Monday, November 12, 2007

The Guardian's Ongoing Smear Against Michael Ashcroft

Another day, another story about Michael Ashcroft in The Guardian. They really are making themselves look very stupid. Not a single story has actually alleged any wrongdoing. Everything has been duly declared. We should call it what it is - an unadulterated smear campaign. The Times tried this back in 1999 and lived to regret it. Let's hope The Guardian does so too.

The Labour Party naturally has jumped on board too. I now see their little yapping attack terrier Tom Watson - the living personification of a walking joke, if ever there was one - has turned his bite bile on me. I suppose I should be honoured. He and his Labour bloggers seem to be obsessed about whether I will be applying to succeed Ann Widdecombe in Maidstone. Mike Ion has even posted on it not only on his own blog, on Watson's blog and also on LabourHome. Guys, guys, calm down. If I have anything to say on the subject, I can assure you, you'll be the last to know.

UPDATE: Well this post has certainly brought the anonymous posters out of their shells. Don't bother, your smears, bile and libels will not get through comment moderation.


Anonymous said...

is he paying taxes in the UK? hague said 7 years ago he would.

we should be told.

Anonymous said...

Does he pay as much UK Tax as Baron Paul of Marylebone?

Anonymous said...

Well, good luck Iain. Let's just hope that you make no gaffes which come to haunt a perfectly decent tory leader for years afterwards. Which quality do you think Cameron has about him?

Anonymous said...

As Labour run increasingly scared they will show their teeth more and get nastier, but don't worry because it won't be long before they're back to sinking their teeth into each other.

There's a whole mob of them itching to put the boot in to Brown.

As the economy rapidly deteriorates into next year just watch them go for Prudence's jugular.

Anonymous said...

you should check out the daily whinging of nick palmer on he comes on moaning about ashcroft and tries to fan the flames thinking teh fact his MP status will give the story extra credence. he gets roundly slammed by many on the site.

this clearly shows its an orchestrated smear by labour

pxcentric said...

Only a Tory Pom-Pom Boy would think it is a smear to ask legitimately whether Lord Ashcroft has fulfilled his promise to pay UK income tax.

Anonymous said...

God, how I hate the Guardian! Prominent on today's website is a piece by Jackie Ashley in which she describes Great Britain as "a middle-ranking European country whose relative punching power in the world diminishes steadily."

Why do lefties take such pleasure in running our country down?

Unsworth said...

Rusbridger is increasingly desperate. Watched him the other day on the box and he looked absolutely unwell. He was practically incoherent.

How stupid does he think Ashcroft might be? Does he seriously think that Ashcroft won't have covered all the angles?

Old BE said...

Can't Ashcroft use the "defence" that Ronnie Cohen weakly used which was "my tax affairs are between me and the Revenue"? I have no doubt that Ashcroft

a) pays more UK tax than most Labour MPs

b) uses public services less than most Labour MPs

c) therefore makes a far higher net contribution to the public finances than most Labour MPs

Anonymous said...

How hypocritical of Mike about your use of the internet, whilst blogging away himself.

What a nasty little shower!


old and angry said...

You have them on the run, the nastier the smears, the more worried they are.
I should accept it as a compliment.
And....i think the average non-political voter can detect a smear campaign,and draw their own conclusions

Anonymous said...

Trumpeter lanfried - Given NuLab's neglect of our armed forces over the last decade, and its craven surrender to Europe every time, I'm afraid she is, for once, spot on.

It's reversible, of course, but a friend of mine in the Army told me it will take many years to undo the damage they've done.

As for smearing Michael Ashcroft, NuLab fight dirtier than any previous government in British history, and in a way it's flattery that the more effective one is, the more one gets attacked. They have two hate figures, David Cameron and Michael Ashcroft, and these are the two biggest election winners we have at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that the doyens of the nanny state: Watson, Brown, Johnson, Prescott et al are so damned fat?

Sorry, I couldn't picture what Watson looked like and so googled his pudgy little face.

How they itch to find an excuse to tax fattening food. It's alright for them, eating at taxpayers' expense in their cosily funded second homes.

I wouldn't worry Iain; nobody respects those who are so ill-disciplined as to be unable to count a few calories.

PS. I very much doubt you'll print this. Oh well, a bit of anger released in any case....

Anonymous said...

P.S. I note that Watson is also the sponsor of the presumed consent bill vis a vis donated organs. Is he finding his food bill, rather expensive in this age of undeclared inflation? Does he not only want to tax us to death but eat our very corpses?!

