homepage
  roll on christmas  
click here to find out more about ship of fools click here to sign up for the ship of fools newsletter click here to support ship of fools
community the mystery worshipper gadgets for god caption competition foolishness features ship stuff
discussion boards live chat cafe avatars frequently-asked questions the ten commandments gallery private boards register for the boards
 
Ship of Fools


Post new thread  Post a reply
My profile login | Register | Directory | Search | FAQs | Board home
   - Printer-friendly view Next oldest thread   Next newest thread
» Ship of Fools   » Community discussion   » Purgatory   » Election expenses

 - Email this page to a friend or enemy.    
Source: (consider it) Thread: Election expenses
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

 - Posted      Profile for Alan Cresswell   Email Alan Cresswell   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
The news this morning is that the Electoral Commission investigation into election expenses (in the 2015 general election, plus some 2014 by-elections) has highlighted that the Conservative Party, on numerous occasions, broke the rules on election spending. This has lead to a record £70,000 fine on the Conservatives. It has been reported that 12 different police forces are already conducting criminal investigations into election expenses.

Given that these violations of expense rules were related to campaigning in marginal seats, and the Conservative Party only squeaked over the line to form a majority in Parliament by 5 seats, with questions over at least 12 of those elections there must surely be questions over whether or not David Cameron would have been able to form a majority government had the rules on election spending been adhered too.

If, as is possible (but not certain), Cameron hadn't been able to form a majority government and either formed a minority government or a coalition (with who?), would that have made a substantial difference to what the Conservative government subsequently did? Would he have had a mandate for the EU referendum? Or, various welfare reforms and austerity measures?

To say, as has been repeated a few times on the news this morning, that this undermines voters confidence in our democratic processes seems to be an understatement.

--------------------
Don't Brexit if you haven't a scooby how to fix it.

Posts: 31867 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
betjemaniac
Shipmate
# 17618

 - Posted      Profile for betjemaniac     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:


To say, as has been repeated a few times on the news this morning, that this undermines voters confidence in our democratic processes seems to be an understatement.

Indeed. As does the silence from Labour and the Lib Dems on this, both of whom may have apparently been doing the same thing...

General election anyone?

--------------------
And is it true? For if it is....

Posts: 1309 | From: behind the dreaming spires | Registered: Mar 2013  |  IP: Logged
mr cheesy
Shipmate
# 3330

 - Posted      Profile for mr cheesy   Email mr cheesy   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I was living in South Thanet during the election campaign and one day as it was getting dark was walking home from the office. Nigel Cabbage Farage happened to be out campaigning on the other side of the road with his bunch of minders.

As I hustled along trying to avoid the purple idiots, I heard the Cabbage's voice drift across to me. "Hey, you man," he called out.

--

Some very strange things happened in South Thanet and IMO it wasn't just the Tories. Whether anyone broke electoral law is not for me to say, but there was an awful lot of money being thrown at that seat.

--------------------
overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

Posts: 9575 | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
betjemaniac
Shipmate
# 17618

 - Posted      Profile for betjemaniac     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
In fact, having just checked that statement I made above - here's the Guardian's report on Labour from the Autumn being picked up for missing/undeclared expenditure and bussing of national campaigners to individual constituencies.

Smaller scale, but then they did lose and started with less money. At the time to £20k was the largest fine the Electoral Commission had ever imposed - surpassed by yesterday.

Which is why this is disappointing for 2 reasons - first, the opposition can't really go on the attack about it, which will further damage trust in the whole political system, and second there has been a lamentable failure by the media in the last 24 hours to join the dots and mention this.

Unfortunately I'm not sure a general election is in anyone's interests *except* the Tories at the moment.

--------------------
And is it true? For if it is....

Posts: 1309 | From: behind the dreaming spires | Registered: Mar 2013  |  IP: Logged
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

 - Posted      Profile for Alan Cresswell   Email Alan Cresswell   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
The BBC news this morning did say that both Labour and Lib Dems have been fined for similar mispractice, but without much in the way of detail.

--------------------
Don't Brexit if you haven't a scooby how to fix it.

Posts: 31867 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
betjemaniac
Shipmate
# 17618

 - Posted      Profile for betjemaniac     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
And here's the Lib Dems in December. Smaller again, but then as the third party you'd expect that.

--------------------
And is it true? For if it is....

