The Election

Jack Straw Corrupt Practices

I was frankly astonished by commenters on the last thread who claimed not to understand that it was an offence to distribute free food and drink at an election rally. For the avoidance of further doubt, here is the law in question, from the Representation of the People Act 1983:

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.

This provision was first contained in the1832 Reform Act specifically to outlaw the practice of giving food and drink at election meetings. It has been reaffirmed in every Representation of the People Act since 1832.

This is an imprisonable criminal offence. It is not just an electoral regulation.

Tomorrow I will deliver several affidavits sworn before solicitors to Blackburn police. This is one example:



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

The question raised is a stark one. Are New Labour ministers above the law? I have absolutely no doubt that if I, when an independent parliamentary candidate, had provided food for several hundred electors at a rally, I would have been jailed for it.


The blog is infested by a number of commenters who are trying to argue that Jack Straw was not in breach of the law in just giving a meal. This is however precisely what the law was to outlaw. This Hansard extract on a discussion of an amendment to set a value limit is instructive – the amendment was defeated.

|| MR. WARTON said, the Amendment he now proposed to move was one which provided some kind of limit. Ho moved the insertion, at the end of the clause, of the words?” Provided always, That such meat, drink entertainment, or provisions shall exceed in value the sum of one shilling. He thought that, on the principle de minimis non curat lex, they should not legislate with regard to what a high authority had called “trivial expenditure,” and that the giving to a voter of a small quantity of meat or bread not exceeding in value 1s., should not subject persons to severe pains and penalties. Ho hoped that the hon. and learned Gentleman would accept the Amendment. The hon. and learned Gentleman had very kindly accepted other Amendments, and he hoped the hon. and learned Gentleman would continue the same conciliatory course. He understood that the regular Birmingham breakfast provided for the electors of the borough cost 1s. 6d. a head. He did not wish to be so corrupt as they 578 were in Birmingham; but he thought there could be no harm in providing refreshments which should not cost more than 1s. He knew the price of beer, and they could get tolerable beer for 8d. or 10d. a pot.

|| MR. ONSLOW And for half that price.

|| MR. WARTON said, he saw no reason why a drink of beer and a crust of bread, which cost less than 1s., should be regarded as a corrupt expenditure. He hoped the Committee would not deem it desirable to increase the expenditure of Election Petitions by trying every case in which a man had received less than 1s. worth of refreshment.

|| Amendment proposed, In line 1, page 23, at end, to add “Provided always, That such meat, drink, entertainment or provision shall exceed in value the sum of one shilling.”?”(Mr. Warton.)

|| Question proposed, “That those words be there added.”

|| SIR CHARLES W. DILKE said, he could not accept the Amendment, which would simply have the effect of legalizing an improper expenditure for drink and. treating, providing that the treating did not exceed the value of 1s. He could not think the Committee would feel inclined to accept such an Amendment.

It could not be more clear that what Jack Straw did is a criminal offence.

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Jack Straw Treating Again

I am in Blackburn on the trail of Jack Straw. Yesterday I spoke to several hundred local Muslims at a Blackburn fundraiser for CagePrisoners. I told them very directly that it was no good their salving their consciences by donating, if they then again gave their votes to the man who gave the green light to British cooperation with the extraordinary rendition policy, and who overruled the Foreign Office legal advisers to launch an illegal war in Iraq.

While I was doing that, Jack Straw was committing a lesser but still very important crime. He was “Treating”. Yesterday Straw fed 700 constituents with curry, nan, dessert, tea and coffee at Jan’s Conference Centre at an election rally in Blackburn .

Every political candidate and agent knows that this is illegal. It is a specific criminal offence known as “Treating”. It carries a jail sentence and disqualification for the candidate.

Precisely the same thing happened, at precisely the same venue, at the last general election. I swore out a complaint to the police,but no action was taken.

The extraordinary thing was that, not only was the criminal offence carried out in an open and blatant manner, but this criminal offence was actually aided and abetted by the police. Jack Straw arrived not only with his close protection officers but with escorting police officers who actually guarded the criminal act.

From the Electoral Commission’s Guidance:


A person is guilty of the corrupt practice of treating if they corruptly, directly or

indirectly, either before, during or after an election, give or provide (or pay wholly or

in part the expense of giving or providing) any food, drink, entertainment or provision

in order to corruptly influence any voter to vote or refrain from voting.

I genuinely despair of the deep-seated corruption of this country where a Cabinet minister is enabled repeatedly to break the law in this way.

