Category Archives: Tory Election Expenses Scandal

Tory Election Fraud: Craig Mackinlay Charged

It has just been announced that the Crown Prosecution Service has charged the Conservative candidate for Thanet South, Craig MacKinlay, with filing incorrect expenses claims. Mackinlay’s agent, Nathan Gray and Tory staffer, Marion Little, have also been charged with the same offences. It would seem the Tories have found their fall guy.

For anyone hoping that Mackinlay would be forced to stand aside, I’m afraid those hopes have been dashed. He will continue to stand as a Conservative candidate. Nowhere Towers thinks that smacks of institutionalized corruption.

Here’s what Peter Oborne said on Twitter.

As Oborne points out, this is a national issue and not, as has been claimed by the likes of Newsnight’s Nick Watt, a “little local difficulty”. One person not named by the CPS in the election expenses fraud is Theresa May’s joint Chief of Staff, Nick Timothy, who was deeply involved in the South Thanet campaign. According to The Guardian:

Theresa May’s chief of staff was among the advisers based in the key battleground seat of South Thanet, where the Electoral Commission found the Conservatives appear to have understated spending on their local campaign against the former Ukip leader Nigel Farage.

Nick Timothy was not accused of any wrongdoing and would have played no role in the recording of campaign spending, but Downing Street has been dragged into the controversy because the Electoral Commission found at least some of the expenses of party staff involved in the campaign should have been recorded as local spending rather than national spending.

Well, that’s all right then… or is it?

Democracy is for sale.

We’ll have more when we get it.

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Tory Election Fraud: No Charges

Few people can be surprised that the CPS will not be prosecuting Tory MPs and agents for failing to correctly declare their elections expenses.  This is a serious blow for democracy in the United Kingdom, which continues to operate the archaic First Past The Post system to elect its legislators. It is well known that the Conservative Party is awash with money from shadowy donors, who are themselves drawn from the 1%.

The BBC only really started reporting the story in its television and radio news when it appeared certain that no charges were to be brought. Now, one could suggest that this was a non-story and that is the reason the BBC avoided it. However, The Cat would narrow his eyes and say “nonsense”.

The response from the Tories was predictable and shrill. Patrick McLoughlin, the Conservative Party chairman claimed  “false and malicious claims” were made about his candidates on the Internet and added:

“After a very thorough investigation, we are pleased that the legal authorities have confirmed what we believed was the case all along, that these Conservative candidates did nothing wrong.

“These were politically motivated and unfounded complaints that have wasted police time. We are glad that this matter is finally resolved.”

Make no mistake, if  Labour or Green candidates had been accused of falsely declaring their election expenses, the Tories would have made a lot of noise. Hypocrisy much?

Karl McCartney,  the Tory candidate for Lincoln, said:  “This whole saga amounts to no more than a politically-motivated witch-hunt.” You clearly don’t know what a witch hunt is, Karl.

Jeremy Corbyn told BBC: “I am interested and surprised by it. We will have to look at the details.”

One case, that of Craig McKinlay in Thanet South, remains in the hands of the CPS. There could still be prosecutions.

Democracy is for sale.

EDITED TO ADD; 10/5/17 @ 1612

Tory Party chairman, Patrick McLoughlin, has threatened to sue anyone on the Internet, who he claims have made:

“A number of false and malicious claims continue to be spread on the internet. People should be aware that making false claims about a candidate’s personal character and conduct is an electoral offence, as well as being defamatory.”

Tim Ireland of Bloggerheads was forthright:

The Tories are bullies (qv. Lucy Allan, Mark Clarke, Grant Shapps et al) and will threaten anyone that speaks up with the courts. Why? Because they have the money and money talks. The legal system doesn’t work for the majority; it works for those that have the money, power and influence.

To McLoughlin, I’ll say this: come and get me.

 

 

 

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Whatever Happened To The Tory Bullying Scandal?

Tomorrow belongs to me? Megalomania, bullying, blackmail and sexual assault.

As the Crown Prosecution Services prepares to announce whether it intends to prosecute over 30 Tory “individuals” (sic) for failing to correctly declare elections expenses during the 2015 General Election, it’s worth remembering the other scandal into which the Tory Election Expenses Scandal is interwoven. That scandal is the Tory Bullying Scandal.

It is worrying that for more than a year the entire story has gone quiet. Indeed, a current government minister, a former minister and the party chairman are entangled in its web.  A party worker actually committed suicide after a campaign of bullying and intimidation, and a sitting MP was blackmailed for having an affair.

Here is what we know about the Tory Bullying Scandal:

  • In 2014, Mark Clarke was appointed director Conservative RoadTrip2015 by Grant Shapps, the then party chairman. This organization,  bussed activists around the country to key marginals. RoadTrip2015 is at the heart of the Tory Election Expenses Scandal.

