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Small Business letter to the Telegraph; an attempt to defraud the electorate?

April 27, 2015

How the letter from small business owners to the Telegraph in support of the Tories fell apart

UPDATE 21:00 The list is back up. Scanning it for changes. It was down for a good twenty minutes, then briefly up then disappeared again and now it is back up. No possibility of mistaken http, as it was open on my desktop when it suddenly refreshed to this. What is going on?

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UPDATE 20:30 on 28/4: The Telegraph has finally taken down the list of businesses which purported to have signed the letter. The link is now dead. The letter is still on their website, but the link to the signatories leads nowhere. No statement or apology has been issued as far as I am aware – from The Telegraph, CCHQ or Karen Brady.

The Charity Commission has become involved now, writing to charities it has identified from the list. A spokesperson for the Commission said:

“Signing a letter in support of a political party is not a legitimate activity for a charity… The commission will decide what further action, if any, is necessary once the charities have responded.”

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UPDATE 17:15 on 28/4: It turns out that small business owners have been polled on a selection of subjects related to the election and the results make for very interesting reading – a neat way to close this thread.

You can see the full results of the research here – it involves a reasonably sized and representative sample of real owners of real small businesses, rather than party members, candidates, cronies, retirees, volunteers, barristas, funeral parlour consultants, people who never signed it, people who have asked to be taken out, dissolved and liquidated businesses, people who responded four times, ghosts and the neighbour’s dog.

As of the time of writing this, tha names of the two charities who have issued public statements demanding to be taken off the list, still appear on the list. I guess the Telegraph is past caring.

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UPDATE 09:45 on 28/4: I have now received a reply from another charity I contacted, included in the letter, The Marsha Phoenix Memorial Trust. Here is the full statement from the Director of the trust, Rebecca Long:

The Marsha Phoenix Memorial Trust is listed as one of the 5,000 businesses who are “signatories” to a letter supporting the conservative government published in today’s Telegraph Newspaper. I can categorically state that;

– We have been included on the list without our knowledge or consent and have contacted the conservative party and the Telegraph to demand that our organisation is removed from this list.

– The Trust is a very small charity and not a small business. It should not and should never appear on any list of political endorsements such as the one published in the Telegraph of apparent owners of small businesses. We do not and have not made any such political endorsement today or at any other time.

– No one at the charity has been authorised to sign such a document on our behalf, nor would they ever be.

– The named signatory is an employee of the Trust who has confirmed she has not been approached to be signatory to such a letter as a small business owner. We believe our and her inclusion on this list is some sort of error.

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UPDATE 07:30 on 28/4: A reader has done additional work on duplication. You can see it here.

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UPDATE 20:55: Here is a list of dozens of businesses included as signatories which are dissolved or in liquidation, courtesy of @barnybug. A wonderful advertisement of the effectiveness of the policies which they, apparently, endorse.

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UPDATE 20:00: I am beginning to have very serious doubts as to how many of even the legitimate businesses on the list actually signed anything. Aurum Solutions have issued a statement. Their sales director received an email from Brady “and recalls clicking on the link to find out more”. That’s it. He does not recall signing anything and denies strongly providing any information about the company. Could it be that this was merely an aggressive piece of spamming, where database entries referring to people and their workplace were signed up to this shambles at the mere click of the link?

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UPDATE 17:15: Diverse Cymru have now demanded to be taken off the list.

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There is a lot, so I’ll be brief.

Huge thanks to the many people on Twitter who sent me discrepancies all day, as they discovered them.

The day started with the Conservatives and the Prime Minister claiming a major victory.

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Things soon began to unravel, when it emerged that this wasn’t the unsolicited, spontaneous combustion of love from small business to the Tories, which had been presented. In fact the Conservative Party had generated the letter and asked its members to sign it.

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Things got much more tangled up when it was discovered that the background document, containing the names and signatures of the “small business owners” on the Telegraph website, still bore the metadata tags of Conservative Campaign Headquarters.

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Say what you want, claimed a Tory councillor to me. The source is not important. What is important is the message.