It is worth noting that an independent candidate, Bushra Irfan, was reported to the police by the returning officer for an internet page that suggested that food would be given at a meeting. Irfan’s campaign apologised and removed the offending page; no food was given. However Jack Straw was able to actually give out seven hundred meals under the noses of the police, with not a word said by the Returning Officer, who by law should now disqualify him. A criminal trial should follow.

I have wriiten widely about the amazing corruption of the electoral process in Blackburn and its corrupt administration by Blackburn Council. I had hoped that this scrutiny might be sufficient to force them to behave more honestly. But theyareso arrogant and bressnecked in their power here, they really don’t give a damn about the law,

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How YouGove Fixed Debate Poll

I have been unmasking the sleazy Murdoch propaganda vehicle that is YouGove, founded by the current Tory candidate for St Albans, and whose Chief Executive Officer is “Sleazy Stephan” Shakespeare, close friend and former PR adviser of Jeffrey Archer, failed Tory parliamentary candidate in Colchester (where he was unexpectedly beaten by the Lib Dem, explaining his huge bitterness towards them), and co-founder of Conservative Home website.

Michael Crick has revealed how YouGove fixed the instant poll after the last leaders’ debate. This was an internet poll taken between just 9.27pm and 9.31 pm. Which means that, voting opened immediately after David Cameron finished his closing statement without waiting for the other candidates’ closing statements. Voting closed just after Nick Clegg’s closing statement got started.

This poll enabled YouGove’s main customer Murdoch’s Sky News to shrill an instant victory for Cameron, ignoring all the other Clegg victory polls that were taken after he had had a chance to give his closing speech.

YouGove is a disgrace.

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Never forget what the Tories really are

behind Cameron’s slipping smile. Tory controlled Aylesbury Council has just banned an anti-racism carnival while giving permission for a racist march through town by the “English Defence League”.

Incidentally, I see that the opposition Lib Dem leader on Aylesbury Council is my old friend Alan Sherwell. We were on the national exec of the National League of Young Liberals together back in 1976!

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Miliband: Vote Labour Because “You’ve Punished us Enough About Iraq”

In a remark that could seal New Labour’s fate, David Miliband whinges “you’ve punished us enough about Iraq”.

I don’t have to reply. The rotted corpses of tens of thousands of Iraqi women and children speak, and always will.

Miliband is a really nasty piece of work. He has continued to fight through the courts to try to cover up Britain’s involvement in torture. Miliband has also intervened to prevent the Freedom of Information Act release, and I am tipped off from within the FCO will continue to do so until after the election, of one of my Ambassadorial telegrams from Tashkent complaining about our use of intelligence from torture.

Download file

Ed and David Miliband. Among British diplomats, David is referred to as “The evil of two lessers”.

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Homely Local Tory Lies

The election still has scarcely touched Whitehall Gardens – just one lefalet and no canvassers. The leaflet is a Tory one. It features eight photos of the Tory candidate, Angie Bray, and five photos of David Cameron. Presumably printed in the days when they thought he was a vote winner.

The big slogan is “Vote Angie Bray For A Local Voice in Politics.”

But the text says “I have been the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for the past three years, which has given me plenty of time to get to know the constituency”. That would not meet many people’s definitions of being a lcoal person. The leaflet is coy about where she actually comes from and lives. Anybody know?

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YouGov Push Polling

YouGov spluttered and denied push polling in response to my exposure of their push polling.

Where did they publish their denial? Conservative Home!!!!! Entirely appropriate, in fact.

Here is what Mr Shakespeare, Chief Executive of YouGov, says:

Push-polling is a very different beast. Push-polling is unethical. Push-polling is conducting a poll to influence a respondent for some particular purpose. Mainly it is when people are pretending to conduct a poll, but actually they are contacting hundreds of thousands of people to repeat attack lines ?” it’s campaigning masquerading as polling, and in New Hampshire it’s even illegal (and quite right too).

Another variant of push-polling (at least that’s how the phrase is often used) is when you ask ‘questions’ designed to influence the outcome of a poll. For example, if I ask you to choose which you like best from a list of positive attributes about a candidate and then ask you who you would want to vote for.

Message testing is an extremely valuable and reasonable form of research. Push-polling of any kind is plain wrong. YouGov, like all members of the British Polling Council, does lots of message-testing, and zero push-polling.

I hope that’s clear.

