Tag Archives: undercover

Inside Activate part two: incompetence from Day One

If you enjoy watching other people get their comeuppance for a series of blunders, this exposure of Activate remains comedy gold.

Read the Evolve Politics article:

So, now that Tory Thomas’ Facebook account was finalised – complete with poorly photoshopped, outrageously materialistic profile pictures and a ludicrously stereotypical Tory back story – Evolve’s dastardly plan to infiltrate Activate really was beginning to take shape.

The next stage of our operation was to try and infiltrate Activate’s secret member’s group on Facebook.

But, because Evolve weren’t willing to lie and fake a Tory Thomas PayPal account to purchase our membership, we really were expecting to fall at the very first hurdle.

Nonetheless, using our assigned Tory Thomas account, we sent a request to Activate’s member’s group asking to join (this member’s group has subsequently been made secret, but was public when we requested access). Within minutes we had received a response from Fizarn Adris – Activate’s then Membership Director – asking us to join as a paid member before we could access the secret member’s group.

Unfortunately, after receiving this message, continuing with our investigation meant giving money to an organisation that we really didn’t want to be funding.

With hind sight on our side, we definitely feel it was £10 well spent.

Furthermore, because Activate have finally now decided to boot us from their secret member’s group (a group we are actually still entitled to be in due to being paid up for entire year as a Full Member and them having no code of conduct), we are, hilariously, entitled to a full refund from PayPal.

Read more: PART 2: Evolve Politics Undercover Inside Activate – Unadulterated Incompetence From Day One | Evolve Politics


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Social media politics site has been undercover at Tory youth organisation from the start

“The Activate Tories genuinely fell for this. Honestly.” [Image: Evolve Politics.]

This is not only a brilliant exposure of an inept pro-Tory propaganda fail; it is also comedy gold.

Read how Evolve Politics created a fake Conservative to infiltrate Activate:

Evolve Politics secretly infiltrated the Tories’ imitation-Momentum group Activate, gaining the full trust and backing of Activate’s National Chairman Gary Markwell, before having a Senior Editor offered a job on Activate’s Media Team.

With essentially no prior vetting whatsoever, an Evolve Senior Editor was given control of Activate’s official social media accounts, had open access to highly compromising information on individuals within Activate and the Conservative Party, and witnessed first hand the woeful self-destruction of Activate’s leadership team as their organisation was mocked mercilessly in the national media.

Evolve were able to easily gain full and unfettered access to Activate passwords, secret groups, and highly sensitive, compromising information, as well as witnessing details of extremely questionable activities within the organisation itself.

During the investigation, Activate suffered numerous leaks of information – all of which were completely unrelated to our undercover activity. Evolve Politics knows the identity of those individuals leaking information, as well as the individuals responsible for taking over Activate’s official Twitter account.

Source: EXCLUSIVE: Evolve Politics were undercover inside Tory-youth group Activate from the very beginning [Part 1] | Evolve Politics


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Torygraph Launches Scathing Attack On Commons Standards Commissioner After Rifkind/Straw Ruling

Painful though it is to agree with the Torygraph, the paper is absolutely right to go for Kathryn Hudson’s jugular in its editorial about her ruling on the Rifkind/Straw cases.

It seems that, rather than investigating MPs and uncovering wrongdoing, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards is more interested in defending them against any investigation or criticism.

Where the Telegraph editorial questions whether she is fit to hold her post, This Writer would question whether that post should be dissolved altogether and potential wrongdoing by MPs referred to the police – preferably to be investigated by a force not directly connected to the Member in question or Parliament itself.

In her ruling, Kathryn Hudson, criticised the journalists who broke the story, commenting: “The distorted coverage of the actions and words of the Members concerned has itself been the main cause of the damage.

“If in their coverage of this story, the reporters for Dispatches and the Daily Telegraph had accurately reported what was said by the two Members in their interviews, and measured their words against the rules of the House, it would have been possible to avoid the damage that has been done to the lives of two individuals.”

