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

Friday, August 31, 2007

BBC News

Auntie has appointed Leslie Woodhead as executive Producer for "the MInistry of Truth".

Fans of Storyville, World in Action, Panorama et al, will know Leslie as one of the grand old men of British documentaries. He's been making the very best there is since the 60's - from the Stones in Hyde Park to "Cry from the Grave" (Srebrenica massacre - Bosnian Serb army killed an estimated 7,000 Bosnian Muslims)

Our receptionist's (the pneumatic Ms Whiplash) first reaction was, "Is he single ?".

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Recaps - the Law

For those just joining the Ministry - here's where it began to sink in that the answer to the question, "How do I prosecute an MP for Lying ?" was...


The Lawyers (November '06)

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 ...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Misrepresentation of the People Act (Mk 3)

Here at last - the final iteration of the Act before it finds itself in front of a Parliamentary draftsman (we hope).

Despite accusations of going soft - Section 4 stays, (for the time being). Next step (post MP supporting it - Ed) is to let a Parliamentary draftsman at it.


The Misrepresentation of the People Act




Ensure honesty, transparency and accountability from
the representatives of the People and their employees.

The obligation for honesty and transparency in matters of government by those elected to represent the People and their employees is absolute. They act on behalf of the People, their sovereignty flows from the people and is conditional upon such honesty and transparency.

s.1 Where an elected representative of the people or an agent employed on their behalf recklessly or with intent to deceive, publishes or causes to be published in their employment in office, a statement or account which to their knowledge is or may be misleading, false or deceptive in a material particular, they shall be guilty of an offence under this Act.

s.2 It shall be an offence under this Act for a representative of the people, or agent employed on their behalf to –

(1) Publish a statement, promise or forecast which he knows to be misleading, false or deceptive in a material particular, or

(2) Dishonestly conceal any material facts whether in connection with a statement, promise or forecast published by him, or

(3) Recklessly publish (dishonestly or otherwise) a statement, promise or forecast which is misleading, false or deceptive in a material manner.

s.3 It shall be a defence for any person charged with an offence under section 2 of this Act to show that at the time of the offence he -

(1) did not know, or could not have been reasonably expected to know that his act or conduct would create an impression that was false or misleading, or

(2) had no part in causing or permitting the publication of the statement or any part thereof, or

(3) could not reasonably be expected to have known that the statement to which the charge relates was inaccurate or misleading, or

(4) took all due care to ensure the accuracy of the statement, or

(5) acted in the interest of National Security.

s.4 It shall be a defence under this Act to provide full and frank disclosure in relation to the misleading, dishonest or reckless act. Disclosure under this section shall limit the potential liability under this Act to disqualification from holding public office. Such disclosure shall be provided (as a public document) within a reasonable time of becoming aware of the misleading, dishonest or reckless act.

s.5 Where a person causes any wasteful employment by knowingly making to a person a false report tending to show an offence has been committed, or tending to show he has information material to any police enquiry, he shall be liable for this offence on indictment only.

s.6 A person guilty of an offence of misrepresenting the people under this Act shall be liable upon summary conviction and or indictment and or be disqualified forthwith from standing as an elected representative of the people or their agent.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ministry biased ?

We've been accused of bias more times than I can remember, either through the comments or the MPs we've been asking to sign up to the Misrepresentation of the People Act.

As sensitive souls, this pains us.

For the record, our objective is to plug a constitutional gap - the electorate is entitled to formal, independent legal redress should an elected representative breach their fundamental obligation of honesty.

It just so happens we have a Labour government so they're gonna get most of the flak.

We confess this is compounded by the Blair factor. We're happy to go on the record as agreeing with ex Prime Minister Denis Healey's insight from the Sunday Times ;

"He has enormous personal charm but I wouldn't call him a communicator.
He's a bullshitter, and very good at it."

Meantime, I refer our accusers to this previous post,
"Great Political Porkies of Our Time (Pt 1)"

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

More Brown stuff

Gordon Brown a member of the Illuminati ?? Probably not.

Amusing none the less and worth watching for the last 30 seconds...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Wholesale theft

Without exception, the MPs we’ve lobbied to support the Misrepresentation of the Peoples Act have cried, “Parliament is the place to hold a duplicitous government to account - not the courts.”

When pressed, they admit that in its current state, Parliament isn’t doing this.

Profuse apologies to Quintin Letts re. his article/blueprint for re-establishing power in the House of Commons (from yesterday’s Observer) - we’ve lifted it wholesale....

Perhaps Gordon will do the same.


Thrash the whips and other ways to beef up the Commons

Parliament needs a thoroughly good shake-up to reinvigorate its present moribund ways. And as for Speaker Martin ...

