Tag Archives: Tory election campaign 2015

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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Tory Majority Could Be ‘Wiped Out’ as Police Send Electoral Files to CPS

The net is closing in on the Tories. The Cat thinks that election over-spending is the tip of a very large iceberg that includes other forms of malfeasance. Stay tuned!

 

UPDATE 15/3/17 @ 1203

Last night, Craig McKinlay, the Tory MP for Thanet South was interviewed under caution by Kent Police. The BBC’s Nick Watt did his best cover for the Tories by claiming that he’d spoken to a Tory grandee, who apparently advised him that nothing would happen but a few slapped wrists. However, a fine could result in the result being overturned, meaning  fresh by-elections could take place.

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Tory Election Fraud: The Clock Is Ticking.

The Cat wonders what’s happening with the investigation into the Tory Party’s fraudulent activities that took place during the 2015 General Election.  It seems to have gone rather quiet, save for the occasional appearance of the hashtag #ToryElectionFraud on Twitter.  Even Channel 4, which has been running with the story has been noticeably quiet recently.  The last entry on their website was back in November 2016 when it announced that the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Nick Timothy, had been drawn into the controversy.  So, what’s going on? It’s anyone’s guess.  The Cat suspects that the Tories will do all they can to obstruct and delay the investigation, meaning that the police forces involved could run out of time.

Prior to the General Election, The Cat was convinced that the only way David Cameron’s deeply unpopular Nouveau Tories could win was to cheat.  They did this in two ways: they under-claimed on their expenses and they scrubbed voters from the electoral registers.  In addition to this, they began the process of gerrymandering constituency boundaries, which they claimed was done out of ‘fairness’ and to supposedly eliminate safe seats.  What wasn’t explained was how the ‘safe seats’ they identified were mainly Labour seats in urban areas. Tory safe seats, such as those occupied by the likes of Matthew Hancock, would remain safe.

Interestingly, the Electoral Commission, the ostensibly  neutral body that redraws electoral boundaries, withdrew its investigation into the Tories last July.  The reason it offered was contained in this paragraph:

The Electoral Commission has today (15 July) announced that as part of its investigation into the Conservative and Unionist Party campaign spending returns it launched on 18 February 2016, it has withdrawn its application to the High Court for an information and document disclosure order. This means that there will be no hearing regarding the order. The Commission has made this decision because since issuing its application to the High Court on 12 May, it has received sufficient  material from the Party to proceed with its investigation.

This means that over 20 police forces up and down the country are now solely responsible for investigating the claims. Many constabularies were granted extra time to conduct their investigations but time is running out.

The Conservatives have already tried twice to stymie the investigation.  Once when Craig Mackinlay, the MP for Thanet South attempted to block it in the courts and again, when they dragged their heels when they were asked to submit  important documents.

The clock is still ticking.

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Beyond Piss Ups and Breweries

The Tories may be presenting a unified public face for the election campaign but in private there must be a great deal of teeth-gnashing and wailing and weeping (maybe some self-flagellation, who knows what they get up to behind closed doors?) among backbenchers. What an absolute fucking mess of an election campaign. I honestly can’t recall one like it.

The Tories’ election campaign began in earnest with the hiring of Lynton Crosby back in 2013 and since then, it’s been non-stop stream of slogans. It started with “hard-working families, who want to do the right thing and get ahead in life” and ended with “the chaos of a Labour government”. The latter is more of a psychological projection of their chaotic style of government and economic stewardship (coughs), while the former is simply meaningless PR drivel. And besides, hard work is over-rated. Do you think ‘wealth creators’ like Osborne’s daddy got where he is today by working hard?

Then there’s the attempt to insert into the public consciousness the idea of a “weird” Ed Miliband, who “stabbed his brother in the back”. Before that it was “Red Ed” and “Eds under the bed”. Look, if I were leading a political party, I wouldn’t hire Crosby. The man is a buffoon. “Are you thinking what we’re thinking”? You mean you actually think? That’s news to me. I thought you just throw stuff against the wall and if it sticks, it’s in.

A couple of weeks ago, we got this.

Silly Tory poster

 

 

The Tories don’t seem to have caught up with last November’s news: Nicola Sturgeon replaced Alex Salmond as leader of the Scottish National Party. For that reason, it’s also subtly sexist.

There’s also something weirdly Stepfordian about the government ministers who have been doing the tours of the TV studios. When they open their mouths, they’re like Scientologists defending their cult from pointed questions. They’ll look into the camera and say with a blank stare, “Look, I was audited and it didn’t do me any harm”. Alternatively, they’re like Liz Truss on last night’s Question Time, whose tactic was to talk over the other  panellists. This is a trick straight out of the Young Britons Foundation (YBF) training manual: “Shout at your opponents and call them names. It’s better than using reasoned arguments”. That’s how they’re trained in their self-styled ‘madrasahs’.

The Sontaran was in the studios talking about the Big Society. They haven’t mentioned the BigSoc for a while. Remind me, what was it all about? Oh yeah, it was a way of selling public spending cuts. Voters didn’t buy into it then and they’re not going to warm to it now. Save your breath.

Bizarrely and straight out of leftfield came the sudden announcement that the Tories would freeze regulated rail fares. Am I tripping? Next week, they’ll be promising to renationalize the railways. Steady on!

Then there’s the ‘free press’ or, at least, the Tory-supporting section of it, which is pretty much most of it. The stories. Oh, the stories! Yesterday, the Daily Mail ran with “Red Ed’s tangled love life” . Really! Ed Miliband dated before he got married. That’s the story. It’s like a Bizarro World version of an OK! magazine story. Cheap and toothless, it fails to deliver a blow against its intended target. It’s like being savaged by Geoffrey Howe’s legendary dead sheep!

The Tory campaign is a mess of their own (well, Crosby and possibly Gove’s) design. But it’s too late for their ship to change course, because they’re heading towards a huge iceberg that bears their name. The only way is down, baby…

 

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