MPs: time for jobs transparency – well, that’s if you feel like it

The Sunday Telegraph says that Theresa May’s “ethics adviser” (an oxymoron if ever there was one!) says General Election candidates should be “as open as possible” and should publish what income streams they currently have and what paid jobs and be clear about whether these would continue if they enter Parliament.

Trouble is, some of our potential MPs find it impossible to be open.

And the punishment for that? Nothing – zero – nada.

Bang go the ethics.

Anti-corruption independent takes on Home Secretary implicated in election fraud allegations in General Election

“Home Secretary Amber Rudd was one of the original MPs named in the Tory election fraud scandal. And she is in for a nasty surprise during her general election campaign. Because she will be forced to debate the issue live, in front of the public – whether she likes it or not.

Corruption everywhere

Nicholas Wilson is a banking whistleblower. He exposed millions of pounds of “unreasonable” customer charges by HSBC. That led to a ruling by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on 20 January this year to force the bank to pay back £4m to 6,700 customers after wrongly charging interest on credit card debt.

But Wilson believes the true amount HSBC owes is £1bn.

Taking on Rudd

Now, Wilson is taking on Tory election fraud, among other things. He has decided to stand as an independent MP candidate in his local constituency of Hastings and Rye. And he told The Canary that “anti-corruption” will be the focus of his campaign:

Nothing is done about corruption in the UK. I have been exposing the most serious infiltration of HSBC into every strata of UK life, from the BBC, secret services and every government department. The cover-ups by captured regulators, the [alleged] election fraud of incumbent MP Amber Rudd, the censorship of mainstream media. Nothing is done, and Labour are conspicuous by their failure to act. There needs to be a voice in parliament for whistleblowers and someone to hold corrupt MPs to account.

Wilson says he is “left-wing and a socialist”. And mental health awareness will also feature in his campaign. As someone who has spoken openly about depression, he is the perfect candidate to campaign on this issue. But Tory election fraud is going to be central, too.

Tory election fraud

As it stands, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is considering charges against 30 Conservatives, including numerous MPs. They relate to alleged expenses, like the infamous Tory ‘Battle Bus’, which some say Conservative MPs should have declared as local spending, but which the Tories actually declared as national expenditure. This means that many MPs may have breached electoral law over spending guidelines.

Wilson says:

I believe both the last election and the EU referendum were run on fraud. And if Channel 4 and The Sunday Times hadn’t spiked articles before the last election about David Cameron’s corruption, he would never have been re-elected.

Splitting the vote?

There may well be criticisms from many about Wilson splitting the Labour vote in Hastings and Rye. At the 2015 general election, Rudd had a not-unbeatable majority of 4,796. So it could mean the seat becomes a Labour target. But this doesn’t concern Wilson. He insists:

I keep repeating the same thing. Labour is not squeaky clean – that is probably why it doesn’t tackle corruption. It has been making a lot of noise recently about tax evasion, but so have the Tories. I’ve had more support from Tory (Jesse Norman) and SNP (George Kerevan) MPs. Nothing whatsoever from Labour, despite meetings.
Enough is enough

Wilson recognises the need to “get the Tories out”. He says he will support Labour to win the election and “would urge people in other constituencies to vote for them”. But in Hastings and Rye, he plans to tackle Tory election fraud, and corruption more broadly. And when asked why people should vote Nicholas Wilson, he simply says:

Enough is enough. There needs to be new influence in parliament.
And enough is indeed enough, especially when it comes to alleged Tory election fraud.”

What can US and French elections tell us about East Devon?

The voters of the US and France have each sent out strong signals that people are not just tired of party politics but that they will seek actively to stop them by favouring candidates who promise that they will make independent decisions rather than follow party dogma.

Trump is decried by his own party – the Republicans – for not toeing their party line. The Democrats really wanted Bernie Sanders to stand – a man whose policies were a far cry from those of Clinton – but party grandees went for what they saw as the “safe” party choice. The choice that lost them the election.

The old “left” and “right” no longer speak to an electorate that sees that, in fact, they are the same side of the coin, both standing for the status quo.

