The thinking man's barrel of gunpowder
Hi Barrie - well - you've got the reply you waited for for so long, but it doesn't defend the logic at all, Dave escapes on a legal technicality.Unfortunately, the term "false instrument" refers to a document which has been forged, or which contains something like a false signature, or which falsely claims to be authored or endorsed by someone. Passing such an instrument is technically "uttering forgery", or just "uttering" and used to be a hanging offense. (Between 1800 and 1827, 158 people were executed for this crime in England and Wales)http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/1800.htmlIn other words, to be a "false instrument", the election leaflet would have to be forged lies and bulls**t, whereas what Mr Benyon and others circulated was the genuine article. In fact the Representation of the People Act 1983 doesn't require election leaflets to make true claims, it is only illegal to "to publish any false statement of fact in relation to the candidate's personal character or conduct". Therefore, if you stood against Mr Benyon as an independent, it would be perfectly legal to say that a vote for you would be the only way to guarantee that the Earth would be protected from invasion by space aliens, but you could not state that Mr Benyon was in league with the said space aliens.You would of course be free to accuse him of making a false statement in his previous election literature, but you would be on a sticky wicket, given the narrow legal definition, of actually accusing him of using a false instrument.
Thinking about it Barrie, there is a huge lie in your letter from no 10: "The law places strict restrictions on any campaigning material used by political parties".Firstly, as I previously suggested, the restrictions are minimal, although more stringent than in, say, the USA. Secondly, as political parties are unincorporated organisations, what restrictions exist apply only to individuals, candidates and their agents, rather than the parties. A party is not like a PLC, it cannot commit a crime: but all members are personally responsible, in law, for their own actions.Unfortunately, the law is not there to prevent wrongdoing: it exists to define in which, often narrow, circumstances wrongdoing is to be punished, and to prescribe the range of punishments open to the courts. This is of course to the benefit of lawyers, as the narrow letter of the law inevitably trumps the broader spirit.Election law is extremely narrow as to what is proscribed in candidates' literature; partly because the politicians who framed it wanted to protect themselves, and, I suspect, partly because the judiciary did not want to be conscripted into a situation where they were required to make an objective assessment of the truth of political claims and counter-claims.I'm not sure I see a way out of this at present, although if a politician makes a specific pledge like "I will vote against an increase in tuition fees", and then does the opposite, that should be automatic grounds for a recall vote. If they say something more ambiguous like "we have no plans to increase VAT" but then do so, there should be some mechanism to challenge this too.I hope you don't think I've spammed your blog! :-)
The Conservative Liar Flyer carried 5 lies that stated the CERTAIN RETURN of bogey-man Brown if voters did not favour the Conservatives across, at least, 10 constituencies. (See relevant posts on this blog 2011). You could be right about the narrow issue of the term 'False Instrument' (that would explain the unusually definitive assertion in the letter!) but as an instrument of UNDUE INFLUENCE - under the Act - it stands tall. I have already penetrated the ramparts of the Westminster Citadel; technically, I have 3+ years to hone my skills. Should Dave get desperate, and see a chance to sink Nick, he might bring an end to the Coalition charade and call an election. If so: I shall be back in the streets under: "SPOIL PARTY GAMES" again, but with a great deal more kudos and a mass of damning material that has stood the test. That's the plan. Thanks for input.
"Undue Influence" is the way to go Barrie! The only defence would be that people don't really believe generalised assertions in election leaflets - but then why make them?Elect the Awkward Squad!Vote Barrie Singleton:(Groucho) Marxist (wouldn't join any party that would have me) :-D
Hi SashaI have never thanked you properly for your diligence - I do so now. Over three years of challenge, not one challngee has declared the Liar Flyer defensible, and just one MP phoned to confirm its lies and wish me 'bon chance'. I also have acknowledgement of the coercive lie from a solicitor, a barrister and a magistrate. You might like to know I have set in motion a 2 year campaign to stand in 2015. When the website goes public, I'll link you. This blog will close as I am sticking to my credo 'SPOIL PARTY GAMES'. Were this country under rule of law (rather than feudal) and not culturally corrupt, I would have brought down this Parliament by now. How little the proles know of their plight.