Yes, you read that right. Michael Crick has published a post on his blog worthy of a political editor, and has hit the nail on the head about an obvious injustice towards UKIP:
Alan Bown and Michael Brown - spot the difference(s)
Spot the difference(s)
Case A: Alan Bown gave a political party
1) It was his money
2) He had a business trading in this
country, making him eligible to donate money
3) He was not on the electoral
register when he donated although he was the year before, and also the year
Case B: Michael Brown gave a political party £2.4m
was not his money, he had defrauded it
2) His business was not trading in
the UK, so therefore he was ineligible to donate money
3) He was not on the
electoral register; neither was he the year afterwards, nor the year before.
Do you see the difference(s)?
Well the main difference is that the
Electoral Commission has doggedly pursued the Alan Bown donation, and today won
an appeal forcing the party to give up the money, despite a judge previously
ruling that the political party that received it had acted in good faith.
In the Michael Brown case the Electoral Commission has always maintained
the political party acted in good faith and need not repay money. Although
following the criminal proceedings against Mr Brown they have re-opened an
investigation, it has not had yet had any result and they have not managed to
say when, if ever, it will.
Oh yes there is one other difference:
This year the Political Parties and Elections Act went through
Parliament, and among other things it restructured the Electoral Commission and
gave it new funding and powers.
The political party in Case A, UKIP, has
no MPs and only three representatives in the House of Lords (where the
government has no majority and is particularly vulnerable to amendments).
The political party in Case B, the Liberal Democrats, has 63 MPs and 71
members of the House of Lords (where the Government has no majority and is
particularly vulnerable to amendments).
At least those are the
difference that I can see. Perhaps you can you suggest others?"