  • Clarke threatened to blackmail Robert Halfon, MP over an alleged sexual infidelity.
  • A file on the bullying was passed to party chairman, Lord Feldman, who failed to take action.
  • Elliott Johnson, a young party activist committed suicide after being bullied by Clarke and Andre Walker, whom he regards as a friend.  Walker himself was covertly recorded on a train plotting to smear Alison Knight, the deputy leader of Windsor Council with an associate. Walker also claimed to be Johnson’s lover.

  • David Cameron invited Clarke to Chequers to celebrate the activists’ role in the campaign’s success
  • Sayeeda Warsi, a former party chair, wrote to Shapps demanding action be taken against bullying. She claimed that she received “no satisfactory response”.
  • There was considerable overlap between Thatcherite group, Conservative Way Forward (CWF), Conservative Future (youth wing), RoadTrip2015 and Young Britons’ Foundation (YBF).  It was revealed that Clarke had sexually assaulted several female members of YBF. This forced Donal Blaney, the YBF’s leader to cancel their annual conference. Blaney was also forced to resign from CWF.
  • Shapps was forced to resign as International Development Minister.
  • Clarke was suspended and later expelled from the party.
  • The internal Tory Party inquiry found there were 13 alleged victims. The same inquiry, conducted by Clifford Chance, concluded that senior party figures were “unaware” bullying was taking place.  Elliott Johnson’s parents condemned the inquiry as a “whitewash”.

Clarke appeared on The Cat’s radar back in 2012, when he was listed as the YBF’s Outreach Officer. I’d already written a piece on the YBF and its role as the self-styled ‘madrassah’, which trained young Tory trolls activists.  Clarke and the YBF had even plotted to “take over” the City of London Corporation (Council).  Aidan ‘Nazi Boy’ Burley, the former MP or Cannock Chase, was a member of the YBF. He was also an associate of Clarke and the pair worked together in the Trade Union Reform Campaign or TURC. Indeed, given the names of those involved in the YBF (Blaney, Burley et al), it is entirely possible that this scandal also involves certain members – past and present – of the Hammersmith and Fulham Conservative Party. Clarke was also stepping out with Justine Greening, the current Education Secretary.

While the Tory Bullying Scandal was bubbling along, in December 2015 it emerged that Lucy Allen, the MP for Telford, had left one of her workers a series of bullying rants on her voicemail.  Not satisfied with what she’d already done, Allan added the words “unless you die” to a message from a constituent that criticized her support for bombing Syria. Allan was neither investigated nor disciplined for her actions.

This is a scandal that goes right to the heart of Downing Street. But why has this story gone so cold? Could it have something to do with the Conservative Party’s internal inquiry, dubbed by some as a “whitewash”? The corporate media dropped the story soon after the inquiry. Yet questions about bullying in the Tory Party and the connection between RoadTrip2015 and the Tory Election Expenses Scandal persist.  Will we ever get to the truth?

UPDATE 25/4/17 @ 1808

The Guardian have taken up the story and added more detail.

The Conservatives have failed to hand over a report on allegations of bullying within the party to police despite repeated requests from detectives, it has emerged.

British Transport police (BTP) have asked the Tory party to disclose the full report on the bullying inquiry, which was launched after allegations were made against the former election aide and failed parliamentary candidate Mark Clarke.

The Conservatives failed to hand over a report? Now where have I heard that before? Ah yes, last year, the Tories were rather sluggish to hand over a file to the Electoral Commission. Remember?

You can read more in The Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/apr/25/conservative-party-police-bullying-report-elliott-johnson

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Let’s Talk About: Tory Election Overspending

Back in 2013, I argued that the Conservative Party could only win the 2015 General Election if it cheated. Why did I make this claim? Was it because I think the Tories are uniquely given to cheating and lying?  No, many political parties cheat and lie but the Tories take it to a new level. The Blairites and much of the PLP are cheats and liars too. We know that, because we’ve seen them in action over the last 2 years. They will say and do anything – no matter how embarrassing –  to achieve power. Principles and ideas are for political pansies, milquetoasts and those horrible protesters. Power is all that matters. In this, the Tories and the Blairites are in complete agreement. But that’s a subject for another blog.

Deeply unpopular from the beginning

In 2010 and not long after the first 100 days of the coalition, I knew the only way the Tories could win the 2015 election was to cheat. Why do I say this? Because anyone with eyes could see the Conservatives and their coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, were deeply unpopular.  They seemed to delight in upsetting people. From the outset, the Tories lined up its list of ‘enemies within’, which looked remarkably similar to Thatcher’s blacklist. That was only the start.

