since C4 broke it some weeks ago. What I find most frustrating is the that the guilty seem to be able to ride out the bad news then carry on regardless ( e.g. Maria Miller) with a total lack of accountability even when presented with robust evidence.
    Coordinated direct public action via social media / email aimed at the 2 dozen or so MPs highlighted may be enough to create a few cracks in the “well everyone does it so that’s ok” veneer but to be honest the vast majority of voters would probably simply shrug their shoulders and put their X where the media tells them to.

  • Peter

    Look at the body language of Johnson and Portillo. I think that says it all.

    And yes, the chances of any serious action being taken are precisely zero.

    • Phil the ex frog

      Yeah they do hilariously look like liars. I would have expected greater composure. I guess they were caught unawares by the question and have no prepared response. You have to wonder why Neil asked it.

      • Habbabkuk (for accuracy and honesty when posting)

        Andrew probably asked it because – as one of the saner elements on here said on a previous thread – far from being part of a BBC “conspiracy” against …..{name(s) to be filled in} ….he’ll go for anyone and anything.

        • Ba'al Zevul

          For ‘hosted’, read ‘paid for’. Specifically, ‘paid for the visits to Spurs-supporting wards*’. Now I’m not sure where this leaves us legally, But I’d say the contribution of what is indubitably a foreign lobby group to the London mayoral election of 2012 raises questions, even if it had been declared rather than just gratefully accepted. Sadly, I can’t find any relevant records.

          *encoded reference, obviously

  • Jim

    So the Daily Politics show clip shows the evil MSM in the guise of the BBC’s Andrew Neil putting Tory and Labour figures on the spot regarding this issue. Neither seem overly put out or appear to be squirming uncomfortably. The story has been pursued assiduously by evil MSM Ch 4 News. Your main beef seems to be with the thwarting of your own independent campaign against Labour’s Jack Straw by the horrendous crime of sandwiches and crisps bribery. It just looks a little feeble. Again.

    • craig Post author

      I have nowhere indicated that Straw’s treating materially affected my own chances. What I have shown is that Straw broke electoral law with impunity. None of your sneering alters that.

      • Jim

        It just looks a bit feeble Craig, your point regarding the EU debates is interesting though.

    • Phil the ex frog

      I’ve just watched again. These are professionals. They both stumble over their words. Highly unusual. They still look very much caught out to me.

      • Phil the ex frog

        Anyway, their lack of opinion and knowledge is simply unbelievable. So sod all this body language diagnosis trap I fell into. They are lying.

        • Jim

          If they are lying, and Johnsons jesting quip about re-running the election did actually come to pass, does that mean JC or the re-instatement of Ed Miliband?

  • 3arn0wl

    I maintain that it would be better if all candidates at elections were independent, and crowdfunded to a maximum figure.
    See blog post below.

  • Node

    This sort of fraud has been proved several times before, but inevitably the investigations fall foul of the rule which decrees there is a one year limit for prosecutions under electoral law. Various police forces have said they may apply for an extension to the limit but as far as I can see, none of them have yet. Time is on the fraudsters side.

  • Lord Palmerston

    Summary: in False Democracy the voters can be induced by free food and posters to vote for scoundrels. Yet somehow, after some well crafted reforms (presumably to be imposed by space aliens) those same fools will choose politicians of unimpeachable integrity and we shall all live happily ever after in True Democracy.

    Forgive my skepticism.

  • Loony

    Why is this of any interest?

    The entire society is riddled with fraud – it is everywhere you look and encompasses the full spectrum of economic, political and military activity. Fraud is the glue that holds things together. Without fraud you have uncontrollable collapse – no-one is going to do anything to dismantle the all pervading web of fraud.