Fat swine!

For shame!

Anonymous said...

Iain - take it as a compliment that the Labour 'trolls' are gunning for you.

You would be an asset to the Parliamentary Party - and I wish you all the best for selection to a 'safe seat'.

skipper said...

Despite your claims to have been libelled and smeared yourself you do not address the key points:
i) is Ashcroft domiciled officially in UK or still in Belize?
ii) does he pay tax in UK?
If there is no shred of evidence then why does Ashcroft not prove this to be the case instead of refusing to answer? You may be right and it is a smear but you have in no way proved it yet.

Anonymous said...

Nothing compared to the drivel the Times prints about the Lib Dems.

Chris Paul said...

Any wrong doing aside from one thing would be on the part of various Tories not declaring things like jet setting the globe in a Carbon spewing uberjet (a) at all (b) in a timely way (c) correctly (d) at sensible values. Lord "Biggles" Ashcroft is surely getting the attention because Cameron and his cronies are not declaring things correctly?

I still believe though that there is an issue of whether Flying Lion can make generous donations of this kind on a Martini-set "Any time, any place, anywhere" basis.

The Electoral Commission guidance on the "travel costs" which otherwise non eligible donors and lenders can pay does not seem to cover willy nilly spreeing of thousands on private jets everywhere.

Instead it gives a specific example of an MP travelling in support of or related to something in their constituency. I think the example is of an MP with a factory in their area going to the company HQ in Japan with travel paid by the company.

Another example in the same spirit would be a government picking up the tab for travelling to their own country.

However, imagine that a government started picking up the tab for MPs travelling to other countries than their own. Or a business started flying MPs to places unconnected with their own operations. These surely are outwith the spirit and the rather thin guidance notes too.

Lord Ashcroft is in effect doing this through Flying Lion. Just like cash donations on matters unrelated to Flying Lion's business interests, Flying Lion being an ineligible donor or lender for anything other than legitimate travel in the meaning of the act.

The one thing of course is Ashcroft's status as non-dom, non-resident and his promise to clear that up. Which he made several years ago.

So in what way is the Guardian smearing Ashcroft Iain? Has he in fact moved to the UK and been paying a sensible amount of tax here? Has Flying Lion relocated to be a UK company and therefore eligible to make donations for spurious travel?

Where is this smear? Or are you simply smearing the Guardian and the Labour Party by accusing them/us of a smear??

Anonymous said...

Just checked out those lefty blogs - no wonder they are so unpopular - they are all anti-this anti-that. Nothing positive or factual to generate discussions.

Alex said...

Chris Paul, Some responses to your points:

The Conservative MP's declaration of expenses are subject to scrutiny by knowledgable parliamentary authorities who can determine for themselves whether the declarations are appropriate.

Lord Ashcroft's tax affairs are a matter between himself and HMRC. If you are aware of any factual difference between previous undertakings that he has made and actual facts, then please let us know, but until such time, the Guardian's (and your) posturing is at best simple harrassment. Does the editor of the Guardian publish his tax returns? I suspect that it has not occurred to him to do so.

Chris Paul said...

Oh, and I did mean to say that I believe that the persistent declaring of Flying Lion travel at extremely low values is as a kind of parachute in case the plane spirals out of control when the authorities decide to clawback what could be considered in effect overseas donations.

Johnny Norfolk said...

This is Labour running scared. They know the game is up and it will get far worse for them. They are like an injured animal snapping and biting at anything in their way.

But the game is up. After 10 years just where is there any progress in any important area.

The country is in a mees as it was last time they were in in the 1960s.

Bring on the election.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm is that the same Guardian that smeared that well known perjurer and pimp Aitken, bet you'd have defended him to Iain. Will Ashcroft be, 'buckling on the sword of truth'

Only British citizens, domiciled in the UK, should be able to: vote,belong to,support financially, or work for, a British political party.

Anonymous said...

"Not a single story has actually alleged any wrongdoing".

Quite. So exactly how do the stories amount to a smear campaign?

How does this make the Guardian look stupid?

And after your claim yesterday that a think tank run by IDS has "no formal links with the Tory Party whatsoever", how stupid do you think you so often look?

Tony said...

When the Guardian starts to address the issue of the Labour Government giving taxpayers' money to the Unions, that enables the Unions to donate millions of pounds to the Labour Party each year, then what Rusbridger is doing to Lord Ashcroft is demonstrably a smear.

Greater Manchester Fabians said...

