Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Taxpayers are funding the Yes2AV campaign to the tune of £15million

This is not an equally-funded referendum or a fair campaign. According to the No2AV group, Freedom of Information requests reveal the Electoral Reform Society and its subsidiaries have made £15 million in the past 3 years from contracts with central government, the NHS and local councils. To view the dossier Taxpayer funding of the Yes campaign (with full regional breakdowns by Local Authority, NHS Foundation Trust and Central Government department) please click HERE.

Key findings:

Over the past three years, the Yes campaign’s largest donor – the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) – have received an astonishing £15.1 million from taxpayers through its various subsidiary companies including Electoral Reform Services Ltd (ERSL).

ERSL have earned at least £5.4 million from taxpayers in the last year alone. In the last three years ERSL has made over £12.6 million from at least 220 Local Authorities, £2.3 million from 67 NHS Foundation Trusts and over a quarter of a million pounds from Central Government.

ERS, in turn, has provided over £1 million in funding to the Yes to AV campaign, already recycling taxpayers’ money directly back into the referendum campaign.

This highlights the Yes campaign’s financial conflict of interest in campaigning for a yes vote. The biggest donors to Yes to AV are making money from the taxpayer and stand to make far more from an increased demand for AV-related services should ‘yes’ win.

Recent campaign literature that has been sent out by Yes to AV bears the ‘imprint’ of ‘Electoral Reform Services, The Election Centre, 33 Clarendon Road, London, N8 0NW’

The ERS conflict of interest also undermines the secrecy of referendum ballots: the Yes campaign have the opportunity to know which postal ballot has gone to which voter – and, potentially, whether any given person has voted.

Over the last three years, councils have paid the Yes campaign millions:

East Midlands £1,166,847
East of England £1,595,987
London £1,702,671
North East £178,768
North West £2,531,633
Scotland £578,907
South East £2,039,879
South West £1,408,658
Wales £195,799
West Midlands £736,435
Yorks. & Humber £459,081
Total £12,594,663

Matthew Elliott, Campaign Director of No2AV, said: “Voters will be outraged by the huge amounts of taxpayers’ money that are being channelled straight back into the Yes campaign. The Electoral Reform Society says there is no link between the two organisations, but their commercial wing are happy to trade off their name and are printing the Yes to AV leaflets. So, once again, we urge the Yes campaign to come clean about their conflict of interest and also to promise that their backers will not earn a penny from a Yes vote.”


Blogger john in cheshire said...

Why has this money been paid out over the past 3 years? The Referendum wasn't even announced then? Is this whole thing a stitch-up of the electorate?

13 April 2011 at 16:58  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Just one more reason to tell them to get stuffed by voting NO. I see my region stumped up the most. Imbeciles!

13 April 2011 at 16:58  
Anonymous Oswin said...

John in Cheshire:

I'd like to know the answer to that too. Anyone?

13 April 2011 at 17:09  
Blogger Plato said...

Thanks for the breakdown. The Yessers are making fools of themselves with injunctions to block this story/Osborn comments.

13 April 2011 at 17:12  
Anonymous Caedmon's Cat said...

If an overwhelming 'No' vote is returned (it's more likely to be a close run thing), will the Electoral Reform Society insist on regular ballots until the 'right' result is achieved? I say this because I suspect that this is yet another veiled directive from the Holy Roman Empire (which is neither holy, Roman nor an empire). It has that familiar smell about it...

13 April 2011 at 17:21  
Anonymous corporeal said...

I'd imagine they're getting paid for provided election services.

The crucial missing link is (as usual) that:

"The biggest donors to Yes to AV are making money from the taxpayer and stand to make far more from an increased demand for AV-related services should ‘yes’ win."

and the lack of evidence or reasoning to back this claim up.

13 April 2011 at 17:22  
Blogger Paul Perrin (@pperrin) said...

The electoral reform society were not *given* tax payers money. They were asked to provide services and were paid for those services.

Its not rocket science.

Are suppliers to the public sector to be told what to do with the money they earn in future?

This is a non-story.

13 April 2011 at 17:22  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

Paul Perrin, are you a recipient of any of this money?

13 April 2011 at 17:33  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Mark 5- 9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

Its seems our Saviour was no stranger to chasing fairies at the bottom of the Garden, he would of recognised the lib/lab/con/trick for what it was.

13 April 2011 at 17:35  
Blogger Joseph Takagi said...

How about you ask why the No campaign is not mentioning who any of its donors are? They said they would name them on 18th Feb, and they've still not done so. Why not?

