The Electoral Commission – British Democracy’s Chocolate Teapot

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By David Ferguson

Readers of Newsnet Scotland might remember me.  The Wendy Alexander FOI?  The Labour Party smear campaign spearheaded by Jim Murphy’s Special Advisor Rami Okasha and Glasgow North East’s Westminster MP Willie Bain?

I haven’t quite finished with FoI, and after all the sanctimonious Labour posturing over The First Minister and ‘Murdochgate’, the Okasha/Bain smear campaign might come back to bite them yet.

By David Ferguson

Readers of Newsnet Scotland might remember me.  The Wendy Alexander FOI?  The Labour Party smear campaign spearheaded by Jim Murphy’s Special Advisor Rami Okasha and Glasgow North East’s Westminster MP Willie Bain?

I haven’t quite finished with FoI, and after all the sanctimonious Labour posturing over The First Minister and ‘Murdochgate’, the Okasha/Bain smear campaign might come back to bite them yet.

I haven’t finished with the Electoral Commission either – the body on which the country will apparently rely to ensure a fair and legal referendum.  I hope to be talking about the subject in a future article for Newsnet.  But they’ve provided me with some further grounds for talking about them today.

Following the Sunday Times sting on Tory Party Treasurer Peter Cruddas and lobbyist Sue Southern, there was a predictable media furore.  What I found interesting was the way this furore concentrated on only one half of the story – the “cash for access to Cameron” angle.  I have to say that in this regard, Newsnet Scotland was perhaps as guilty as others.

The fact is that selling mealtime access to Cameron for cash, however tawdry and dubious, is not in itself illegal.  Even if it could be proved beyond any doubt that business people paid cash to the Tory Party for the questionable privilege of sitting beside David Cameron while he bolted his lunch, it’s not a crime.

Which makes the part of the story that found itself whisked under the carpet all the more interesting.  Remember if you will that Peter Cruddas and Sue Southern were not teenage activists fumbling their way through their first money-raising efforts on behalf of their Party.  Cruddas was the Tory Party Treasurer, and Southern was a former aide to Cameron himself, who certainly has access to the highest echelons of the Party.

To his credit Iain Dale, one of the country’s leading Conservative bloggers, did pick up on the story.  Here’s what he had to say:

Possibly the most damaging allegation made in the Sunday Times article is this…

There was still one problem, however. The proposed donation was being paid from a Liechtenstein fund and belonged ultimately to Middle Eastern investors. It was a foreign donation. Cruddas was happy for the reporters to find a way around this and said he’d arrange a meeting with the party’s “compliance people” to check that it was legitimate. One option was to create a UK company to donate the money.

He said: “Set up a company, employ some people to work here.”

Later, though, the reporters’ lobbyist spoke to party officials and returned. As the reporters, posing as executives, were British, the money could be channelled through them.

“[The company] would have to donate through an individual (perhaps a director of the company) who is registered on the UK electoral roll,” Southern wrote. She later claimed on the phone: “[The party] don’t pry as to where the money comes from, at all.”

Iain Dale hit the nail smack bang on the head.  This is indeed “the most damaging allegation”.

When the Sunday Times journalists told them that the proposed funds were coming from a Liechtenstein fund owned by Middle Eastern businessmen, Cruddas and Southern must have known beyond any doubt that the donation was illegal.  Under s.56 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) anyone working for or on behalf of a political party is obliged to take all reasonable steps to ensure that any donations received are legal.  The behaviour of Cruddas and Southern fell so far below this standard that it’s not even worth talking about.

But PPERA s.61 goes further.  Under this section it is a criminal offence – punishable by up to one year in prison – for any person to enter into any arrangement designed to conceal the true source of a donation, or to provide or withhold information with the intention of concealing the true source of a donation.

So when Cruddas, having been told that the source of the donation was illegal, expressed himself “happy” to have the ST journos find a way to “work around this” he was proclaiming to the rooftops that he was perfectly happy to circumvent S.61.  He even went so far as to offer them a possible ‘solution’ – the setting up of a shell company to channel the funds – which is itself illegal.

Southern went one better.  She uncovered an unspecified number of un-named party officials, who, she claims, told her that the party “don’t pry as to where the money comes from, at all”.  And just for good measure, she herself came back with another – likewise illegal – method to channel the funds into the Party, via third parties in the UK who would have been legal donors if the money had been theirs.