Have a close look at Stephan Shakespeare


That is the face of a liar. YouGov did ask the question I initially quoted, smearing Nick Clegg over campaign donations from a criminal. Oh, and here is a screenshot of a YouGov online poll:


I have been sent this by someone who assures me it is genuine. I should state that YouGov have refused either to confirm or to deny if it is genuine.

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What The Public Really Think

Here is a list of some of the search terms which have brought people to this blog via search engines in the last hour:

tory bias in sky debate

sky biased against clegg

adam boulton bias debate

was adam boulton biased

why civil liberties not on debate agenda

murdock pushing tories in debate

sky bias

sky news bias debate

yougov murdoch

sky news biased moderator

yougov bias lib dem smear

questions fixed PM debate

yougov anti Lib Dem survey

Interesting isn’t it? I expect hundreds more in the course of today. There are a substantial number of people out there who have seen through the corporate media and are searching the internet for some truth.

Which is why we have had 68,104 unique visitors so far in April.

I am also on Facebook and I believe you can follow this blog on Twitter, though I confess to not having mastered the best use of Twitter yet. And of course you can purchase my books from the top left hand column.


“Craig Murray” has been displaced for the first time ever as the most used recent search to bring people to this site. The most used search this morning is “Debate sky bias”, And that is only those who used that precise search – there are 78 searches relating to Sky or Murdoch bias in the most recent 100 searches that brought people here.

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Sky Leaders’ Debate – Murdoch Made

I really enjoyed yesterday’s liveblogging. 4,426 unique viewers dropped in.

In retrospect, the strongest impression was of Sky News’ Tory bias. The most startling moment was when Adam Boulton, the moderator, brought up yesterday’s Daily Telegraph slur about Nick Clegg.

But the directorial bias was what stayed with me. There was a telling moment when Cameron told a very weak “joke” indeed, and the Director instantly cut to three smartly dressed people in the audience who were improbably laughing uproariously. It happened again later, cut so quickly it must have been pre-arranged. When Brown was speaking, there was a lingering cut on a man yawning.

Sky had chosen the questions, and here the bias could not have been more open. The first question was a Europhobic one, designed to launch the debate on what they believe to be the Tories’ strongest ground. The phrasing of the second was remarkable – from memory “As leader, would you be prepared to take the tough decisions required to keep this country safe, by joining in multilateral military action to root out terrorism.” It was pure Fox News stuff.

[BREAKING NEWS – I have had Sky News on for half an hour. First they had a paper review with one Labour journalist and one Tory (Sun) journalist. No Liberal. Then they had Tory frontbencher William Hague and Labour frontbencher Douglas Alexander on to discuss the debate. No Liberal. Apparently dead to irony, the Sky newscaster asked them “In the interests of politicial balance, would you two like to comment on Nick Clegg’s perfomance”. Absolutely beyond parody.]

Back to the debate.

The other directorial trick Sky used was in cutting from speakers. The appeal of Nick Clegg talking direct to camera having been much discussed last week, the Sky director chopped him up, cutting rapidly around whenever he was talking. It was most evident in the closing statements, which Cameron did straight to camera. While Clegg was doing his closing statement we saw at different times the audience, his back and a Sky News caption. Cameron was given more “sincere face time” from the director throughout.

The most stunning moment of Sky bias was when Adam Boulton dredged up from his position as moderator the Daily Telegraph smear against Nick Clegg.

On substance, I thought Clegg the most impressive and Brown much better than expected. Cameron did OK, but no more than that. After the ground was so carefully prepared for him, the Tories must be in despair at his inability to shine,

Clegg’s opening statement was brilliant and absolutely different in tone and substance. His mention of conspiracy to torture, Iraq and the abandonment of British values in our foreign policy was the seam he should have mined. But then he allowed himself to be boxed in by the terms of debate set by Sky. That loaded pro-foreign wars question is where he should have broken out and queried whether illegal invasion, torture, bombing of civilians and invasion of Muslim lands, do not cause terrorism here rather than protect us from it.

But he didn’t. Instead he talked about the need for better equipment. I think there are two explanations. First I think he is anxious not to seem weak on defence. Secondly I think he is in any event less naturally liberal than whoever drafted his opening statement. Clegg tends to the bomber Ming Campbell wing of the party.

But on Trident, the two parties ganging up on him will have done him no harm, and hopefully have led some more Labour supporters to wonder why they are backing such a right wing party.

