Philip James Woolas
Some commentators were saying that the only reason the case was brought before an election court was because the margin was so small – 103 votes. In fact I don’t think this would be the case. If the margin was greater but the winning candidate commited the same crime then the benefit of winning the case would be greater and the loser would get a bigger bloody nose. So more reason to take a case to court.
Another aspect that has made me think about the case and the law surrounding it is that the individual MP is the one who is punished, not the party. This being that the law originally comes from the Edwardian era of being a gentleman and only gentlemen of good standing would go through with the election process. But I suspect that MPs of that time were the same as the MPs of this time – corrupt but showing a thin veneer of respectibility. In modern times, the role of the party in organising and controlling MPs has become more prominent and more centralised. I think that as the party has quite a bit of say in the selection of candidates and in the help they give (centralised printing services for pamphlets for instance) then the party should also take some of the responsibility.
This is especially the case that the result of this case causes the production of future election pamphlets to go underground because election agents would not be prepared to do the research and check their sources to ensure that their facts were correct. Instead front organisations would be created and they would produce the scurrilous literature instead. So long as only the person can be punished by the election court then those who produce this underground election material would not get punished.
To ensure that this doesn’t happen, the election law has to be changed (just like all other laws are changed to cope with changes in society) to ensure that the party is punished too. That way even if independant non-attributable literature was published it would still be obvious which candidate it was backing and therefore it should be the responsibility of the party to ensure that all literature produced on their behalf was valid and correct.
The photo by the way is not a doctored, photoshopped image – its a “superimposition”.