Monday, 23 July 2018

Campaign overspends? Try HnH's £208k undeclared expenditure!

Some food for thought, as Remainers forget their own campaign's fine and concentrate on errors in the Leave campaign. Hope not Hate failed to declare expenditure of over £200k in the 2014 European Elections, and while the time may have run out for electoral petitions, there is the associated fraud and false accounting which remains open. There is also the associated VAT bill which remains unaccounted for. For an organisation which sings so loudly about the shortcomings of its opponent's Electoral Commission returns, it is remarkably deficient in its own, and can hardly claim not to have known. 
Readers will notice undeclared expenditure to a company called Blue State Digital - we have mentioned them previously. Blue State Digital are the 'liberal' left's very own Cambridge Analytica, but nobody is much interested in reporting on them despite their client list including the Democrats, the Clinton Campaign, Labour, Barak Obama, Hope not Hate and a host of other left-leaning organisations. 

Hope not Hate ‘drove coach & horses’ though electoral & charity rules in Euro elections

30th September 2015

Anti-UKIP group Hope not Hate spent almost double the legal maximum on their campaign to halt the advance of Nigel Farage’s party in the 2014 European Elections, it was revealed today.

Despite strict spending limits for third party campaigners in elections the group spent at least £320,000 in its unsuccessful campaign while concealing the sources of its funding. The legal maximum it was permitted to spend was £195,759 across the UK, with a limit of £159,750 in England[1]. Hope not Hate declared electoral spending of only £129,984.05 for the entire campaign across the UK.

Researchers discovered that the bulk of the overspend related to an 8 page wrap on the Daily Mirror issued shortly before polling day and their failure to declare its true cost, which on its own was sufficient to exceed the spending limit. According to Trinity Mirror group’s advertising rate table, the cost of a 4 page wrap is £220,000[2], and yet for a wrap double this size Hope not Hate were only billed £54,434 split over 2 invoices[3].

Under electoral legislation, spending has to be declared at market value: where a discount is given over standard cost, this discount has to be declared as a donation in kind[4]. Hope not Hate declared no donations for the entire campaign despite receiving a discount of up to £ 165,566 on the cost of the wrap, and even this figure fails to take into account their VAT liability which would amount to a further £33,112.20.

Further problems were also apparent within the accounts submitted to the Electoral Commission. These included a failure to include spending to US based consultants Blue State Digital for electronic campaigning from the beginning of the restricted period of the elections on 23rd January through to March, which accounts for a further £ 7279.99 of undeclared expenditure during February and £2,119.35 for January based on declared expenditure[5].

Researchers also questioned the role of Ruth Smeeth, who remains listed as secretary of Hope not Hate Limited on its Electoral Commission registration despite having been elected as the Labour MP for Stoke on Trent North in May 2015. She was previously the Deputy Director of Hope not Hate[6] and she was also listed as the company secretary of Hope not Hate Ltd at Companies House from September 2012 until her resignation in March 2015[7], although the formal notice of her resignation was not filed with Companies House until the 3rd September 2015[8]. The Institute of Directors, quoting the Cadbury Report on Corporate Governance of 1996, states that company secretaries’ duties include “The chairman and the board will look to the company secretary for guidance on what their responsibilities are under the rules and regulations to which they are subject and on how these responsibilities should be discharged[9]

Smeeth was also listed at Companies House as the secretary of Hope not Hate Educational Ltd, the charity arm of Hope not Hate until her resignation in March of this year[10], although this is not reflected in their Electoral Commission return[11]. Smeeth has been replaced by Elisabeth Pop, who is currently on secondment to British Influence from Hope not Hate Educational, which is paying her salary while she is there: something which would appear to be precluded by the charitable status of Hope not Hate Educational.

Pop is spearheading Hope not Hate Educational’s ‘Together’ campaign. Ostensibly a function of the charitable arm, it has increasingly been used to target UKIP. In Pop’s own words in 2014, “Thurrock has a long history of British National Party, National Front and now UKIP activity support, so this is one of the most challenging areas in which to work.... Building on our community canvass in late August, which saw 350 people sign our TOGETHER pledge, we encouraged voter turnout in a recent council by-election[12]. Hope not Hate (under its previous registered name, Searchlight Educational Trust) have previously been warned by the Charity Commission about the need to keep a clear separation between charitable and campaign activities[13]. The report found that:

8. There was no reference on the website to the Charity’s registered status, the charitable objects were not stated and it was not made clear that the Charity is distinct from the magazine and from SIS.