  • Doug Scorgie

    Background of some of the Electoral Commissioners

    Jenny Watson: Chair of the Electoral Commission
    Vice-Chair of the Citizens’ UK Commission: Islam, Participation and Public Life (member from 6 July 2015, Vice Chair from 10 September 2015).
    The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP, campaigning in favour of remaining in the EU at the forthcoming referendum, was Chair of the Citizens’ UK Inquiry into Islam and participation in public life, where she was the Vice Chair.
    Partner is Director of Global Partners Digital from April 2013. Global Partners Digital receives funding from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to promote human rights online in Brazil, Kenya and India.
    Partner chairs a charity (Global Dialogue) which is registered as a third party campaigner during the UK Parliamentary General Election in 2015.
    Partner is a Board member (and therefore also a Council member) of the European Council on Foreign Relations which is a pan-European forum for discussion of EU foreign policy.
    ECFR takes no organisational position on the UK’s membership of the EU but members of either the Council, which includes politicians from a range of parties from across the EU, or the organisation’s staff, may make arguments for or against Britain leaving the EU.”
    Partner previously a Director of Global Partners and Associates, which worked occasionally with MPs and Peers on international projects and made payments to Meg Munn MP and Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope for work to strengthen the Iraqi Parliament’s select committee system. This directorship ended on 1 April 2013
    Brother-in-law stood as a Liberal Democrat candidate for Ealing Council in May 2010 local government elections.

    Gareth Halliwell:
    Electoral Commissioner
    Son is an employee of Visit Wales, part of The Welsh Assembly Government. A friend, Mr Meirion Jones, is a Plaid Cymru Councillor for Aethwy Division of the Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll Community Area in Anglesey.

    John Horam:
    Electoral Commissioner
    Fellow Commoner, St Catherine’s College, Cambridge
    Made a Conservative Life Peer on 4 September 2013
    Now known as Lord Horam of Grimsargh

    David Howarth:
    Electoral Commissioner
    Until May 2010 Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge
    Until 2004 member of Cambridge City Council

    Alasdair Morgan:
    Electoral Commissioner
    Trustee Scottish Parliamentary Pension Fund (unremunerated)
    He was an SNP member of the Scottish Parliament from 1999 until 2011

    Bridget Prentice:
    Electoral Commissioner
    Served 18 years as Labour MP for Lewisham East

    Rob Vincent:
    Electoral Commissioner
    Chief Executive of Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council (2004 to 2010)
    Chief Executive of Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council (2010 to 2011)
    Implementation Director for the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (September 2013 to March 2014)

  • Phil the ex frog

    But where is Corbyn? Or even Farage? Both would seem to be in a position to benefit from kicking off about this.

    • RobG

      I would hazard a guess that they are all bought and paid for or else they are too scared to make waves.

      • Phil the ex frog

        No, I suspect your bribery and fear explanation is wide of the mark.

        They fucked Farage over in 2014. He could elevate himself hugely by calling them out. But he needs to do it soon. I guess he’s going to come out blasting very soon.

        Corbyn is a different matter. He may keep quiet for some mad internal party reasoning. God knows what.

    • Tom Welsh

      I’m not sure about Corbyn, but I don’t think Nigel Farage would let himself be dragged into an issue like this. First of all, he is fully committed at present to the “Out” campaign, and cannot afford to devote time and effort to anything else. Second, he cannot afford to dilute the visibility of his commitment to the “Out” campaign. The media would like nothing better than to drag people like Corbyn and Farage down into a dead-end rat-hole – which is what this issue is. Because, as Craig has explained, the powers that be will not allow it to develop.

      • Phil the ex frog

        Maybe Farage does see it as a dead end. I am surprised though. He has the profile to challenge this all the way. Seems to me it would help his out campaign.

    • Node

      But where is Corbyn? Or even Farage? Both would seem to be in a position to benefit from kicking off about this.

      Same reason our political parties never attack each other over sex scandals …. or fraudulent expenses claims …. or infrequent attendance in Parliament …..

      ….. they’re all at it.

      • Habbabkuk (for accuracy and honesty when posting)

        Do you believe that politicians (or others for that matter)should go after one another about “sex scandals”, Node?

