After Vote Leave campaigner and BeLeave founder Darren Grimes was adjudged by the Electoral Commission to have participated in breaking the law, he was referred to the Police and, for good measure, fined £20,000. But as Zelo Street pointed out yesterday, he was not at all downhearted, and had launched a crowdfunder to pay for the costs of an appeal against the EC - just the legal costs, not the fine itself, honestly.
This enterprise was promoted eagerly by both the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, and Staines’ former tame gofer, the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, now pretending to be a real journalist at the Murdoch Sun. Both slipped up, suggesting that the crowdfunder might be used to pay Grimes’ fine, which would have been potentially illegal. And then came other supporters.
Very publicly declaring their support for Grimes, as in contributing to his crowdfunder, have been disgraced former International Development secretary Priti Patel, and Lucy Allan, who invented a threat against her in order to smear an opponent. With friends like these, and all that. The response to their support has not been exactly positive.
After Ms Patel told “We should encourage young people to get involved in politics & support their engagement. I hope you will join me in supporting @darrengrimes_”, the scale of cynicism was summed up by James Archer: “Hi Priti, I'm toying with the idea of a modest bank job. If I get caught, and I probably will, as my only experience of crime is exceeding the speed limit a couple (ahem) of times, can I count on your support for my defence fund?” Then there was the MPs’ code of conduct.
Following Channel 4 News’ Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s breaking of the news on Ms Patel’s largesse, Josh Silver replied “Dear Krishnan, please do tell the viewers: Patel is now in direct breach of section 5 of the MPs Code of Conduct, namely ‘5. Members have a duty to uphold the law’. This is now reported to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Ref PCS 184”. Ouch! And then came Ms Allan.
“I just helped Darren - can you?” she told, showing her endorsement of The Great Guido in the process. Whistleblower Shahmir Sanni, who was viciously outed and lost his job after calling out the criminality, was unimpressed. “Here’s Lucy Allan, a Member of Parliament that is supporting causes that quite literally undermine the integrity of the authorities of Britain, the institutions built to protect democracy. This is an MP complicit in its perversion. Absolutely shameless”. The MPs’ code of conduct appears to have been broken again.
We have one back bencher, and one former minister, now publicly implying that the Electoral Commission - the body which ensures we have free and fair elections, that minor point called democracy - is biased and unfair. With not one shred of evidence at all. That is the level to which these two MPs - and by inference, their party, have sunk.
And some people wonder why politics is so totally screwed. No change there, then.