9. All three organisations shared a telephone number and postal address. This caused further confusion regarding the separate objects and activities of the charity and the two companies.

10. The Charity had yet to implement some of the recommendations previously made by the Commission, during a Visit to the Charity in 2001.

While these issues were addressed, there has been considerable backsliding since the split from Searchlight and the establishment of Hope not Hate as an independent entity in 2011. This includes a running together of the charity and the campaign organisation’s output on the Hope not Hate website where it is all published under the single banner of ‘Hope not Hate’. It is unclear – as both Hope not Hate Ltd and Hope not Hate Educational Ltd hide their addresses behind PO Boxes – whether they share premises, although as both PO Boxes are at the NW9 3RE Mail Delivery Centre it would appear likely. Certainly Hope not Hate used an address at the WAC Arts Centre during the 2014 European Election campaign which was sub-let from Hope not Hate Educational[14] and there was considerable cross-over of staff with the charity sub-contracting its staff to Hope not Hate[15]

This is particularly pertinent to the ‘Together’ campaign. Although Hope not Hate Educational is registered with the Electoral Commission, it has failed to file any reports. Meanwhile, the ‘Together’ project is funded at least in part by a £50,000 donation from US charity ‘Unbound Philanthropy’ according to accounts filed with the Charity Commission for 2014[16], although Unbound Philanthropy’s own accounts show the amount actually donated was £ 200,000[17] on the 24th February 2014. Either way, it is questionable whether Unbound Philanthropy is a permissible donor under UK electoral legislation as it is registered with Companies House only as an overseas corporation with no UK address[18]. Hope not Hate Educational also received a grant of £120,000 from Unbound Philanthropy in on 26th February 2012[19] for work over the period 2012-2014, although this payment does not appear in accounts filed by Hope not Hate Educational Ltd with either Companies House or the Charity Commission[20].


In respect of the 2014 European Elections, there appears to be (including VAT) £ 208,078.54 in unreported expenditure, of which £ 198,679.20 is also an unreported donation. Inclusion of these items in total reported expenditure would bring the total expenditure to £338,069.52, against an allowable expenditure across the UK of £195,759 – a total overspend of £142,303.59.

Likely offences under Schedule 20 of the Political Parties, Elections & Referendums Act[21]:

Section 86(8) (making false declaration about value of property etc)
On summary conviction: statutory maximum or 6 months
On indictment : fine or 1 year
Section 94(2) or (4) (exceeding limits on controlled expenditure)
On summary conviction: statutory maximum
On indictment : fine
Section 98(4)(a) (failure of responsible person to deliver return and auditor’s report to Commission)
On summary conviction: Level 5
Section 98(4)(b) (failure to comply with requirements for returns)
On summary conviction: statutory maximum or 6 months
On indictment : fine or 1 year
Section 99(4)(a) (making a false declaration to Commission when delivering return)
On summary conviction: statutory maximum or 6 months
On indictment : fine or 1 year

This list covers only some possible offences under the PPERA, and excludes the acceptance of money from impermissible donors via Hope not Hate Educational Ltd. There are other offences under Charities legislation, and further offences under the Companies Act relating to false accounting, money laundering, making false statements etc.

[8] - Smeeth resignation document at Companies House

[16] Hope not Hate Educational 2014 Accounts Charity Commission
[17] Hope not Hate Educational £200,000 grant appears on Line 19.
[19] Hope not Hate Educational £120,000 grant appears on Line 68
[20]  (2012 Accounts) and  (2013 accounts) (both Companies House – the same accounts are filed with the Charity Commission).

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Remainers want to 'send Gisela Stuart home' because she's a foreigner and voted for Brexit

Stunning comments from a host of snowflake Remainers on Facebook this morning after a link was posted in the 'Remain in the European Union' group criticising Labour MP Gisela Stuart for daring to vote against guaranteeing rights for EU nationals and against committing £350m per week to the NHS. Ms Stuart is the MP for Birmingham Edgbaston and is a naturalised British citizen and was a co-chair of the Vote Leave campaign.

Most comments referred to her nationality - she was born Gisela Gschaider in Bavaria, Germany - with multiple suggestions that she be 'sent home' or 'kicked out'.

These include Guardian journalist and Bognor Regis snowflake Charles Rollings who failed to see the irony in suggesting she should be 'the first one we chuck out' while also supporting 'Stop Funding Hate', a campaign designed to persuade companies not to advertise in newspapers which suggest people should be sent home because of their nationality.