Both Clegg and Brown took on the shallow Tory Europhobia head on. The failure of this to boost Cameron in the polls must dent the Tory confidence that anti-Europeanism is a trump card. Clegg forcefully attacked Cameron’s alliance with right wing nutters in the European parliament and Cameron was pretty stumped, making the weak point that they had not attacked Lech Kaczynski when he had just died. I worry a bit about how many viewers knew what Clegg was talking about here.

A final thought. Alex Salmond got to make a few media appearances afterwards and showed the strength of a more forceful line against Trident and the War on Terror. Also some much harder blows on Gordon Brown.

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Liveblogging The Foreign Policy Debate

For an irreverent liveblog of the great SkyNews foreign policy debate, from a man who has forgotten more about foreign policy than they will ever know, I will be liveblogging here with my mate Haward.

Opening observation. The bookies including SkyBet, PaddyPower and Ladbrokes, are offering odds on words which will be used. Here are some of the odds from Ladbrokes:

Trident 1/20

Obama 1/5

Helicopters 1/5

Hung Parliament 1/4

Volcanic Ash 4/7

Ahmadinejad evens

Chilcot 5/4

There are dozens of these keywords you can bet on between the various bookies. Nowhere in the betting is the word “Palestine” being even considered. Says it all, really.

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Tory Whistling in the Dark

As the Tories get more shrill and more desperate, they veer wildly between nasty and deluded.

The worst of all the poll news for them was this poll of marginal seats from Ipsos Mori. In 57 marginal New Labour constituencies which the Tories have to take to get a majority, voting intention is New Labour 36, Conservative 32 and Lib Dem 23.

Tory support is down 6, New Labour support down 5 and Lib Dem support up 12.

Remember, this is a poll only of New Lab held marginals – so the New Lab lead is not a sign of general trend. Lib Dem vote is lowest in New Lab/Tory marginals, so for them to be at 23% in this poll is remarkable.

But these are seats which Tories must win to be in government. Not only are they not winning, they are falling further behind. Especially galling for them, when these are precisely the seats in which under their national strategy, Lord Ashcroft’s millions of campaign funds have been concentrated.

Now we come to the sensational delusion. Ladies and gentleman, I give you Toby Young, complete deluded arsehole. His spin on this poll, in which the Tory vote is down 6 per cent in a week?

“Reuters/Ipsos MORI marginals poll: Conservative Party support remains firm”

Young’s brilliant argument to support this – there are still the same number of Tory voters, it is just that a lot more people are now going to vote for other parties.

Toby Young. What a wanker.

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The Really Nasty Party


As unemployment hits 2.5 million, the Tories are blaming the unemployed on benefit for our economic woes, rather than the bankers at Goldman Sachs who have an average salary of £520,000 per year. The Tories are going back to their nastiest base instincts to try to pull off an election win.

The sad thing, of course, is that you could replace Cameron in that photo with James Purnell, Hazell Blears or Tessa Jowell without having to change the slogan.

The benefit system already is onerous and humiliating to those who want to work and feel, wrongly, ashamed to be unemployed. Many entitled and unemployed, normally hard working, people drop out of benefits, and into terrible trouble, because of the routine degradation heaped on them by the New Labour “New Deal” system, which Cameron seeks to reinforce.

Strangely the brass-necked benefit cheats, who do exist, are the ones who are not discouraged by the endless appointments, interrogations and form filling and continue to thrive on the counter-productive system.

But if anyone doubts the real nastiness of the Tories, or that the Lib Dems are seen as a real threat to the established order by the corporate media and their paymasters, should look at the absolutely vicious anti-Clegg headlines on the front pages of every single Tory newspaper today. I have not seen anything like this concerted a Tory media campaign since the Falklands War. The only parallel at election time was the vilification of Kinnock, but even that did not have every other front page vying with the Sun in extremity.

The Mail’s Clegg Nazi front page headline wins first prize for tenedentiousness, The Telegraph “expenses scandal” is not about taxpayers’ money but private and declared donations (and has been saved up for nine months for this moment), the Financial Times warns the City won’t accept anything but a clear Tory win, the Sun is apoplectic at the idea that for once Murdoch may not be able to nominate his Prime Minister, and the Daily Express warns that Clegg will flood the country with black people.

The Tories are truly vicious when rattled. This has become a campaign about who democracy is for – the people or the press barons. Anybody who opposes corporate and City power and its ownership of democracy through the mass media, needs now to fall in line behind the Liberal Democrats to resist this.