So to reiterate: One Tory Party Treasurer, one senior lobbyist who is a former aide to the Prime Minister, and an unspecified number of Tory Party officials, had all demonstrated quite unequivocally that they were willing to commit offences under PPERA s.61 in order to secure funds for the Party.

These are indeed very damaging allegations.  It is noteworthy that there has been not so much a whisper of legal action from either Cruddas or Southern to challenge the truth of the allegations.

The Tory Party collects tens of millions of pounds in donations every year.  Given the demonstrated willingness of its most senior representatives to ignore the law, as revealed by the ST sting, a member of the public might reasonably want to ask whether all of these donations are in fact legal, and indeed whether any real effort is expended to ensure that they are.  Or do the Tories simply “not pry as to where the money came from – at all”?

Fortunately we have a body which is responsible for taking such matters in hand on our behalf – the Electoral Commission.  The Commission is responsible for the probity of the democratic process in Britain.  It has a statutory duty to oversee the application of PPERA.  Surely the Commission would want to talk to Cruddas and Southern about any previous donations they had been involved in, and how they had been secured, and where they had come from, and whether any attempt had been made to confirm that they were legitimate?

The Commission would certainly want to know the identity of these “party officials” who told Southern that they “don’t pry as to where the money comes from – at all”, in order to remind them of their obligations under PPERA, would it not?

To jog the Commission along, I lodged a formal complaint and a request for an investigation, laying out the above-mentioned information.  It appears that I was joined in this by a fellow member of the public, and by another chap by who goes by the name of Jack Straw.

We have just had our answer:

“The Electoral Commission has concluded its assessment of allegations that Sarah Southern, Peter Cruddas or the Conservative Party breached donation law… The Commission found no evidence to support the allegations and will not be opening an investigation into the matter.”

It would be utterly pointless to write back to the Commission and point out that I did not allege that anybody had breached donation law.  My allegation was that their behaviour, in declaring themselves unequivocally ready to breach s.56 and 61 of PPERA, raised reasonable suspicions that they might previously have breached donation law which ought to be investigated.  It would be pointless to write to the Commission and point out to them that I asked that the party officials who had demonstrated themselves willing to ignore donation law should be identified and named.

It would be pointless because the Commission would simply ignore me.  They have concocted a pretext for their usual whitewash.  Instead of investigating allegations that have been made, the Commission has declared that it will not be investigating allegations that have not been made.  The matter will be closed.

So no investigation will take place.  No awkward questions will be asked.  Cruddas will not be asked to demonstrate that he took any steps to ensure that the other millions of pounds he has secured in donations were legitimate.  Southern will not be obliged to divulge the names of the party officials who have no wish to pry into where the money comes from, at all.

In his article, Iain Dale observed:

“This is Michael Brown territory and in my opinion is tantamount to encouraging someone to break the law. It would not surprise me at all if the Police didn’t look into this…”

Trapped inside the Westminster bubble as he is, Mr Dale can be forgiven a little naiveté.  From my perspective as a humble member of the public, I have zero expectations that the Electoral Commission, the police, or anybody else might take an interest in senior conservatives and their representatives who declare themselves happy to break the law.

I do, however, predict that the rise up the ranks of the quangocracy of The Electoral Commission’s Director of Party and Election Finance, Lisa Klein, will be inexorable, and unimpeded by any obstacle.

Related articles:
http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-news/918-shock-claims-of-labour-orchestrated-smear

http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-politics/928-labour-and-the-smear-gone-wrong-.html

 

[Newsnet Scotland is currently experiencing some difficulties with our twitter account.  We would be grateful if readers who are on twitter would click the re-tweet button beneath each article.  Thank You]

60 COMMENTS

  1. Wee Joe Public is getting mighty scunnered with these shenanigans and it will all come to roost to see the back of the Electoral Commission.

    The Scottish Government must distance itself from this monkey-house and set about appointing independent European monitors for the referendum.

    • Agreed. And it should be the Council of Europe (CoE) or its Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

      It’s about time the Scottish government got its arse in gear on this. The OSCE can get involved only if invited to by the government of the country concerned. Sound daft? It does to me, but that’s the situation.