Gordon Brown's newfound belief in parliamentary scrutiny is a marvellously comic conversion, as unexpected as Osama bin Laden popping up on Al Jazeera in a yarmulka, or the Rev Ian Paisley attending a Celtic match in a green and white scarf. But it has happened. We must believe our eyes. Soon after reaching No 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister stood before the cameras and, his purply-grey jowls quivering, asserted that it was time ministers and Whitehall rediscovered respect for the House of Commons. Translation: I'm not that Tony Blair who told such porkies before the Iraq War.

Can this be the same Gordon Brown who, during a decade of budgets, concealed numerous taxes from the House and told MPs scant detail about the nasties in the Treasury red book? Can this be the same Gordon Brown who, as Chancellor, kept dodging parliamentary questions about tax credits, preferring to leave those to his underpowered colleague Dawn Primarolo, she of the dreamy eyes and the voice like a fading moped? Can this be the same Gordon Brown who seems happy for Europe's powers to mushroom at the expense of, good lord, Parliament?

August is, however, no time for discreditable cynicism. We journalists are meant to be pressing our shoulders to Gordon's civic wheel, as in some socialist-realist art tableau of communal endeavour. So let us rejoice, comrades. Mr Brown has seized the issue of parliamentary sovereignty. Strike up, ye Soviet choirs! Be grateful!

In the new spirit of consensus which Mr Brown is allegedly keen to engender, here are six ideas which could re-establish the standing of the House of Commons and, in some cases, make life for ministers considerably more peppery. This, after all, is what it is all about. MPs, whatever their party affiliation, should be in the business of discomfiting the government. My proposals are comparatively cost-free, so Mr Brown, who likes to assure us he is prudent about the public purse, need not complain about them being too expensive. Nor do they carry any copyright. David Cameron and Sir Menzies Campbell should feel equally free to borrow them and insert them, word for word if The Observer's syndication department will wear it, in their parties' manifestos before the next general election. Anyway, here goes. The House of Commons could be reinvigorated by the following simple measures:

1: Allow follow-up questions. At present, the Commons rules are ridiculously strict. MPs' opportunities are like snipers' shots. A backbencher has just one chance of a kill - one chance to elicit an answer from a minister. Surprise surprise, ministers have become shameless about ignoring difficult questions. They know that if the MP in question tries to jump up again to press home the query, he or she will be told to sit down by that gormless wonder, Mister Speaker (of whom more in a moment).

The experience of Westminster's select committees shows that MPs are far better at drawing informative answers from our rulers when they are allowed to press their suit a second, third and sometimes even fourth time. It is left to the chairman of the select committee to decide when an MP has pestered the minister enough. That arrangement would not translate directly to the Commons, but if MPs were allowed at least two bites at a minister, it would allow them to embarrass members of the executive who were resorting to blatant flannel.

2: Move the dispatch box. As happens every summer, the Palace of Westminster is currently crawling with carpenters, electricians and hard-hatted workmen who are making renovations and repairs while the Houses are in recess. Here is another small job for them. At present, ministers sit on a bench next to the Commons dispatch box, on the side of the party with the most MPs. Moving the government dispatch box to the centre of the House would loosen the link between party and executive and would underline the fact that ministers are meant to be servants of all sides of the House.

Yes, it would expose ministers and cut them off from the physical assurance of all those 'hear hears' behind them. Good. That might also encourage timid Labour MPs to become more astringent.

This change would involve alterations to the Commons table, a large piece of furniture which is used for jugs of water, reference books and footrest for indolent frontbenchers. Ministers could either be seated at the far end of the table, where the Commons mace currently hangs in a bracket, or they could be placed at the near end. At present, this is home to the wigged clerks who are positioned there so that they can whisper urgent advice to that remarkably dim lightbulb, the Speaker (of whom more in a moment).

3: Weaken the whips. The cost of any minor alterations to the Commons table could be more than met by scrapping the generous state salaries which are paid not only to government whips in both the Commons and the Lords, but also, astonishingly, to some opposition whips. Paid whips tend to be brutal whips (they are keen to hold on to that money, so they do their jobs without mercy). And brutal whips, pretty obviously, are bad for parliamentary independence.

If this withdrawal of whips' salaries seems too big a leap for the Prime Minister and the other party leaders, they could start by destroying the power of the whips to decide which MPs sit on select committees. They should in future be chosen by secret ballot rather than by the party managers.

Sadly, the traffic is at present flowing in the wrong direction on this matter. One of Mr Brown's first acts on becoming Prime Minister was to decide that parliamentary private secretaries (who are effectively unpaid members of the government) can in future sit on select committees. Shortly before the summer recess, furthermore, the government blithely ignored protocol and made Keith Vaz a member of the highly sensitive home affairs select committee. When the opposition complained about this, they were told to shut up by that beacon of purity, Mister Speaker (of whom more in a moment).

The growing independence of select committees has been most welcome in recent years, but at present it can safely be said to be in peril.

