Friday, April 28, 2006

Pathetic LibDems Waste Police Time

Click HERE to see just how low the LibDems will stoop. They have made a formal complaint to the Police over a mistake which led to an underage candidate nominated by the Conservatives for next week's elections in Derby. The candidate had told local Tories she was over 21 and signed a form to that effect. Labour leader Chris Williamson added: "The Lib Dem reaction is completely over the top." They really ought to get a life. Yes, it was incompetent, but that's it. I'm sure a similar thing has happened to them in the past. Do they think the Police have got nothing better to do than investigate ridiculous things like this?


Jock Coats said...

Sorry Iain - this is not stooping low. If she is underage, she's underage. you don't think we have people who would love to stand when they're nearing twenty-one in May but can't?

I am as sure as I can be that we've had this happen to us and been reported. I don't know who reported the one in London the other day either but there is a Green candidate - in Westminster or Hammersmith & Fulham or somewhere that has been disqualified for being, I think, four days too young.

It is a pretty basic mistake and if the group or constituency leader is the DNO or agent then he should be reported. Just as anyone would do amnd has done to us if it were the other way round.

At least we would remove this ridiculous anomaly that, ultimately, disenfranchises everyone between their 18th brithday and their 21st when they can vote but not make the ultimate expression of democracy - stand ones self.

Jock Coats said...

Oh - and it's police time because it's the police that deal with election offences. No other reason. If there were an alternative it would no doubt be used. And anyone involved would know that.

Jonathan Sheppard said...

I think Mr Bray a local Lib Dem in Chesterfield should recall incidents such as the following (taken from Sheffield today - 17 March),

"A CHESTERFIELD borough councillor facing jail for drink-driving has been suspended by his party.

Adrian Martin, a Liberal Democrat on the council's St Leonard's ward, had had more than double the legal limit - his second drink-driving offence in six years.
Town magistrates warned him he could be locked up.
Martin, aged 46, of Smith Crescent, Spital, was suspended after a meeting of Lib Dem executive officers.
He has apologised, saying: "I am not proud of what I have done and I feel ashamed."
He said it was an act of stupidity, adding: "If I am allowed to continue as a councillor I will continue to do my best."
Martin, who topped the St Leonard's poll in the 2003 council elections, pleaded guilty to drink-driving. He was convicted of the same offence in 2000 and of driving while disqualified the following year.
The court heard in February this year, he pulled out in front of a police car at 11.40am and was stopped in Eastwood Park Drive, Hasland. He failed a roadside breath test and went on to give a reading of 72mcgs of alcohol in 100mls of breath. The limit is 35mcgs.
District Judge Hollingworth adjourned sentence for probation service reports and said custody would be considered at the next hearing on April 12.
He imposed an interim driving ban on Martin.

Now I wonder which is the more serious offence!!!!

Louise said...

Sorry Iain, I do disagree (for perhaps the first time ever).

Election law is there for a reason, and all parties should abide by it. I think it's high time the Police spent more time investigating breaches of election law. We must be able to have confidence in our democratic processes.

ContraTory said...

This was an accident. The Police do not prosecute when there is not any "criminal intent". This is a waste of time NFA (no further action) job. The Lib Dems were petty and have done this for no other reason than for cheap political advantage (look! "sleazy" Tories!) It is for this sort of thing that, despite their significant differences, Labour and Conservatives are at one in despising the Lib Dems.

Jonathan Sheppard said...

The surreal alternative - trying to make cheap political capital.... now there's a turn up!

Louise said...

I don't doubt that the Lib Dems have been petty and opportunist in reporting this to the Police. It is the Lib Dems after all.

The point is though, electoral laws are in existence to ensure a fair process, we can't pick and choose which ones we think are ok to break, or have little stitch ups between pals to cover up breaches of the law. Too many people from all parties assume that election law is some quaint system that can really be ignored. It can't be, it should be adhered to at all times. Even when it makes it awkward for us.

As Jock pointed out - it was a basic mistake. It shouldn't have been made and the Election Agent and candidate should accept whatever is coming to them.

Perhaps if we didn't ignore the little breaches of the law, the big ones wouldn't happen.

Sorry to rant, but I do feel very strongly about the importance of obeying election law.

Jonathan Sheppard said...

Louise, I was a PPC in 97 and my opponent the MP had to go up in front of the High Court as his agent forget to put the printed and published on one of his leaflets. It was an honest mistake - but does something like that really need to go so far?

ContraTory said...

I don't think people should be charged for driving at 31 mph in a 30 mph limit either (like they were in the Bournemouth area, until there was some righteous indignation). It's a matter of degree. The guys doing 45 mph are taking the piss, but those doing 31-ish are suffering a moment's inattention.
Louise, how would you feel if your collar was felt for a minor breach of the Law where you were guilty of no more than a moment's inattention?

Louise said...

Jonathan - it would very much depend on the content of the leaflet without an imprint on far it has to go. Too many leaflets (and obviously I don't know this case so won't comment) are issued without imprints to allow deniability. We've all seen them.

Woody - entering a nomination paper for someone not eligible to stand is not a minor infrigement of the law such as the . It is actually a fairly major one, would you be so complacent if the nominated candidate wasn't a British/Commonwealth citizen? Same offence.

Contra - I'd be fairly narked off if I was arrested for a minor offence such as speeding. But more annoyed with myself if I had broken election law. Election law is generally quite easy to abide by if archaic. I think I always kept right within the law when I acted as an election agent (hope nothing comes back and bites my backside now) and it wasn't always easy but most people manage it because it is so important.

I know I'm well in the minority on this one, and it is because I am such an election law nerd. It's just one of those issues that make me rant.

Iain Sharpe said...

Sadly no party is immune from this kind of petty mindedness.

In last year's general election, the Conservatives in Watford complained to the police about whether the Lib Dem candidate was living where she said.

Never mind that the Conservative at the previous election had been in exactly the same circumstances (living the home of local party members) or that their own candidate conveniently appeared on the local electoral register for the first time a couple of months before the election.

On each occasion we would have had equally good grounds for reporting the Conservatives to the police. But there were no prizes for restraint. The Lib Dem candidate had to give up a morning to be interviewed by the police, who of course concluded that all was in order.

There is the same tit-for-tat nonsense when councillors of rival parties report one another to the standards board for trivial reasons.

It's all the political equivalent of diving in the penalty area. And all the parties are as much sinning as sinned against.