Friday, July 22, 2011

FFS Labour

Less than two weeks after being referred to police for distributing election advertisements without the required promoter statement, Labour is distributing election advertisements without the required promoter statement. Again, the ads are funded by Parliamentary services. But it is clear from the images [1, 2] that they are election advertisements, which can reasonably be regarded as encouraging people to vote Labour.

Labour is out of intellectual charity on this. One incident could have been regarded as a mistake. But a second one, after the error had been drawn to their attention and they have had plenty of time to correct it? Sorry, but I think we now have to regard this as a deliberate policy of flouting electoral law.

Why is Labour doing this? As I noted in response to the first incident, it is likely an attempt to avoid headlines reminding people of its past abuse of Parliamentary funds for electoral purposes. But the Electoral Commission has informed them that that position is incorrect; their continued reliance on it is just another example of the pig-headed arrogance of the party which caused the public to turn away from them in 2008.

This isn't fucking rocket science. The law requiring promoter statements isn't new, and neither is the definition of "election advertisement". In fact, it's essentially Labour's own definition, from the much-maligned Electoral Finance Act, in tidier language and with a few more carve-outs, but it goes back well before that. The general rule is that if in doubt, you should stick a promoter statement on it. In this case, there's no doubt. And Labour's refusal to obey the law invites only one response: prosecution.