Independence; Good for Scotland & Good for England

It always seemed paradoxical to Guido that UKIP opposed Scottish independence, all the arguments about supra-nationalism they applied to Brussels rang true for Westminster from Edinburgh. The historical baggage of the Conservative & Unionist Party was more understandable, though increasingly contradicted by the observed attitude of party activists who, unlike the party leadership, are more likely to see Scotland and Wales as a burden on English (Tory) taxpayers. Emotional arguments don’t play so well with practical-minded voters.

The media frequently tells us this is a “Vote Leave” government, so Guido has dug into a recent June 2020 YouGov poll of English voters and their attitude to independence for England, which effectively translates into their attitude to Scottish and Welsh independence, given they won’t have a vote in another Scottish referendum. Their attitudes are telling…

Of those who expressed a view, over 55% of English Leave voters supported an English exit from the union, that is striking. When it came to Tory voters, the majority of Conservative & Unionist Party voters do still support the union, by a smaller margin. It is still something extraordinary for nearly half the party’s voters to reject the stance towards the union expressed in the party’s very name. The trend suggests that the English Conservative Party will soon have to consider dropping “unionist” from their name if they want to reflect the modern views of the party’s membership.

If Scotland had to stand on its own fiscal feet it would soon discover that having a Sovietised economy, with a dominant massive public sector, is just not sustainable.  An independent Scotland would mean that English taxpayers would no longer have to subsidise their public sector… 

Total sample size was 1,384 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17th – 18th June 2020. Full data tables [PDF]
mdi-timer 10 August 2020 @ 12:15 10 Aug 2020 @ 12:15 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
V-EC Day As Electoral Commission Finally Defeated

Today is of course VE day, enjoy the celebrations. Darren Grimes and Alan Halsall will be celebrating more than most today, because it sees final victory for them over the biased Electoral Commission. Both Darren Grimes of BeLeave and Alan Halsall of Vote Leave have been written to by the Metropolitan Police confirming it will not be acting on allegations made against them by the Electoral Commission and various Remain campaigners. This marks the very end of a three year ordeal for both of them. Congratulations!

Here’s a timeline of the three year ordeal:

  • 23 June 2016 – UK votes to leave the EU by a margin of 52% to 48%
  • August 2016 – Electoral Commission investigates Vote Leave’s spending for the first time, but finds no evidence of wrongdoing
  • February 2017 – Electoral Commission investigates Vote Leave’s spending for the second time, but again finds no evidence of wrongdoing
  • October 2017 – The Good Law Project, led by Jolyon Maugham, begins proceedings to seek a judicial review against the Electoral Commission’s decision not to open a formal investigation into the spending of Vote Leave and Darren Grimes
  • November 2017 – Electoral Commission investigates Vote Leave spending for a third time
  • July 2018 – The Electoral Commission concludes its investigation and determines that Vote Leave exceeded its campaign spending limit due to joint spending under a ‘common plan’ with Darren Grimes/BeLeave. The Commission fined and referred both Alan Halsall, the responsible person for Vote Leave, and Mr Grimes to the Metropolitan Police
  • July 2018 – Guido helps launch a crowdfunder to enable Darren to fight the Electoral Commission
  • August 2019 – Darren Grimes successfully appeals against the Electoral Commission’s fine of £20,000
  • May 2020 – the Metropolitan Police drop their investigation into Alan Halsall and Darren Grimes

Jolyon, Carole, and the biased Electoral Commission have a lot to answer for. As Vote Leave’s Paul Stephenson puts it “we wish them well“…

mdi-timer 8 May 2020 @ 10:46 8 May 2020 @ 10:46 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Watch Live: Boris’s Vote Leave Election Reunion

Speaking from the same room that used to housed Vote Leave…

mdi-timer 29 November 2019 @ 11:18 29 Nov 2019 @ 11:18 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Vote Leave Reunited: Gisela Backs Boris

Vote Leave chair, and former Labour Minister, Gisela Stuart has formally defected this morning to back Boris; and will join him and Michael Gove in London today for his latest Rally. Unfortunately, Guido presumes there’ll be one noticeable team absence: the big red bus…

Gisela joins Kate Hoey in saying Boris represents “the best way forward for traditional Labour voters like me and the best way to heal the country.”