13 April 2011 at 17:35  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Joseph Takagi,

It is HERE; all disclosed, open and above board. Perhaps you simply like trolling and trawling your misinformation.

13 April 2011 at 17:49  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Nice one Your Grace, an ace in the hole!

13 April 2011 at 17:58  
Blogger Paul Perrin (@pperrin) said...

@john in cheshire

Why do you ask? How will the answer change your view?

13 April 2011 at 18:01  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

Paul Perrin, I'll take that as a yes.

13 April 2011 at 18:03  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Thank you for bringing this ERS scandal further into the open and adding your valued analysis and remarks.

Comments here and elsewhere show that they have been well and truly rumbled and know not where to turn. They will, of course, continue to brazen it out (as in "non-story") or What about the other lot.

Parties to transactions of this kind (such as Baron Kinnock of Bedwellty--who with Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead is also a party to the EU venture-- and sundry barons, baronnesses, commons MPs and business operators) always give bland and friendly sounding explanations. They claim they have done nothing wrong, or have acted on someone else's advice and cannot be held responsible.

And remember the GOD Squad:

13 April 2011 at 18:05  
Anonymous IanCad said...

To quote Hamilton 'The people Sir, is a great beast'
So, are we to have a pure democracy? Heaven help us. This referendum is most likely to turn into a 'stitch-up' (J in C) And so will all the others that follow. The mob will rule.
We have a representative form of government. It is a precious thing. I've said before and I'll say again; referenda should not be part of our system. It will lead straight to tyranny.

13 April 2011 at 18:39  
Anonymous Oswin said...

IanCad ... well, there is at least ONE referenda that may free us from tyranny; but point taken.

13 April 2011 at 18:43  
Blogger English Viking said...

Caedmon's Cat,

Fan of Prasch?

13 April 2011 at 19:10  
Blogger English Viking said...

Why are people still shocked and surprised when lying, thieving toe-rags are caught lying, thieving and behaving like toe-rags?

Did I read somewhere that one of the chaps that is involved in the company that manufactures the counting machines for AV is receiving Gov cash to partly fund the Yes campaign?

13 April 2011 at 19:15  
Blogger English Viking said...

Surprise, surprise. It was Kinnochio.

BTW The best anti-EEC/EA/CM/EU 8or whatever it is called nowadays) speech I ever heard, and believe me, I've heard a few, was by none other than the Welsh windbag.

Before he became an EU funded millionaire of course. And his wife. And his children. I'm sure the cash had nothing to do with it.

13 April 2011 at 19:23  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Would the Archbishop in residence give his gracious consideration to making a link to The Slog article "ANALYSIS: Is any government now big enough to face out the banks?", April 13, 2011 ?

13 April 2011 at 19:26  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...


13 April 2011 at 19:29  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

"Taxpayers are funding the Yes2AV campaign to the tune of £15million"

This really is a misleading headline if not a deliberate lie.

Tax payers money has indeed been spent on bought in services as HG quotes - that's what local authorities do with tax revenues.

Yes the electoral services arm of the ERS made a donation of £1m to support the Yes to AV campaign from money earned fairly a squarely from the work they do. So where is the list of supporters funding the No campaign YG?

The ERS has always been pushing at the door for reform, after all that is what it says they do on their Tin - hardly surprising I would have thought and nothing to do with a 'conflict of interests at all.

I'm sick to gills with pollies of all parties parachuting their wet behind the ears prodigies in to the 'safe' seats whether the locals approve or not of the candidate being foisted upon them - what's democratic about that.

In the last election FPTP resulted in the undignified scuttling of the Lid-Dems between one house and the other - the result? a total embarrassment for the credibility of the 21c version of the Mother of Parliaments and the live birth of UK politics made on the hoof.

We even have a Chancellor by default, who used a tax haven to avoid paying £1.5m in CGT - and he has the gall to point an accusing finger at the ERS and say something stinks. You bet it does Gideon!

Time for a change.

13 April 2011 at 19:46  
Anonymous Anguished Soul said...

Methinks it's Ireland voting over The Lisbon Treaty all over again.

You WILL vote the way we want!

Yours lovingly

The Establishment

13 April 2011 at 20:09  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

I don't give a damn.

AV is superior to FPTP.

I don't care who funds which campaign.

I don't care whether either system favours the BNP.

I don't give a damn about which celebrities endorse them.

FPTP is the worst system possible for selecting a representative in anything other than a 2 party system. In fact FPTP creates a 2 party system.

