Friday, 2 June 2017

Jeremy Corbyn's response to the Tory election fraud charges


The news that a Tory politician has been charged with electoral fraud may have passed you by today, but it's happened.

It was easy to imagine another whitewash was on the cards after the previous whitewash ruling by the CPS that most of the Tory election fraud cases should be dropped, not because no crimes were committed (they obviously and undeniably were), but because they couldn't prove a conspiracy at Tory HQ (somehow the "I didn't know it was a crime guv" defence never works for us mere mortals does it?).

However Craig Mackinlay has been charged with two counts of election expenses fraud in South Thanet, which is a tad awkward for the Tories since he's standing there again as their candidate next week!

He wouldn't be the first politician facing criminal charges to stand for election (Jeremy Thorpe did so in 1979) but he'd certainly be the first candidate standing for election in a constituency whilst simultaneously facing criminal charges for electoral fraud in that constituency at the previous election.


Jeremy Corbyn's response to the news that Mackinlay has been charged was an incredibly restrained and dignified display of political integrity. Instead of using the case to score political points and boost his election campaign, this is what Corbyn said:
"Nobody should be commenting on the details of an ongoing case. The police must be allowed to act independently to investigate on the basis of any evidence they’ve got, and the Crown Prosecution Service must be allowed to make its decision on whether to proceed on a case.

It is a very bad road when democratically elected politicians start offering a running commentary on independent judicial processes. We have to have total separation of political and judicial powers in this country.

"All politicians need to be extremely careful – politicians are elected to parliament to be held to account by the public."
Just think about it for a moment and imagine if the boot was on the other foot. 

Imagine of it was a Labour politician who had been charged with cheating his way into parliament within a week of an increasingly tight general election.

Imagine what the Aussie muck-slinger Lynton Crosby would be advising Theresa May to say about the story.

Imagine what kind of low digs political opportunists like Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Iain Duncan Smith would be spewing all over the shop.

Imagine the political advantage that so many unscrupulous Tories would be trying to worm out of the situation.

But Jeremy Corbyn just rose above the temptation to cast aspersions or try to make political capital out of it, and gave the correct response: The guy is innocent until proven guilty, and it's not his place to provide a running commentary.

Surely even Corbyn's harshest critics have got to admit that responding in the way he did, rather than trying to use the situation to score cheap political points, is actually decent, honourable and impressively statesmanlike behaviour?

For years we've complained about dishonest, untrustworthy, muck-slinging politicians and slick spin-doctor propagandists dragging down the standard of political debate, and now along comes a man who seems to rise above it all, and people just believe all the atrocious smears they read about him in the right-wing propaganda rags.

Outside the tabloid-addled worldviews of the political sleepwalkers, Jeremy Corbyn clearly represents a fantastic opportunity for Britain to drag our politics out of the gutter and begin focusing on the really important stuff like policies that work for all the people - not just the super-rich minority, investment strategies, and above all democratic accountability (one of Corbyn's strongest beliefs).

Whether us Brits take this opportunity to clean up our political system, or hand the keys of power back to Lynton Crosby's band of Tory muck-slingers, well that's up to us isn't it?





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