Saturday, October 04, 2008

Channel 4 Tries to Infiltrate the Conservative Party

Just over a year ago the Daily Mirror was caught trying to infiltrate Caroline Spelman's office at Conservative Campaign HQ (story HERE). It can be revealed tonight that Channel 4 has tried to do the same thing. Party workers discovered that a production assistant for the Dispatches programme – Jenny Williams (pic) - tried to infiltrate one of the party’s donor clubs. She paid a total of £334 to belong to the club before suspicious party workers rumbled her. The Conservative Party has said tonight that it will not be returning the money to Channel 4. Instead we will donate it to the Welsh House Farm Project, a community centre whose work was featured at this week’s party conference.

Party officials told Channel 4 earlier this week that they knew about Miss Williams, and they received a letter from her in response explaining her part in the ruse. Today (Saturday) the party’s Register Treasurer, Ian McIsaac, has written to Channel 4’S chief executive, Andy Duncan, seeking assurances that they will not attempt any further subterfuges of this nature. A Conservative Party spokesman said:

This was irresponsible and deceptive. Compliance by all major political parties with the laws of political party funding is a fundamental requirement in promoting confidence in the democratic process. The Electoral Commission, not an undercover journalist, properly regulates this compliance and the Conservative Party takes its responsibilities and obligations to the Electoral Commission very seriously.

It is not acceptable is for journalists to masquerade as a member of the Conservative Party - or any Party for that matter - in a covert, self-appointed role to “check” compliance procedures.

It is of particular concern that as part of this subterfuge, Channel 4 deliberately obscured the source of Party donations so we were misled into believing it was Miss Williams who made the donations, when it was not. This meant that we were not able accurately to account for her donations.

Such behaviour by Channel 4 in this case undermines the proper working of a political party, and its accounting regime.”
More details, including email correspondence and an admission from Jenny Williams will, I believe, be published in tomorrow's Mail on Sunday.

UPDATE: ConservativeHome asks a telling question: Did they do the same to the Labour Party? And what about the LibDems?


Anonymous said...

Perhaps it's time for the Conservatives to infiltrate Channel 4.

Lola said...

A fundamentally deceitful prime meinister and government engenders a national culture of fundamental deceit. Everyone begins to think that deceit is an acceptable 'technique' for any undertaking. The media in particular grab the opportunity to deceive and mislead.

Anonymous said...

Channel 4 is the armpit of the airwaves.

They should limit themselves with rounding up some more buffoons for yet another reality TV program anyone with an IQ above 30 should ignore, and leave politics to grown ups.

Sim-O said...

Sorry for being off topic, Iain, but would you care to comment?

Bedford Today

Anonymous said...

Good old Channel Four I say.
Its time someone exposed the corruption and double-standards that these days calls itself the Tory Party.
Iain, politics is like this my dear man. One week its all goes swimmingly - the next it all goes against you.
Deal with it and stop whining.
The tide is turning on the Tories. You know it. Guido certainly knows it, he's took to blogging on a Saturday night, for Christ's sake!
No amount of wall-to-wall Tory-only interview videos on the Torygraph website will save you now!
You are all electorally f*****!
Not so cocky now are you? :-)

Anonymous said...

May i present the chain of command:

Anonymous said...

Reading through your article Iain, my first reaction was to post the exact question that ConHom askes in your update.

If the answer is no, then they should not being doing to the Conservative party.
By way Iain, you were far too much of a gentleman on the paper review last night with that gushing Labour cheerleader.

Lola said...

Dave de vere 9.01. Oh dear. You are tiresome little man. A very juvenile contribution which reflects badly on you as it seems that you are in favour of deceit. And as by the tone of your post one must assume that you are New Labourite that re-inforces my point about the fundamentally deceitful nature of your government.

Anonymous said...

whats the problem if there is nothing to hide ?
Actually you should have had her join the meeting while recording all of the meeting and subsequently straight after the meeting gone public and do what you have done now ie donate to charity.
Really this just makes it look you got soimething to hide .. or am I being naive

Anonymous said...