Posts: 1309 | From: behind the dreaming spires | Registered: Mar 2013  |  IP: Logged
mr cheesy
Shipmate
# 3330

 - Posted      Profile for mr cheesy   Email mr cheesy   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I understand that the police investigation is different to the commission investigation, but one wonders whether the fine is a way to put the issue to bed without further recourse to the law.

Whilst it is true that the commission and police and prosecution authorities are separate, it would need someone with a particularly large set of cojones to potentially upset the parliamentary majority. It might happen, but I doubt it.

--------------------
overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

Posts: 9575 | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
betjemaniac
Shipmate
# 17618

 - Posted      Profile for betjemaniac     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I understand that the police investigation is different to the commission investigation, but one wonders whether the fine is a way to put the issue to bed without further recourse to the law.

Whilst it is true that the commission and police and prosecution authorities are separate, it would need someone with a particularly large set of cojones to potentially upset the parliamentary majority. It might happen, but I doubt it.

I think you're right - however on that point has it been explicitly stated that these 12 forces are all investigating the Tories specifically? If not then that might explain why the rest of Parliament appear to be sitting on their hands and whistling tunelessly.

--------------------
And is it true? For if it is....

Posts: 1309 | From: behind the dreaming spires | Registered: Mar 2013  |  IP: Logged
Sioni Sais
Shipmate
# 5713

 - Posted      Profile for Sioni Sais   Email Sioni Sais   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by betjemaniac:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I understand that the police investigation is different to the commission investigation, but one wonders whether the fine is a way to put the issue to bed without further recourse to the law.

Whilst it is true that the commission and police and prosecution authorities are separate, it would need someone with a particularly large set of cojones to potentially upset the parliamentary majority. It might happen, but I doubt it.

I think you're right - however on that point has it been explicitly stated that these 12 forces are all investigating the Tories specifically? If not then that might explain why the rest of Parliament appear to be sitting on their hands and whistling tunelessly.
The Tory party has formed the government and to maintain confidence in the government it seems only reasonable to investigate that party first.
Posts: 23851 | From: Newport, Wales | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
mr cheesy
Shipmate
# 3330

 - Posted      Profile for mr cheesy   Email mr cheesy   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
It seems more than 12 to me - there are 11 who we have confirmation police forces have sent files to the CPS, plus Kent and Essex who haven't yet.

And it is possible that there could be more than one constituency per police area.

--------------------
overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

Posts: 9575 | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
betjemaniac
Shipmate
# 17618

 - Posted      Profile for betjemaniac     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by betjemaniac:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I understand that the police investigation is different to the commission investigation, but one wonders whether the fine is a way to put the issue to bed without further recourse to the law.

Whilst it is true that the commission and police and prosecution authorities are separate, it would need someone with a particularly large set of cojones to potentially upset the parliamentary majority. It might happen, but I doubt it.

I think you're right - however on that point has it been explicitly stated that these 12 forces are all investigating the Tories specifically? If not then that might explain why the rest of Parliament appear to be sitting on their hands and whistling tunelessly.
The Tory party has formed the government and to maintain confidence in the government it seems only reasonable to investigate that party first.
Whilst I don't disagree it still doesn't seem clear that that's what's happening. Are these police investigations into election spending, or Tory election spending?

--------------------
And is it true? For if it is....

Posts: 1309 | From: behind the dreaming spires | Registered: Mar 2013  |  IP: Logged
Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

 - Posted      Profile for Doc Tor     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
As far as I can tell, it's 20+ seats and it's all the Tory party.

--------------------
Improbable Botany

Posts: 8579 | From: Ultima Thule | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
mr cheesy
Shipmate
# 3330

 - Posted      Profile for mr cheesy   Email mr cheesy   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
It appears to be related to the Tory battlebus.

One wonders whether other parties did similar things - it'd be quite surprising if they didn't, although maybe others were more careful to ensure they kept within the commission's rules.

--------------------
overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

Posts: 9575 | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
betjemaniac
Shipmate
# 17618

 - Posted      Profile for betjemaniac     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
It appears to be related to the Tory battlebus.

One wonders whether other parties did similar things - it'd be quite surprising if they didn't, although maybe others were more careful to ensure they kept within the commission's rules.

Thanks.

See my Guardian link from last Autumn upthread. Don't know about the LibDems, but Labour appear to have been done for buses according to that.

--------------------
And is it true? For if it is....

