Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Flying Lion Unlimited: Rough Guide to Jetsetting

It's a dirty job but somebody's got to do it. And Unity is doing a cracking job of looking under rocks and uncovering the the steaming whiffiness of nefarious Tory jet setters. On top of all that he's caught yet another Tory failing to declare donations. Lobster Blogster caught one at it earlier today, albeit in a different jet. How many more will there be?

Perhaps every last error and omission will be explained. But we are still left with Tory politicians gadding about in a billionaire's plaything - living the lifestyle of the rich and famous - including for photo opps in Darfur. They are proudly buying into feel good carbon off setting schemes and suggesting that cries of "hypocrisy!" are bad form. "Sniping about the details". But where is their "conspicuous consumption and hidden donations" off setting scheme?

Thanks to a comment from Tim J I have found my way round PPERA. To speed up the familiarisation for others, the hotlinks from the index seem to suggest it's not all online, but you can go to the nearest hotlink then use the page by page navigation at the bottom to progress.

Evan's link to the Electoral Commission interpretation is also working. The example given of an overseas donor who has a factory in an MP's constituency covering the cost of a trip to their HQ is quite different to the Ashcroft model. Which I think falls outside the intended purpose of this concession.

I plan to write to the Electoral Commission for clarification and suggesting revisions. If I manage that I'll report back. Though it's a full two years since my last still unanswered question: viz "Does the EC analyse patterns of election expenses returns to help police "unusual" (crooked?) practices?"

Footing the bill for all sorts of travel unrelated to their own location seems to be taking the piss really. Not what was intended. Tory "chancer" behaviour. Ashcroft/Flying Lion is giving campaign cash for Conservative-aggrandisement, the true costs are hugely disproportionate, and for my money - as they are not sponsoring trips to their own operations - they should not really be considered a permissable donor.


tory boys never grow up said...

You are absolutely right on your reading of PPERA - it is the market value that should be disclosed. Con Air are probably a permissible donor however - where they are incorporated is irrelevant when it comes to travel expenses (see Section 7 of Schedule 7 of PPERA)

What is probably more interesting is why the amounts of the donations are being understated - I think that it may be because if the full amounts were reported then there would be some danger of the Parliment limits re advocacy being broken - which would then restrict the rights of the MPs concerned to speak and vot on matters of interest to Ashworth and his business interests. Perhaps someone reading this with a more detailed knowledge of the Code of Conduct might wish to explain further.`

Unity said...


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