Not sure if this needed such a personal post here Iain? You may not agree with all of Tom Watson's politics but he deserves a little more respect. His efforts to combat the BNP suggests that he is more than an 'attack terrier' and that he has much more of a background in real world politics than yourself.

I can only assume that your out of character posting was written in haste and in response to what were some amusing comments made my Tom himself and on ConservativeHome.

Many of us enjoy your blog, even if we don't like your politics but please learn to laugh at youreself Iain. You do have a habit of taking yourself way too seriously.

Newmania said...

I`m sorry is Chris Paul suggesting that donations should not be accepted from those who are not domiciled in the UK ? That will be awfully interesting for them won`t it as the only donations they get that are not from protected plutocrats Ecclestone onwards are from the Unions who are giving other people’s money away which they have no right whatsoever to do in the first place as well as free staff facilties not to mention the mis-use of tax payers money for self advertisement

Ronald Coen has for 'entirely self-less' reasons bankrolled Gordon Brown , the man who controls the tax regime surrounding private Equity ( not alone ...goopdness it took a long time to do soemthing about that ,....just fancy).

Lakshmi Mittal similarly is prompted to cough up £ to £4 billion from entirely disinterested motives co`s thats the kinda guy the words fifth richest man is . All makes Robinson and those Mortgages pale into insignificance doesn’t it.( Another non dom)

Meanwhile the low level hand outs go one .I see Balls is wriggling over the £100,000 Smith Institute , that would be Brown’s pet money laundering Institute so its Brown`s work.

Of course Chris Paul Probably thinks that brown ran the Labour election campaign without ever asking where they and why they got the money......I believe that girl they interviewed has lucrative post in the EU compost heap now ..


Allow me to tell you what is really going on. The Conservatives have far more genuine mid range contributors and typically Brown wishes to use the states power to rig the election by removing that quite fair advantage . Brown probably does not like having to be in the pocket of the Unions and non dom bribes still less the honours crap which Cherie may yet unload just for the fun of it but there he sits and he will pay the piper do not doubt it . He wants to attack Conservative funding and to do so has to try to create a parity of odour . Thus his stool sucking lackeys at the Guardian are primed with general gaseous nothings to create the right atmosphere. From here he hopes to remove Conservative funds and get tax payers to free labour from its on going and unavoidable addiction to dirty money. Iain has spotted that this is obviously a plant , not a story ,and he may not want to say so but that what it is .

Brown`s media management ...chilling ..file under ”The New Politics”

Brown is the toe licking supplicant to the Non Dominatrix.

Anonymous said...

The unions are trying to buy swing seats as hard as they can go, and have spent more money than Ashcroft.

Why do you think its OK/more democratic/more upfront for the unions to do it, rather than Ashcroft?

BTW, everybody I talk to - non-political punters - think Gordon is a moron. It's too late.

Anonymous said...

Tom Watson is a nasty esxcuse for a human being.

Anonymous said...

Who cares? Anyway we need an enquiry into how Labour subsidises the Guardian via it's pointless public job adverts. Also ask how much the editor earns and what the carbon footprint of its staff is? However when I'm feeling down I still pop into the library and look at it. A good laugh lifts the spirits.

Anonymous said...

Labour are toast. Gordon really is a moron. Labour COULD try and deal with some of the nation's problems as they grow larger over the next few years... but they won't. Instead they will concentrate on sniping at the opposition, now firing at them from all sides. They will use the Guardian as primary distributor of smears, just as they did during the '97 campaign. This time it won't work. It will actually backfire on them. Labour will look like a little boy, caught misbehaving, that tries to blame his kid bother for his misdeeds.

Johnny Norfolk said...

These labour postings are pathetic.
And nearly always anonymous.

The labour party has hit the rocks and has no chance at the next election. The Scots are going to vote SNP. Wales will turn to Plyd or whatever it is. We English will vote Tory. So its nice to see these nasty posts from nasty people
just proves they are on the ropes.

david kendrick said...

Iain, maybe you are making a bigger contribution to the fortunes and success of the tory party doing what you doing, rather than by becoming an MP?

harpercat said...

How predictable. When they run out of anything to say on policy matters they turn to that sort of comment. It's pathetic - but it proves that the Conservatives are winning the argument and the Left is running scared. CAmeron has been boxing clever and framed his policy announcements in such a way that it would be hypocritical of the Governement to criticise, so only the odd maverick backbencher or some non-entity from higher up the food chain can speak out. People were very scathing at the time about the lack of policy announcements from the Tories, but I thought then and think still that Cameron's played/playing a blinder. And the fact that those personality-driven knives are out proves it.