Stuart isn’t the only former Labour MP to have formally come out as backing Boris since the major announcements by Jon Woodcock and Iain Austin, as well as Tom Harris. Now former Scottish Labour MP Michael McCann is also appearing on leaflets in Chris Grayling’s constituency.

After previously only having decried Corbyn, the former MP is now urging voters that “a vote for anyone else is a vote for Corbyn”. He’s not the only Scot who’s totally given up on Labour if latest polling is to be believed…

mdi-timer 29 November 2019 @ 08:40 29 Nov 2019 @ 08:40 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Electoral Commission Grilled Over Darren Grimes Cock-Up

The Electoral Commission had to face two Parliamentary Select Committees today after their humiliating defeat in court by Darren Grimes last Friday. Craig Mackinlay – who knows Electoral Commission incompetence only too well, took Chief Executive Bob Posner to task over their decision to relentlessly pursue Grimes while failing to fully investigate Remain campaign spending irregularities. Posner mumbles something about following those “strands” and “maybe” fining a couple of groups. They did nothing of the sort

Instead Posner makes clear that the Electoral Commission are still considering appealing against the Darren Grimes judgement despite having already spent half a million of taxpayers’ cash on the case, although Posner points out that part of that was on the Vote Leave aspects of the case. The High Court having previously found that the Electoral Commission caused the problem in the first place by giving Vote Leave incorrect legal advice

It’s worth looking at the specifics of the Grimes case. Guido was in the courtroom:

  • The Commission’s case against Grimes himself was nothing to do with the spending limit issue around Vote Leave. So they went after him on a technicality instead…
  • The Commission’s first charge was that he had not filled a form in correctly to register as an ‘unincorporated association’ rather than an individual. An issue they didn’t flag at all in their first two investigations into Grimes – which found nothing.
  • They then slapped a second offence notice on him for subsequently submitting an “over-complete” spending return. Kafka-esque.
  • The judge found their form itself was highly confusing and that Grimes had filled out the majority correctly, and to the extent he hadn’t it didn’t matter. The dispute centred around a single box…
  • The judge also found that the Commission had essentially constructed their case the wrong way round. In effect they assumed Grimes’s guilt first and then challenged him to prove his innocence beyond reasonable doubt.
  • This led them to exclude a large amount of evidence in Grimes’ favour. Precisely the opposite of how the law is meant to work.
  • The judge also ruled that even if they hadn’t been wrong on the offences themselves, the maximum £20,000 fine was still disproportionate. It was vexatious.

The full judgment is yet to be published, but the outcome of the case was clear. The Electoral Commission weren’t just defeated, their whole case against Grimes was thoroughly debunked. Their QC James Eadie didn’t even bother to turn up to hear the judgment. The fact that their apparatchiks are now considering dragging it out and blowing even more taxpayers’ money just to try to save face is beyond belief…

mdi-timer 23 July 2019 @ 19:10 23 Jul 2019 @ 19:10 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Gisela Stuart Reminds Remain That They Spent Far More Money

Former Vote Leave Chair Gisela Stuart tells Marr: “at every stage [Vote Leave] were rule compliant according to the legal advice we were given at that time” – a point upheld by the High Court last year who found that the Electoral Commission had given Vote Leave incorrect legal advice before the referendum. Not that it has stopped the Electoral Commission from punishing Vote Leave in Kafka-esque fashion for following their own advice…

As Stuart and this handy chart remind, Remain spent over 40% more than Leave did overall – before you even count the £9 million Government leaflet and all the civil service work for Remain. And they still lost…

mdi-timer 31 March 2019 @ 12:08 31 Mar 2019 @ 12:08 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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