      So, how about it, Alex Salmond, Peter Hudghton, Peter Murrell etc? The clock is ticking.

    • Agreed. And it should be the Council of Europe (CoE) or its Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

      It’s about time the Scottish government got its arse in gear on this. The OSCE can get involved only if invited to by the government of the country concerned. Sound daft? It does to me, but that’s the situation.

      So, how about it, Alex Salmond, Peter Hudghton, Peter Murrell etc? The clock is ticking.

  2. Wee Joe Public is getting mighty scunnered with these shenanigans and it will all come to roost to see the back of the Electoral Commission.

    The Scottish Government must distance itself from this monkey-house and set about appointing independent European monitors for the referendum.

  3. I was never happy the Electoral Commission was invited into referendum process.I would have been much happier with an EU or even a UN body overseeing the process and to certify the outcome.

    The Electoral Commission is a creature of Westminster, an organ of the state, and overwhelmingly populated by Unionists.

    Though they seem to think they have a splendid record and a reputation for probity, they have never been tested in the face of an existential threat to the state from which they were borne, and to which the owe allegiance.

    It may be that they will be found to be competent and trustworthy stewards of the referendum, then again they might not.

    I find it inconceivable that the Unionist establishment of which it is a product, will not bring to bear upon it all its influence and power, to ensure every ounce of pressure on the scales of fairness is applied by a Unionist thumb.

  4. I was never happy the Electoral Commission was invited into referendum process.I would have been much happier with an EU or even a UN body overseeing the process and to certify the outcome.

    The Electoral Commission is a creature of Westminster, an organ of the state, and overwhelmingly populated by Unionists.

    Though they seem to think they have a splendid record and a reputation for probity, they have never been tested in the face of an existential threat to the state from which they were borne, and to which the owe allegiance.

    It may be that they will be found to be competent and trustworthy stewards of the referendum, then again they might not.

    I find it inconceivable that the Unionist establishment of which it is a product, will not bring to bear upon it all its influence and power, to ensure every ounce of pressure on the scales of fairness is applied by a Unionist thumb.

  5. The Electoral Commission are not the problem in themselves, they are merely part of the problem. Money makes the world go round and nowhere more obviously than in the political system.
    Since the general public won’t stomach paying for political parties then they must accept that since running the political machine takes shed loads of money then parties have to get it from somewhere.
    The hideous levels it has reached in the US means that the poor are effectively debarred from the political system. When I lived there I was frequently contacted by ‘focus groups’, there were effectively only two of them and paid to attend meetings on whatever subject was pertenant. So, over there, the money oils the political wheels at a very low level.
    It hasn’t reached that stage here yet but, in the absence of any other regulation, you can see where this is heading.
    So, left with the status quo and its need for shed loads of money is any of the above a surprise ?.
    The Electoral Commission is part of the political establishment like it or not, a cosy club by any standards. Responsible to Westminster they are hardly impartial and must default to where their salaries come from. As for their role in a referedum in Scotland, what’s to stop them having a role so long as there is a supervisory role taken by a completely impartial body such as the OSCE ?. That’s what was recognised by the SDA and requested back in March. If the EC are squeeky clean then they should have no worries on oversight. It would be in essence, democracy on show. Time for them to engage though would be now rather than wait as I suspect, the more significant dirty tricks from the unionist side are just about to begin.

    • UpSpake 2012-05-06 08:13
      “The Electoral Commission are not the problem in themselves, they are merely part of the problem. Money makes the world go round and nowhere more obviously than in the political system.
      Since the general public won’t stomach paying for political parties then they must accept that since running the political machine takes shed loads of money then parties have to get it from somewhere.”

      I fully accept your point that the Electoral commission are “merely part of the problem” But I do not accept the second point you make.

      Why do we have to “accept that since running the political machine takes shed loads of money then parties have to get it from somewhere?”

      [b]The electoral system is part of the broken political system of the UK. It all boils down to the lack of a “written codified constitution”. Why would we wish to have the same system after independence?[/b]

      The upcoming referendum is supposed to be about self determination for the people of Scotland not about the “SHADY characters that fund the political parties, who seek to maintain the “elective dictatorship”.

      • Red herring, red herring. Does the USDA not have a “written, codified constitution”? Not exactly squeeky clean there, are they?

