Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Fat Lady is About to Sing

All those who pledged to support a private prosecuton of Lord Levy should now have received an update by email and text message.

As was always intended, we will make a final decision as to whether to seek a prosecution following the conclusion of the all-party Public Administration Select Committee’s deliberations. They will be publishing their report into “Honours and Propriety” on Wednesday.

Well over two hundred people have pledged financial support for a prosecution. As we have seen with this second Donorgate wave of Labour fundraising sleaze, there will be no end to corrupt political fundraising until those concerned realise that they risk jail. This can’t be allowed to go on unpunished. Harman, Hain and others claim ignorance of the law and forgetful mistakes. The opportunity to unforgettably impress on politicians the disgust of voters with the system is approaching…

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Ashcroft Should Come Clean

Labour is getting hammered for breaking the laws on political funding. Rightly so, there needs to be criminal prosecutions in order to make it clear that the laws are to be obeyed. The Tories are working around the laws, which may be legal, but it is slippery. It is also bad politics, slushing money through unincorporated associations is just not on any more. Ashcroft’s tax arrangements are only a private matter if he is a private person.

Ashcroft’s influence on the Tories, like that of Lord Sainsbury for Labour, has been in the national interest. Billionaire Lord Sainsbury helped finance New Labour, dragging the Labour party from socialism towards an accommodation with the Thatcherite settlement and at the very least an acceptance of the market economy. Sainsbury financed progressive think tanks and pressure groups as well as the Labour party itself, to the betterment of the country. It was in the national interest to have a non-socialist alternative governing party to the Tories. Like Ashcroft he got stuck in rather than just sending £15 million plus of cheques.

Ashcroft has an equally involved approach, he has made an evidence based case to the Tories to change their game for the better. He has encouraged them, with financial incentives, to campaign professionally. He has pushed the party to appeal to the young aspirational middle classes once again, rather than just their core voters. It has got to be in the best interests of the country to have an opposition that is electorally competitive and appealing rather than ideologically marooned. Ashcroft is not a sinister Blofeld type character, he like Sainsbury has constructively used his wealth to better his party and (eventually) his country. But the increasing perception that Labour is trying to capitalise on is that he is a shadowy tycoon manipulating Cameron. It is in his own interests to come clean and it is definitely in the interests of the Tories that he comes clean – soon. If not people will be entitled to assume he has something to hide.

Politics in Britain suffers from a disconnect between cynical voters and disingenuous politicians. Any lack of clarity and the voters presume the worst – usually correctly. The money laundering, for that is what it is, endemic in British politics is just not acceptable. Every penny should be accounted for and sourced, whether it is Midlands business types or Muslim moguls. If they don’t like the publicity than they shouldn’t donate. Corruption is only possible in the shadows, in the sunshine we can see clearly, whatever reforms are made should be on the basis of total transparency. State funding is a lazy option, it also presumes that political campaigning is of such importance that it should be funded – it isn’t. In Europe there is plenty of state-sourced funding corruption, it won’t make things any better.

Politics is needlessly expensive, we don’t need so much politics or so many politicians and their hangers on. Politicians need to be taken down a peg or two, having to raise money only from people who are prepared to openly support them might bring some much needed humility and make them more connected to voters. If people are too ashamed to openly support politicians, it is the politicians who need to improve their reputation.

Sunday Sleaze Round-Up

Friday, December 7, 2007

Follett Contradicts Herself Again

Yesterday Barbara Follett released a statement giving a sort of non-denial of undeclared funding of her political office. She seemed to think that because the money was drawn from her husband via their joint account it did not have to be declared. Wrong.

The Huntsman blog which first drew attention to this undeclared funding reminds us about a statement released by the Follets and covered by Guido in November 2004. The statement specifically admits that her office “is heavily subsidised by her husband, Ken Follett… In the financial year 2003-2004.. she claimed only £118,214 in expenses. She contributed her entire salary of £55,118 to meet some of the difference. The remaining £102, 673 was met by Ken.”

She was attempting to justify her claim for mortgage subsidy allowance on their £2 million mansion. If her political career is indeed being subsidised by her husband, she should declare it properly on the register clearly. The law is the law.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Follett v Follett

Guido and Mrs Fawkes often have disagreements over who spends how much on what. She thinks it all goes on booze and Guido suspects a lot of it just gets wasted on not getting wasted.

The multi-millionaire Folletts are no different. Ken Follett says “She spends all of her allowances and all of her salary running her office and I actually subsidise it to the tune of every year at least a hundred thousand pounds a year.”

When the Huntsman blogger pointed out that this is undeclared funding and therefore unlawful, Barbara got a bit panicky. The Equality Minister now says, panto style,“oh no he doesn’t”.

Barbara told PinkNews that “There are no donations involved. The funds are either from my parliamentary income, or from the joint accounts that I hold with my husband, Ken Follett.” Which doesn’t really clear up the matter up does it?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

EXCLUSIVE : Darling Spoke at Deutsche Bank Hosted Labour Fund-Raiser

An outraged City co-conspirator has tipped off Guido that this morning Labour’s London Business group held an £80 a ticket breakfast fund-raiser with Alistair Darling.

Guido is stunned that in the current circumstances the Chancellor of the Exchequer attended a Breakfast fund-raiser hosted by Deutsche Bank at their City offices on Great Winchester Street.

The invitation from Labour’s Victoria Street HQ states that “the format will follow our usual arrangements: our guest speaker will make a short address and then take questions from the floor. There will be an opportunity for guests to network…”

This morning Deutsche Bank is threatening to walk away from the Virgin Group bid for Northern Rock, because it has serious issues with Virgin’s takeover proposal. Is it really appropriate to be holding a Labour party fund-raiser at the offices of a bank bidding for Northern Rock? Doesn’t Darling see that it smacks of Cash-for-Access?

