Posts Tagged ‘fraud’

Labour’s real problem with ‘tolerated entryism’

05/07/2013, 06:58:52 AM

by Kevin Meagher

Confirmation earlier this week that 14 constituency Labour parties are in “special measures” but only one – Falkirk – seems to have anything to do with the swirl of allegations surrounding Unite, begs the obvious question:  what about the other 13?

Looking at that list, at least some of those suspensions are because of irregular recruiting practices by ethnic groups in order to affect the result of council and parliamentary selection processes. Indeed, four of the fourteen are in Birmingham, where six Labour councillors were convicted of electoral fraud in 2005, with the judge in the case saying their behaviour would not “disgrace a banana republic”.

This is, of course, a subject usually tucked away in the ‘dirty laundry’ file with party chiefs wary about cracking down on this sort of behaviour out of a misplaced sense of not wanting to castigate ethnic groups. Unfortunately this soft-soaping merely sees the problem persist, with many of the 14 suspended parties effectively in limbo for years.

Back in 1999, the party’s North West regional office received complaints of irregularities in the selection of council candidates in Oldham (the town’s two constituency Labour parties are included among the list of 14).

The dozen or so regular branch members of Alexandra ward Labour party were joined by 300 new Asian party members for the annual meeting to select the candidate to stand in the local elections. The sitting (White) councillor was duly deselected. The same hammer-to-crack-a-walnut tactic was then employed in other local selections.

The Oldham Independent Review, into the 2001 riots in the town, chaired by David Ritchie, succinctly explained what had been happening:

“…[L]arge numbers of new members have been registered shortly before some ward selection meetings and although they apparently comply with Labour Party rules on eligibility to vote, our informants had good grounds to question their allegiance to the Party. One of them when challenged professed that he normally voted Liberal Democrat. Some meetings to choose candidates have been disfigured by threats of violence and other disorderly behaviour, and in one case a selection meeting needed heavy police presence.”


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White collar fraud costs us £ billions. Now Labour has a policy to tackle it

25/06/2013, 10:28:04 AM

by Dan McCurry

“When a man steals your wallet, he gets a stretch. When he steals your pension, he gets away with it,” said Emily Thornberry as she launched her policy for Tackling Serious Fraud and White Collar Crime.

In this country, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is considered a bumbling fool, whose work has been cut back so much that last year it only brought a mere 20 trials, on a total budget of only £30m.

To put that in some context, fraud costs the British economy £73billion a year. It was with this thought that the shadow Attorney General travelled to America to see why US prosecutors have such a formidable reputation.

Thornberry arrived in New York and moved on to Washington. In these two cities she found fraud prosecution teams buzzing with the brightest talent. Young lawyers aggressively compete for opportunities in fraud, not because it pays well, but because this is where the big reputations are made.

What a contrast with this country. For years, decades, the SFO has been castigated as a disorganised waste of time and money. Trials collapse, fraudsters walk free, judges criticise, journalists attack, and politicians pour resources into a bottomless pit. Thornberry realised that over all these years of criticism, the focus has been wrong. The problem is not the institution. The problem is the law.

As a simple interpretation of the existing British law, a company can be prosecuted, but a person has to represent that company in the dock. So the directors distance themselves from the crime, and hire lawyers to obstruct the feeble powers of the police investigator. This confuses the situation and allows the company and its directors to wriggle off.


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