“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Phil Woolas, Corrupt Practices.

with 5 comments

I have never had any time for New Labour or that string of Labour MPs who gladly voted for the Tory-lite measures they wanted to push through, still even Phil Woolas stands out amongst that pack of chancers, opportunists and political nonentities.

Woolas is positively reptilian.

Fortunately, his misconduct during the General Election has been highlighted in a recent court case:

He concluded: “The consequence of our finding that the respondent is guilty of an illegal practice with regard to the statements we have referred to is that, pursuant to section 159(1) of the Act, his election as Member of Parliament for the constituency of Oldham East and Saddleworth is void and we have so reported to the Speaker of the House of Commons.

“We are satisfied that the statutory penalties for the illegal practices committed by the respondent are both necessary and proportionate, having regard to the seriousness of the statements made with regard to the petitioner’s alleged attitude to the Muslim extremists who advocated violence.”

The judges made no reference to the sanctions on Mr Woolas, although it is thought he could be barred from public office for a period of time. ”

Personally, I would put Phil Woolas in a pillory and pelt him with rotten fruit, that’s what he deserves for his activities. He’s got off very lightly, so far.

Also, it is hardly surprising that Woolas is ranked as one of the more authoritarian figures within new Labour, as a brief extract from his voting record indicates:

Freedom of Speech No
ID Cards Aye
90 days detention Aye
Abolition of Parliament Bill Aye
Trial without a Jury Aye
MPs’ Expenses (FOI exemption) Aye
Control Orders Aye
Extradition Act 2003 No
Government intervention in collection of evidence No
DNA database Aye

The Guardian has more on the full judgement and Woolas.

See the Torygraph for Woolas’ gaffes.

Update 1: Phil, the Labourite cover it too.

Update 2: Adrian Windisch has a Green’s view of things.

Update 3: Political Betting ask the question, when Woolas was appointed to the shadow front bench, Is this the new leader’s first big mistake?

Update 4: Political Betting has more coverage:

Will tomorrow be Woolas’s last day as an MP?

Will the Woolas case change the way elections are fought?

Update 5: The Guardian has a good slide show of Woolas’ election propaganda, I think anyone remotely objective would see the problems with it.

Written by modernityblog

05/11/2010 at 18:36

5 Responses

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  1. Labourite!!??!!?! 😉

  2. Ha ha ha, can’t I joke ?



    07/11/2010 at 17:12

  3. I don’t know what he is alleged to have said, but I’m not sure that this is the issue that should concern us. If he did obtain the seat by corrupt practices, then of course he should forfeit it, as anyone would. But … what corrupt practice did he use?

    More importantly … I don’t like at all this idea that he cannot then simply stand again, and let the electorate decide. Surely that interferes with the election much more extensively than Woolas is said to have done?

    As it stands, have we not just acquired a precedent that no election is valid unless confirmed by a judge from the establishment, who may pore over anything the candidate has said and judge it to be a reason for disqualification? If so, this is one heck of a precedent! What point in standing for election, if your election may be vetoed by the establishment, not for a crime but for the mock-crime of Saying The Wrong Thing?

    Indeed, whoever knew that falsely calling your enemy a racist or a Nazi was grounds for disqualification and being banned for three years? Well no-one — because no such law existed until these last few days. The judge effectively made it up; or rather, the establishment decided to make it up. Nice, if you’re an Old Etonian champagne socialist — less nice, if you’re an ordinary Briton.

    It’s alleged that he tried to get votes by pointing out to the Oldham electors that their town is overrun with immigrants, and implying that a vote for him would help them resist this. The first is a fact (or so I gather), the second a lie. But surely it isn’t against the law for politicians to lie in order to gather votes? — If it was, the House of Commons would be empty! Such promises and threats are the stuff of politics. But it should be for the Oldham electorate to decide whether he lives or dies.

    In the Wilkes case, long ago, the establishment decreed that Wilkes had lost his seat — but the electorate simply returned him at the ensuing by-election, thereby showing what they thought of such manoeuverings.

    So it should be here. To rule that Phil Woolas cannot put his case to the voters … surely this is to undermine democracy? Let him stand, I say — although there is no reason why Labour should be compelled to choose him as its candidate — and let the electors decide whether they agree that he is a wart, or alternatively return him anyway with an increased majority as a sign of their dislike of London lawyers trying to rig elections.

    Furthermore, what *practical* effect will the ruling have? Will it not “chill” election campaigns? Will it not chill free speech? It’s all very well to criminalise lying, but the fact is that all men are liars (except me, of course). Who is to police this new puritanism? You? Me? Or … wait for it … some old Etonian, some quangocrat who lunches with Cheri Blair?

    This seems to me to be the real issue. Phil Woolas is irrelevant — but the people should decide.

    Roger Pearse

    09/11/2010 at 23:30

  4. Roger,

    So you don’t know anything about the case and yet you want to waxed lyrical on it.

    Might I suggest that you take the time and trouble to read some of the links and maybe the judgement?


    09/11/2010 at 23:34

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