Incidentally Guido got stonewalled by government SpAds and Press Officers on this all morning. Public servants? Guido thinks not. Unfortunately for them the Deutsche Bank Press Office is more helpful.

Ask the Electoral Commission to Confiscate the Money

Just got off the phone with the Electoral Commission. They are taking the “we can’t comment on an ongoing police investigation” line (© T. Blair). They however offered to direct Guido to the relevant legislation, which states


Forfeiture of donations made by impermissible or unidentifiable donors

(1) This section applies to any donation received by a registered party—

(a) which, … the party are prohibited from accepting, but

(b) which has been accepted by the party.

(2) The court may, on an application made by the Commission, order the forfeiture by the party of an amount equal to the value of the donation.

(3) The standard of proof in proceedings on an application under this section shall be that applicable to civil proceedings.

(4) An order may be made under this section whether or not proceedings are brought against any person for an offence connected with the donation.

So all the Electoral Commission has to do is apply to a Court for an Order. Guido understands that the only circumstances where the Labour party could pay back the money to the donor would be if they had discovered the funds were impermissable within 30 days of them being accepted. It is too late for that…

The Electoral Commission works for you, it costs millions yet it rarely seems to show any teeth, If you think they should get on with it and confiscate the money forthwith, email vmarkos@electoralcommission.org.uk, Vera Markos – Head of Strategy and Secretary to the Commission asking them to do their statutory duty swiftly.

What are they waiting for? The Labour party admits the donations were impermissable.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Purnell was Telling Porkies

As Guido re-iterated on Sunday, Labour have not paid back the Abrahams money. So when James Purnell toured the Sunday morning broadcast newsrooms claiming that “we’ve given the money back” he was lying.

Angus MacNeil put Jack Straw on the spot in the Commons with his question: “Last week the Prime Minister, when he said unlawful activities had taken place, said the money would be returned. Has the £650,000 left Labour Party accounts and where is it now?” Jack replied evasively “I cannot answer that question. I don’t know is the answer.”

Some of the less bright Labour backbenchers got quite worked up about Ashcroft. Jack Straw, perhaps wisely, was not so keen on talking about billionaire backers. Wisely when you consider that Lord Sainsbury has given far more to Labour in an effort to create a social democratic utopia for Sainsbury’s shoppers. Non-domicile backing for Labour from Lakshmi Mittal, Ronnie Cohen and Swarj Paul totals nearly £10 million, which is more than they have paid in UK taxes. The Labour leadership won’t want too much scrutiny of their foreign backers…

Rules v Laws

Money laundering, secret illegal undeclared loans, the making of false statutory declarations, deception, fraudulent misrepresentation and the rest are not “technical breaches of the rules”, they are criminal acts. Could broadcasters bear that in mind when referring to Donorgate. This isn’t just like miscounting the triple word score in Scrabble.

Exclusive : Hain Cheated the Labour Party as Well

It seems that Hain decided to pay the Electoral Commission a visit rather quickly only after he realised that Guido and the Western Mail were on his tail. Amazing how a few pointed questions can prompt a minister into action. The “shit they are on to me, I was just about to make a full confession, really” ploy.

Guido seems to better informed about Hain’s budget than he now claims to be. Back in May Guido ran this story detailing his expenditure, yet he claims to have been unaware of the figures until yesterday. Guido even helpfully uploaded the campaign’s expenditure summary for co-conspirators to download here. So how come Guido knew in May and he didn’t until yesterday. Why the under-reporting? Is it because of dodgy embarrassing donors like Mendelsohn?

Labour party rules on the leadership campaign require 15% of funds raised to go to the National Labour Party, and on September 9 this year Hain duly paid over £ 11,550.

In reality he should have paid over £13,335. He cheated his own party out of £1,785.60. Now if he worked for a private company and effectively defrauded them of commission, what would you do? Prosecute for fraudulent accounting or under the good old Theft Act?

How come Guido knew from his own campaign’s documents these figures and he didn’t? Even the most charitable interpretation is that he is recklessly incompetent. Is he really fit to be in charge of the billions allocated by the Department for Work and Pensions. Is he really the best person to be in charge of your pension?


Seen Elsewhere

Guardian April Fools Apology | Press Gazette
Jenni Russell and Her Child’s Godfather, Ed Miliband | Breitbart
Labour’s Left and Right are Growing Restive | Staggers
Corrupt, Incompetent UN Has No Right to Lecture Us | Dan Hannan
Mirror’s Lazy Lie | Guardian
Hungary’s Heir to Thatcher | Conservative Woman
Farage and Salmond Both Want Outopia | David Aaronovitch
More Missing UKIP Money | Times
Church Should Fight Evil of Welfare Dependency | Stephen Glover
1 in 16 Pick Up Infections in Filthy NHS Hospitals | Mail
Let’s Get Evangelical | David Cameron


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Rod Liddle on the loony UN sexism special rapporteur:

“There is more sexism in Britain than in any other country in the world, according to a mad woman who has been sent here by the United Nations.

Rashida Manjoo is a part-time professor of law at Cape Town University in the totally non-sexist country of South Africa (otherwise known as Rape Capital Of The World).

Mrs Magoo has been wandering around with her notebook and is appalled by the sexist “boys’ club” culture here, apparently.

I don’t doubt we still have sexism in the UK. But is it worse than in, say, Saudi Arabia, d’you think, honey-lamb? Or about 175 other countries? Get a grip, you doolally old bat.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


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