The constituency electorate wants people who can think for themselves and do what they need locally, even more than nationally and internationally. They want people who will fight THEIR corner and only their corner. That means sometimes choosing “right wing” decisions and sometimes “left wing” because that is how they themselves see the world.

They see that parties are too hidebound and stuck in their ways, too rigid to think on their feet and support the correct course rather than the party course.

This will spread to the UK – maybe not in time for this election – but certainly for the next one.

In the Netherlands many parties have to work together in coalition. This means that each of them gets something but no party gets everything – horse trading goes on to ensure that each group in the coalition is prepared to work with others. They still choose a Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, etc but based on a wide variety of choices available, not just a party leader. Just one way that a wider political spectrum works.

Interesting times.

“Why a snap election? Ask the 30 tories facing criminal charges…” says Daily Mail article

If the Daily Mail says this, then it seems things are much worse than they appear with the election fraud scandL

“This is a flap election, not a snap election. It has been called to get the Government out of what might be serious legal trouble. I am amazed this has not attracted more attention.

It is this simple. The Crown Prosecution Service is now looking at the cases of 30, yes 30, Tory MPs and agents, who have been investigated for breaking spending rules at the last General Election.

The allegations have been probed by 14 police forces after claims that the Conservatives’ ‘battlebus’ campaign broke legal spending limits in several key marginal seats.

The Tories have already been in deep trouble over their new election techniques, where busloads of outsiders flood into winnable seats to round up crucial extra votes. This was a way of making up for the Tory party’s severe loss of active members, who used to do this donkey work. But it is sailing very close to the legal wind.

Last month they were hit by the Electoral Commission with a record £70,000 fine – the maximum – for failing to declare their spending. The forces involved are Avon & Somerset, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon & Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, West Mercia, West Midlands, West Yorkshire and the Met.

These cases are likely to result in some charges (I have no idea how many) in the next few weeks, probably just before polling day. Trials, assuming these go ahead, will be much later in the year and might not reach verdicts until well into 2018.

If there had been no election, any convictions could have meant MPs found guilty being forced to stand down, and elections being rerun. A General Election makes this much less of a threat, especially if Mrs May manages to increase her meagre majority.

This menace has been worrying the Cabinet for some months, as it has become clear it will not go away. And it is a far better explanation of the Prime Minister’s change of heart than her rather weird and incoherent speech in Downing Street. I happen to think she is a naturally truthful person and meant what she said when she previously declared several times that she was going to stay on till 2020.

But the expenses allegations, which started as a cloud on the horizon no bigger than a man’s hand, have grown and grown. I suspect her advisers have been telling her she cannot risk them coming into the open late in a Parliament when, perhaps, the economy is not doing well, or EU negotiations are going badly or Labour has a new leader.

As a result of this semi-secret crisis, the Tory campaign this time will have to be a good deal more cautious about such things, which may weaken it, especially if the campaign goes wrong – and this is not impossible.

Even now the affair could be highly damaging – but early in a new Parliament, with a secure majority, the Government should be able to weather it far better than if Mrs May had soldiered on. But all elections are risks. It is amazing how often governments lose control of them.

Politics in this country are a good deal less solid and stable than they seem.”

NHS: were Swire and Parish’s “talks” with Jeremy Hunt worthless?

It appears Jeremy Hunt may be for the chop if Mrs May get her way with the next government.

Swire and Parish boasted that they had “conversations” with Hunt over local hospital bed closures – such talks seemingly preferable to actually voting against them in Parliament.

Now it seems that Hunt is not one of Mrs May’s favourite people – and we also know that she is not always disposed to take the advice of people she doesn’t rate.

So how useful were these talks?

Given that Hunt contributed to a book on how to privatise hospital services, even if he gets his old job back – would he listen anyway?

Many young people registering to vote – more needed!

Almost 350,000 people have registered to vote since Tuesday’s surprise announcement that there would be a general election on 8 June.

The highest number of registrations was on the day itself, with 147,000 people registering online after Theresa May fired the election starting gun, along with 3,364 paper forms being submitted.

This was the biggest total recorded for a single day since the EU referendum campaign in 2016.

And the number of young people registering is the highest of any age group.” …