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

Monday, January 07, 2008

Law Against Lying Passed !!!!!

Sincerest apologies for the lack of posting.

We've been inundated with questions, abuse, requests etc.

Most of the abuse came from the armchair politician brigade, requests from schools and universities asking to show the programme - one of which led to a rather extra-ordinary discovery.

A professor of law asked us whether our proposed Act hadn't in fact already been dealt with by the Fraud Act 2006 (introduced in 2007), "This Act effectively criminalises
lying. See the article by Professor David Ormerod ('Criminalising Lying', Criminal Law Review, 2007, March, pages 193-219) and sections 2,3 and 4 of the Act itself "

Whilst our interviewees were chatting to us on camera, sputtering about how "you can't have a law against lying" (Jack Straw, Lord Falconer etc...), it seems that if they'd been in the legislative chamber they'd have noticed the aforementioned Act being passed onto the statute books (isn't that what we pay them for ? -Ed) and rather taking the wind out of our sails.

The old Fraud Act requires a material gain (or infliction of loss) by deception, the 2006 Act requires only the intention to make that gain or inflict a loss via deception. Indeed, it goes so far as to state the deception can be made by simply witholding material information. We've consulted the various oracles and all of them concur - depending on your definition of material gain, the Act effectively makes lying a criminal offense.

The question is - can it be applied to elected representatives making misleading statements ? If they hang onto office, or obtain an office is that a material gain ? If they cause someone else to lose their office have they inflicted a material loss ? On the surface the answer appears to be yes and certainly all the lawyers we've spoken to have said they'd be happy to have a crack at it in court (they would wouldn't they ? -Ed). Unfortunately, because the law's only just been introduced there's little in the way of case law to guide us.

Needless to say, if anyone out there's interested in having a crack don't let us stop you

Meantime, our job seems to have been done some time ago. Regrettably no-one, including the law-makers, realised.

'Nuff said.