Anonymous said...

It really is pathetic to hear NuLab drones complaining about Ashcroft, given their gross abuse of taxpayers' money via the trade union slush funds. And when was the last time Ashcroft tried to buy a passport or a reversal of policy?

But then rank hypocrisy and blatant corruption have always been defining characteristics of the New Labour "project". Sadly, NuLab hacks are just too thick to realise that after 10 years of failure the general public now sees right through their despicable party.

septicisle said...

So why is it Iain that Ashcroft's spokesman has repeatedly refused to answer the very simple question about whether he's currently paying tax in this country or not? He doesn't have to declare what he's paying, he simply has to say whether he is or not. That the spokesman will not give any sort of answer to the Guardian speaks volumes.

Anonymous said...

The Guardian's circulation is shown as 355,750 (August 2007, couldn't see anything later). Wiki also says that 80% of its readers are Labour Party voters.

So it doesn't seem to me that anyone is going to be convinced by their smear tactics - because they're only talking to themselves!

Talk about preaching to the converted..........

Anonymous said...

Whiter than WHITE??

I don't think so!

Unsworth said...

@ Septicisle,

It's none of the Guardian's business, full stop. Who the hell do these people think they are?

If anyone apart from the appropriate authority asks me about my tax affairs I tell them to piss off and mind their own business. Why do the cretinous Guardian journos think they have any right to this information anyway?

I'm sorry, the scumbag press always gets the same response from me - and that is to tell them to sod off.

Maybe Ashcroft is simply exercising the same caution when dealing with these loathsome puffballs.

Anonymous said...

septicisle: Just what the hell is the Guardian? Since when has it been an arm of government and what business of theirs is it?

Anonymous said...

Here's a question for you. Does anybody know a Guardian reader with a real job?

Anonymous said...

freedom to prosper [7.57 PM] Does 'Differently Abled Lesbian Climate Change Community Outreach Officer' (at £67,000 per annum with flexible working) count as a real job?

Me vs Maradona vs Elvis said...

Labour are only getting nasty because they're on the run on this issue. It's perfectly clear that Labour don't have a leg to stand on and are trying to distract attention away from their self-serving refusal to agree a £50,000 cap on donations to political parties by attacking Lord Ashcroft.

The sooner this rotten, rancid, corrupt excuse for a government is dumped squarely on the opposition benches the better for Britain.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Why SHOULD Ashcroft say what tax he pays. If these clever dick journalists did their job properly they could find out for themselves.

We give more than enough information to the labour party state and they dont like it when people dont jump.

If you want to know about tax avoidance I would suggest they look at their own party and put their own house in order.

septicisle said...

The reason we have a right to this information is because Ashcroft is a member of the House of Lords, when he bothers to turn up. Unless you haven't noticed, he promised, both when Hague pressed for his elevation to the Lords, and in his settling of the libel action with the Times to regulate his tax affairs in this country. If you don't pay tax in this country when you earn enough to be taxed, you have no right to be either an MP or a member of the House of Lords, it's that simple. It is more than in the public interest for the Guardian to ask such questions, and the claim that is a smear job is as laughable as most of these comments.

Tapestry said...

Labour activists? I met a few when standing for UKIP in 2001. I think the longest conversation I had with one was 'yu're a f....... w......'. I found one trying to set the posters on my car alight with a ciggy lighter.

They believe in democracy, but only as long as they win.
When it goes the other way, they try to get nasty - but only make themselves look stupid.

It would be interesting to get them to have an IQ test. Or isn't stupidity co-relative with low IQ?

Manfarang said...

anon 3:45pm
Only British citizens....and only eat fish and chips,live in a council house, be on the dole.....

Anonymous said...

The hypocrisy of Mike Ion is somewhat breathtaking, when it's a well-known fact round his neck of the woods that he's after a more winnable seat than Shrewsbury next time round.

Newmania said...

septic isle

You are dutifully looking where the conjuror wants you to look . Are you really unable to see why Labour wants to discredit Conservative funding and would you not accept that Labour funding has been from direct bribes of one sort or another or from Unions many of whose contributors will be Lib Dem and Conservative voters. Of course brown hates it as did Blair but they did the deals as we all know.

Brown wants state funding and he wants it not to look as if its a way out of the corruption Labour are forced into . I can see the arguement but the Guardian campaign is a government story based on trivia not a piece of journillism and only a child would fail to recognise the heavy paw of Uncle Brown in it.

You are utterly missing the point

Anonymous said...

