That is the big question. Some may deny it – but they’ll be the ones who say Labour is a disgrace for being investigated by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission over trumped-up allegations of anti-Semitism. Hypocrisy?
It is true that Mr Johnson will be among those implicated in the criminal evidence that has been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service by the Metropolitan Police after a 16-month investigation.
Vote Leave has denied any wrongdoing but the formal referral by the police means they are seeking advice on how to build the case against that organisation, and where they need further evidence to advance the prospect of charges being brought.
In practise, this means any actual prosecution is still a long way away.
But the timing could not be worse for Mr Johnson.
It links his – and chief adviser Dominic Cummings – to possible criminal charges at a time when he is trying to pretend he is trustworthy enough to lead the United Kingdom.
And of course, this is also a time when he has failed to achieve Brexit on the date he said he would.
Worse still, it comes after the Met dropped an investigation into rival Leave campaign Leave.EU, fronted by Arron Banks, due to a lack of evidence. The fact that an investigation against Mr Johnson’s team is still ongoing is even more damning in contrast with that.
Most damning of all is the fact that Mr Johnson is trying to fight a Brexit election based on a campaign won through potentially criminal activity. He is harming the integrity of the electoral system by continuing to stand as a candidate.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
Greta Thunberg: They couldn’t argue with her reasoning, so they insulted her instead.
The silly season has arrived early this year.
Extinction Rebellion has announced that its protest in London will end on Thursday with a day of disruption and a closing ceremony.
The organisation that spent nine days organising peaceful mass civil disobedience said it would leave its remaining blockades after opening up “a space for truth-telling” – and it was time to spread this space both locally, nationally and internationally.
One of the highlights of the protest was the visit by Greta Thunberg, whose speech at the United Nations Climate Change Conference last year galvanised a generation – of youngsters – to demand change on environmentally-catastrophic policies from uncaring world leaders.
Apparently the point was that Ms Thunberg was one of the fabled “One per cent” – the most privileged people in the world. If so, then she has more brains, more conscience, than most of the rest of them put together and is even more to be praised, This Writer would have thought. And I’m not alone:
Yes, it seems Mr Harwood was a press officer for the youth-focused Brexit movement that was used by fellow Brexit campaign Vote Leave to break spending limits in the run-up to the EU referendum in 2016, according to the Electoral Commission. According to Shahmir Sanni, he was Head of Media for BeLeave and Head of the Student wing of Vote Leave.
So before he tries to shame other people, perhaps he should learn a little contrition himself.
At least he didn’t make the enormous gaff committed by Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked.
In an article headlined The cult of Greta Thunberg and sub-headed This young woman sounds increasingly like a millenarian weirdo, he stated: “Anyone who doubts that the green movement is morphing into a millenarian cult should take a close look at Greta Thunberg.
“This poor young woman increasingly looks and sounds like a cult member. The monotone voice. The look of apocalyptic dread in her eyes. The explicit talk of the coming great ‘fire’ that will punish us for our eco-sins.
“There is something chilling and positively pre-modern about Ms Thunberg. One can imagine her in a sparse wooden church in the Plymouth Colony in the 1600s warning parishioners of the hellfire that will rain upon them if they fail to give up their witches.”
Corruption Yard: Police have stalled an investigation into possible criminal offences by the Leave campaign in order to influence the progress of Brexit.
Members of the Metropolitan Police Service have taken it upon themselves to interfere in the most important political issue of our time.
After the Electoral Commission handed over a large amount of evidence on the expectation that the police would investigate whether serious criminal offences had been committed by three pro-Brexit campaigns in the EU referendum of 2016, officers have sat on their thumbs.
They say the matter is politically sensitive because it relates to an election “and much else besides”.
Not very convincing, it is?
Firstly, the referendum was not an election. It may have had relevance to the 2017 general election but that is a secondary concern.
Secondly, when anyone mentions “much more” or, in this case, “much else”, it usually means there isn’t much more and the person saying it is hoping you don’t notice.
The point is that this investigation needed to be handled immediately because it has a direct bearing on the validity of the decision to leave the European Union – a departure that is now less than six months in the future.
If the various Leave campaigns indulged in criminality to achieve their aim, then the result of the referendum is not valid. That would have huge significance.