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A significantly more charitable attitude than the one the Conservatives had adopted with regard to the letter from NHS professionals. 20150427-162357.jpg

Then, the list itself began to be scrutinised. Nobody has done a thorough review of the list yet. This is just a cursory scan which only reveals the tip of the iceberg. And a pretty substantial iceberg is seems to be.

First came the realisation that there were many duplications.

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In fact there were so many that someone began to compile a full list. Here is what it contained last I saw it.

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Shambles, you say? You can say that again. Oh, you did.

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Strangely, the Telegraph took it upon itself to excise the list of duplications. No correction or apology. Just selective deletion. I find this incredibly sinister. Around 11am this duplication appeared.

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By midday it was gone. The number 3241, simply omitted.

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It was all fun and games, so far, but then it started to get serious. It turned out, some businesses had not signed the letter at all. Andrew Neil on the BBC’s  Daily Politics programme, confronted David Gauke with the fact that simply looking over the first forty or so names of the list, he identified at least four occasions on which the signatory did not own or hold any shares in the company.

This began to expose the more significant problems with who signed the letter and on behalf of whom. I am no captain of industry but people who own a small business tend to describe themselves as the owner or the proprietor. Perhaps managing director or general secretary at a push. They do not tend to describe themselves – the selection below is, again, from a cursory glance – as “consultant” (what does a consultant do at a funeral parlour, exactly?), “admin”, “payroll”, “office manager”, “office assistant”, “executive assistant”, “medical director”, “academy director”, “Chief Inspiration Officer” (a what, now?), “site manager” of a regional dept, “sub postmaster” of a branch.

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I am not suggesting that all those people don’t do valuable jobs, of course. But small business owners, they ain’t. And, however loose your criteria, you have to draw the line at people who are explicit about being retired, on one occasion, for 20 years.

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All this makes one terribly suspicious as to whether the companies being signed up and splashed across the Telegraph even knew they were. And it should have made The Telegraph suspicious, when one of those small business owners described himself as a waiter.

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Did Deane’s Restaurant Group know that they had been signed up as Conservative supporters on a national broadsheet by a barrista of one of their Belfast cafes? It seems not.

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Aurum Solutions certainly did not know anything about it, as the real owner made quite clear. And the person who was meant to have signed it, even, had not.

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David Gauke tried to make light of the discrepancies and suggested that the letter “was signed by people of no political background”. That is also, however, inaccurate. One of the entries of “small businesses” is actually the “Stanley Ward Conservative Club”.

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I have spoken to at least two Conservative councillors who signed the letter. And remember Ben Manton? The barrista from Belfast who “misread the form”? Well, he is the Conservative parliamentary candidate for his constituency.

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A cursory glance of the list reveals no less than seven Conservative parliamentary candidates: Selaine Saxby, Rebecca Pow, Chris Pearson, Iain McGill, Ben Manton, Nicola Wilson and Keith Dewhurst.

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Keith Dewhurst, astonishingly, signs the letter as the Chair of a Welsh charity which helps people with disabilities. Since when does the chair of a charity “own” it as a “small business”? And what position does that leave a charity in, which is meant to be apolitical, both ethically and under the Charities Commission’s rules?

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Again, a light search of the list yielded at least seven charities, which nobody owns and, certainly, for the political affiliations of which nobody can speak, including:

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I have sought comment from them and have so far not had a response.

Certainly, questions will continue to be asked, especially about CCHQ’s use of this data. This was the disclaimer at the bottom of their letter.

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The more one looks at this list, the more the conclusion that it is a deliberate attempt to deceive the electorate becomes inescapable. Certainly, it is an example of hugely shoddy journalism from The Telegraph – if I, as a novice and on my own, can find this stuff out in a few hours, they should have in ten minutes. Their headline still reads “huge boost for Cameron as 5000 small businesses…” BLAH BLAH, as they correct the list provided to them by CCHQ and published unchecked. Not a shred of integrity.

It is funny, but it is also tragic and sinister.