Iain, your hypocrisy here is prevalent - you don't like Tom Watson ribbing you about your possible candidacy yet you allow comments which personally insult him (Anon - November 12, 2007 2:02 PM) though your modderation all whilst stating;

Don't bother, your smears, bile and libels will not get through comment moderation.

I'm no big fan of You or Watson but I read both your blogs daily - it's this sort of childish behaviour that turns people off politics.

Unsworth said...

@ Septicisle

Oh dear! Would you wish to see similar scrutiny of the affairs of Lord Paul, Mittal, Trades Unions, etc, etc, etc? Well, let's hear your views on that.

The Guardian has repeatedly shown itself to act as a mouthpiece for NuLab. Frankly I really couldn't care less about that, as all 'newspapers' are partisan in some way or other. But to attempt to dress this up as a moral issue is completely delusional and intellectually dishonest. Let's just accept that this is a clumsy attempt to stifle opposition by ad hominem attacks, eh?

If you are at all serious about these concerns you can always raise the matters with such authorities as HMRC and so on. No doubt they'd be pleased to hear from you. Indeed it is your civic duty to do so, if you believe the law has been broken. Have you (or the demented Rusbridger) actually bothered to do so? No? Thought not.

Me vs Maradona vs Elvis said...

Charlie Root - if you knew anything about law you would know that none of the comments made about Tom Watson on here amount to libel, whereas I would venture many of the comments that didn't make it onto here very much did.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little baffled why my fellow leadership party friends are out to get you on the Maidstone seat.

Have I missed something, or is this just cut and thrust politics?
I get this all the time at local level.

Lord Ashcroft isn't out of the woods by any means. It's OK to do the paperwork but in this new world of media politics, it's what you say and do that is scrutinised.

Hague stood up for Ashcroft and tax is to be paid.
Has it? Yes or No.

Story ends with a NO and the paperwork to back it up.

Dave will answer this question very soo, that is for certain.


Unsworth said...

@ Gary elsby stoke

"It's OK to do the paperwork but in this new world of media politics, it's what you say and do that is scrutinised."

How I wish you were even halfway right. You don't seriously believe that the 'meeja' actually scrutinise anything at all do you? I have to say that there's almost no real scrutiny at all. The preoccupation with tomorrow's headline is everything to these people.

When and where did you last see anything like serious analysis and in depth comment?

Anonymous said...

@Me vs Maradona vs Elvis

I accept that, I'm no law man. But I am a man of decency - so how about the smear and bile?

My point still stands does it not?

septicisle said...

Chuck Unsworth: Yes, I most certainly would. The House of Lords should be abolished to begin with, but if we have to carry on with it in the short term, all peers from all parties and none should be made to make clear what their tax arrangements are.

All this nonsense about the trade unions being just the same as Ashcroft is piffle. The members of the unions vote on which party to affiliate themselves to, and they also have the right to decide which party their money goes to. From memory, both the Fire Brigades Union and the RMT have both distanced themselves from Labour.

I get the feeling that if the Guardian were instead going after any of the Labour peers, some of which these comments have mentioned, this would most certainly not be described by Iain Dale or others as smear campaign, rather a righteous crusade against those potentially representing the people while not paying tax. That it's Ashcroft, the Tories' main benefactor, even though all the questions being asked of him are perfectly legitimate and in no way libelous or even slightly amounting to smears means that the it's the same familiar claims of a left-wing conspiracy. After the boot being on the other foot when it came to cash for honours, the Tories once again don't seem to much like it up them.

Oh, and I don't in any way support the Labour party, before anyone accuses me of being a "Nu Lab" hack or a Labour stooge.

Unsworth said...

@ septicisle,

And your point is?

People's tax affairs are (legally) private, end of story. Whether you or I like that convention is nothing to do with it.

You are proposing that those in the Lords should publish their tax affairs - well the same should apply to those in the Commons. You are proposing that the Lords be abolished - to be replaced by what? An elected house would be no more than a mirror of the Commons, therefore pointless. An appointed house would be no more than sinecures for the 'friends' - no better than what is already in place.

Maybe you'd prefer to see no second chamber at all. That is a remarkably steep slope to perdition.

I'm not concerned by other people's tax affairs, but I do get ever so slightly pissed off with hypocritical busybodies. And you're certainly not one of them, are you?

Finally you say 'those potentially representing'. OK, I'm potentially a homicidal maniac, equally I'm potentially a transvestite nun. Are we now condemning people on the basis of potentialities? How do you feel about your personal chances, then?