And a crime is a crime. When evidence is available to them, it is the responsibility of the police to investigate it immediately. Justice brooks no delay.
So we must conclude that the police officer(s) who halted the investigation have done so in order to interfere with political affairs – allowing Brexit to happen when an investigation may prove that it should not.
Who are the officers responsible?
Why are they not stepping forward to give a full and frank account of this abhorrent behaviour?
There is no place for this kind of political interference in the modern police service and in This Writer’s opinion the culprits should be resigning their positions and submitting themselves to criminal investigations of their own.
The Metropolitan Police has stalled the launch of any criminal investigation into three pro-Brexit campaigns – citing “political sensitivities”.
Despite being handed their first dossier of evidence of potential crimes committed by pro-Leave groups over five months ago, the police force has made no progress nor logged a formal case into the activities of either Vote Leave, fronted by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, or Leave.EU, the pro-Brexit campaign bankrolled by Arron Banks.
In May and July this year, the UK Electoral Commission reported that multiple breaches of electoral law, false declarations and covert campaign over-spending had taken place by pro-Leave groups during the 2016 EU referendum.
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) was then expected to investigate whether key individuals, including Leave.EU’s campaign chief, Liz Bilney; Vote Leave’s board official, David Halsall; and the founder of BeLeave, Darren Grimes, had committed related criminal offences.
The Met revealed it has yet to start any formal investigation, and has remained effectively stalled for months in “assessing evidence”.
Pushed on why there has been no progress, or no formal case logged, a Scotland Yard spokesman admitted there were issues and “political sensitivities” that had to be taken into account. The Yard spokesman later added that the political issues related to “any allegation or referral relating to an election, and much else besides.”
This is confirmation of what we knew already – see This Site’s previous article.
It will be interesting to see what the police do with the Electoral Commission’s referral.
My guess is that, as big-name Tory MPs Boris Johnson and Michael Gove were involved, the police will let them off without any real attempt at investigation.
I look forward – sceptically – to being proved wrong.
Vote Leave has been fined £61,000 and reported to the police by the Electoral Commission, after the watchdog found “significant evidence” of coordination with another campaign group, BeLeave.
The watchdog said it had imposed punitive fines on Vote Leave because it said the group had refused to cooperate fully with its investigation and declined to be interviewed. Its former chief executive, Matthew Elliott, had previously alleged it was the Electoral Commission that had refused to cooperate. Vote Leave called the findings “wholly inaccurate”.
The commission’s long-awaited report said it had found evidence BeLeave spent more than £675,000 with data firm Aggregate IQ coordinated with Vote Leave, which should have been declared by the Brexit campaign group.
Vote Leave, which was the official designated campaign for Britain leaving the EU during the referendum fronted by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, exceeded its legal spending limit of £7m by almost £500,000, the watchdog found.
Darren Grimes, the founder of BeLeave, and the Vote Leave official David Halsall have been reported to the police. Vote Leave has been fined £61,000 and Grimes £20,000.
The commission said it had shared its investigation files with the Metropolitan police to investigate whether any other offences had been committed outside the watchdog’s remit.
Arron Banks: He can do anything he wants because he knows his pals in Parliament have got his back.
I’ll tell you why: Because the establishment that allowed the crimes to be committed is so unutterably corrupt that it is quite happy to let the criminals off.
We know the names of everybody involved. We know they broke electoral law in order to corruptly influence voters in the EU referendum.
We also know that major players in the offending campaign groups are now government ministers who will do everything in their power to prevent the logical actions from being taken.
Those logical actions?
The EU referendum should be declared null and void. It was corruptly influenced and the result is entirely discredited.
The named individuals who conspired to commit the electoral offences should be arrested on suspicion of having committed the most serious criminal offence under which the offence could be listed, and imprisoned without bail (in case they abscond). They committed fraud in an attempt to change our way of life – for the worse, in most cases. Why are they not in prison already?
All those who have obstructed attempts to get justice should also be arrested and imprisoned without bail.
But it isn’t going to happen – not because there isn’t a huge amount of will in its favour (there is) but because the tiny few who actually have the legal ability to take action are complicit in the crime and could not care less that the law has been broken.
And they reckon we can’t do anything about it.
