The Professors passion for "The Science of Deceit" started here...

Employed by the Ministry (in a covert capacity) to help introduce the law ending dishonest politics, you can see his hand all over the posts of past.

Current political circumstances have forced him to reveal himself and as we speak, MPs are signing up to re-introduce The Elected Representatives (Prohibition of Deception) Bill for debate with over 80,000 voters supporting them.

Posts before Jan '08 are purely for the record (with hindsight they make fascinating reading). Posts after May 13th mark the Professor's return.

Meet the Professor

Thursday, November 30, 2006

the Man who shopped John Prescott

Reporting the Deputy Prime Minister to the Police is not for the faint of heart - but George Bathurst, a Windsor-based businessman was so pissed off with the Right Honourable Two Jags refusal to answer questions in Parliament (over gifts and hospitality he received from US tycoon - Mr Anschutz - angling to put a super-casino in the Millennium Dome) he decided to do something about it. In our quest to find out how we can hold MPs to account for economy with the truth, we interviewed Mr Bathurst.

If you're expecting some cigar-chomping ego-maniac behind an over-sized desk, you'll be... well... you'll see what we mean...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"I write to report offences under the 1916 Prevention of Corruption Act"

...So begins the letter to Inspector Yates of the Yard from a George Bathurst, Windsor-based businessman who reported the Right Honourable John Prescott for corruption over the gifts and hospitality he received from Mr Anschutz - the chap who's wants to turn the Millenium Dome into a super-casino. Prescott, having "not yet" declared the gifts/trip/hospitality, refused and avoided to answer questions in Parliament on the issue. This didn't sit well with Mr Bathurst.

In our quest to figure out how we "hold MPs to account" ("stop MPs lying" would be a phrase too unparliamentary) we tracked down George Bathurst who's agreed to an interview (we'll post this shortly). In the meantime he's very kindly let us have copies of the e-mails and letters between himself and the Special Investigations department at Scotland Yard. If we compressed them into a phone call, it may've gone something like this...

(Click on links to see the original correspondence)

GB - Morning Officer, I'd like to report John Prescott, who, by his own admission, is guilty of an offence under the 1889 to 1916 Prevention of Corruption Acts.


GB -
Look, even assuming all the defences Prescott's given in the press were true, he'd still be guilty under Clause 2 of the Act - a favour was received and the giver was seeking a government contract at the time. Both of these facts are now a matter of public record.

Police - Can you hold ? We'll get back to you in the near future.

[ The sound of tumbleweed being blown across a desert plain... ]

GB - What's going on ? I've been holding for two months and just read in the press that you're not taking this any further ? Have you started or do you intend to investigate this matter or not ?

Police - we've taken legal advice and there's a loophole because of the 2001 Anti-Terrorism Act.

GB - No there isn't.

Police - Yes there is.

GB - No there isn't.


GB - Are we reading the same Act !!? I've got legal opinions coming out of my arse and all of them say there's a clear breach - the loophole you're talking about doesn't count for shit.

Police - Irrespective of the loophole, Mr Prescott has already denied the allegations under questioning in the House.

GB - No he hasn't, he's either refused or avoided answering the questions and the government spin has been proved false by enquiries under the Freedom of Information Act. So both the government and Mr Prescott have lied.

Police - Loophole and alleged lack of denials aside - this simply isn't good use of valuable Police time - it'd take too long to find evidence.

GB - Are you saying without evidence you can't start an investigation and without starting an investigation you can't get any evidence ?

Police - That is the law.

GB - No it isn't. The evidence required under the Act is now a matter of public record - he's admitted he received gifts and he's a Government official - there's automatically a presumption of corruption and the onus is on him to disprove it !

Police - No it isn't.

GB - Yes it is.

Police - No it isn't.


GB - For Chrissakes !!! Have a look at Section 5 of you're own joint memo with the Home Office from July 2004 - I've already sent you a copy !

Police - Sir, we're not taking this any further - we've consulted at length with the Crown Prosecution Service who say there's no point in pursuing this case.