The blame game

One group listed as ‘enemies’ were benefit claimants and a series of lies were duly constructed to convince the gullible public that poor people were responsible for ‘destroying the economy’. One such lie was the claim that there was “intergenerational worklessness”, which had to be stamped out. “Work” the Tories erroneously claimed, “raised people out of poverty”. The media, for the most part, failed to challenge these absurd claims and willingly aided the government in its quest to punish the poor for, well, for being poor.

Universal Credit was rolled out and the Disability Living Allowance was abolished and replaced with the Personal Independence Payment. The chronically ill and those with mobility issues continue to the subjected to cruel Work Capability Assessments carried out by people with no clinical experience.  Many people have died through committing suicide or because their medical condition worsened. Many more have been pushed deeper into abject poverty.

Around the same time the initial ‘welfare reforms’, Higher Education tuition fees were increased, despite a manifesto pledge made by the Lib Dems not to do so. This forced more students into debt and effectively limited access to university for many working class people.

Along with the poor and the disabled, the public sector was also blamed for “bankrupting the country”. This absurd claim was never once challenged by journalists or commentators. Yet, if the country was ‘bankrupted’ as the Tories and their allies claimed, then there would have been no money to pay civil servants, service personnel or even MPs. More Tory lies? We’re just getting started.

Lynton Crosby

Realizing its chances of securing an outright majority in the next election were quite slim, the Tories hired Lynton Crosby as its election strategist in 2013. The event passed with nary a mention by much of the public, but The Cat was already aware of Crosby’s track record. His past campaigns  relied wholly on smears, dirty tricks and racism to woo voters. The Tories were determined to hang onto power at any cost and hiring Crosby was the first step. The second step was to introduce The Fixed Term Parliament Act, a naked act of political power-grabbing, which  made it nigh on impossible to for a censure motion to be tabled .

Crosby began working his poisonous ‘magic’ from the start by slipping stories to the press about immigrants and the Labour Party. His trademark dead cat was used to divert attention away from the Tories’ problems and put the focus onto Labour. Do you remember that Daily Mail story about Ralph Miliband “hating Britain”? That was Crosby’s handiwork. Yes, the article bore Geoffrey Levy’s name but it originated from Crosby’s office.

Stealing elections, Tory style

Cameron’s government then turned its attention to the Commons itself and announced that it was committed to reducing the number of seats. He proposed a bill in 2010, shortly after the General Election to redraw constituency boundaries and reduce the number of MPs, which led to claims of gerrymandering.  Yet Cameron claimed the changes would be fair because it would equalize the parliamentary constituencies. However, without proportional representation, any claim to ‘fairness’ was just more Tory hot air. Yes, the coalition permitted a referendum on what it described as ‘fair voting’ by allowing us to decide whether we wanted the same old First Past The Post (FPTP) system or the disproportional Alternative Vote, but it was another con. Yet people fell for it and some even told me that it was “better than FPTP”. When I asked them “in what way was it better?”. I got no reply.

The only way the Tories could secure a majority was to use underhand methods and outright lies. The party’s representatives like to claim that failing to declare election expenses was little more than an “administrative error” but given their history, this defence is weak. The party overspent on elections and relied on the scrubbed electoral registers that had been cleansed of particular kinds of voters: the young, students, the unemployed and Labour supporters. This contributed to the Tories’ modest majority.

Election expenses overspend and the aftermath

It was only because of Michael Crick’s sterling work at Channel 4 News that we know anything about the Tories’ election overspending. The BBC refused to touch the story and it was mentioned only occasionally by Andrew Neil on The Sunday Politics and briefly on Newsnight, which seemed reluctant to talk about it. The story never made an appearance on BBC Breakfast, the One O’Clock, Six O’Clock and Ten O’Clock news programmes nor did it appear on Radio 4’s Today programme. If you took your news from any of these programmes, you were kept in the dark.

Last week the Electoral Commission fined the Conservative Party a mere £70,000, a figure that was dwarfed by its own election overspending. The fine was roundly ridiculed as inadequate. However, 12 police forces involved in the investigations have handed their files to the Crown Prosecution Service. We await the outcome. If the CPS decides to prosecute, there could be fresh by-elections in at least 12 seats.

Conclusion

This was a party and a government that was all too conscious of its lack of popularity and legitimacy, and resorted to every possible trick to hang onto to power and win the 2015 General Election. Cameron and his Tories, far from being popular, pitted people against each other, while at the same time rewarding their friends with ever generous tax cuts. The poor were set up as patsies, who were fingered for ‘crashing the economy’ alongside the Labour Party. Any claim to be the “worker’s party” are empty and little more than the appropriation of a sign, which itself has been emptied of all meaning.

Tory election overspending is just the tip of a very large iceberg of politically corrupt practices. But don’t expect the BBC to report on any of those. Instead, they’ll keep reporting Tom Watson’s paranoid non-stories about ‘Trotskyite infiltration’.

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