Posts: 1309 | From: behind the dreaming spires | Registered: Mar 2013  |  IP: Logged
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

 - Posted      Profile for Alan Cresswell   Email Alan Cresswell   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
It seems that the Labour Party were done for the same thing already. Which suggests that the Electoral Commission completed their investigations of Labour earlier (which doesn't mean they started those investigations first). It was said on TV this morning that the Electoral Commission failed to get the cooperation of the Conservative Party into their investigations, which would have certainly delayed the conclusion of the investigations, even needing to resort to a court order to obtain some documents.

--------------------
Don't Brexit if you haven't a scooby how to fix it.

Posts: 31867 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
betjemaniac
Shipmate
# 17618

 - Posted      Profile for betjemaniac     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
FWIW Guido (and I'm not going to link to it because it's a dreadful site but he does seem to be on the money more often than not so occasionally you have to lower yourself - if you want to sully your browsers look it up yourselves) seems to think that it'll all end up with a slap on the wrist in most places, and a by-election in Thanet South. UKIP v Tories, but has Brexit shot the UKIP fox now?

--------------------
And is it true? For if it is....

Posts: 1309 | From: behind the dreaming spires | Registered: Mar 2013  |  IP: Logged
Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

 - Posted      Profile for Marvin the Martian     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I for one think the amounts parties are allowed to spend on campaigning are ludicrous to start with. There should be a set maximum spend per seat contested, and it should be rigorously enforced.

I find it very easy to believe that all of the major parties (and probably quite a few of the minor ones) use accounting trickery and underhand means to increase the amount of cash they can throw at their campaigns. The only surprising thing about this particular case is that someone from C4 cared enough about it to spend over a year investigating.

--------------------
Hail Gallaxhar

Posts: 29765 | From: Adrift on a sea of surreality | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

 - Posted      Profile for Alan Cresswell   Email Alan Cresswell   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I for one think the amounts parties are allowed to spend on campaigning are ludicrous to start with. There should be a set maximum spend per seat contested, and it should be rigorously enforced.

Currently for major parties contesting the majority of seats they can spend a maximum amount per seat contested (for 2015 GE that was £30,000) on national campaigning - advertising in national papers etc. That sets a maximum of almost £19m for a party contesting all English, Welsh and Scottish seats. Smaller parties contesting fewer seats may be able to spend more per seat they are contesting on national campaigning (up to a maximum per nation, if that maximum value is less than the £30,000 x no. of seats).

Each candidate (or their local party spending on their behalf) has an additional limit on what they can spend campaigning in their constituency - £8,700 plus £0.06 per registered voter for the 2015 GE.

So, those limits already exist. There may be room to discuss whether they are too high. There are also questions about loop holes (eg: how do you account for time and materials voluntarily given?) The issue of enforcement is generally that by the time discrepancies and over spends are identified it is a significant period of time since the election. A fine doesn't prevent that money being spent in the first place, and even the maximum £70,000 is peanuts compared to an allowed spend of £19m. And, criminal proceedings that (if convicted) would force a by-election would take even longer - if any of the police reports with the CPS lead to a criminal case that may not be resolved before the next general election. Which leaves an MP in place who was elected in part on the basis of illegal spending.

--------------------
Don't Brexit if you haven't a scooby how to fix it.

Posts: 31867 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Leorning Cniht
Shipmate
# 17564

 - Posted      Profile for Leorning Cniht   Email Leorning Cniht   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I for one think the amounts parties are allowed to spend on campaigning are ludicrous to start with. There should be a set maximum spend per seat contested, and it should be rigorously enforced.

How do you price volunteer labour?

That's actually a serious question: it's not obvious to me that there's a difference between me showing up one evening to fold some leaflets and me paying someone else to fold some leaflets for an evening.

The current question at stake seems to be whether battle-bus tours count against the constituencies that they visit. Suppose a constituency contains a factory which is closing with the loss of lots of jobs, or opening/expanding with the creation of lots of jobs, and suppose that that is an exemplar of the effects of a piece of government policy.

Having $national_politician visit for a photo-op and discuss the government policy in question is both national politics and local politics. Does the local candidate have the power to forbid his national party from entering his constituency because he can't afford them? The big factory is located in one constituency, but probably has an economic effect in several. Should they all pay?

I suspect that what the rules are is quite clear, and there won't be much dispute about what the facts are. What the rules should be is less obvious to me.

Posts: 4626 | From: USA | Registered: Feb 2013  |  IP: Logged
Dave W.
Shipmate
# 8765

 - Posted      Profile for Dave W.   Email Dave W.   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I for one think the amounts parties are allowed to spend on campaigning are ludicrous to start with. There should be a set maximum spend per seat contested, and it should be rigorously enforced.