Also on the warpath for Ms Stuart was social justice warrior Mannie Kitcher of Wolverhampton, whose enthusiasm for Owen Smith, Chukka Umunna, LGBT for Europe and 'My Country? Europe' failed to prevent him demanding "Kick her out now!!!!" and calling her a slut for good measure.

Michael Barker meanwhile was more succinct, simply labelling her a 'bitch', while several other commentator's broke Godwin's Law to suggest links to the Nazis as she is German.

We wonder how many of them will be reported to the police by Hope not Hate for inciting racial hatred?

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

More Labour Councillors delivering Hope not Hate & NORSCARF Leaflets with Labour By-Election Material

Following our story last week about how Labour are using Hope not Hate and NORSCARF to circumvent electoral spending limits, news reaches us from the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election that confirm it is an official policy rather than just ignorance.
Cllr Ruth Rosenau showing how Labour are using HnH/NORSCARF
leaflets as part of their official campaign

Pictures on Twitter show Stoke-on-Trent Labour councillors Ruth Rosenau (Meir North) and Chris Robinson (Broadway & Longton East) delivering Hope not Hate/NORSCARF leaflets alongside official Labour Party leaflets last week. NORSCARF is run by Labour Cllr Chris Spence from neighbouring Newcastle Under Lyme. The leaflets are 'attack' leaflets spreading outright lies about by-election favourite Paul Nuttall and specifically designed to tie in with the official Labour leaflets, even being printed in Labour's red and yellow colour scheme.

It is difficult to believe this is being down without the knowledge of Councillor Gareth Snell, Labour's by-election candidate who works for outgoing MP Tristram Hunt and sits alongside Cllr Chris Spence on Newcastle Borough Council: Snell retweeted pictures of Spence delivering them.

Add caption
Cllr Rosenau seems to be getting through them at a fair rate of knots as well: she was tweeting earlier about how she was collecting some more Hope not Hate leaflets just a few hours ago.

Cllr Chris Robinson demonstrating how HnH leaflets
are an official way of evading legal spending limits
With all the Labour councillors within a 40 mile radius apparently hell-bent on delivering them alongside Labour's official leaflets, can Hope not Hate and NORSCARF claim any longer to be anything other than the pro-EU Labour front organisations that they really are? And will the cost of the leaflets appear as official Labour expenditure on their return given that they are clearly a part of an organised plan to smear UKIP?
Cllr Chris Robinson demonstrating how HnH leaflets
are an official way of evading legal spending limits

Meanwhile, the 'local' campaign for Gareth Snell continues to rely heavily on people from outside the area. Pictured are Liverpool councillors Patrick Hurley and Jim Noakes delivering leaflets claiming Gareth Snell is 'local and proud'. Clearly they haven't read Guido Fawkes' article on how Snell comes from just down the road - 200 miles down the road, that is - in Stowmarket, Suffolk. Which is conveniently located just on the other side of the country from Stoke on Trent.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

'Fact Checking' service launched by Organisation which falsified Electoral Accounts

Would you trust a ‘Fact Checking’ service run by an organisation which falsified its accounts?

Hope not Hate chief Nick Lowles announced yesterday that they are starting a ‘fact-checking’ service called 'Dispel' to "challenge, probe and analyse the growing threat, and lies, posed by and from the radical and populist right". Perhaps they should begin with a less grandiose ambition and start by looking at the accounts they presented to the Electoral Commission following the European Election in 2014.

Under electoral law, as a registered third party Hope not Hate were permitted to spend a total of £195,759 across the UK. They declared a total spend of only £129,894.04[i], and yet somehow this included an 8-page wrap on 761,000 copies of the Daily Mirror.

Their invoices which are filed with the Electoral Commission show they paid only £ 54,434 for this - £ 30,434 for printing[ii] and £24,000 for distribution[iii]. And yet the Daily Mirror’s rate card for advertising shows that the normal price for a 4 page wrap is £ 220,000 plus VAT[iv] (£264,000 total), which equates to £68,241 more than their total permitted electoral spend just for that single item or £209,566 more than the declared cost.

Under the terms of Schedule 11 Section 2(a), (c) & (e) of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000[v] the £209,566.00 should be regarded as a gift or donation (goods or services provided below market rate) and should have been registered with the Electoral Commission at the £ 264,000 figure.
According to UK VAT legislation, VAT on donations is still liable at their standard market rate. By the Daily Mirror issuing invoices for only £54,434 including £ 4,000 of VAT, they helped Hope not Hate evade a VAT liability in the order of £34,000 - VAT on £220,000 is a further £ 44,000, although the printing is VAT free.