4: Evidence on oath. Labour MP Andrew MacKinlay once talked memorably about 'the High Court of Parliament' but there is a telling difference. When witnesses appear in front of MPs at select committees, they do not swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. There is no 'so help me God' moment with a Bible or holy text. The same was the case at the Hutton inquiry. Not everyone who appeared at that inquiry may have told 'the whole truth' and there is often a feeling that select committee witnesses are less than entirely honest. Make them take an oath. Make them realise that Parliament, with its wigged orderlies and its legal-collared Speaker (of whom more in a moment) is indeed a high court. Witnesses should be made to stand in awe of it.

5: Scrap Westminster Hall debates. During New Labour's first term, an offshoot of the Commons was opened, at vast expense, in a room next to the 11th-century Westminster Hall. The morning debates held in this subsidiary chamber are pathetically ill-attended, both by politicians and public. The topics for debate are often parochial and many MPs use them simply to ensure a favourable mention in their constituency newspaper. The debates are chaired not by Mister Speaker (be patient and we will come to him presently), but by other MPs.

Members understandably love this outlet for their gushings. The government's business managers have also been known to 'park', but we should recall the words of William White, head doorkeeper of the Commons in 1870: 'If all the useless verbiage could be strained out of our parliamentary speeches, their force would be increased, the morning papers might diminish their reporting staff - and many a valuable life would be prolonged.' Westminster Hall, quite apart from costing hundreds of thousands of pounds a year, dilutes the importance of the real Commons chamber. Let debates be held in the main House in the morning, if need be, but nowhere else.

6: Sack the current Speaker. Michael Martin, Speaker since 2000, has not been a success. The opposition front benches have grave doubts about him. He chats in a matey manner to Labour MPs and has failed to radiate the impartiality of his recent predecessors. He has also, recently, employed the services of Messrs Carter-Ruck and partners, perhaps London's hungriest libel lawyers, as his spokesmen. This is hardly an act of parliamentary accountability. Thanks to a Freedom of Information request, we now know that Carter-Ruck's services are being paid out of public funds. Although within the law, this seems little short of a scandal.

If Gordon Brown is serious about restoring the strong name of Parliament, he should lift his telephone, ask to be connected to Speaker's House, and suggest to the irascible old fellow at the other end to bow to the inevitabilities of life and relinquish his shrivelling, palsied grip on office.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Suicide clause

There may well be some justification in the accusation that we’ve diluted The Misrepresentation of the Peoples Act with our contemplating the addition of Clause 4.

s.4 It shall be a defence under this Act to provide full and frank disclosure in relation to the misleading, dishonest or reckless act. Disclosure under this section shall limit the potential liability under this Act to disqualification from holding public office. Such disclosure shall be provided (as a public document) within a reasonable time of becoming aware of the misleading, dishonest or reckless act.
The long, drawn out (and amusing – Ed) process of trying to find an MP to support it has led to some truths coming home. Ultimately, the purpose is to plug the constitutional gap we discovered and prevent elected representatives from mis-leading us, mis-representing the facts etc.

As such, we figure giving the accused an opportunity to fall on their sword instead of clogging up the courts wasn’t a bad compromise. No doubt there’ll be further fine-tuning but at least the main clauses are starting to stick.

Full version to be posted tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

PC Harriet Harman

Talk is cheap - money pay da rent.

A cracking pronouncement from HH on her website re. the new job. No less than a serious declaration of intent...

"As Leader of the House of Commons I have pledged to be the "policewoman" in
the cabinet who ensures that ministers show respect for MPs and that the new
emphasis on putting Parliament first must be enforced.

That was one of the things that I said in my deputy leadership campaign,
that I felt that people wanted to see no spin, no briefings, no leaking,
respect for Parliament

Everybody has recognised that there has been an erosion of confidence in our
political institutions and a climate of cynicism, this has not just been
about the government. It has affected voter turnout and low voter turnout
undermines the legitimacy of Parliament.

This is a problem that needs to be addressed. This is a very important time
to be taking over as leader of the House. Because what the House does and
what happens in the House, everybody agrees, is critical to turning that
lack of legitimacy around."
We've been granted facetime with the new leader of the House and for the time-being Ministry Towers seems to have turned into a betting shop. High volumes of low denomination (unmarked etc.) banknotes are changing hands as we speak. Current odds are strongly against her supporting the Misrepresentation of the Peoples Act.

I've never been a betting man but couldn't resist taking a piece of the action. There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that we will be unceremoniously ejected from her office - even if it's only for grevious crimes of flatulence (I am a little nervous).

"I felt that people wanted to see no spin, , no briefings, no leaking, respect for Parliament ".

We shall see just how much substance lies behind this.

Naturally, we'll keep you posted.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Two birds, one stone

Miliband and mendacity. Lovely.

