New UK Standard: Prosecute Politicians for Telling Lies!

-edited

Boris Johnson has been summoned over lies he allegedly made during the Brexit Referendum campaign.

Mercy me, a politician lied during a political campaign. We cannot have that can we?

Let's crowdfund a private prosecution!

As absurd as that sounds, that's what's happening in the UK as Boris Johnson to Appear in Court over Brexit Misconduct Claims.

Boris Johnson has been summoned to court to face accusations of misconduct in public office over comments made in the run-up to the EU referendum.

The ruling follows a crowdfunded move to launch a private prosecution of the MP, who is the frontrunner in the Tory leadership contest.

Johnson lied and engaged in criminal conduct when he repeatedly claimed during the 2016 EU referendum campaign that the UK sent £350m a week to Brussels, lawyers for a 29-year-old campaigner, who launched the prosecution bid, told Westminster magistrates court last week.

A legal team assembled by Marcus Ball, who has accused the former foreign secretary of misconduct in public office and raised more than £200,000 to finance the prosecution, laid out their case in front of the district judge, Margot Coleman.

The case concerned the “now infamous claim” by Johnson about the £350m, according to Lewis Power QC, who said the case was not about preventing or delaying Brexit.

One-Sided Investigation

Making False Statements

In her written decision summoning Johnson to court, District Judge Margot Coleman also said: “The applicant’s case is there is ample evidence that the proposed defendant knew that the statements were false."

“I am satisfied there is sufficient to establish prima facie evidence of an issue to be determined at trial of this aspect. I consider the arguments put forward on behalf of the proposed defendant to be trial issues.”

Idiot's Proposal?

Madness?

Private Prosecution by a Crowdfunded Company

Bear in mind this is a private prosecution by a nonprofit crowdfunded company, 'Brexit Justice Limited'.

In an extraordinary development, the favourite to win the Tory leadership race faces a private prosecution by campaigner Marcus Ball.

Lawyers representing Mr Ball lodged an application to summon Mr Johnson to court, claiming he had deliberately misled the public during the Brexit referendum campaign in 2016 and then repeated the statement during the 2017 general election.

Mr Johnson strongly denies any wrongdoing, claiming the application was a "[political] stunt" designed to "undermine the referendum result".

"The reality of this enterprise is different. The 'Prosecutor' (a limited company) is 'Brexit Justice Limited'. Brexit Justice Limited is the product of a campaign to undermine the result of the Brexit referendum, and/or to prevent its consequences.

"The company and this application owe their existence to the desire on the part of individuals such as Mr Ball to undermine the referendum result. The 'Brexit justice' which is ultimately sought is no Brexit."

Mr Ball has raised more than £200,000 through a 'Brexit Justice' crowdfunding campaign to pay for the private prosecution.

Remainer Despotism

Finally, please consider the Legal Harassment of Boris Johnson Reeks of Remainer Despotismby Andrew Lilico.

Will David Cameron then be arrested for having said he would trigger Article 50 immediately following the election? Will George Osborne be taken to court for claiming a vote to leave would mean an emergency budget raising taxes and accompanied by interest rate hikes?

It shouldn’t matter to this discussion, but it’s also quite wrong to claim that the “£350 million sent to Brussels” claim was a lie.

The most straightforward of these is that that was indeed approximately the UK’s gross contribution to the EU budget. It just was. Saying “Ah, but we get a rebate” misses a fundamental point: the rebate is paid to the UK by the member states, not by the EU. The EU does not give us a discount on our membership fee; rather the member states pay us something in return.

If I send Fred £350 million per week, and then Jane and Eliza send me £100 million per week, that does not change the fact that I send Fred £350 million per week. It does mean that saying “I send Fred £350 million per week” is not the whole story, but it is not a lie.

Second, the £350 million claim is not a lie because in fact even when one takes the wider context into account, it’s roughly the correct amount. Critics of the figure say it neglects the rebate. But that criticism neglects the supposed accumulated “liabilities” that we’ve become aware of as the “divorce bill”. A little over half the £40 billion or so “divorce bill” takes that form. If we spread £23 billion in such “liabilities” over five years and add the weekly sum of that to the £250 million or so weekly sum, net of the rebate, then we come to about £340 million per week “sent to Brussels” as an overall net figure.

