9:44 pm - July 18th 2008
My hasn’t Paul Staines (aka Guido Fawkes) been busy today.
Not only has he been desperately spinning the Charity Commission’s inquiry report into his allegations of impropriety at the Smith Institute for all he’s worth, in the vain hope that no one will notice that the whole thing has turned out to be the expected busted flush but he’s also found time to promote the website of a brand new Conservative Future front organisation.
The ‘Centre for Open Politics’ purports to ‘inspired’ by the work of the non-partisan Washington DC-based Sunlight Foundation, which works to promote openness and transparency in the American political system with a particular emphasis on mapping the influence of corporate funders and lobbyists in the US Congress.
In reality, the two founding members of the ‘Centre for Open Politics’ are Harry Cole, formerly the Vice-Chairman/Treasurer of Edinburgh University Conservative Future, and Amanda O’Brien who, earlier this year, was listed on campaign blog of Michael Rock, the current national Chairman of Conservative Future, as the Deputy Chairman of Essex Conservative Future.
Moreover, as an article posted at Conservative Home in July 2007 reveals, Cole spent much of last summer working out of Conservative Central Office with the previous Chairman of Conservative Future, Mark Clark, and Justine Greening MP, on the preparations for Conservative Future’s national Fresher’s Week recruitment drive and was even given his own e-mail address on the official conservatives.com domain.
Thinking the plot even further, registration information supplied for ‘Centre’s’ domain name indicates that it operates out of the Albion Buildings in Camden, the same location as EOS Online Media Ltd, owners of Messagespace.
And to compound the general impression that this supposed ‘Centre for Open Politics’ is anything but open or transparent, its website makes the claim that it is a non-profit company limited by guarantee, which it isn’t. There is currently no record of this ‘organisation’ on the Companies House register and, in registering the site’s domain as a UK Limited Company, it supplied its registrar, 123-reg.co.uk, with the false, but rather Shappsian, company number, 1234567. See update at end of post… but it remains to be seen whether they really have 1234567 as a company number.
The Centre for Dopey Conservative Future Students sole output, other than three scraped reports of press coverage of the Charity Commission’s inquiry report consists of a press release containing a list of questions all of which the Charity Commission address in their inquiry and announcement that Harry Cole, who describes himself somewhat pathetically as a ‘rappoteur’, has filed a complaint with the Electoral Commission alleging the Charity Commission’s report shows that Gordon Brown personally recieved an undeclared donation in kind from the Smith Institute in the form of the services of US pollster, Bob Shrum.
In view of this last announcement I shall be contacting the Electoral Commission, myself, to advise them of Cole’s undisclosed background in the confidence and advising them that there is ample evidence to suggest that Cole has submitted a wholly vexatious complaint. I shall also be contacting Nominet and his domain registrar, 123-reg, to advise them that the ‘Centre for Open Politics’ has submitted false information on registering the domain and should not, therefore, be listed as a UK Limited Company.
This leaves only one remaining question – is this really what Guido Fawkes, the self-styled, self-promoting scourge of the political classes has come to? Backing a false flag operation run by a pair of congenitally stupid members of Conservative Future in a desperate effort to perpetuate a third-rate smear campaign that has already, in its first incarnation, proved to be no more than a busted flush.
Pathetic doesn’t quite cover it, does it.
This just in from Guido by email…
Your piece on LibCon is materially and substantively wrong.
As you will realise on Monday when Companies house update their website..
Guido Fawkes Esq.
So the two CF stooges have got a company number after all and maybe, just maybe, they’ve found a registered office somewhere other than at the same address as Messagespace, none of which alters the fact that its a blatant false flag operation and anything but open, transparent or non-partisan.
A Check on the Companies House register of proposed companies names shows that registration documents were filed for the ‘Centre for Open Politics’ yesterday, but that they have yet to be allocated a company number – so they did supply a false company number on their domain registration.
Having revealed that the registered office address of the ‘Centre for Open Politics’ is the same as that of EOS Online Media Ltd, COPS has responded by replacing its opening statement with this .gif image, which does disclose their address.
Of course, by using an image for this information it means that it cannot be read and indexed by search engines, and there’s still no mention on the site of its founder’s connections to Conservative Future.
Someone need to urgently explain Healey’s law of holes to the Center for Dopey Conservative Students- when in one, stop digging!
My, my – its seems there’s more undisclosed information about Harry Cole that needs to be brought into the light in the interests of openness and transparency.
Further research shows that, on top of everythng else, Cole is also the Vice-President for Recruitment, Promotion and Expansion of Conservative Future Scotland and one of two elections officers for Conservative Future Sudent Life.
AND ANOTHER UPDATE
Guess who’s on Facebook?
Yes, its young Harry Cole – and my does he an interesting list of friends on Facebook. There’s Guido, naturally, and Iain Dale, Shane Greer, Donal Blaney, Tim Mongomerie and Sam Coates… you can figure out the rest.
'Unity' is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He also blogs at Ministry of Truth.
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