I take my hat off to Iain Dale for his excellent article on the subject.

I attack Iain from time to time because it is part of the blogosphere game; but I have always had a high opinion of him. He seems to have wandered into the wrong political party by mistake – if you look at the typical Tory commenter on the political betting first link above, Iain has nothing in common with these vicious people.

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YouGov/Murdoch Distort Poll To Stop Lib Dem Momentum

YouGov produce a daily poll for the Sun and Sunday Times. Today’s YouGov was the only post-debate poll to show the LibDems in third place.

At comment 268 on the thread linked below, we hear about their next poll:


Just done a YouGov, Mostly about Clegg & LD

Here was one of the question

“Nick Cleggs says the other parties are to blame for the MP scandals, he has taken money from a criminal on the run, many of his MPs have been found guilty of breaking the rules and his own party issued guidance on how to fiddle the expenses system?”

I’d say that was fairly direct!

There were some 17 other questions re the LD

by sealo0 April 18th, 2010 at 10:33 am

I asked on the thread whether YouGov asked that before asking about voting intention. Sealo replied that indeed this was the first question, and others attacking the Lib Dems in the same vein followed. Only then did they ask about voting intention.

The proposition above is, obviously to anyone, not really a question but a set of dubious propaganda statements designed to influence the interviewee.

Plainly this is a deliberate attempt to produce a poll which shows the Lib Dem surge as a blip, and thus discourages potential Lib Dems voters. That the Murdoch press pull such a stunt should surprise nobody. But even though they are getting huge money from Murdoch for these daily polls, YouGov must realise that this abrogates all professional methodology and breaches the ethics of the polling industry. The senior management of YouGov must resign.


Anthony Wells of YouGov (known henceforth as YouGove) admits YouGov asking these “questions, but claims the voting intention question ought to have been asked first. He also points out that the antiLib Dem questions were “Not for publication”.

I bet they bloody weren’t.

See 14.15 on this thread. Hat tip Roger Mexico.

YouGove – Rupert Murdoch’s Pollster of Choice

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Debate Lost on Playing Fields of Eton

There was a reason for Cameron’s pisspoor performance in the first debate, and that reason will be repeated in the second. Cameron is being coached for the debates by the Hon. Anthony Charles Gordon-Lennox, son of Lord Sir (sic) Nicholas Charles Gordon-Lennox, grandson of the Duke of Richmond. The Hon. Anthony Charles Gordon-Lennox is the Tories’ communications guru. Tax dodger in chief Lord Ashcroft presumably thinks the Hon. Anthony is worth the £322,196 pa the Tories pay him.

The Hon. Anthony is, naturally, an old Etonian. This is no laughing matter. Cameron evidently has a visceral need to be surrounded only by people of precisely his own caste. Do we really need an 18th century government? Hence his obsession with tax breaks for the ultra rich. Hence also his inability to communicate anything to anyone who doesn’t think yes is pronounced yaaah.

Thatcher, Major, Tebbit and Clarke actually knew what everyday life for ordinary people was, whatever their peculiar political beliefs. Today Cameron. Osborne and Gordon-Lennox will be knitting their noble brows to work out why forelocks are not being tugged.

They are about to get a pitchfork up the arse.

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Lib Dem Surge Not Just The Debate

The morning of the “Prime Ministers” debate, YouGov already had a poll showing a 4% increase in the Lib Dem share on their previous daily poll, Now we have a new ICM for the Sunday Telegraph showing a massive 7% boost for the Lib Dems at 27%, over their previous poll four days earlier. The key point is, this poll was taken the day before and the day of the debate, with only a small part of the fieldwork done after the debate.

So all the evidence shows that a spectacular LibDem surge started before the debate – in fact immediately following the launch of the LibDem manifesto. So the notions with which the Tories are trying to comfort themselves. that this is a bubble based on a single “X factor” type television performance, are simply untrue.

The rise in Lib Dem support is because they are being given a fairer chance to present themselves to the electorate, on a much broader front and involving many more people than just Nick Clegg. Clegg’s debate triumph boosted an already rolling bandwagon. It has much more substance to it than just one TV show, and is fed by a broad current of social opinion.

The sovereign power of the British people is no longer a private bagatelle of New Labour and the Tories. In this election they are toast. I am going to enjoy the blogosphere, where the nauseating triumphalism of Guido, Dale, DizzySpeaks and Tory Bear is about to meet a smash. Momentum hurts when it crashes into you.

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