Early signs of a different management style under Brown aren’t good. This time it seems the electorate and the environment are getting shafted.

It’s almost become a running joke at Ministry Towers – as soon as someone comments or e-mails us with a dare to produce an example of a cover up/lies/duplicity/mendacity we have to wait no more than 3 days before a fresh one lands in our lap. Last time it was the Treasury under the current PM – this time, having only posted about David Miliband last week, turns out we may have discovered another reason for his accepting the Foreign Office post and putting the environmental brief behind him.

A leaked internal briefing paper for ministers from the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform asked what options there are for “statistical interpretations” (pronounced "misleading the electorate") of the EU renewable energy target which would make the target easier to achieve.

Blair signed GB plc up to relying on 20% of our energy requirements from renewable sources by 2020. We’re currently at 2% and the dep’t reckons the best we could possibly hope for is 9% but under current policies only 5% would be achievable (2% below the EU average and 8% behind Germany).

Under Miliband’s watch the Agency for Environmental etc. affairs signed us up to the disastrous Carbon Trading Scheme and evidently wasn’t talking to TB at the time the ex-PM signed us up to the 20% goal (either that or TB didn't give a shit/was lied to by the dep't in a "45 minute to launch" kind of way - Ed)

Now the civil servants are trying to figure out if there’s a “statistical interpretation” (as opposed to a factual interpretation) to get our elected representatives off the hook.

We wonder if a company attempting to comply with the Carbon Trading Scheme could use “statistical interpretations” to establish it had met regulatory targets ?

Needless to say, We’ll be attempting to file a “statistical interpretation” of our tax returns.

And by the way - any new reader sceptics out there, don't hesitate to e-mail us asking us for examples of government mendacity - it generally only takes a few days for something bright, shiny and new to rear its head.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Miliband out of favour

Hmmm. A shift away from Miliband by his hormonal fans at Ministry Towers.

Accepting the foreign office brief did not go down well with those that “just wanted to (s)mother him” after his much talked up commitment to his previous position safeguarding the planet and its farmers.

As Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs our office males were always a little too quick to condemn the man’s track record, but now, the female cry (mid-application of heavy lipstick) of “he is committed to the environment, he’s not just another politician on the make etc.” is no-longer offered up.

In fact, it’s been more like a bleary-eyed staring into the distance, a wistful shaking of the head, a distracted return to the computer screen and an awful gnawing at the soul whilst muttering under their breath, “All men are shit.”.

Our glee is tempered by the terrible stain Miliband has left on male integrity at Ministry Towers.

We will never get laid.


Monday, August 06, 2007

Revenge best served cold

Some very interesting news for the blogosphere took me right back to university and a cheery glimpse into middle-England racism...

The economic theories of Richard Posner raised their head in a law tutorial. The man basically says you can reduce all social behaviour to economics and the market place. There is no need for law in a properly free market, because peoples choice will provide the regulation.

There's plenty of criticism of this kinda stuff, but as students, we were repulsed by the idea that everything could be reduced to cash.

“Posner ? No laws - just money. Wonder if he’s a yid ?” Chirped up the student voted “most likely to run the BNP”.

This led to a fairly heated discussion (and words outside) on “how would the free market regulate against racist twats with deep insecurities and homo-phobic/sexual tendencies?”. The session descended into the wordplay and brutal violence known only of the BNP and my grandmother as all were stumped for an answer.

Had that student actually gone on to the BNP – he’s just about to get it.

First Direct, Vodafone, Virgin Media, the AA, Halifax and the Prudential have all withdrawn ad campaigns from Facebook because they’ve appeared on the BNP page.

No doubt the response will be something along the lines of, “First Direct, Vodafone, Virgin Media, the AA, Halifax and the Prudential – all run by Jews”. Eventually, when everybody thinks you're a cunt and doesn't want to be associated with your website it becomes, "the whole world's run by Jews/blacks/queers/muslims" (delete where applicable).

In any case, my old university pal, the world may well be run by cunts of some order, but not cunts from your party.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Summer Hols

Before you know it and Parliament’s in recess – Summer Hols ‘till October 8th. This has implications for us…

1. It’s not gonna be easy to get time with an MP, let alone find one to support our insanity of a Bill which will prevent them from lying. Still, we shall persist (and keep you posted).

2. Gordon’s got himself some time. Perhaps enough for us to forget about his green paper on constitutional reform - his stated intention of returning power “from the executive to Parliament” won’t be tested for a few months.

Meantime, we’ve been granted facetime with the head honchos in Parliament’s Bill Office to help us fine-tune the drafting of “the Misrepresentation of the Peoples Act” so we’re frantically trying to lick it into some form of respectability (as opposed to a barking mad statute hell-bent on sending MPs to Wormwood Scrubbs).

Once we're happy we'll post it for your delectation/feedback/general piss-taking.