        There are no guarantees. Pieces of paper are pieces of paper.

      • Red herring, red herring. Does the USDA not have a “written, codified constitution”? Not exactly squeeky clean there, are they?

        There are no guarantees. Pieces of paper are pieces of paper.

    • UpSpake 2012-05-06 08:13
      “The Electoral Commission are not the problem in themselves, they are merely part of the problem. Money makes the world go round and nowhere more obviously than in the political system.
      Since the general public won’t stomach paying for political parties then they must accept that since running the political machine takes shed loads of money then parties have to get it from somewhere.”

      I fully accept your point that the Electoral commission are “merely part of the problem” But I do not accept the second point you make.

      Why do we have to “accept that since running the political machine takes shed loads of money then parties have to get it from somewhere?”

      [b]The electoral system is part of the broken political system of the UK. It all boils down to the lack of a “written codified constitution”. Why would we wish to have the same system after independence?[/b]

      The upcoming referendum is supposed to be about self determination for the people of Scotland not about the “SHADY characters that fund the political parties, who seek to maintain the “elective dictatorship”.

    • UpSpake mentions the Memorandum on the referendum that the Scottish Democratic Alliance sent in March to the major European institutions, the 47-member Council of Europe (CoE) and the 56-member Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Europe’s largest institution.

      The Memorandum calls on the international authorities to intervene if necessary to ensure that the referendum cannot be manipulated to the detriment of the Scottish people. It also calls for these two major international organisations to send a joint team of diplomatic observers to supervise the conduct of the poll in order to ensure a fair and objective outcome.

      Negotiations are presently being conducted on the matter, and the SDA hopes that this significant diplomatic initiative will result in the referendum being conducted under the strictest international monitoring that will inhibit deliberate bias and manipulation, of which we have had all too real experience.

      The text of the Memorandum can be accessed on the homepage of the SDA website: http://www.scottishdemocraticalliance.org

      It is perhaps also necessary to add that the smaller, 27-member European Union (EU), representing only half of Europe, does not have the all-European authority of the CoE and the OSCE, and it has no procedures for carrying out any such monitoring.

      • [quote]the SDA hopes that this significant diplomatic initiative will result in the referendum being conducted under the strictest international monitoring that will inhibit deliberate bias and manipulation[/quote]

        Many thanks for the update, it is good to know that things are happening in the background. Can you let us know, though, to what extent can the CoE / OSCE take the BBC to task?

        • They can both do so, because the UK Government is subject to the international rules on democracy, the rule of law and human rights. The OSCE has a special department that ensures that the media are closely watched, in order to avoid manipulation of public opinion. The 56-member OSCE Parliament in Copenhagen (twice the size of the EU’s so-called “European” Parliament) has the experience of monitoring over 130 national elections and referenda with more than 30,000 diplomatic observers. They are very keen to take the role of monitoring Scotland’s independence referendum in order to eliminate unfairness and manipulation.

          • OK, but exactly what, how, and when? The sooner the better, because the BBC is having it ALL its own way at the moment.

          • OK, but exactly what, how, and when? The sooner the better, because the BBC is having it ALL its own way at the moment.

        • They can both do so, because the UK Government is subject to the international rules on democracy, the rule of law and human rights. The OSCE has a special department that ensures that the media are closely watched, in order to avoid manipulation of public opinion. The 56-member OSCE Parliament in Copenhagen (twice the size of the EU’s so-called “European” Parliament) has the experience of monitoring over 130 national elections and referenda with more than 30,000 diplomatic observers. They are very keen to take the role of monitoring Scotland’s independence referendum in order to eliminate unfairness and manipulation.

      • [quote]the SDA hopes that this significant diplomatic initiative will result in the referendum being conducted under the strictest international monitoring that will inhibit deliberate bias and manipulation[/quote]

        Many thanks for the update, it is good to know that things are happening in the background. Can you let us know, though, to what extent can the CoE / OSCE take the BBC to task?

      • James, I’m delighted. I’ve been advocating this approach for a long time, but I’m not in a position to do anything about it myself (for personal reasons; i.e. I’m a bit of waster ;)). All power to your elbow. I reckon this is crucial to preventing them stealing the referendum.