How about a Tory trying to infiltrate the BBC?

Anonymous said...

Iain, have you used the exact wording as this was emailed from cchq, or did you make any minor changes?

Increasingly you are just the mouthpiece of the party and it's making this blog more and more stale and must have noticed your hits tailing off.

Please focus more on interesting items. Even if thry're not anti-tory there is still more that you could be doing.

Iain Dale said...

So you reckon this is a non story, do you? give me a break.

Any for your information, traffic is up 55% on this time last year.

Anonymous said...

If you have nothing to hide then who cares?

Anonymous said...

Well done iain, thanks for the heads-up. How about a Freedom of Information request to find out how many times C4 has made an attempt to penetrate the Labour Party?

And if not, why not?

Also, if C4 has deliberately laundered a donation to a political party in order to disguise the source of the donation, isn't that an offense under electoral law? Can we ask C4 to investigate this apparent breech of the law by a television channel.

Anonymous said...

Political betting asked what the Conservatives should do in response to the reshuffle yesterday. The main answer was nothing - let them implode and I tend to agree.

But it's about time the Conservatives went on the offensive in the propoganda wars. The BBC is openly deceitful. Taking money but not providing the balanced service they should - and we all suffer for their blatent dishonesty. It's time they were investigated - you don't need to infiltrate them. There are enough ex-employees who can tell you about their nasty habits and their deceit is plain to see. I, for one, will be withholding my TV tax and I'll be writing to Offcom to tell them so this week.

David de Vere - I hope you have taken careful note of your own words. One week everything can go swimmingly and the next you drown. The Conservatives are on for at least a 75 seat majority and we have the whole of a miserable winter to go through. Odds not stacked well for your party, that's why they resort to lies, spin and decit. I hope the BNP, who are coming up with a rearguard action in your DE grassroots, tear our your evil heart.

Anonymous said...

As a Labour Party member - we'd just be glad of the money...

PhilC said...

Rather synthetic outrage Iain. If the Conservatives are close to becoming the next party of government they should be scrutinised.
Do we expect them (or indeed other parties) to blithely reveal how they work? No. Therefore there is a reasonable public interest in subterfuge.
The answer to your telling questions are
a) yes it has happened to the Labour Party (see
b) not that I'm aware of but then the Lib Dems are not close to being in power.
Honestly; you don't half get yourself in a lather. What are you going to be like when you're in No 10 and the scrutiny really kicks in?
BTW: If I was Boris, I would be checking the CVs of new recruits carefully.

Anonymous said...

To be fair Iain, this is the investigative journalism that we stil need. C4 have unconvered important information in the past through techniques and the Conservative party, with its patron clubs and non-dom donors, is slightly too close to the line and it is only right that journalists try to find out what is going on - its not as if the party is at all transparent about its donations despite the rhetoric.

Catosays said...

How about Ch. 4 infiltrating the Beeb?
Then we might hear some truths!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry Iain, but investigative journalists do have a legitimate role in investigating matters of genuine public interest. And if they'd exposed corruption or breaking the rules then we'd be cheering them.

They need to be clear about the boundaries - but the way this is described it doens't seem they done anything wrong.

Channel 4 should not give the Tories any guarentees....

And yes the other parties have had similar things happen to them in the past.

Anonymous said...

There it is from my old chum Canvas - the line - the question - the argument: "If you have nothing o hide, who cares?"

Right then - eliminate habeus corpus, enforce ID cards, monitor all e-mails, phone calls, internet use, library books, face recognition on CCTV, ANPR on every traffic light, et bloody cetera.

Just a thought me ol' chum, me ol' china, me ol' incrementally tedious erosion of the rule of law & civil liberties.

With that I'm gonna e-mail me ol' buddy Osama bin Liner and arrange for tiffin.

Anonymous said...

In a derpressing addendum - I realize that all this is going on anyway and there has been no mention of its reduction, nor it seems any inclination (other than ID cards - am I right?) to re-balance state intelligence. Hmm. How very depressing.