Along with the other desperate attempts by the NO campaign, this one seems like a barrel scraping story. Weren't the ERS simply being remunerated for services they supplied? How is that in the least bit scandalous?

In other shocking news it has been revealed that the NO campaign is being supported by tax payers money in the form of MP's who realise their power, influence & safe seats may soon be threatened.

Get a grip.

FPTP is crap. AV is less crap. That's all that matters.

13 April 2011 at 22:26  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Such is my annoyance at the utter BS that the NO campaign (and, more disappointingly, your good self Cranny) are dissipating that I've just been and made a donation to the Yes campaign.

Sorely disappointed that you've chosen to participate in the lies & obfuscation of the NO campaign rather than try and argue on the merits of either system. I realise that is hard for the NO campaign since the merits of the FPTP system are extremely few (it's quick & easy to count and er, ... er, that's it) but to resort to such puerile, underhand tactics is pathetic & deplorable and it utterly $%*!@# me off.

13 April 2011 at 22:46  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Rebel Saint_It is difficult not to be persuaded by the advice for which you have been so passionately contending. It seems to be based on your convictions and experience visiting other people's homes (mentioned in a comment on another topic--- am I right?).

But if "FPTP is crap. AV is less crap." then the whole shebang is also, and some conclude that NO should be the way of registering maximum discontent, not because the present system produces satisfactory results, or for reasons of party-political interest. A YES may give undue comfort to party-political careerists and operators who are a main part of the problem. This is not said in the expectation that you will or should change your mind, or even make any response.

As far as outcomes in months and years ahead are concerned, voting YES for AV on May 5 is unlikely to be any better (to say the least) than voting NO.

13 April 2011 at 23:02  
Anonymous Voyager said...

This is a pathetic posting. Really it is funny, the Conservatives hold a leadership election and pay the Electoral Reform Society to act as scrutineers.

Lots of votes are handled through ERS - but not postal ballots, they are usually tampered with in mosques and Conservative, LibDem and Labour Councillors gaoled for interfering with them.....but the Returning Officer handles those and not ERS...and Warsi is off the wall.

Funny though when the Royal Duo visit a school in Darwen, Blackburn noone points out they were honoring Crapita which funded this Academy.....funny how the sponsored Royal Wedding with a guest list of sponsors does not get mentioned.

Nor do we hear about how much money it takes to buy a peerage in Cameron's new Britain.

This line trying to imply British referenda and elections are bought is a dangerous one for the Conservative Party after Lord Ashcroft bought so many marginal seats

13 April 2011 at 23:04  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@Mr J...

My passion for this issue comes from several sources but I hope primarily from my Christian conviction for fairness. FPTP is just downright UNFAIR & UNJUST. It is not fit for purpose. When arguments based purely on democratic merit are engaged AV simply wipes the floor against FPTP.

Secondly, my experience standing as an Independent PPC last year was utterly frustrating. Whilst I understood I never stood a chance of winning, time and time again I was told "I like what you're saying, but if I vote for you it'll let so-and-so in". Huge swathes of the population do not vote at all or do not vote for what they believe in because at present it feels as significant as pissing into the ocean. AV goes a tiny step to alleviating some of that. You really can vote for who you believe in as your 1st choice.

Thirdly, my passion is inflamed by the utter lies & misinformation that is being propagated overwhelmingly by the NO campaign. So many of the things they are saying are simply 100% FALSE. This post of Cranny's being a case in point. Even if this story were true, how does alter the case against the MERIT of AV or in favour of FPTP?

I ultimately think that even with AV it'll pretty much be "business as usual" at Westminster. I'm also of the mindset that thinks Westminster is largely just a sideshow now: faux-democracy; a distraction to occupy us whilst the real wheels of power turn in Brussels & at Bilderberg gatherings.

However, since the Titanic is going down anyway, we might as well make the way we arrange the deckchairs more orderly whilst we wait!

13 April 2011 at 23:23  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

I ultimately think that even with AV it'll pretty much be "business as usual" at Westminster. I'm also of the mindset that thinks
Rebel Saint said
I ultimately think that even with AV it'll pretty much be "business as usual" at Westminster. I'm also of the mindset that thinks Westminster is largely just a sideshow now: faux-democracy; a distraction to occupy us whilst the real wheels of power turn in Brussels & at Bilderberg gatherings.

However, since the Titanic is going down anyway, we might as well make the way we arrange the deckchairs more orderly whilst we wait!

13 April 2011 23:23

I agree with your sentiments, but not with your conclusion.

It is not a good idea to arrange the deck-chairs in a more orderly fashion whilst the helplessly powerless passengers wait for the ship to inevitably sink.