      • James, I’m delighted. I’ve been advocating this approach for a long time, but I’m not in a position to do anything about it myself (for personal reasons; i.e. I’m a bit of waster ;)). All power to your elbow. I reckon this is crucial to preventing them stealing the referendum.

    • UpSpake mentions the Memorandum on the referendum that the Scottish Democratic Alliance sent in March to the major European institutions, the 47-member Council of Europe (CoE) and the 56-member Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Europe’s largest institution.

      The Memorandum calls on the international authorities to intervene if necessary to ensure that the referendum cannot be manipulated to the detriment of the Scottish people. It also calls for these two major international organisations to send a joint team of diplomatic observers to supervise the conduct of the poll in order to ensure a fair and objective outcome.

      Negotiations are presently being conducted on the matter, and the SDA hopes that this significant diplomatic initiative will result in the referendum being conducted under the strictest international monitoring that will inhibit deliberate bias and manipulation, of which we have had all too real experience.

      The text of the Memorandum can be accessed on the homepage of the SDA website: http://www.scottishdemocraticalliance.org

      It is perhaps also necessary to add that the smaller, 27-member European Union (EU), representing only half of Europe, does not have the all-European authority of the CoE and the OSCE, and it has no procedures for carrying out any such monitoring.

  6. The Electoral Commission are not the problem in themselves, they are merely part of the problem. Money makes the world go round and nowhere more obviously than in the political system.
    Since the general public won’t stomach paying for political parties then they must accept that since running the political machine takes shed loads of money then parties have to get it from somewhere.
    The hideous levels it has reached in the US means that the poor are effectively debarred from the political system. When I lived there I was frequently contacted by ‘focus groups’, there were effectively only two of them and paid to attend meetings on whatever subject was pertenant. So, over there, the money oils the political wheels at a very low level.
    It hasn’t reached that stage here yet but, in the absence of any other regulation, you can see where this is heading.
    So, left with the status quo and its need for shed loads of money is any of the above a surprise ?.
    The Electoral Commission is part of the political establishment like it or not, a cosy club by any standards. Responsible to Westminster they are hardly impartial and must default to where their salaries come from. As for their role in a referedum in Scotland, what’s to stop them having a role so long as there is a supervisory role taken by a completely impartial body such as the OSCE ?. That’s what was recognised by the SDA and requested back in March. If the EC are squeeky clean then they should have no worries on oversight. It would be in essence, democracy on show. Time for them to engage though would be now rather than wait as I suspect, the more significant dirty tricks from the unionist side are just about to begin.

  7. Everyone agrees that the electoral commission is tainted.

    After Glenrothes I would say it is a labour party plaything.

    The westminster electoral commission must play no part in the referedum. UN or European oversight is a must.

  8. Everyone agrees that the electoral commission is tainted.

    After Glenrothes I would say it is a labour party plaything.

    The westminster electoral commission must play no part in the referedum. UN or European oversight is a must.

  9. Given this is the same Electoral Commission that still claims the UK system of postal voting is ‘robust’ in spite of proven criminal offences and their associated judgements to the contrary … are we surprised?

    [b]” .. the UK postal voting system is only fit for a banana republic ..”[/b] according to one judgement.

    • Also, let’s not forget, it is the same Electoral Commission that decided not to refer the Wendy Alexander case to the procurator fiscal.

    • Also, let’s not forget, it is the same Electoral Commission that decided not to refer the Wendy Alexander case to the procurator fiscal.

  10. Given this is the same Electoral Commission that still claims the UK system of postal voting is ‘robust’ in spite of proven criminal offences and their associated judgements to the contrary … are we surprised?

    [b]” .. the UK postal voting system is only fit for a banana republic ..”[/b] according to one judgement.

  11. Labour had a very similar ‘scandal’ about disguised donations when it was in power. It came to light during the deputy leadership contest when GB was PM.

    In this case the donor was not overseas but was disguising his donations by funnelling them through some of his employees – unknown to them if I remember correctly. This broke Labour’s own rules which they had put in place to tighten up on ‘dodgy’ donations.

    I have no idea what the final outcome was. As usual it all went quiet.

    http://www.metro.co.uk/news/77549-calls-for-debate-on-dodgy-donations

  12. Labour had a very similar ‘scandal’ about disguised donations when it was in power. It came to light during the deputy leadership contest when GB was PM.

