More on Green sex for votes plan

Frog has responded to my post on their cunning sex for votes plan. Frog claims:

Here at Frog though there’s a long distance between going on a date with someone, which the original post discussed, and having sex. In fact it’s a traverse that I often fail to cross.

What is not clear is whether this long distance often not traversed is voluntary on Frog’s part, or due to rebuffs from other frogs. This may be making a virtue out of necessity 🙂

Frog also defends the reputation of Greenies:

I do need to assure readers that you can tell the difference when/if you eventually get to sleep with a Green – only Greens believe in true sustainability and making things last.

I am tempted to put this down to skiting, but then consider than a well known Greenie is animal rights activist and vegan Heather Mills. And what is in the news today about Heather:

“Heather was insatiable, she demanded sex six times a night.

“I’d come home to find her waiting naked in bed. She had a hoard of vibrators for when she was home alone. Her favourite was a huge back massager that she plugged into the mains.

Well a mains power supply will certainly make things last. I just hope it was windmill powered not coal powered.

Anyway returning to the main issue of the t-shirts saying “I only date girls/boys who vote Green”, it has occured to me that this may be an illegal advertisement under the Electoral Finance Act. Let’s look at what the law says:

S5(1) para (a)(i) says :

“election advertisement means any form of words or graphics, or both, that can reasonably be regarded as … encouraging or persuading voters to vote, or not to vote, for 1 or more specified parties or for 1 or more candidates or for any combination of such parties and candidates”

Now a t-shirt slogan is a form of words or graphics. Can it be reasonably regarded as encouraging people to vote Green? Well most definitively – it refers to vote Green and a reasonable person would regard the enhanced prospect of a date as encouragement. If those wearing the shirts were hideously ugly you might be able to argue it doesn’t, but the t-shirt wearers all semmed pleasantly attractive.

So next we ask has this advertisement been published?

For this we look at S4(1):

publish, in relation to an advertisement, means to—
(b) issue, hand out, or display, to the public; or

Well clearly the t-shirts are on display, so they have been published.

And what sort of election advertisement are they. Again S4(1) says:

party advertisement means any form of words or graphics, or both, that can reasonably be regarded as encouraging or persuading voters … to vote for the party (whether or not the name of the party is stated):

So it is not just an election advertisement, but a party advertisement. So in what way is it breaking the law?

s63(2) states:

No promoter may, during a regulated period, publish, or cause or permit to be published, any election advertisement unless—
(a) the advertisement contains a statement that sets out the name and address of the promoter of the advertisement; and
(b) the promoter is entitled to promote the advertisement.

There is no name and address on the t-shirt, so the t-shirts clearly are breaking the law. That is an illegal practice under S63(4).

But as it is a party advertisement, further laws have been broken probably:

S65(1) says “A promoter must not publish, or cause or permit to be published, an election advertisement that encourages or persuades, or appears to encourage or persuade, voters to vote for a party unless the publication of the advertisement … is authorised in writing by the financial agent of the party”

Has the Green Party financial agent approved the t-shirts in writing? If not that is another law broken.

And finally, do the Greens need to include the cost of those t-shirts as part of their election expenses? Yes, if they approved the t-shirts. S94(1) defines it as an election expense.

Now the London Greens have real issues if they have incurred this election expense without permission (in writing) of the Financial Agent as required by s96 para (a). You see under s97(i) this is automatically at least an illegal practice and if done wilfully it is a corrupt practice.

And no this would not have been an issue under the old Electoral Act 1993, as the definition of a party’s election activity in S214B(1) was not “any form of words or graphics” but publishing of notices, posters, pamphlets, handbills, billboards and cards, plus newspaper, TV and radio advertising.

And the authorisation requirement in the old S221(1) is even more narrow:

“… no person shall publish or cause or permit to be published in any newspaper, periodical, poster, or handbill, or broadcast or cause or permit to be broadcast over any radio or television station, any advertisement which … encourages or persuades or appears to encourage or persuade voters to vote for a party registered under Part 4 of this Act.”

So that clearly is not a t-shirt. The t-shirts would have been fine before the passing of the Electoral Finance Act. Now they appear to have committed two or three illegal acts and potentially one corrupt act.

Isn’t it somewhat sad that those Green supporters can’t wear a fun t-shirt that promotes their party, without breaking the law?

UPDATE: A reader has found a more detailed photo of the shirts on Facebook, and it seems the Greens are aware they are an election ad and have authorised them.  Full marks to the Greens for realising the extent of the law they voted for.  It does make the shirts look a bit silly though:

They may still have a problem though. If my memory is correct 16 Cambridge Terrace is the office of the Green Party.  And the law requires financial agents to use their home residential address, not their work address. So time to get the twink out.

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