Tag Archives: campaigning

Companies House finally removes Esther McVey’s name from political campaign group’s details

It turns out Esther McVey wasn’t involved with political campaigning organisation Loyal Scots Company after all.

Companies House has removed her name from that organisation’s listing, so we now have no reason to believe that she has been its secretary, as had been previously stated (by the Companies House listing).

I had reported on the matter here

And here.

Now Evolve Politics, which broke the story after it was uncovered by Alex Tiffin, has reported:

As Vox Political reported this too, it is also necessary for me to report the change.

But I still want to know why Ms McVey tried to attack Mr Tiffin before straightening this out.

And, come to think of it, why she stopped police from investigating the apparent fraud.

I see no information about either of these elements. Do you?

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Esther McVey says she has been falsely connected with a campaigning company. Why is she trying to shoot the messenger?

We always knew the Work and Pensions secretary, Esther McVey, was a bully – this proves it graphically.

Alex Tiffin is an independent journalist who runs the Universal Credit Sufferer blog.

On the morning of November 3, he tweeted an extraordinary announcement about Ms McVey, following research at Companies House.

So Ms McVey is named at Companies House as the secretary of Loyal Scots Company Ltd, a political campaign funding group worth £20 million. She has not notified the House of Commons of this financial interest. As secretary, she should be receiving correspondence to the company from HM Revenue and Customs, and may have broken the law by failing to file legally-required documents.

Note that Mr Tiffin did not write the story – it was written up by Tom D. Rogers and published on Evolve Politics rather than Universal Credit Sufferer.

Ms McVey, however, seems to have taken against him:

The problem is: Mr Tiffin very obviously did check the facts. And he didn’t write the story that caused her to complain, so she can’t use the deadline on his email against him.

While it seems she has got the message and – if the information at Companies House really is false – is taking steps to rectify the matter, why is she trying to shoot the messenger?

Mr Tiffin made many of these points in his response to Ms McVey:

He added, later:

The question about the correspondence sent to Tatton Conservative Club is pertinent. It is inconceivable that an organisation like the Conservative Party would not forward mail to one of its MPs, so one questions what happened to it.

What happened next is deeply sinister.

It seems social media users who support Ms McVey dogpiled Mr Tiffin – verbally responded to his tweets on this subject with abuse in an attempt to intimidate him:

Why would they do that? If he really has uncovered a case of identity theft, then he has done her a favour by exposing it.

If there was nothing in it, then Ms McVey’s behaviour is unaccountable. She is behaving like a woman with something to hide. Why else would anybody attack a person who has revealed the fraudulent use of their name?

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Corbyn launches community campaign unit

Mr Corbyn said the new team will “empower people” to campaign [Image: Reuters].

This is an excellent move – although the BBC’s reporting leaves a little to be desired.

This Writer is not convinced that targeting traditional Labour heartlands will “make inroads in the dozens of seats [Labour] needs to win”.

The party doesn’t need to rebuild support in its heartlands – the last general election showed that Labour’s heartlands are coming back to the party.

It is in Conservative-held constituencies that Labour needs to organise most strongly.

The party has supporters in even the most tightly-held Tory constituencies, and they only need to form a good argument to start persuading people across to the Party of the People and away from the Conservatives.

Labour hopes to encourage communities to organise around local issues and develop campaigns with a new team.

The unit … will target seaside towns and traditional Labour heartlands, where the party needs to rebuild support.

The strategy is designed to help Labour make inroads in the dozens of seats it needs to win to get into power.

Leader Jeremy Corbyn said he hoped an approach of “empowering people” would “further invigorate” his party.

Source: Corbyn launches community campaign unit – BBC News


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‘Lobbying’ Act is performing exactly as intended: Stopping charities from campaigning

Introduced in 2014 and dubbed the ‘charity-gagging law’, the Lobbying Act provides a set of rules for charities that publicly campaign in the run-up to elections [Image: Getty].


We knew this would happen when the so-called Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act was imposed on the UK, back in 2014. It was labelled the “Gagging Act”, for crying out loud!

And we had hard evidence of it in February 2015 – more than two years ago, when John Pring of Disability News Service wrote: “Disability organisations have been intimidated by new lobbying laws – and the risk of losing government contracts – into failing to campaign on key issues like social care and welfare reform in the run-up to the general election, say disabled campaigners.

“They fear that the “sinister” impact of last year’s Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act [also known as the ‘Gagging’ Act], and the trend towards funding charities through government contracts to provide services, are ‘closing down all debate’.”

I remember attending meetings with my MP, who at the time was the Liberal Democrat Roger Williams. He made promise after promise to stand up for free speech – to our faces – then went back to Westminster and told us that cosmetic changes made by the Conservatives meant there was nothing to worry about.

We all knew that wasn’t true, and in the 2015 general election Mr Williams was replaced…

By a Conservative!

Local politics is insane. And the “Gagging Act” has been given free rein to live up to its name.

Labour has vowed to repeal it – but Labour is not in office, due to bizarre decisions by the voting public in June this year. Perhaps it’s time to vote sanely?

More than 100 charities have warned that they are being gagged by controversial government legislation that they claim is preventing them from campaigning on issues affecting the poorest and most marginalised groups in society.

An open letter signed by 122 organisations including Save the Children, Greenpeace and Christian Aid says campaigning is being “lost” from public debate due to the “draconian” requirements of the Lobbying Act.