    In this case the donor was not overseas but was disguising his donations by funnelling them through some of his employees – unknown to them if I remember correctly. This broke Labour’s own rules which they had put in place to tighten up on ‘dodgy’ donations.

    I have no idea what the final outcome was. As usual it all went quiet.

    http://www.metro.co.uk/news/77549-calls-for-debate-on-dodgy-donations

  13. I have been saying for a long time, the system of government in the Uk is past it’s sell back date. Corruption is rife and suppression is rampant, manipulation is the norm, self interests over rule the rights of others.
    Truth is friends, we no longer live in a democracy. WE have to change things, 2014 will be our best chance to form our OWN kind of country.

  14. I have been saying for a long time, the system of government in the Uk is past it’s sell back date. Corruption is rife and suppression is rampant, manipulation is the norm, self interests over rule the rights of others.
    Truth is friends, we no longer live in a democracy. WE have to change things, 2014 will be our best chance to form our OWN kind of country.

  15. The electoral Commission is answerable to the UK government and even if it allocates powers of supervision to the Scottish government will still be subject to suspicion due to the UK government’s history of flagrant manipulation. That is why on the 3rd February 2012 the Scottish Democratic Alliance sent a Memorandum to the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe (CoE)and the Secretary-General of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE. The Memorandum requested the CoE and the OSCE to monitor the activities surrounding the Referendum to ensure compliance with international law. Under international law, specifically article 1 para 2 of the Charter of the United Nations, The people of Scotland and the Scottish government have the right to hold a referendum on self-determination without interference from the UK government. The OSCE have years of experience and experienced teams available to monitor elections and referendums. This is a service which is utilized by many mature states in Europe.

    • The people involved with the SDA have a long and inglorious history of sending “memorandums” to the Council of Europe and other august bodies, and receiving a polite acknowledgement in response.

      Do let us know if this one gets any further than that.

      • As mentioned in the SDA Spring Newsletter, in accordance with diplomatic procedure there will be no public statement on the progress of the negotiations, which are presently taking place.

        The Memorandum was also sent to the individual governments of the OSCE’s 56 member states. Acknowledgements are still being received.

        If you are referring to the Scotland-UN Committee’s 1993 action in the Council of Europe that resulted in the setting up of the present devolved systems in Scotland and Wales, amongst other constitutional changes, then I suggest reading the relevant Newsnet article, entitled Devolution and the Labour Myth, at: http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-opinion/3516-the-sda-a-future-political-force.html

        Like the CoE/OSCE Memorandum, the story of how devolution came about can also be read on the SDA website, at the foot of the homepage: http://www.scottishdemocraticalliance.org

      • As mentioned in the SDA Spring Newsletter, in accordance with diplomatic procedure there will be no public statement on the progress of the negotiations, which are presently taking place.

        The Memorandum was also sent to the individual governments of the OSCE’s 56 member states. Acknowledgements are still being received.

        If you are referring to the Scotland-UN Committee’s 1993 action in the Council of Europe that resulted in the setting up of the present devolved systems in Scotland and Wales, amongst other constitutional changes, then I suggest reading the relevant Newsnet article, entitled Devolution and the Labour Myth, at: http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-opinion/3516-the-sda-a-future-political-force.html

        Like the CoE/OSCE Memorandum, the story of how devolution came about can also be read on the SDA website, at the foot of the homepage: http://www.scottishdemocraticalliance.org

      • [quote name=”Soixante-neuf”]The people involved with the SDA have a long and inglorious history of sending “memorandums” to the Council of Europe and other august bodies, and receiving a polite acknowledgement in response.[/quote]

        As the SDA’s “Postmaster”, i.e. the person who actually put the envelopes to the CoE, OSCE and every European Ambassador and Scottish Consul into the hands of the Royal Mail I would be interested to know how you come up with this preposterous allegation. Have I been sleepwalking and posting mail that I never wrote? Maybe I have a doppleganger who has been sending out memorandums? Or maybe you are just a deluded Unionist.

