Saturday, May 19, 2007

Lamp Posts and Elections

In Birmingham the council (Conservative) banned the display of election posters on public street furniture (lamp-posts etc).

Some believe this damaged the vote of the BNP.

I'm agnostic about this. I don't think it's a bad thing that everyone's made aware of elections. It may be right that lots of BNP posters encourage a BNP vote - after all in the 2005 Euro elections UKIP got a massive vote with zero organisation on the ground but a massive and expensive poster campaign.

I'm pretty sure though that the ruling party shouldn't use taxpayer money for their campaigns. In Nottingham the council (Labour) has been reprimanded by the District Auditor for covering the lamp-posts with promotional material which was "strikingly similar to the material in the local Labour Party's newsletter". Nothing like getting the taxpayer to fund you, is there ?

Press coverage here, here and an editorial here. They were reprimanded in 2005 for similar dodgy dealing.

The city council was reprimanded by the District Auditor in 2005 for unlawful expenditure on publicity. A lengthy investigation criticised the way Labour councillors were quoted in 114 of the press releases sent out in 1999/2000. Many articles in the council's Arrow newspaper were also judged to be party political.

The District Auditor at the time, John Gregory, pursued the city council over the spending of £13,000. Mr Gregory told the Evening Post: "Public money should not be used in a way which could be construed as trying to gain political advantage."


The Sage of Muswell Hill said...

Presumably if the District Auditor can reprimand a political party for misusing public funds, he can also take them to court. Who cares about being "reprimanded"? It's forgotten in 10 minutes and the offence can be repeated ad infinitum if that's all there is to it.

If the various district auditors pursued the offending parties in the same way that Lady Porter was pursued, maybe, just maybe, the use of public funds for the private use of political parties would, if not cease (I'm not that naive), at least be circumscribed. Also isn't the use of public funds for private (political) purposes a species of theft which is, I understand, still a criminal offence? Or have our rulers exempted themselves from the Theft Acts also?

Anonymous said...

I was just about to say the same thing as Umbongo, what good is a reprimand?
What is needed is a suitable punishment and then a lifelong debarring from any similar sort of office.
If I posted up something deemed racialist, even if no-one suffered as a result, I wouldn't get a mere reprimand: the people who so gaily (oops) spend our money on their own private enjoyments would be baying for my blood, perhaps egged on by Mr. Billy Bragg, and might even, when I was safely in gaol, target my house and family.
Well, the OK phrase uttered by these thieves is always, after they've licked their lightly-tapped wrists, is always "Lessons have been learned." So what? Proficiency in these "lessons" should be demanded as a sine qua non for achieving public office. As Catholics used to remark of the easily-salved consciences of Protestants, penitence ("Oh I'm sorry") isn't sufficient for forgiveness, penance ("Oh, oh, that hurts!")must also be enacted!

Anonymous said...

It should be illegal to post anything on lampoosts. Mind you I think political advertising is a waste of time anyway.....none of it is proven to wash whiter

Anonymous said...

what good is a reprimand?
What is needed is a suitable punishment and then a lifelong debarring from any similar sort of office. If only.

Look at Peter Mandelson, now a big honcho at the EU.

Anonymous said...

On the subject of the BNP, samzidata comment on the latest government attempt to address the housing issues.
Apparently they think a 'native' whos paid into the system has no more right to support than anyone else whos happened to turn up on our door step.
Those crazy guys again