Anonymous said...

C4 obviously know something we don't. Perhaps we should be told. What were they after exposing?

Anyway, I would be happy to be infiltrated by her - good looking young journalists are hard to resist!

Anonymous said...

One striking piece of avoidance in the current Conservative spin machine is their utter refusal to get into the truth about hedge funder support for the party. As Private Eye has shown this week, the party remains close to leading Mayfair Hedge Fund financiers and is benefitting directly from their short-selling techniques on a large scale. This is what C4 should really be reporting on. Despite Cameron's blather about being tougher on the City the other day, and general blather about being a new and different type of party, the Tories remain heavily in their pay.

Anonymous said...

Cameron says (in the Daily Mail): "It is not acceptable for journalists to masquerade as a member of the Conservative Party – or any party – in a covert, self-appointed role to “check” compliance procedures."

What pompous self-serving rubbish. For a start, both major parties have a long history of infiltrating each other. I am quite certain that there will be Tories currently within New Labour regularly reporting back to Cameron. And vica versa.

Good luck to C4 and do it better next time chaps and chappesses. Don't get caught - get even.

Anonymous said...

Anon - 1.43 - Paul Myners.

neil craig said...

I can't remember but did the Conservatives say the same when the BBC infiltrated the BNP?

Apparently the BBC's reason was that they thought they might find some "hate spech" but nothing remotely as bad as the war crimes, genocide, child sex slavery & dissections of living people to steal their organs that all 3 "respectable" parties (& indeed the BBC & C4) are accesories to.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this a breach of electoral law ? If the young lady donated £338 to the Conservative Party which wasn't her own funds but supplied to her by her employer Channel 4 who therefore were a proxy donor shouldn't this have been declared ?

Anonymous said...

Neil Craig - whoa there chum.....p.

Anonymous said...

It’s all very well to be angry at a TV journalist to posing as a Conservative, but shouldn’t we be equally angary at a Conservative posing as a TV journalist!

“Tories faced claims of a ‘dirty tricks’ campaign last night after an MP’s daughter posed as a journalist to question his opponents. Xanthe Steen, daughter of Anthony Steen, sparked anger with her appearance at a Totnes factory during Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy’s visit. She had already interviewed Labour candidate Tom Wildy when Mr Kennedy arrived. But any plans to ambush the Lib Dem leader were thwarted by his youthful Press secretary Daisy Sampson - a former schoolmate of Xanthe. Miss Steen had told reporters she was covering the visit for a satellite channel called Now”

Anonymous said...

Richard it may not be respectable to say what I did but that is part of the problem.

If it was wrong of the BBC to do this to the Tories then either it was wrong to do it to the BNP or else we have a managed system of government in which democracy & equality under the law are, at best, tokens.

The BNP's problem is that they are not part of the inner circle not that they are Nazis. Not only are they demonstrably a very long way from Nazism the accusations I made against the "respectable" parties, the BBC & the rest of the media are true. They did, quite deliberately lie over 2 decades to help people they knew to be (ex-)Nazis publicly committed to genocide do so (see the claims that Bosnia's Moslem leader Izerbegovic was a "moderate minded Moslem committed to a multi-cultural Bosnia" when they knew he had publicly called for the genocide of the non-Moslem 60% of his "nation; our Foreign ecretary's statement to Parliament that it was the KLA not the Serbs who were engaged inn genocide 2 months before going to war to help them: NATO protecting the KLA & enrolling them as "police" as they engaged in cleansing & genocide (such as the Dragodan Maxssacre where they were allowed to murder at least 210 unarmed civilians a few hundred yards from British HQ), the sexual enslavement of children & the dissection of 300-1,300 Serb teenagers, while still alive, so that we could use their body organs.

One does not have to have a high opinion of the BNP to acknowledge that they have not done anything 1,000th as supportive of real Nazism as the Labour, Conservative & LibDem parties & the censors in control of the BBC & other media.