Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Who will be allowed to take part in the campaigns?

Lord Stoddart of Swindon put down a very pertinent Written Question.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will ensure that measures are in place to prevent the CIA or any other United States Government organisations, or any other foreign country organisations including the institutions of the European Union, from financing or otherwise assisting organisations or individuals campaigning in the debate on the United Kingdom's position in the European Union prior to any referendum being held on the subject.
Well, I don't know about the CIA or any other US government organization: it is my impression that they have largely lost interest in Europe and its problems and were only interested in the first place because of the looming Soviet menace.

We do, however, have a potential problem with various EU institutions. As we know, they are given to providing propaganda information that, naturally enough, assists those who insist that Britain's place is firmly at the  heart of Europe and if we can't  have the heart then we'll make do with the fingernails.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire on behalf of HMG assured their Lordships that "measures are already in place". We must keep calm and carry on doing whatever it is we are doing.
Section 119 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 regulates donations to permitted participants. A donation is money, goods or services which is given:
towards campaign spending; orwithout charge or on non-commercial terms, andhas a value over £500.

Examples of donations may include a gift of money or other property, sponsorship of an event or publication or free/specially discounted use of an office.
So who are the permitted participants?
[A]n individual registered in a UK electoral register; a UK-registered company which is incorporated within the European Union and carries on business in the UK; a Great Britain-registered political party; a UK-registered trade union; a UK-registered building society; a UK-registered limited liability partnership that carries on business in the UK; a UK-registered friendly society; and a UK-based incorporated association that carries on business or other activities in the UK; a UK-registered friendly society; and a UK-based incorporated association that carries on business or other activities in the UK.
Am I the only person who can see all sorts of possibilities there for the EU to become involved? For example, what happens when one or more of those organizations start inviting Commissioners who just happen to pay their own way out of the taxpayers' money so generously supplied to them?


  1. Beware the "Third Sector" which is a new(ish) right-on name for charities. Many are fake - set up by government and other quasi state agencies - anti smoking, pro metric measures etc. Many others receive huge funding from the EU and HMG , others are large contractors to HMG. There are rules which limit their political activities - they cannot be overtly party political - but companies set up by charities as shareholders can escape that.

    It is interesting to note that the former Chairman of the Electoral Commission is now Chief Executive of the Charity Commission. I sense that ducks are being got into a row.

  2. Many law firms and lobbyist firms are LLPs. You could drive a tank through the holes in that list. Which I suspect is the point.