GB - What, Lord Goldsmith's outfit ? Isn't he a personal friend of the Prime Minister ?

Police - We don't have any evidence of that.

GB - It's a matter of public record !!!

Police -
Sir, with a presumption of corruption, the onus of proof is on....


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

So far, so shit.

As far as lying to the electorate goes - it looks like there's no law requiring honesty from an MP. Anybody else (especially a corporation) makes a misleading or mis-representative statement purporting to be a statement of fact, they're knee deep in the brown smelly stuff - any one of us can walk into a Citizens Advice Bureau and take them to court. If you're a shareholder in Great Britain PLC, and one of the directors/board members you've voted for lies - there's bugger all you can do that resembles anything like legal redress.

However, there is a small ray of light...
George Bathurst - a Windsor-based business man instigated proceedings (under the Prevention of Corruption Acts) against the Right Honourable John Prescott over the hospitality and gifts he received from Philip Anschutz, the Guvnor at AEG who wants to build a Super Casino at the veritable Millenium Dome. Prescott's department are handling the future of the site and it appears honourable John failed to declare the trip to Anschutz's ranch or the gifts he received there and subsequently refused to answer questions in Parliament on the issue.

Not only did Bathurst report Prescott to the Police, he's also instigated proceedings against Mr Anschutz in the US. It occurs to us Anschutz may well have a legitimate defence with "that cowboy outfit wasn't a gift, it was a statement."

We've tracked down Mr Bathurst to find out what he's got against two Jags (two shags) and exactly how you go about prosecuting an MP for telling porkies.

Monday, November 27, 2006

the Lawyers

Oh how they laughed. You'd have thought solicitors would be biting your hand off for a piece of this action - but lawyer after lawyer said forget it. We figured they thought there'd be no money in it - we were wrong. In the end, Christian Khan came to our rescue - a medium sized firm who handle civil rights litigation - they said there wasn't much they were scared of and I believe them - as we waited for our interview the receptionist was dishing out over the phone - "Look - have you been sectioned or not ?".

Sadly, our time with them was short, sweet and didn't go as well as we hoped ...

Friday, November 24, 2006

time to find a lawyer

Frankly the Parliamentary Ombudsmans office - lovely as they were on the phone - weren't much cop. They can only investigate MPs if a committee comprising of MPs asks them to - so much for independence. And recommending that we contact Tony Blair to complain about some of his MPs being economical with the truth just isn't gonna cut the mustard.

In the meantime we'll take a look at this Sir Philip Mawer, Commissioner for Parliamentary Standards . His office is wholly funded by the House of Commons, so I suspect any teeth he's got are gonna be false.

I'm starting to get the feeling this whole business of self-regulation isn't quite what it seems. We'll have to check out the Citizens Advice Bureau's second suggestion and find a lawyer - though I can't believe the government would leave themselves open to prosecution in a court of law. They're too slippery, too wily. An independently-minded judge can be a dangerous thing.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

the call to the Parliamentary Ombudsman

The Parliamentary Ombudsman offices were clearly a better work environment than the misery our girl from the Citizens Advice Bureau was living in.

Maybe it was just me.

the Parliamentary Ombudsman

Thought a bit of research before making an arse out of myself on the phone may be in order.

The idea (as with all Ombudsmen) is they're a completely independent investigative body - not politicised in any way. It's powers are set out in the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 and the Health Service Commissioners Act 1993 respectively.

The Ombudsman is appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. She (it's currently Ann Abraham) is independent of government and has statutory responsibilities and powers to report directly to Parliament. She may only be removed following a resolution of both Houses of Parliament."

It's governing statutes define who it has the power to investigate. It's a long list and the Committee on Standards in Public Life is on it (the who guys investigate MPs) - you may remember they were set up by the last Tory government as it imploded in its own sleaze.

The Ombudsman could well be the body we're looking for - only one way to find out... We'll be calling them as soon as they're open for business - and naturally, posting the conversation ASAP.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

How do you prosecute an MP ?

We're Citizens, we wanted Advice, we called the Bureau...