The best thing to do is for them all to get off of the now dangerously useless craft ASAP. Preferably with a life-jacket, or better still life-raft or life-boat.

You could try putting all your available cash into silver or some other precious metal, and investing much of the rest on essential provisions.

What you do not want to be doing is desperately deluding yourself that changing something which is simple, and is well understood into something that is complicated, and therefore can be more easily corrupted, is going to change anything for the better, just because it is a change.

Democracy is not the answer, democracy has long since been the problem.

Our greatest enemy is our own IGNORANCE. As THE TRUTH is our only salvation.

You might very well know that the powers that OWN this rock, as well as virtually all of the other ones, are secretly running the show from among many other places, some mega expensive 5 star Hotel, behind a security curtain containing countless numbers of highly armed guards.

However the vast majority do not have the slightest clue, and look at you like you have just escaped from the funny farm, as soon as you even suggest that such a thing, may be the case.

This has to stop, otherwise we will fully deserve exactly what we are undoubtedly going to be given.

Otherwise AV or NoAV absolutely nothing has the slightest chance of changing for the better. Indeed IMO, all proposed changes will continue to be designed to be for the cruel detriment of ordinary mankind.

14 April 2011 at 00:15  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

IMO this referendum is pointless.

We should have had 3 options not 2.

1. AV


3. No confidence in either.

Not only would this get the turn-out figures into their 80-90%'s, it would show us what the people really think about party political democracy, as we have most painfully come to know it

14 April 2011 at 00:24  
Blogger Paul Perrin (@pperrin) said...

@john in cheshire

Just goes to show that your judgement can't be trusted.

I wonder what else you have drawn false conclusions from?

14 April 2011 at 00:24  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Rebel Saint 23:23_Thank you for setting this out.

1) "Christian conviction for fairness"
2) " not vote at all or do not vote for what they believe in..."
3) "....lies & misinformation that is being propagated overwhelmingly by the NO campaign..."

Of those three I guess the one that rules the others is the first. May I respond (again not to counter or persuade) by mentioning that in being guided through the
prevailing state of affairs, including 2) and 3), I have found it helpful to take account of the interaction described in the Trial before Pilate. (If you happen to be interested see my comment of 8 April 2011 09:49 under "April 05, 2011 Oxford elevates atheists to the pulpit while removing chaplains".)

[If this is regarded as out of order, will the resident Archbishop please remove]

14 April 2011 at 00:31  
Anonymous Tony B said...

Is it £15 million or £1 million, your worship? How anyone can say fptp is a good system and keep a straight face is beyond me. This is very small beer compared with the billions of pounds of taxpayers money going to banks and funding giant and obscene bonuses, wouldn't you say?

14 April 2011 at 07:19  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Who pays George Osborne when he engages in actionable statements about the ERS ? Who indemnifies him from legal actions ?

It is remarkably funny for him to raise these issues when many people would love to know what private interests are sponsoring Lansley's Health Bill and particularly Clause 5:43 and Clause 22

14 April 2011 at 08:01  
Blogger Nigel Sedgwick said...

The thoughts of Dreadnaught, above at 13 April 2011 19:46, strike a chord with me.

I affirm Your Grace is indeed entitled to opinions with which I disagree (and of course the many with which I do agree), and to promulgate same in every case. Also, I affirm that Your Grace's writings are often informative, educational and even (though more rarely) corrective.

Sadly, however, I am concerned that Your Grace's thought processes (particularly as to the writing down of evidential truth), as well as Your Grace's processes corporeal, have become a little too ethereal for me.

In future, Your Grace will have to rely for my readership, on references and links from others who have a good opinion of each of Your Grace's particular views, rather than the more regular referrals assisted by that very modern interpretation of the 'bookmark'.

May the love of God remain for ever with you. And with all of us.

Best regards

14 April 2011 at 08:38  
Blogger Utar Efson said...

For the benefit of other communicants, it would appear that Paul Perrin is a UKIP candidate, and as we know UKIP are fully behind AV.

On a personal note, UKIP's support for AV (along with silly, parochial policies such as burqua ban) are the reason I shall not be voting for them in future elections

14 April 2011 at 08:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BBC Hate Crime

Is Your Grace aware that a BBC drama called 'The Crimson Petal and the White' has shown a Bible being torn apart and thrown into the fire?

Can we now expect the south Wales Police to arrest the DG of the BBC for this religious hate crime?

14 April 2011 at 09:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Electoral Reform Society supporting electoral reform. Yes, shocking...