  • DomesticExtremist

    That has to be the least “dunno nuffin’, guvnor” from Portillo and Johnson that I’ve seen in a long while.
    I’d like to bet they had plenty to say about the deep and long history of anti-Semitism in Corbyn’s Labour Party though…

    As with the elite paedophile scandal, it will be given the cold shower of being ‘sub-judice’ and kicked along the road until people lose interest and the relevant evidence shredded so that nobody who matters gets hurt.

  • Tom Welsh

    ‘I was told by Blackburn Police that the CPS had decided not to prosecute because it was an “old law”’.

    That is exactly why we, the people, can never rely on “justice” in Britain (or the USA). While the law may be well known, and it may be public knowledge that crimes have been committed, the entire mechanism of the justice system hangs fire if a prosecutor decides not to act. It is a “safety catch” that could have been designed expressly to save the great and the good (and their pals and employees) from the machinery of justice.

    • fred

      When a complaint was made about the UKIP in 2015 for handing out sausage rolls no further action was taken. The Electoral Commission said “Treating requires a corrupt intent – it does not apply to ordinary hospitality”.

      So it looks like the law is interpreted equally for main parties and minority parties.

  • bevin

    It’s the sovereign’s right to exception, again.
    We’ve seen a lot of it recently: secret trials, ‘evidence’ for the Judge’s eyes only, imprisonment without trial, torture, kidnapping and assisting in the facilitation of kidnapping, massive surveillance in defiance of the law, Guantanamo Bay, illegal wars.
    Governments have come to except themselves from laws as a matter of ordinary routine.
    They can do so because they control public opinion. There was a time when efforts were made to mask governmental crimes from the public by being secretive and discreet. This is no longer the case. The clear and obvious complicity of the US and UK governments in the war being conducted against Syria is not open to doubt. When denied the denials are perfunctory and ambiguous, they are mere preliminaries to renewed propaganda.
    The rulers of the US and its satellites no longer care much about maintaining their credibility over the long term. This is why they are ready to burn it by using up the credit accumulated over generations. The Guardian and the BBC being prime examples.
    And the reason is that the Establishment views the current period as one in which either the long term hegemony of the Empire over the globe will be established or it will, having failed to impose itself over Eurasia, in particular, quickly fall back into multi polarity, a renewed balance of power.
    There is a great deal of evidence that this is so: the current position of the dollar as the reserve currency is obviously under challenge, as more and more states begin to swap currencies, or barter for oil and other commodities. The current offensive against Russia by NATO is designed to unbalance its economy and draw it back into a debilitating arms race. This is incredibly dangerous as the obvious alternative for both Russia and China is to skip the conventional competition and escalate straight to nuclear warfare.
    What adds to the urgency, from the point of view of US capitalists, is the impending social crisis in the USA, which is likely to be matched by similar crises in Europe. Working people are no longer convinced that the deterioration of living standards in the past half century, are going to lead to something better: labour flexibility didn’t lead to more but to fewer jobs, wages have not rebounded but declined continuously.
    Two figures indicate the nature of what is occurring in the States. Both need to be viewed against the background of government assurances (lies) that Unemployment is falling (about 5%) and that the economy is growing strongly. The first is that participation in the workforce, the percentage of those at work, is at historic lows and approaching levels when the majority of married women did not work outside the home. The second is that the number of old people who are continuing to work is higher than it has been at any time since Medicare for pensioners was introduced.
    The great majority of Americans are living very close to poverty, in the sense that they have no savings and no assets for emergencies. Young people are particularly badly affected: education costs rise as value declines, careers are increasingly involving long periods of internship, short term contracts, low pay and negligible benefits. How people pay for Health care plans with large deductibles and constant co-payments it is hard to understand. Many millions simply don’t go to the doctor, self medicate and otherwise lay the foundations for future problems. Life expectancy differentials between rich and poor are growing. Suicides are increasing.