Dubbed the “charity-gagging law”, it dictates what charities can do publicly in the 12-month run-up to elections in order to ensure individuals or organisations cannot have an undue influence over the vote.

Given the possibility of a snap election, charities say they are not able to carry out political campaigns now for fear of being hit with retrospective fines.

Read more: More than 100 charities claim they are being gagged by anti-lobbying rules


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‘Chequebook politics’ to continue despite Transparency Bill amendments

"How much to make sure my company runs Project X, David?" Chequebook politics will continue to run the UK if the Transparency Bill is passed.

“How much to make sure my company runs Project X, David?” Chequebook politics will continue to run the UK if the Transparency Bill is passed.

You know the old saying: “You can fool all of the people some of the time … blah blah blah … but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

It seems the Conservative Party is determined to write in a new line: “But you can fool most of the people, enough of the time!”

Why else would they be doing what they’re proposing with the so-called Transparency Bill (which is in fact yet another permutation of their boring old bait-and-switch tactic)?

You know, dear reader, that this Bill is about ensuring that David Cameron’s corporate masters continue to have access to him whenever they want to open their chequebooks and give him an order. This blog – and others, we’re sure – has made that very clear.

You also know that it is about attacking the unions, rendering it almost impossible for them to carry out their business without being in breach of the new law.

The third section of the Bill – the part about “non-party campaigning” – was bolted on to provide a distraction, raising concerns across the country that free speech would be, effectively, outlawed in the UK. It seems clear now that this was included purely to provide a focal point for public outrage, away from the main purposes of the legislation.

Now, Andrew Lansley has come forward with amendments to the Bill – aimed at addressing “misunderstandings”. Misunderstandings on what?

On third party campaigning. And nothing else.

The government’s press release states that the amendments will:

  • Remove the additional test of “otherwise enhancing the standing of a party or candidates” from clause 26. This is to provide further reassurance to campaigners as to the test they have to meet in order to incur controlled expenditure. A third party will only be subject to regulation where its campaign can reasonably be regarded as intended to “promote or procure the electoral success” of a party of candidate,
  • Replace the separate listings for advertising, unsolicited material and manifesto/policy documents with election “material”; this is the language used in the current legislation that non-party campaigners and the Electoral Commission are already familiar with, and on which the Electoral Commission have existing guidance,
  • Make clear that it is public rallies and events that are being regulated; meetings or events just for an organisation’s members or supporters will not be captured by the bill. “We will also provide an exemption for annual events – such as an organisation’s annual conference”,
  • Ensure that non–party campaigners who respond to ad hoc media questions on specific policy issues are not captured by the bill, whilst still capturing press conferences and other organised media events, and
  • Ensure that all “market research or canvassing” which promotes electoral success is regulated.

Lansley added: “We have listened and acted, as I said we would do. I am confident that these changes will ensure that the concerns raised about the effect of the Bill on campaigning activities of charities have now been met.

“In doing so, the bill will continue to meet the necessary objective of giving transparency and proper regulation wherever third parties seek to have an influence directly on the outcome of elections.”

Anybody who believes that is all that’s wrong with this Bill is as gullible as Lansley wants them to be.

If you have contacted your MP about this Bill before, you may be surprised to hear that – unless you contact them again – they’re likely to believe that your fears about this Bill have been put to rest.

If they haven’t – and trust us on this, they shouldn’t – then it’s time to email them again.

Otherwise this government of millionaire marionettes will have fooled you again – and the corporate bosses pulling the strings will have good reason to be well pleased.

Rules of engagement

What do you consider acceptable political campaigning techniques? I’ve been reading a few political histories lately and, as someone who is interested in that sort of thing, I’m fascinated. Here are a few from one such book – and to get some interactivity going, can you guess whose opinions they are? Is this person right?

1. Say enough – but not too much – about what you’ll do.

An outline programme of enough substance to be credible, but lacking the details that would allow opponents to damn it, should be sufficient. The Liberal Democrats should perhaps have considered this before saying they would not raise student fees, or that they would abolish control orders (these were replaced with TPIMs, otherwise known as control orders).

2. Attack your opponents in a strong, but believeable, way.

Personal attacks won’t do – calling your opponent a liar, cheat or fraud. Is George Osborne a liar because he said cutting the public sector would allow private enterprise in to fill the gaps, and this hasn’t happened? No, he isn’t. He was mistaken. The nation is paying for that mistake, but he wasn’t lying about it. In my opinion.
However, if a leader is weak (David Cameron) and the party divided (Conservatives on Europe), these are good political weapons to be exploited.

3. Fight complacency.

Huge opinion poll leads can be lost overnight (as Labour has discovered in recent weeks); political opponents should never be underestimated; campaigners should ensure they are in touch with the modern voter in the modern world. Behave as though you’re on a knife-edge from start to finish.

4. Make sure your team doesn’t screw up.

If one of your campaigners has to resign, gets caught in a scandal, or says something stupid (as Gordon Brown knows too well), it’s electoral suicide.

5. Do not be opportunistic.

You might think you’re saying the right thing now, but your own words might come back to bite you in the future, with consequences that can put your position at risk (Eds Miliband and Balls saying they won’t be able to reduce Coalition cuts, for example?).

Feel free to add some of your own.

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