How do you price volunteer labour?

Why would you want to?
quote:
That's actually a serious question: it's not obvious to me that there's a difference between me showing up one evening to fold some leaflets and me paying someone else to fold some leaflets for an evening.

One difference is that an individual can only volunteer one person's labor; but a rich individual can pay for the labor of many people. There's already a natural limit on how much time any individual can volunteer to a campaign. If a party can persuade a large number of people to volunteer their time, under what principle would you want to impose a limit on that?
Posts: 1985 | From: the hub of the solar system | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
lilBuddha
Shipmate
# 14333

 - Posted      Profile for lilBuddha     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:

I suspect that what the rules are is quite clear, and there won't be much dispute about what the facts are. What the rules should be is less obvious to me.

Reality is often more complicated than what is planned for. Especially when the planners have little practical experience.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

Posts: 16393 | From: the round earth's imagined corners | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged
Enoch
Shipmate
# 14322

 - Posted      Profile for Enoch   Email Enoch   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I'm a bit too cynical about this to be all that shocked or surprised. I tend to assume all the parties view the whole subject rather like the difference between tax avoidance (legitimate) and tax evasion (illegitimate) with the boundaries often rather technical and it being a question of not getting caught.

I'm also instinctively suspicious, unless and until proved otherwise, of the motives of those that challenge election malpractice. Some years ago I recall hearing a member of a political party recount with great pride the way he and his relatives had tripped up an independent candidate in Parish Council elections for an extremely technical infringement not of spending rules but what has to be or must not be printed on election leaflets. He was incredibly pleased about his cleverness not just in getting himself, as a result, elected unopposed, but his unfortunate rival prosecuted.

There was no way the technical infringement could have been objectively classed as an electoral abuse. Nor had the interests of the electors been protected. This had depended entirely on his family's powers of observation and knowledge of legislative minutiae.


I'm much more concerned that the Electoral Commission doesn't seem to take anything like seriously enough lies and misleading canvassing by candidates, parties and other supporters. Far too often, it seems to regard that as the electoral equivalent of 'all's fair in love and war' - which it isn't there either.


I would certainly oppose any suggestion that the time spent by volunteers should be costed and added into the equation, for much the same reason as I oppose any state funding of political parties. If political parties can encourage volunteers to be engaged, and give their time to work for them, well and good. If they can't, then hard luck. They should not expect my taxes to be spent on replacing the enthusiasm that if their cause were worthwhile, they ought to be able to generate.

--------------------
Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

Posts: 7161 | From: Bristol UK(was European Green Capital 2015, now Ljubljana) | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged
betjemaniac
Shipmate
# 17618

 - Posted      Profile for betjemaniac     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
I'm a bit too cynical about this to be all that shocked or surprised. I tend to assume all the parties view the whole subject rather like the difference between tax avoidance (legitimate) and tax evasion (illegitimate) with the boundaries often rather technical and it being a question of not getting caught.

I'm also instinctively suspicious, unless and until proved otherwise, of the motives of those that challenge election malpractice. Some years ago I recall hearing a member of a political party recount with great pride the way he and his relatives had tripped up an independent candidate in Parish Council elections for an extremely technical infringement not of spending rules but what has to be or must not be printed on election leaflets. He was incredibly pleased about his cleverness not just in getting himself, as a result, elected unopposed, but his unfortunate rival prosecuted.

There was no way the technical infringement could have been objectively classed as an electoral abuse. Nor had the interests of the electors been protected. This had depended entirely on his family's powers of observation and knowledge of legislative minutiae.


I'm much more concerned that the Electoral Commission doesn't seem to take anything like seriously enough lies and misleading canvassing by candidates, parties and other supporters. Far too often, it seems to regard that as the electoral equivalent of 'all's fair in love and war' - which it isn't there either.


I would certainly oppose any suggestion that the time spent by volunteers should be costed and added into the equation, for much the same reason as I oppose any state funding of political parties. If political parties can encourage volunteers to be engaged, and give their time to work for them, well and good. If they can't, then hard luck. They should not expect my taxes to be spent on replacing the enthusiasm that if their cause were worthwhile, they ought to be able to generate.

[Overused]

--------------------
And is it true? For if it is....