      • [quote name=”Soixante-neuf”]The people involved with the SDA have a long and inglorious history of sending “memorandums” to the Council of Europe and other august bodies, and receiving a polite acknowledgement in response.[/quote]

        As the SDA’s “Postmaster”, i.e. the person who actually put the envelopes to the CoE, OSCE and every European Ambassador and Scottish Consul into the hands of the Royal Mail I would be interested to know how you come up with this preposterous allegation. Have I been sleepwalking and posting mail that I never wrote? Maybe I have a doppleganger who has been sending out memorandums? Or maybe you are just a deluded Unionist.

    • The people involved with the SDA have a long and inglorious history of sending “memorandums” to the Council of Europe and other august bodies, and receiving a polite acknowledgement in response.

      Do let us know if this one gets any further than that.

  16. The electoral Commission is answerable to the UK government and even if it allocates powers of supervision to the Scottish government will still be subject to suspicion due to the UK government’s history of flagrant manipulation. That is why on the 3rd February 2012 the Scottish Democratic Alliance sent a Memorandum to the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe (CoE)and the Secretary-General of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE. The Memorandum requested the CoE and the OSCE to monitor the activities surrounding the Referendum to ensure compliance with international law. Under international law, specifically article 1 para 2 of the Charter of the United Nations, The people of Scotland and the Scottish government have the right to hold a referendum on self-determination without interference from the UK government. The OSCE have years of experience and experienced teams available to monitor elections and referendums. This is a service which is utilized by many mature states in Europe.

  17. Soixante-neuf. A long and inglorious history of sending “memorandums”…etc.

    To my knowledge the SDA have only sent one Memorandum to the CoE and the OSCE. Yes, they have received polite acknowledgements from a range of ambassadorial representatives.

    Can you please advise on the details of this long and inglorious history?

  18. Soixante-neuf. A long and inglorious history of sending “memorandums”…etc.

    To my knowledge the SDA have only sent one Memorandum to the CoE and the OSCE. Yes, they have received polite acknowledgements from a range of ambassadorial representatives.

    Can you please advise on the details of this long and inglorious history?

  19. And in other news it’s au revoir Sarkozy…

    The centre right in greece are also in trouble.

    Seems Europe is waking up to the fact that increasingly centre-right governments are much of the reason for the economic crisis. Best head back to the centre and balance left and right as best possible. After all, it is the centrist social democracies that are coming through the crisis most comfortably. The general rule of thumb is the more right-wing a country has been economically over the past few decades, the deeper in debt it is…..

  20. And in other news it’s au revoir Sarkozy…

    The centre right in greece are also in trouble.

    Seems Europe is waking up to the fact that increasingly centre-right governments are much of the reason for the economic crisis. Best head back to the centre and balance left and right as best possible. After all, it is the centrist social democracies that are coming through the crisis most comfortably. The general rule of thumb is the more right-wing a country has been economically over the past few decades, the deeper in debt it is…..

  21. [quote]It would be utterly pointless to write back to the Commission and point out that I did not allege that anybody had breached donation law… It would be pointless to write to the Commission and point out to them that I asked that the party officials who had demonstrated themselves willing to ignore donation law should be identified and named… It would be pointless because the Commission would simply ignore me… [/quote]

    All the same I did write. Hey – maybe they’ll surprise me! Maybe they’ll get back to me and say something along the lines of: “After due consideration, it has become apparent to us that we did indeed fail to address the substance of your actual allegation. We will be reconsidering it, and we will certainly require the Conservative Party to divulge the names of the officials concerned, which we will then disclose to the public…”

  22. [quote]It would be utterly pointless to write back to the Commission and point out that I did not allege that anybody had breached donation law… It would be pointless to write to the Commission and point out to them that I asked that the party officials who had demonstrated themselves willing to ignore donation law should be identified and named… It would be pointless because the Commission would simply ignore me… [/quote]

    All the same I did write. Hey – maybe they’ll surprise me! Maybe they’ll get back to me and say something along the lines of: “After due consideration, it has become apparent to us that we did indeed fail to address the substance of your actual allegation. We will be reconsidering it, and we will certainly require the Conservative Party to divulge the names of the officials concerned, which we will then disclose to the public…”

  23. Mr. Ferguson

    Thanks for this insightful piece. Do keep them coming!

    Yet another eye-opener on the workings of UK ‘democracy’!

  24. Mr. Ferguson

    Thanks for this insightful piece. Do keep them coming!

    Yet another eye-opener on the workings of UK ‘democracy’!

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