You’re Right, Jolyon Maugham Is An Idiot


Jolyon Maugham has something of a bee in his bonnet about the Brexit Party. Specifically, that they’re waxing fat off Russian money etc. This is all about this story, the Brexit Party raising substantial sums through £500 donations into a PayPal account. This is entirely and wholly according to the law. The Electoral Commission actually states that it is.

So, we then get Soapy Joe asking:

Why would you cap donations at £500?

Idiot. For the answer is in his own analysis:

If a donor is not “permissible” – or if you don’t know who the donor is – you can’t accept the donation. Permissible donors – very broadly – are individuals on the electoral register or others carrying on business in the United Kingdom. But there’s a loophole. The law also says you can “disregard” a donation so long as it is not for more than £500. These points are important because of what we know about how the Brexit Party has set out to raise money.

You can see here that the maximum amount the Brexit Party’s website invites you to donate is £500. And although the website seems to contemplate you might donate more than £500, neither I nor a colleague could work out how to donate more than £500 by PayPal (the main tool they use to collect donations) using the link. On top of this, it is striking that (as this piece explains) the Brexit Party seems deliberately to have chosen to receive minimal information about its donors – merely asking for a donor’s PayPal account or bank card details.

So, we have an entirely allowable – the law actually states that this can be done so we’re in agreeing with both spirit and letter territory here – method of donations but one that is only allowable up to £500. So, when you set up your system to allow donations of this type what are you going to do? Set it up so that you can only accept £500 donations, obviously. Because that means that you filter out, by definition, all donations that cannot be made by this system.

That is, yes, Soapy Joe is an idiot.

As to how you make larger donations my own suggestion would be to send the Brexit Party an email, If you’ve access to PayPal then you can do that. Or, even, phone them up.

“Hello, I’d like to give you lots of money.”

“That’s nice, now, if we can just go through this checklist to see that it’s an allowable donation then”

And I write as someone involved with the telephone fundraising system for Ukip back two cycles in the euro-elections….