    The people backing Hillary Clinton are not looking for any long term electoral success. They reckon that they need just one or two more terms in the White House to consolidate their global power. And that, once that has been done, they can turn their attentions to taming and terrorising, bribing and bludgeoning the people.
    Just as governments become increasingly open in their flouting of laws, domestic and international (not to mention widely recognised standards of decency) so those who are making the government, in the case of the Democratic Party its bosses and machines are engaged in ever more flagrant cheating and manipulation.
    The basic calculation goes something like this: “Sure the public is going to catch up with what we are doing. So what, if we succeed in taming Russia, China and the BRICS. There will be no possibility of resisting. It won’t matter than what people think. It doesn’t much matter now.”
    These articles in Counterpunch are some of the many pointing to the likelihood that voting machines are being widely hacked

    • Habbabkuk (for accuracy and honesty when posting)

      Might I ask how much of that very long post is your words, Bevin, and how much from Counterpunch? And which is which?

      It is difficult to tell since you have not used quotation marks except at the very end

      Thank you.

      • Dave Price (requests more stew in the lion's den)

        Habbakkuk: Hi everyone, I’m having trouble comprehending a comment. Is it just me?
        Everyone: Yes, it is just you.

  • John Borland

    Whilst I would have a tendency to agree that the disappearing of unwanted news is a regular occurrence, I believe the people who are aware of this are very angry that we are having this governments policies foisted upon us illegitimately because of tory fraudulent behaviour at the general election last year. Remember this is not the first time this has occurred; it happened at the previous years by-elections and at the Scottish Referendum. Remember also that a person was killed at the concocted accident regarding the transport of the Beauly Voting boxes so that an altered result could be foisted upon the Scottish people. If this accident was effectively an ambush, then the case is arguably murder.

    A lot of people are watching expenses running way out of control; tax avoidance at the highest levels; conflicts of interest abounding regarding privatisations; the NHS being starved of resources so that it can be privatised; social care being throttled to the point of failing those whom it is supposed to look after; persecution of disabled, unemployed and mentally insecure people in what amounts to a eugenesist programme not seen since Hitler. MI5 being used as the conservatives private dirty tricks brigade; Lordships being thrown about to donors costing us £300 a day forevermore; Paedophilia claims being quashed and buried to protect a standard ‘Dirty’ing’ process so that politicians can be controlled; jollies all over the world as political bribery; an 11% rise for MP’s whilst everyone else is suffering an austerity policy; and so on and so on. I suspect there is a public mood to follow this through, and doggedly refuse to let go, because there is no trust, no honesty, no respect, no integrity, no dignity, no honour, no probity left for these lying, conniving, purloining, cheating, fraudulent spivs that the public cannot see, if they dare to look. This time it may be different!

    • nevermind

      Thanks for that , John Borland, I agree with your last conclusion, these self aggrandising cheating party politicians should be barred from public life.
      I’d rather pull representatives out of a hat, but STV would suffice to stop safe seats and at least bring proportion to a system that is fraudulent old and decrepit.
      If it is not going to be different this time, its going to get horrendous.

  • Habbabkuk (for accuracy and honesty when posting)

    Michael Heseltine has come out with a broadside against Boris, whose chances of ever leading the Conservative Party have, according to Heseltine, probably vanished.

    As an unsuccessful candidate to succeed Mrs Thatcher Mr Heseltine of course speaks with some authority on that question.

    • Habbabkuk (for accuracy and honesty when posting)

      (1) is not possible and (2) would be ineffective.

      • Jay

        There are more than a few commenters who’s core argument amounts to: nothing can be done and here’s why you shouldn’t do anything. Move along, nothing to see here…

        Too many narratives of the inevitable are official memes. Example: many of my middle class friends preferred to believe there were dangerous weapons in Iraq until it was safe to switch off their inner censor and come clean that in fact they knew all along. No we did.

        Just sayin.

  • Tony

    Very interesting article.

    What about those letters signed by David Cameron that went out in the Torbay constituency.
    How will the Conservatives try to justify it?

    What about this as an idea for them?

