The outrage from the bien pensants over Brexit never ceases to amaze. How dare, we the people, vote for something we’re not supposed to? For the true diehards of course the outrage is that we were ever asked about what we’d like to do with our own country. The latest part of this is that Vote Leave, apparently, obeyed the law in ever jot and tittle. This is an outrage about which something must be done:
Leave.EU received more than £12m of campaign services from a company controlled by the businessman Arron Banks, despite its referendum spending being capped at £700,000.
A business associate of Banks said the services were provided prior to the referendum spending cap taking effect in April 2016, and therefore entirely legal.
But the disclosure, at a time when Electoral Commission investigations into leave campaign financing are continuing, will raise serious concerns about the ease with which laws restricting campaign spending can potentially be circumvented.
The Labour MP Ben Bradshaw said there were “serious questions that need answering” in response to the new admission.
“I would hope and expect the National Crime Agency and Britain’s financial regulators to be taking a serious look at this….
Really? The law is obeyed, as it is written, and this is something for the National Crime Agency?
At which point a couple of points to make. This is what the rule of law does actually mean. That as long as we obey what is written down then we’re fine. We don’t get witch hunts because some idiot who wrote the law starts to bleat “But that’s not what I meant!”
But then Bradshaw is an MP, isn’t he, one who makes the law. So of course he’ll never take responsibility for having done so.
The other major point here is that, well, let’s say that all of this is indeed true. That there was spending before the limits slotted into place. And did “VotetoremainslavestoBrussels” also have spending in that period before the limits slotted into place? Perhaps those signs on every piece of building in the land marked “Funded by the EU” could be regarded as propaganda. Which of course they should be because they are propaganda. That’s why receipt of EU funds comes with the obligation to put up the damn sign of course.
Darren Hughes, the chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said it would be for the commission to determine the facts of any individual case, but called for the government to update electoral finance laws.
“Spending limits are there for a reason: to prevent campaigns being held to ransom by big donors, and to prevent an arms race between opposing factions,” he said. “Politics must not be won on the basis of who can spend the most but on a level playing field of clear, reasoned arguments.
“Whatever the facts of this case, it is time for a review of election spending rules – they must be made crystal clear.”
Electoral rules are crystal clear. You can spend your own damn money however you damn well like. If that’s sending leaflets to 11 million people denouncing the making of pink gins then that’s your right in a free country. Your money, your speech, get on with it.
Except, when there’s an electoral campaign on we limit the right to do that. Not that I think we should but there we are, we do.
Thus the rules are crystal clear, aren’t they? And no, we don’t go change them just because the wrong people won this time around now, do we? That would be whining, wouldn’t it?