A Load of Bull



Ruth Davidson MSP astride a water buffalo

To hate Scotland enough to vote Conservative

You have to ask yourself, who in their right mind would vote for an unappealing politician whose abiding election image is sitting on the back of a bemused water buffalo, the leader of her Tory group, who never uttered the word “Conservative” throughout the election, nor allowed it to appear on election material? We were asked to vote for an unprepossessing politician called ‘Ruthie’ not for the Conservative party, and one who can balance on the back of a buffalo.

If ever there was a mammal wholly identified with the sweat and toil of the downtrodden masses, masses in their millions, it’s a water buffalo. Ask anybody in China. At least there they venerate the beast for its usefulness and its hard work – yes, the same beast of burden the Tory managers chose to have her sit upon.

What are Tory spin doctors saying to us – the Tory party isn’t a right wing party? It’s a rum tum tugger, same sex, roly-poly, every day is a party, party?

Vote Tory and we’ll ride your backs another five years?

Like her tragically ineffective Labour opposite the inept Kezia Dugdale, who might have been better sitting on a two-humped camel to depict her party’s split loyalties, Ruth Davidson is not convincing as a politician.

You do not believe she means what she says, or indeed can deliver what she argues. She might be chatty and amusing in convivial company, but as soon as she’s under pressure from opponents or tough journalists she becomes ill-tempered, erratic, and spiteful.

Nor does she look like a serious politician, or even a frivolous one, come to think of it, whatever a real politician is meant to look like, but it isn’t Ruth ‘Tank Commander’ Davidson. She remains the overgrown fifth-form schoolgirl who never was any good at sports, and who sulks a lot in the corner desk of the science classes.

She enjoys unearned media attention because by tactical voting she is credited with reviving the fortunes of Tories in Scotland, a rare breed, rarer than wildcats, and scarcer than visits by her mealy-mouthed master, UK prime pork David Cameron.

But here’s the rub: in the late eighties the Tory vote collapsed to under 30 per cent. Now we are asked to heap praise on Ruthie for managing to lead a Tory renaissance all the way to … 22 per cent.

Skulduggery, the unwritten rule of the Tory party

Meanwhile, back at the Westminster’s ranch, the investigative arm of Channel Four Television News has discovered some election skulduggery whereby the Tory party of English shires has been overspending like mad but not declaring the overspend on its election expenses returns. This is illegal. The ‘alternative’ program broadcaster’s investigation has uncovered compelling evidence suggesting large-scale and systematic abuse of election rules by the Conservative Party in last year’s General Election and three key by-elections in 2014.

The illegal overspend was allegedly covered up by giving the offending segment of activity a different title, one not connected to the election, such as ‘Oyster Eating Competition’, and ‘ Judging Grand Houses’. I joke. It’s actually worse than that.

Channel 4 News states: “We found almost £100,000 spent during these campaigns that appears not to have been declared. If it had to be declared and was included on spending returns … Conservative candidates would have breached the legal spending limits.”

The investigation continues: “Emails and staff rosters show that party workers named on hotel bookings were allocated to work on the by-election campaigns, and we’ve spoken to one party worker, Katie Woodland, who stayed in a hotel, and told how she spent days promoting the by-election candidate in Clacton.

Under the law, candidates and their election agents must not spend more than £100,000 on by-election campaigns. In all three seats, the Conservatives declared less than this limit. However, if the hotel costs we uncovered should have been included, the limit would have been exceeded.”

For the Tories 2015 Election campaign the Tories invested in a ‘Battlebus’ tour – a terrible misnomer for a vehicle supposedly transporting happy campers. The bus stopped at hotels on the way, putting up staff and campaigners in first and second class hotels, but not including those considerable costs on their election accounts.

The Conservative Party insists that the Battlebus tour was a “national event, with activists promoting the party, and not specific candidates”. However, Channel Four obtained material that appears to show the volunteers spent time working for local candidates handing out their leaflets and even reading from a script that mentions individual candidates by name. A series of social media posts also suggest activists were working for local campaigns.

And so it goes on, area after area, candidates overspending on average £4,000 a person.

It doesn’t end there.

Another person under investigation is the newly-elected Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, Alison Hernandez. She was previously the election agent who helped Kevin Foster MP win the Torbay seat for the Conservative Party.

Documents obtained by Channel 4 News show Hernandez signed off Mr Foster’s spending return, and included costs for leaflets promoting him that were delivered by stop activists. However, costs for the activists, such as the buses or accommodation, were not declared.

Hernandez is under investigation by Devon and Cornwall Police. But after her election as PCC – she has influence over the £275m police budget and the power to hire and fire the chief constable – the force has announced it will call in an outside constabulary to carry out the investigation. That’ll do the trick, the police investigating the police.

If proven correct in deed and accountancy, the Tammany Hall process of winning votes effectively renders the Tory win at the last general election null and void. Whether that will be declared by the powers that be is another question. I doubt it.

A right Royal battle

Dislodging the whole crooked lot will be as easy as Alex Salmond’s laudable attempt to get Tony Blair indicted for crimes against humanity. The powers that be are first the police, and the courts. It has to be near impossible to dislodge an illegitimate administration. Easier and safer just to say what bad boys they are and fine them. There’s always an earldom in the post for taking the diplomatic route.

An Electoral Commission investigation into the Conservative Party’s national spending is underway and is expected to take several months, or to put it another way,  several years. Investigations so far are checking out 11 Conservative MPs, including three ministers. The Government’s current majority is 18. No wonder they have been extremely slow publishing their election accounts.

The Conservative Party has responded to the amassed and annotated instances and allegations as follows: “All election spending has been correctly recorded in accordance with the law”. They added, “Our understanding is the Battlebus is a national expense, not a local election expense.” The omission to declare hostel costs in national or local returns is due to an “administrative error”. Who would not love to spend a sum of £100,000 a day overage as an ‘administrative error.”

Well, if David Cameron has no scruples about using a tax haven for inheritance lolly why should the party he leads worry about some misaligned expenses? They’re a drop in the ocean, if you catch my drift.

Cheating to win elections? Does it not make you question what they were up to in Scotland to win back seats, besides craning ‘Ruthie’ up into the air and onto the back of a buffalo.

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2 Responses to A Load of Bull

  1. Connor McEwen says:

    The only thing I can say is it was Channel Four who did a thingy on SNP politician MacRae in 1985, Chilcot Report thingy, MMM???

  2. Grouse Beater says:

    I think I must have seen it repeated, or on YouTube. I recall black and white 8mm film taken at the time of the event. As for Chilcot – Blair is doing his best to divert attention. Best thing he could do is disappear. Permanently.

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