But the Telegraph retorted with its own scathing editorial this week, saying the “sorry tale” of both ex-MPs proved “beyond doubt” that those in the Commons could not be trusted to regulate themselves over lobbying.

“Ms Hudson’s credulity towards MPs raises questions about whether she is fit to hold her post,” leader writers wrote, “yet her performance is laudable in comparison with the egregious work of the Standards Committee.

“Far from accepting any error by Sir Malcolm or Mr Straw, or any flaw in the rules they so nimbly stepped around, the committee suggests that the failing here lies with the public for not properly “understanding” the role of MPs.

It continued, saying: “That is bad enough. Worse are the committee’s words on the press. It is only because of investigative journalism that the conduct of Sir Malcolm and Mr Straw became known to the voters they were supposed to serve.

“Yet the committee’s report amounts to a warning to journalists not to carry out such investigations in future, promising to ‘consider further the role of the press in furthering…understanding and detecting wrongdoing’.”

Source: Daily Telegraph Launches Scathing Attack On Commons Standard Commissioner After Rifkind/Straw Ruling

Rifkind and Straw didn’t break lobbying rules – it seems they only offered

Sir Malcolm Rifkind: Not the only Tory suspected of wrong-doing.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind: Not the only Tory suspected of wrong-doing.

Parliament’s standards commissioner, Kathryn Hudson, has let former MPs Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw off the hook after they were accused of corruption – but is this because they only offered to break the rules, rather than actually breaking them?

Rifkind and Straw were filmed secretly by Channel 4’s Dispatches documentary programme, speaking with an undercover reporter posing as a representative of a fake Hong Kong firm, ‘PMR’.

This representative asked Sir Malcolm if he would be able to provide advance information on HS3 – the mooted high-speed train route linking the northeast of England with the northwest.

He was recorded saying: “I could write to a minister… And I wouldn’t name who was asking… But I would say I’ve been asked to establish what your thinking is on X, Y, Z. Can you tell me what that is?”

Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said on the programme: “It’s absolutely clear in the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament that they have to be open and frank in all communications and yet he was saying on that clip that he would be able to write to ministers, and he wouldn’t have to say who exactly he was representing.

“Well that would be a clear breach of the Code of Conduct and an example of, here, an experienced Member of Parliament rather using their privileged position as a public servant in trying to get access to information which would benefit individuals and this company in a way that I think the public would find totally unacceptable.”

But of course, he didn’t actually do it, because PMR was a fictitious company.

Jack Straw was filmed telling an undercover reporter how he managed to get Ukrainian law changed in order to allow another company to run its business more easily there – a perfectly legal and reasonable activity, according to Dispatches.

But then he said that EU regulations had been hampering the business so he “got in to see the relevant director general and his officials in Brussels” and got the regulations changed. He said: “The best way of doing things is under the radar.”

Sir Alistair Graham pointed out, on the programme: “That’s worrying because that’s saying ‘I can do these things without transparency’ – without the
openness and frankness that the MPs’ Code of Conduct is expecting is the normal behaviour from Members of Parliament.”

But, again, he didn’t actually do anything “under the radar” because PMR was a fictitious company.

So Ms Hudson cleared both former MPs of any wrong-doing – and gave both Dispatches and the Daily Telegraph (with whom the programme had run its investigation as a joint affair) a lashing.

“If in their coverage of this story, the reporters for Dispatches and the Daily Telegraph had accurately reported what was said by the two members in their interviews, and measured their words against the rules of the House, it would have been possible to avoid the damage that has been done to the lives of two individuals and those around them, and to the reputation of the House.”

This seems unreasonable as Dispatches actually filmed both these people making their claims, and measured them against the words of Sir Alistair Graham – and there was plenty of qualification in the voice-over, explaining what was permitted by the rules and what was not.

What was she really saying? That Rifkind and Straw had to carry out their suggestions before they could be accused of anything? Wouldn’t that be leaving things a little late? Fixing the barn door after the horse has bolted, to quote a well-known phrase?

