Friday, April 29, 2016

Will the UK Conservatives be prosecuted for overspending?

On Wednesday, the UK Conservative party admitted that it had failed to declare tens of thousands of pounds of electoral expenses last election. Today, the Electoral Commission looks to be seriously considering prosecution:

Following months of investigations by Channel 4 News, the Electoral Commission has requested an extension to the time limit available to pursue possible criminal prosecutions regarding Conservative Party campaign spending returns.

Bob Posner, Director of Party and Election Finance & Legal Counsel at the Electoral Commission said, "The police and the CPS both have the power to apply to the Courts to extend the time limit on bringing criminal prosecutions for electoral offences to allow for full investigations to take place. We have requested that they consider doing this."

Representatives of the Electoral Commission and the Crown Prosecution Service will hold also hold a summit with a number of police forces to discuss the Conservative Party's election expenses next week.

My inner cynic says they won't. The UK police exist to protect the establishment. So, they'll look the other way on lawbreaking by that establishment, even when it undermines democracy (and while spying on democratic opponents of the status quo). As for the Electoral Commission, if they're dependent on that rotten police force for investigation or cooperation, its just not going to happen.

And the fact that you can quite reasonably think that is itself an indictment on the UK's democracy. People deserve to be able to have faith in their legal and democratic institutions, to believe that the powerful will be held accountable if they break the law just as the weak are. But in the UK, you simply can't. Their institutions are so corrupt and deferential to power, full of people who all went to the same schools and the same universities, fucked the same pig to join the same snob network, all scratching each other's backs and overlooking each others crimes (because you're all chums, and otherwise, the photos may be made public). Until that changes, their country is unreformable.