Posts: 1309 | From: behind the dreaming spires | Registered: Mar 2013  |  IP: Logged
chris stiles
Shipmate
# 12641

 - Posted      Profile for chris stiles   Email chris stiles   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:

That's actually a serious question: it's not obvious to me that there's a difference between me showing up one evening to fold some leaflets and me paying someone else to fold some leaflets for an evening.

Well, to continue the analogy, in this case a lot of the questions are around the additional expenses that were incurred (i.e accommodation for the volunteers - transport costs for shipping job lots of them around the country, use of a special advisor to run a campaign, and so on).
Posts: 3645 | From: Berkshire | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged
Leorning Cniht
Shipmate
# 17564

 - Posted      Profile for Leorning Cniht   Email Leorning Cniht   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
If a party can persuade a large number of people to volunteer their time, under what principle would you want to impose a limit on that?

It's more that I see hiring someone to watch my children while I volunteer in an election campaign to be equivalent to taking the same money and hiring someone to work for the election campaign.

And all things being equal, the leaflets don't care who folds and delivers them, but my children would prefer to be with me.

But you're right that if I spent a lot of money, I could hire an entire army of leafletters.

Posts: 4626 | From: USA | Registered: Feb 2013  |  IP: Logged
Dave W.
Shipmate
# 8765

 - Posted      Profile for Dave W.   Email Dave W.   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
If a party can persuade a large number of people to volunteer their time, under what principle would you want to impose a limit on that?

It's more that I see hiring someone to watch my children while I volunteer in an election campaign to be equivalent to taking the same money and hiring someone to work for the election campaign.

Well, that certainly seems like a bizarrely personal and idiosyncratic approach to figuring potential campaign expenses. I can see why the conundrum of accounting for volunteer time would give you pause, though I shudder to think what other intractable accounting puzzles you must regularly face from such a perspective.
Posts: 1985 | From: the hub of the solar system | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
Schroedinger's cat

Ship's cool cat
# 64

 - Posted      Profile for Schroedinger's cat   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
The thing is, if you price volunteer labour, then we are stuck with a 2-party system for ever.

Most of the smaller parties - small but important - rely heavily on volunteers who are committed to the cause but whom the party cannot pay because they don't have a lot of money. So these parties (like the Greens, for example) would not be able to afford to campaign. to the same extent.

The ones who would benefit are the parties who could afford to employ professionals, and ignore the volunteers (probably, pretend that they are not official, and so don't need to be counted). If we go down this road, we would be in the realm of professional political campaigners, and so make the system even more beholden to the paymasters.

The answer? I don't know. But I do think that anywhere there is evidence of deliberate fraud - according to the Electoral commission - there should be a new by-election. This seems like the only way that politicians can be made to follow the rules. Risking by-elections at very marginal seats, where the winning party has been found to be fraudulent, would be very risky.

--------------------
Blog
My books for your enjoyment
Lord may all my hard times be healing times
take out this broken heart and renew my mind.

Posts: 18397 | From: At the bottom of a deep dark well. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
mr cheesy
Shipmate
# 3330

 - Posted      Profile for mr cheesy   Email mr cheesy   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I might be missing something important, but my understanding of the current issue is less to do with labour or the cost of volunteers and more to do with hotels and hostels used to house workers in particular constituencies.

--------------------
overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

Posts: 9575 | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

 - Posted      Profile for Alan Cresswell   Email Alan Cresswell   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
It's impossible to cost the time (and other resources, eg: a car to drive people around) of volunteers. And, if a party can raise a large number of local volunteers then that should be encouraged.

It's much easier to count money. So, any money given to cover the expenses of volunteers (whether that's child care, petrol or hotel rooms) gets counted. AFAIK, that is how it currently works. The current issue is whether those expenses go against the local candidates allowance or the national campaign. The argument has been that if a bus load of volunteers (or, indeed cabinet ministers) descend on a constituency and exclusively campaign on national issues then it's a national campaign expense, if they talk about local issues and the local candidate then it's a local expense. The problem being that it's impossible to seperate the local and the national in any easy manner, creating a substantial gray area where the rules are unclear and may be breached unintentionally.

Campaigning, say, about NHS funding is about national policies, whereas whether the local NHS trust should amalgamate maternity units in two local hospitals into one centre is local. But, bussed in volunteers talking about national funding will be asked about the local maternity units. And, local volunteers campaigning to maintain two maternity units will be asked about national funding. How on earth do you divide up the expense bills for both the local and bussed in volunteers when both are forced, by the questions of those they're talking to, into a combination of both national and local issues? It's a minefield, and it doesn't surprise me one bit that all the parties have taken a hit.