Remember, this is the standards commissioner who was reluctant to examine the case of George Osborne, who paid mortgage interest on his paddock with taxpayers’ money before selling it off with a neighbouring farmhouse for around £1 million and pocketing the cash.

She refused to look into it, saying she had already investigated the case – but an examination of her report revealed no mention of the million-pound paddock at all.

Prime Minister David Cameron was said to have welcomed the commissioner’s whitewash, in a BBC report.

But Channel 4 is standing by its story and has asked broadcasting watchdog Ofcom to investigate the programme. Channel 4 says the programme raised legitimate questions and, in all honesty, this is true.

Let’s hope the result of this investigation takes Ms Hudson down a peg or two. She is long overdue for it.

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Another Tory falls casualty to his own swollen pride (if that’s the right word)

Healthy lifestyle: What a shame Mr Newmark had his back turned to the words that could have helped him.

Healthy lifestyle: What a shame Mr Newmark had his back turned to the words that could have helped him.

Isn’t it disappointing that the Minister for Civil Society has resigned after admitting he indulged in some spectacularly un-civil – in fact downright explicit – behaviour towards a young lady (who turned out to be an undercover newspaper reporter – and a man)?

Brooks Newmark, whose ministerial responsibilities include overseeing charities such as the Girl Guides movement, apparently started a dialogue with a reporter he believed to be a young female activist, in the course of which he transmitted an image of himself that revealed more than propriety permits.

We’re told he co-founded an organisation called Women2Win and has been an outspoken campaigner for women in politics – which seems like a lot of effort in order to indulge in this kind of behaviour.

But Mr Newmark is also on record as saying, “We really want to try and keep charities and voluntary groups out of the realms of politics… The important thing charities should be doing is sticking to their knitting.” He seems to be quite confused and it is probably just as well that he will now be able to spend more time pulling himself together.

Back in the 1980s and 90s, it seemed as though the Conservative Party had a major legover crisis every five minutes. Who can forget Cecil Parkinson’s resignation? Or how about David Mellor and his possibly-imaginary Chelsea strip (look it up if you don’t remember it)?

This is a pale imitation – an attempt at a legover crisis, and a poor attempt, at that.

Still, it has provoked a certain amount of hilarity. Tom Pride, in inimitable style, seized on the moment with the following satirical words: “A spokesperson for Number 10 said Mr Newmark’s boo-boo was clearly much too inconsequential to be of major concern:

“’The Prime Minister has seen the pictures and is assured that Mr Newmark’s folly is tiny. In fact his howler is so miniscule, negligible and trifling, it’s hardly worth mentioning at all.’

“Not long after the story broke, Mr Newmark took to Twitter to defend his bungle against accusations it is small:

“’I completely deny accusations that my howler is tiny. In fact my pickle’s actually quite a big one – certainly just as big as all the other Tory MP’s gaffes we’ve seen over the years.’

If only that were true.

It should be stressed that the use of a reporter in disguise who seems to have encouraged Mr Newmark to reveal his… indiscretion… is morally reprehensible in itself. Would he have desported himself in such a way without inducement?

Nevertheless, this piece of tattle has heaped more embarrassment on David Cameron, right on the eve of the Conservative Party conference.

This was going to be the conference where the Tories were going to state the case for their re-election, claiming they are perfectly fit to steer the ship of state on their own, without the Liberal Democrats and their pitiful attempts to behave like the political equivalent of bicycle stabilisers (if you’ll forgive the mixed metaphor).

Instead, with two Conservative MPs having defected to UKIP and more likely to follow, with a ministerial resignation due to improper behaviour, with outrage from the Queen at his own indiscretion about a telephone conversation with her, with much of Scotland on the verge of open rebellion in the belief that he lied about giving that country’s Parliament new powers, and with the rest of the UK incredulous at his claims the the economy is recovering fast when their wages are plummeting…

It suddenly seems entirely possible that Mr Cameron will be the only person there.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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