You see, there are millions of people who voted ‘Leave’ because they genuinely want the UK to leave the European Union and don’t care about the inevitable and devastating consequences.
Those millions will not support any act that might jeopardise our departure from the EU – and they don’t care about the fact that the law has been broken.
The result will be equivalent to stealing a fortune from every working family in the UK, but that hasn’t happened yet so they don’t care.
And that’s why they won’t support any action to bring the criminals to justice.
This means the corrupt legislators in Parliament are sitting pretty on seats they’re not likely to lose in any election – at least until after Brexit happens – because enough of the electorate don’t care that they’re voting for criminals.
And the corrupt campaigners won’t be punished because the corrupt legislators won’t change the law to make this possible.
Once Brexit has happened, of course, the attitude of the public may change, as the impact of this political calamity finally makes itself fully felt.
But by then, it will be too late because there will be no going back.
So what do you do about it?
Well, one possibility might be the obvious:
Bitch about it. Bitch like hell. Complain about what has happened – and name the people involved in it. Call them into question every time they appear in public, on TV, in the papers, on the social media – anywhere. Create campaigns. Make memes and infographics. Demand justice.
If enough people do it, you won’t be ignored.
Or you could just stay quiet, roll over and let these creeps and criminals carry on doing to you what they’ve been doing for the last two years. Your choice.
On Wednesday, Matthew Elliott, the CEO of Vote Leave, the campaign headed by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, both now government ministers, took the extraordinary step of leaking the interim report of an Electoral Commission investigation which is still under way.
This found the campaign guilty of breaking electoral rules and law. Laws which are the bedrock of our entire electoral system.
The timing of the release of this – after midnight, on the night of a World Cup match – an apparent attempt to influence the reporting of an investigation that hasn’t yet concluded raises many questions.
But what Elliott couldn’t spin was this: according to his own account of the report, Vote Leave, the official referendum campaign that was partly funded with taxpayers’ money, looks to have committed what may be one of the biggest incidents of electoral fraud in Britain in more than a century.
Official investigations under way so far include: overspending by Vote Leave, overspending by Leave.EU, coordination between Vote Leave and BeLeave, the source of at least £12m in donations in gifts and loans by Arron Banks’s company to Leave.EU, the use of data by all campaigns including the role of Cambridge Analytica, its Canadian affiliate, AIQ and Banks’s Eldon insurance company. In addition, there are also pressing and urgent questions about – but no official investigation into – the source of a donation made to the DUP.
And there is the extraordinary and shocking evidence that the Observer has recently unearthed about Banks’s connections to Russia.
Two weeks ago, the Electoral Commission announced that “urgent action”needed to be taken, that it couldn’t regulate online campaigning, that radical new laws were desperately needed. It’s a huge step forward in terms of safeguarding future elections. But we don’t have these new laws yet. We have the old ones. A feeble legislative framework with almost no powers to compel evidence and the capacity to impose only tiny fines.
Because what the Electoral Commission didn’t say is that the powers that it now admits are inadequate are the same ones it is using to investigate alleged Vote Leave spending and other offences by other campaigns. Multiple offences. Because the investigation into Vote Leave is just one of a number of ongoing inquiries into potential crimes.
And if evidence of wrongdoing is uncovered, it will all be too late. By the time any of these investigations is referred to the police, who then have to conduct their own inquiries before deciding whether to bring charges, Britain will have exited the EU.
What has become clear in the nearly two years that I’ve been reporting on this story is that the law will not save us. The laws didn’t work. The regulators couldn’t regulate. The system – built on self-regulation and self-policing – failed. It relied upon goodwill and trust and in the face of a one-off, bitterly divisive issue, that goodwill and trust dissolved. We went into the referendum with the equivalent of Dad’s Army and a couple of vintage rifles to protect us from a hostile new world of data manipulation, black-box platforms and advanced cyber-warfare techniques harnessed by hostile foreign powers.
But this isn’t just a legal or a regulatory failure. It’s a political failure. It’s on the government. It’s on an opposition that is failing to hold the government to account.
Hundreds of thousands of people care. All over social media, people – who have been vocal in support of this investigation – care. Backbench politicians care. This news organisation that has put editorial and legal resources into this story over many, many months, cares. Ordinary voters who feel deceived care.
We care. We just have no idea what to do about it.
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