    “The letters were clearly part of the national campaign. It was pointed out that the recipient lived in Torbay. That was clearly a reference to the town of Torbay. The letters never mentioned the Torbay constituency.”

    Bovine scatology!

  • Tony Gair

    It does not say “accepts”, it says “corruptly accepts”, there is hospitality and there is accepting goods and services in return for a vote. It not necessarily treating to offer snacks with tea and coffee. What theTories have done with their expenses is a lot more clear cut.

  • fwl

    Law seems to be becoming something that is just there as an ideal or deterrent or tool of the wealthy or well organised. I remember that even before we adopted the ECHR it was clear that HRs are a useful tool for corporations even tobacco giants!

    What really works is the complexity or expense of law, or coercion through repeated public messages, or shaming, but there is need for law.

    If law can not be simplified into some enforceable easily understood and applied principles it will lose its value.

    There are countries where there is a concept of law as principle, which is good and law as black letter which is bad and the more black letter law there is should be deemed to indicate the extent to which principles are lost and the society is losing its way. Needless to say there are always a lot of clever ones who know how to exploit a law or a principle (or use it as a mask).

    Anyway, whats the difference between Treating and Bribery? They are both unenforced – is one to old and one too modern, or are they not the same thing?

  • Dave

    The reason its impossible not to break election law is the law is so complicated you need a degree or the money to employ expensive accountants to submit an accurate return of expenses and if this become widely known no one would be an election agent and it would stop amateurs from standing for election, because all returns of expenses would be open to challenge. And if there were many challenges it would bring the system into disrepute.

    In practice there are almost no challenges because most elections are forgone conclusions and trying to overturn a close vote with a refought election can be expensive and time consuming and still blow up in your face with an even bigger defeat for wasting taxpayers money!

    And new laws to control finance simply lead to loopholes being found with money channelled through think tanks, which again benefits the big players and not the amateurs. Personally I believe all the new electoral red tape is deliberately designed to hamper democracy not improve it. They don’t want to change first past the post so you get a lot of window dressings allegedly to make things better but makes things worse.

    In the past Labour and Conservative wanted to retain first past the post and the Lib Dems sold their soul for office in return for a pig’s ear AV referendum, but now its in Labour’s interest to move to PR and promote ‘Labour values’ within coalition politics. Ironically it was a Blairite promise of voting reform and tactical anti-Tory voting with the Lib Dems Ashdown that propelled New Labour into office, but of course he reneged on the manifesto promise once elected.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    I was surprised that Craig wrote “we only live in the illusion of a democracy”. I was first convinced of this about 7 years ago, when both my children were old enough to vote. I spent nearly 2 hours coming up with every argument I could think of to try and get them to vote for the first time. They comprehensively defeated every argument I came up with. At the age of 21 and 18, they already knew, that democracy was an illusion, and there was no point in voting. I had voted throughout my life, at virtually every opportunity presented. I then realised, that my children were correct.

    There are multiple reasons, why democracy is lost, and election fraud is but one.

    I think the most serious problem is propaganda and associated mind control techniques. Everyone is subjected to this, usually without their knowledge. It is not just the general population, but the political candidates and participants in government, and all associated centres of power, influence and control.

    Its not just that all the main party candidates are pre-selected by a power elite, that must conform within narrow agenda, its that their minds have already been programmed by their constant exposure to a highly controlled media.

    Whilst propaganda techniques have been refined at least since the time of Edward Bernays (and throughout history, since the advent of religion), we are now entering new uncharted territory which is being exploited by the extremely powerful in a very deliberate pursuit, not just to make the rich richer, but in the pursuit of total domination control, and outright destructive war based on lies.

    The following article from Norway is extremely interesting. I had absolutely no idea that what I assumed to still be a very peaceful Norway, had also been so infected. The same will apply to much of the world.


    “Psychological Warfare, False Narratives And Deception

    Psychological operations are spreading information to a population or a target group to influence their emotions, their motivation, their way of thinking and, finally; how they act. Psychological operations target foreign governments, organizations, groups and individuals. In psychological operations disinformation and deceit is routine. This is included in the standard arsenal of for instance the US military forces.

