Friday 30 March 2018

Two (and a half?) dirty tricks.

A few days ago a young man, Shahmir Sanni, who had worked as a volunteer for a pro-Brexit youth orgainisation called BeLeave, claimed that  the official Vote Leave campaign has cheated because their own spending was almost at  the limit, so they had funnelled £625, 000 to the youth organisation, but kept control of it.

Since BeLeave  worked from the same office as Vote Leave, and the money never went into the youth organisation's bank account, but straight to Aggregate IQ, used by Vote Leave to garner digital information  which they hoped would swing the referendum on EU membership their way, Sanni seems to have a pretty good case.

However someone from Downing Street has said there was no possible connection - the two organisations worked entirely independently. Vote Leave's activities were entirely above board, and, in any case Mr Sanni was gay.  So there you are.

In the same period  two leading Jewish organisations suddenly alerted us to the fact that, way back in 2012 Jeremy Corbyn had been less critical than they would have liked over a mural which appeared to show  bankers who were Jewish acting less than honourably.  Since then the media have  been full of reports and discussions of antisemitism in the Labour Party.

On the Guardian's letters page (27th March) David Rosenberg and Julia Bard pointed out that “[T]hese accusations [of antisemitism against Jeremy Corbyn and Labour]  have come from the unrepresentative Board of Deputies  and the unelected self proclaimed ‘Jewish Leadership Council,’ two bodies dominated by supporters of the Tory party.” .

 I am neither Jewish not a supporter  of the Labour Party, but it seems to me that  this revelation of an incident now six years old cannot be other than an attempt  to  smear Corbyn and  Labour conveniently before the May council elections.  It also helps distract attention from the shambles of the Brexit negotiations.

I'm not sure whether a third incident of the week can properly be described as a dirty trick, as I believe it is standard and publicly acknowledged practice.  But "Buy, Imp;rove, Sell" financial whiz-kids Melrose have swung the shareholders' vote  in favour of their take-over bid for GKN by first buying shares themselves (one source claims 25%).

Surely there should be rule to require that shares be held for a minimum period (three years?) before voting rights  are acquired.  Otherwise the true purpose of investment, for long-term development and benefit, is frustrated.

All three incidents are  a long way from the paramount British value of my younger days - fair play.

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