Though, I can't see the Electoral Commission issuing a substantial fine, much less police forces passing the results of investigations to the CPS, just for the inevitable merging of local and national issues in the way I've just described. This suggests a much more deliberate targetting of national campaign resources on local issues in target constituencies.

I'm not sure of how to address this sort of resource management. Certainly when there has been deliberate misuse of national resource (or, indeed local resource - eg: members of a party in a very safe seat campaigning in a more marginal neighbouring constituency claiming their expenses from their own constituency pot) calling a by-election would make people think twice. Though, by-elections tend to be even worse when it comes to national resource pouring in to a single seat - how many times would a PM visit a constituency in a by-election compared to during a general election?

Maybe a rule where volunteers are only allowed to campaign in the constituency where they hold their party membership, and not allowing living expenses for volunteers (if they're campaigning from home they shouldn't need living expenses).

--------------------
Don't Brexit if you haven't a scooby how to fix it.

Posts: 31867 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Leorning Cniht
Shipmate
# 17564

 - Posted      Profile for Leorning Cniht   Email Leorning Cniht   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
Well, that certainly seems like a bizarrely personal and idiosyncratic approach to figuring potential campaign expenses.[..]I shudder to think what other intractable accounting puzzles you must regularly face from such a perspective.

It's not an approach to figuring campaign expenses - it's more of a fundamental axiom that equivalent things should be treated equivalently. And if I have two tasks that I want to accomplish, and hire somebody to do one of them because I can't be in two places at once, I don't see that it matters which one I do myself and which one I pay for.
Posts: 4626 | From: USA | Registered: Feb 2013  |  IP: Logged
Gee D
Shipmate
# 13815

 - Posted      Profile for Gee D     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
One good thing about government funding towards the political parties' election expenses is that it comes with oversight. In NSW, that oversight is provided by the independent Electoral Commission, headed at the moment by a retired President of the Court of Appeal (who was in my year at uni).

That Commission discovered oddities in the financial returns of several members of the conservative party here following the last State elections, and when there were no satisfactory answers, funding was denied. Lots of bad publicity though, tarnishing the leader's clean image. There is talk of criminal prosecutions, but then again, there may well be innocent explanations.

--------------------
Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

Posts: 6523 | From: Warrawee NSW Australia | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged
Dave W.
Shipmate
# 8765

 - Posted      Profile for Dave W.   Email Dave W.   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
Well, that certainly seems like a bizarrely personal and idiosyncratic approach to figuring potential campaign expenses.[..]I shudder to think what other intractable accounting puzzles you must regularly face from such a perspective.

It's not an approach to figuring campaign expenses

Oh? Do you recall this exchange?
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I for one think the amounts parties are allowed to spend on campaigning are ludicrous to start with. There should be a set maximum spend per seat contested, and it should be rigorously enforced.

How do you price volunteer labour?
Kind of seems like a discussion of election expenses. Thread title makes it look that way, too.
quote:
- it's more of a fundamental axiom that equivalent things should be treated equivalently. And if I have two tasks that I want to accomplish, and hire somebody to do one of them because I can't be in two places at once, I don't see that it matters which one I do myself and which one I pay for.

This is nuts (i.e., bizarrely personal and idiosyncratic.) Why should a political campaign have to concern itself with what your opportunity cost is?
  • If you have no young children and thus don't need a sitter, is your volunteer labor free?
  • If your bloody-minded sitter charges $100/hr, is that the value of your volunteer labor contribution to the campaign?
But it's your "fundamental axiom", not mine; I'm curious to see where it takes you. So how would you price volunteer labor?
Posts: 1985 | From: the hub of the solar system | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

 - Posted      Profile for Alan Cresswell   Email Alan Cresswell   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Fundamentally, volunteering is about the choices you make in spending your free time. If you decided that you would want to spend your time having a night at the theatre would you expect the theatre owners to reimburse your costs for arranging a baby sitter?

--------------------
Don't Brexit if you haven't a scooby how to fix it.

Posts: 31867 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged


 
Post new thread  Post a reply Close thread   Feature thread   Move thread   Delete thread Next oldest thread   Next newest thread
 - Printer-friendly view
Go to:

Contact us | Ship of Fools | Privacy statement

© Ship of Fools 2016

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.5.0

 
Check out Reform magazine
sip of fools mugs from your favourite nautical website
 
  ship of fools