So it’s just wrong to call the £350 million figure a lie. It is not a “lie” in any sense. It is not a lie in that it was the literal amount, and it’s not a lie in that it was the overall amount once one took everything into consideration.

Absurd Process

Imagine taking Trump or Obama to the courts for lying. How about Hillary? Any Senator from any party?

Theoretically, there could be some merit to the idea if applied uniformly. Nearly all politicians are liars.

But what about CNN, the Washington Post, etc., etc., and all their fake news?

The downside is obvious. The courts would not have time to do anything but prosecute liars.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (13)
No. 1-12
Jcbl
Jcbl

As with the scorpion and the frog, it's the nature of politicians to lie.

flubber
flubber

Where will get our politicians if we won't let them lie?? I always thought lying was a prerequisite to become a politician.

Webej
Webej

Everybody lies. It is an essential step in developing self-consciousness as a child to grasp the difference between what you yourself think and what you are showing/telling to others. Not lying makes you severely autistic.

Everybody makes daily decisions about how to tell a story and what kinds of thoughts to filter out or funnel onward towards others. To what extent you are misleading others or breaking their trust is a complicated web of social interactions. Many people think that what we think of as intelligence (manipulating abstractions) is actually a corollary development to being able to play social games and gauge other people.

Quatloo
Quatloo

If this were the law in America, they would have to double the number of judges just to be able to hear all the new cases.

abend237-04
abend237-04

I see an opportunity here for effective deployment of AI, political polling and Cryptocurrency technologies: Politicians lie to us because we want them to, as long as the lies are original, credible and supportive of our anchored position on the issues being lied about.

"I did not have sex with that woman, Mrs. Lewinski" and "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor" are notable recent examples of this phenomenon at work on important issues of the time.

What's missing, and what the voting public deserves, is a respected lie rating system, one that uses leading edge distributed ledger technology to test for originality, along with a real-time polling module to test for credibility with the public being lied to. The AI module would simply use all available data to confirm that a political statement is indeed a lie.

Lies could then be placed on a ten point number line, one being harmless white lies unworthy of mention up to ten, being a Hitler-scale whopper. You're Welcome.

RonJ
RonJ

It seems they should summon all the operatives of Project Fear.

themonosynaptic
themonosynaptic

Maybe politicians should be concerned about lying to us. Maybe we should hold them to a better standard than "You can lie, repeatedly, even though it has been shown, repeatedly, that you are lying yet do not care."

If I lied to one of my employees repeatedly, even after the lie had been debunked and I was well aware that it was a lie, I'd probably be fired. I'd certainly not expect my application to be the next CEO to be unaffected.

Why do you want to hold politicians who hold power that we give them to a different standard than all of the rest of us are held to?

WildBull
WildBull

The Russians put him up to it. There needs to be an investigation!!!! Perhaps some of his colleagues and friends can be intimidated into purgering themselves and be thrown in jail.

leicestersq
leicestersq

I believe that Boris Johnson was placed at the head of the Leave campaign as a way of sabotaging it. His Brexit credentials seem dubious at best.

I suspect too that the claim on the bus was put there so that the remain camp could exploit the statement.

This latest case is no doubt an attempt to get Boris into power so that he can now sabotage Brexit itself. The publicity will do him no harm and a lot of people believe that he is really for a hard Brexit. I don't believe it and will only change my mind when Brexit actually happens.

killben
killben

"The courts would not have time to do anything but prosecute liars."

While the lawyers on both sides are paid by the parties concerned, since tax-payers fund the judges, rent for the courts and other associated costs during the hearing, can tax-payers bring a case against the judges who allow such cases to be taken up and also judges who hear such cases as a case of knowingly they have wasted tax-payers money (another form of knowingly lying and cheating).

davebarnes
davebarnes

On the other hand, it is Boris.

Jackula
Jackula

LOL! I needed some comedy relief today!