That is bad, but it is not all. Hope not Hate also ‘forgot’ to include their monthly consultancy fees paid to US campaigners Blue State Digital in January and February which amounted to a further £8761.74 + VAT, or a total of £10,514.09 (as per their invoice for May[vi]). When these figures are added to Hope not Hate’s declared expenditure of £129,894.04, they give a total expenditure of £ 349,974.14 for an under-declaration of £220,080.10 contrary to Section 94 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000[vii].

This figure also raises another point. Controlled expenditure over £250,000.00 requires a report prepared by an auditor in respect of expenditure reports submitted under Section 96 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. This has not been done, and the submission of unaudited accounts for sums exceeding £250,000.00 is contrary to Section 97 of the same Act[viii].

To prevent this getting too long, we will return another day to various other offences contained within their accounts. Failure to Appoint Auditors, Exceeding Spending Limits for Registered Third Parties, VAT Evasion and False Accounting will do for today.

The only question which remains to be asked is “would you trust a fact-checking service run by  people who are guilty of these criminal offences?

Labour announce new policy on EU for Stoke by-election

Friday, 27 January 2017

Snell begins Stoke campaign with Hope not Hate funding scandal


Snell begins campaign with funding scandal

Gareth Snell, Labour’s PPC for the Stoke-on-Trent Central seat vacated by Tristram Hunt, is set to begin his campaign facing questions about election expenses after it was revealed a leaflet attacking UKIP candidate Paul Nuttall was funded by an organisation run by a close colleague and fellow Labour councillor.

The leaflet – “6 reasons to vote against UKIP” – bears the imprint of Hope not Hate and local
The Hope not Hate/NORSCARF leaflet
delivered with Labour leaflets
campaign ‘Norscarf’ (North Staffordshire Campaign Against Racism and Fascism), proving there’s nothing like self-interest to bring together the Progress and Momentum funded wings of the Labour Party. The leaflet is helpfully printed in Labour’s red and yellow colours.

The registration of the Norscarf website lists a single contact phone number – 07563245515. A quick Google of that number reveals it is the personal mobile phone number of Councillor Chris Spence, a colleague of Snell’s on Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council, which neighbours the Stoke Central constituency. Spence originally put his own name forward to be the candidate, but failed to make Labour’s long list.

Our source reveals that he received the leaflet – alongside a Labour one – on Saturday evening (the 21st January). Which is interesting, as Gareth Snell tweeted a photograph that evening of Spence delivering Labour leaflets in the same area of Stoke under the caption ‘What better way to spend your evening after a hard day at work than campaigning for @Stoke_Labour and our #NHS. If you look at the picture, you can see the ‘6 reasons’ leaflet sticking out of the top of the Labour one, which may explain the ‘winky face’ Spence finished his Tweet with.

Snell's colleague Cllr Chris Spence delivering Labour
leaflets - the HnH/NORSCARF leaflet can be seen
sticking out of the top of the Labour one
The participation of Hope not Hate – funded by the anti-Corbyn ‘Progress’ wing of the Labour Party – with the decidedly Corbynite ‘Norscarf’ is perhaps less surprising that it appears. Stoke North MP Ruth Smeeth is a former General Secretary of Hope not Hate, while Tristram Hunt, Stoke’s outgoing MP, is a member of the Labour Friends of Israel, one of the few groups in the Labour Party which stood by Smeeth after she was subjected to anti-Semitic abuse by Labour members when it announced the outcome of its investigation into anti-Semitism. Snell – a former leader of Newcastle Borough Council who lost his seat to UKIP before regaining a different seat at a by-election - is on Hunt’s staff.

A senior UKIP source said that it was "rare for expenditure scandals to begin before the candidate had been selected but was a clear indication of just how worried Labour were about losing the formerly safe seat to the new UKIP insurgency."
UKIP insiders say that they expect Labour to include the cost of the Hope not Hate leaflets on their expenditure returns as they are clearly published with a view to aiding Labour's faltering chances of retaining the seat. A UKIP source close to the campaign said, "They are required to account for all expenditure. The active participation of two organisations with close links to the Labour Party using Labour councillors to deliver the leaflets alongside official Labour literature with the clear approval of the candidate makes it difficult to pretend these are anything other than Labour leaflets in disguise. Hope not Hate have considerable form for this sort of thing, which has gone unremarked and unpunished for too long. It simply allows Labour to effectively double its election spending without having to account for it."