14 April 2011 at 09:09  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

So -"it would appear that Paul Perrin is a UKIP candidate, and as we know UKIP are fully behind AV.

And the BNP ?

The British National Party will call on its supporters to vote “no” in a referendum to be held next year on changing Britain’s electoral system to the Alternative Voting (AV) system because it is fundamentally unfair to smaller parties.

HG also omits to inform the congregation that other cash supporters include such odd bed fellows as £400k from Peter Cruddas who 2pays UK tax 'when is is in the country' and -

ASLEF – The Train Drivers’ Union

Community – The Union for Life

GMB – General Union

Now what on earth does this lot have in common with the thrust of the OP I wonder - perhaps the element of Embarrassement

14 April 2011 at 09:38  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Interesting that not even an actuary would see Cranmer's point. There could be too many innocents abroad.

More interesting would be to know which side Common Purposer graduates are on: both is my guess, for reasons that can be surmised.

Maybe there are even UKIPper's who have graduated.

14 April 2011 at 09:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the reason that Cameron and the “no” campaign are barely muttering a complaint is that the whole exercise is a swindle. Lib/Lab/Con want AV to be nodded through to neuter the increasing support for smaller parties now that more and more people are waking up to fact that the three old parties are all singing from the same hymn sheet.

What we have now is a more refined version of the old Soviet style of ‘democracy’ – instead of one Communist Party to vote for every five years we have three parties whose key policies on the EU, globalisation and immigration are identical.

When you see the British National Party urging a “no” vote then it’s obvious that the status quo will be the beneficiaries of a change to the voting system.

Do not be fooled. Under AV votes for small parties will be reassigned (taken, stolen) and given to Lib/Lab/Con unless huge swathes of the electorate unite behind a small party and put it first on the ballot sheet.

Until we are offered a genuine proportional system then we should stick with FPTP.

14 April 2011 at 10:29  
Anonymous malvoisin said...

If the powers that be, have the power to place this before the people in a referendum you have got to ask yourself why? who will gain? Certainly not the people voting.

I think FPTP is the most fair system going, it is just that the electorate are pissed off with the politicians and not with the system, it is a statement in itself that the vast majority do not vote, as it does not matter as the three main parties are identical.

14 April 2011 at 10:37  
Anonymous MrJ said...

People who are clever with numbers like to count things (persons, beasts, commodities, anything at all) and treat the numbers they crunch as if they were the real things and record or predict conduct or behaviour. Up to a point it works; but AGW mock-science is a classic no-no.

People who are clever with numbers include psephologists, economists (sometimes) and actuaries.

Some impressionable people are more impressed by people who are clever with numbers and some by people who are not clever with numbers.

14 April 2011 at 10:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have recieved literature promoting the 'Yes' vote, correctly addressed with ALL my voting details and my number on the Electoral Register included.
Question:- Where did they obtain this information? I ticked a box which said - with- hold information from public register.
How come the 'Yes to AV' campaign has access to 'private' information?

14 April 2011 at 13:35  
Anonymous MrJ said...


By George! They've got it.

14 April 2011 at 15:09  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Utar Efson @ 08:38:

''...along with silly, parochial policies such as burqa ban''

'Parochial' might also mean : 'differing from' or 'not interfered with' by lunatic cosmopolitans' ...

14 April 2011 at 18:30  
Blogger Paul Perrin (@pperrin) said...

@Utar Efson

UKIP do not support a burqa ban - as a libertarian party, we don't think the state should be telling people what to wear.

What has been misrepresented as a burqa ban is a policy that broadly says all face coverings should be treated equally - crash-helmets, veils, ski-masks, hoodies etc. If it is OK to ban one of them in a particular area then it is OK to ban all of them.

Its not a big issue.

14 April 2011 at 20:27  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Anonymous: "I have recieved literature promoting the 'Yes' vote, correctly addressed with ALL my voting details and my number on the Electoral Register included.
Question:- Where did they obtain this information? I ticked a box which said - with- hold information from public register.
How come the 'Yes to AV' campaign has access to 'private' information?"

Well, today I got a No to AV campaign booklet addressed personally to me with my electoral register number on it. I'm not on the public register either.

15 April 2011 at 17:19  
Blogger Paul Perrin (@pperrin) said...

@anonymous, @DanJ0

As an pukka electoral campaign both the 'official' campaigns will have access to the full electoral register.

As official campaigns they will both also receive taxpayers money - a£380,000 grant from the electoral commission...

16 April 2011 at 00:12  

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