    By Pål Steigan
    Guidelines for deception and fraud/hoax

    Is this something I merely claim to be true? Far from; the opening to this article is found in the manual for The United States (US) Army Psychological Operations (PSYOP) doctrine currently in force.”

    • RobG

      Tony, whilst I agree with your premise I should also say that there are huge movements (and I do mean huge) for change at the moment.

      But none of it gets reported in the Anglo world. There’s mega stuff happening in France – which I often bang on about – and of course in places like Greece, Spain and Ireland.

      The revolution is happening now, despite the bullshit that the MSM pump out.

      The interesting thing will be, as the neo-con house of cards collapses, will people accept the inevitable police state?

      • Habbabkuk (for accuracy and honesty when posting)

        “Tony, whilst I agree with your premise I should also say that there are huge movements (and I do mean huge) for change at the moment.

        But none of it gets reported in the Anglo world.”

        There are two ways of looking at this, Rob. Either there are these huge movements and there is a conspiracy of sorts not to report them. Or it could be that they are not reported because they are not huge (I do mean not huge) and that is why the MSM don’t report thel as much as you should (variant: and they are, in essence, not really for change at all. The French movement against the El-Khomri law, for example, is for the status quo and against change).

        To pursue on the French case: the current laws on employment are wonderful for those in work and hell for those (usually younger) people looking for a job. And the same was – and still is – the case in Greece (that is one of the reasons why the general unemployment rate is 25% and the youth unemployment one over 50%).

        • RobG

          Oh, turn it off Habba/GCHQ.

          You lot are all going to be put up against a wall and shot.

          Because you are total vermin.

          But in the interest of balance, perhaps Habba can give an arguement for why MI5 and MI6 exist?

          They are both criminal organisations, above the law, totally funded by tax payer’s.

          Maybe Habba can tell us why we pay our taxes to fund these scum/vermin?

    • fwl

      But Tony don’t you just love the street fighting yet idealistic spirit of the American political meeting as evidenced in that Nevada video.

      American town meeting with some grit in the oyster looks like fun. They keep kicking.

    • CanSpeccy

      I was surprised that Craig wrote “we only live in the illusion of a democracy”.

      There is a simple empirical proof of this contention. Opinion surveys consistently show 65 – 70% of the British population oppose mass immigration, yet they get mass immigration gooder and harder all the time. As a result the English are being ethnically cleansed from their major cities such as London, Leicester, Luton and Birmingham where they are now minorities in their own home. The same is evidently happening in Scotland’s great cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. As a consequence of this immigrant influx it is projected that Islam will become the most widely followed religion in Britain within a few short years. So here we have a genocidal process of ethnic cleansing, population replacement and cultural transformation, and the people, most of whom see clearly what is happening, cannot do a damn thing about it, despite Britain’s alleged democracy.

      In fact, MP’s are prostitutes picked by the party bosses to represent the government to the people, rather than the other way around.

      Some democracy.

      Nothing less than the Ceaucescu treatment for the two-parties-one-treasonous-policy elite is likely to change the course of events now.

  • G H Graham

    If Labour’s North British Branch Office had promised voters for example, free mince pies & fags in exchange for putting a suet & nicotine stained cross next to Jackie Baillie’s moniker, perhaps she would have earned a healthy majority instead of having to scrape her fat arse through a gap no wider than the one between Willie Rennie’s two front teeth?

  • fwl

    Wandering off topic now but the Trump coverage in mainstream news is relentless. I am beginning to suspect a significant part of the US establishment wants him in because he is a perfect vehicle to carry out a couple of strategic U turns and yet allow the same establishment to look out at the world and shrug and sigh “that’s democracy”.

    If so so U turns on what? Maybe the debt? Print and inflate the way out of state debt? Other stuff too no doubt?

    Still there are always unintended and unanticipated consequences both positive and negative.

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