A poll for Labour Leave published on Wednesday showed Nuttall 10% ahead of Labour, while on Thursday bookies shortened the odds on a UKIP victory to make the party the odds-on favourite, with Labour slipping to evens ahead of the also-ran Tories and Lib Dems on 33-1.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Lowles' mis-firing report - the 'some of my best friends are black' defence

Following Breitbart's expose of Hope not Hate's anti-Muslim bias in their latest report, it is good to see the heat has been turned up under their director Nick Lowles sufficiently to goad him into one of the self-justifying blog posts he is known for.

Breitbart pointed out that Lowles and his student co-author Joe Mulhall had singled out among others Muslim anti-Shariah campaigner Raquel Saraswati and lumped her in with assorted members of the hard-right. In a surprising volte-face, her name was hurriedly removed.

Also targeted were other reform-minded Muslims such as Auhdi Jasser and former extremist turned reformer Tewfik Hamed.

Lowles was quick to go on the attack when criticised by Quilliam Foundation director Maajid Nawaz, although that was more a continuation of the long running feud between the pair following Nawaz's success - and Hope not Hate's implied failure - over Tommy Robinson and the effective demise of the EDL. Lowles - after an amusing diversion attacking Nawaz for destroying the EDL - then resorts to playing the race card to try and save his own (apparently not quite white) skin:

Lowles - of mixed
parentage? Would he
"There are several aspects of Mr Nawaz’s attack piece on our report that are demonstrably untrue, including his peculiar attempt to undermine it by explaining that it was written by ‘two white men’. One of us is of mixed parentage and the other is of Indian descent."

Readers may recognise this as the hard-left equivalent of the 'some of my best friends are black' defence which Hope not Hate regularly ridicules. Lowles leaves it open as to which of the two white men is of mixed parentage - if it's Lowles, we're surprised he can be so certain - and which is of Indian descent, although looking at the pair of them and assuming them to be a couple of white, comfortably middle-class champagne socialists would be an easy mistake to make.

Mulhall - clearly of
Indian descent
Lowles continues his self-justifying monologue by claiming credit for 'raising awareness of child grooming/exploitation' while failing to mention it was the attack-dog mentality of his organisation which prevented decent staff members of all religions from speaking out for fear of being labelled a racist in Rotherham, Bradford, Rochdale and myriad other cities (all Labour controlled, of course). After all, being a devout Muslim committed to reform of your religion has not saved many people from being called a 'counter-Jihadist' in this report. How many children suffered because his organisation acted as a persistent threat to the careers of any who dared speak out?

This defence of radical Islam from those who speak out against Islamic-extremism is not a new course for Hope not Hate, but rather a continuation of one plotted long ago. We blogged several years ago how Hope not Hate campaigned to bar Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer from the UK, while at the same time turning a blind eye to the admittance to the UK of two extremist Muslim preachers (Mohammed al-Arefe and Yasser al-Habib) whose preached their usual blend of homophobia, sexism and violence to congregations across North London.

The rest of Lowles posting is little more than a continued attack on Nawaz, which really shows how much pressure Lowles has come under over his report. Citing a list of other groups, it would appear that Hope not Hate's 'The Counter-Jihad Movement' report is nothing more than a cobbling together of internet sourced second- and third-hand reports about people the authors have little if any knowledge of. As 'dodgy dossiers' go, it is second only to the Progress inspired Iraq War dossier.

The real interest here is the squeeze Lowles is coming under within the Labour movement. Having relied for several years on the financial support of the Mandelson lead, Blairite 'Progress' wing, he now finds the Corbynistas in the ascendant and Progress viewed as a pariah organisation by most of the Shadow Cabinet. As Breitbart reported earlier this week, Lowles' organisation gets significant funding from outside the UK (there is more to come on this story!), but it still relies on the Unions here to provide the bulk of his political funds. With the Unions moving to support Corbyn's 'old-Labour-lite' approach, Lowles is feeling the squeeze and his ready access to the movers and shakers has been diminished.

Even within Hope not Hate, there are finally rumours of discontent. With many long-term staffers little more than barely tolerant of Progress - come on down, Carl Morphett, David Braniff-Herbert and others - there are rumblings about the whole political positioning of Hope not Hate and its declining influence in the Labour Party. With the acrimony over the split from the more honestly left wing Searchlight organisation still ringing through the halls of Hope not Hate towers - an office let to them by another charity - there could yet be blood on the carpet if Lowles handles the negative publicity from his mis-firing report badly.