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84 Comments leave one →
  1. April 27, 2015 5:45 pm

    Thanks. Amazing how the Telegraph has ditched reporting and proper journalism for pure (though clumsy) propoganda! Regards Thom.

  2. April 27, 2015 5:48 pm

    Reblogged this on The Vision of the Pension Playpen and commented:
    Pension PlayPen is one of millions of small businesses that did not sign the Small Business Letter.

  3. April 27, 2015 6:19 pm

    Cracking piece Alex. Just a small correction: a sub-postmaster most certainly is a business owner. They hold a Post Office licence in much the same way that a Subway or McDonalds franchise owner operates as an independent business. But on the whole, as I said, brilliant forensic dissection of the article in question.

    • April 27, 2015 7:43 pm

      Whilst this is technically true, I think it would be misleading if the fact that one sub-postmaster signed such a letter were taken to mean that the entirety of the Royal Mail (hardly a small business) supported the Conservatives. But of course that is exactly what the Tories and the Telegraph would present it as.

  4. April 27, 2015 6:23 pm

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  5. April 27, 2015 6:33 pm

    Good piece – I did some data crunching and found at least 50 of the entries are dissolved companies too: https://twitter.com/barnybug/status/592647850988838912

  6. April 27, 2015 6:52 pm

    At one level, I expect CCHQ to do such a half-baked stunt, it’s an election period.

    But what is perturbing is that people in the media are so craven, lazy or stupid you take your pick, that CCHQ could have listed characters from Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and the Old Testament and the Telegraph and co would still print it without criticism.

    Not even a “CCHQ has published a list…” in order to distance themselves from it. I have heard anecdotes (friend of a friend etc) about how the DT is merely a sewage outflow pipe for the Tory Party these days but it’s pretty shocking to see it confirmed in print.

    And then BBC swallows it all without comment as well.

    Worrying times.

    • anon permalink
      April 29, 2015 12:54 pm

      The BBC swallowing it is likely because those practising undemocratic politics (Toryism is about aristocracy) will likely also practice unfair media clamp-downs, and the BBC know it. So they report it in a way that comes across as somewhat uncritical, though if I had heard from the BBC that the Torygraph had done this stunt I would have assumed the Torygraph was being its usual anti-social self. A big version of the Sun, basically.

      This is a good piece on conservatism, it has the usual US spin to it, but the general ideas apply:
      http://polaris.gseis.ucla.edu/pagre/conservatism.html

  7. April 27, 2015 6:53 pm

    Brilliant work – thanks! I’ve e-mailed several of the trusts/charities asking if they are happy for a member of their staff to “sign” this letter and have their organisation’s name associated with it; wonder if I’ll get any reply.

  8. telescoper permalink
    April 27, 2015 7:18 pm

    Reblogged this on In the Dark and commented:
    This unravelling story shows that the Conservative Party’s campaign is both inept and dishonest. Initially I though it was hilarious but now it’s getting very serious indeed.

  9. April 27, 2015 7:22 pm

    Very good. Your link to Aurum solutions in the 20.00 update is missing a : in the http://

  10. April 27, 2015 7:25 pm

    What a great read! The Tories are proving as bad at running a campaign as they have been at running Britain!

  11. Joe Public permalink
    April 27, 2015 7:28 pm

    Great investigation.

    However: ” an attempt to defraud the electorate?” Methinks the electorate isn’t quite so gullible.

    ” an attempt to mislead the Telegraph?” now that may be worth investigating.

  12. April 27, 2015 7:29 pm

    Re 20:00 update ‘Could it be that this was merely an aggressive piece of spamming ?’ – Grant Shapps written all over it !

  13. Stuart Nixon permalink
    April 27, 2015 7:45 pm

    I once sold something on ebay, don’t know if that makes me a small business owner by Tory criteria but if so i’m happy to go on record as someone who would never back Cameron and co

  14. John Ward permalink
    April 27, 2015 7:54 pm

    A bloody brilliant blog deserving 3000 threads not 3. Fantastic and lucid timeline. Great stuff.

  15. Craig permalink
    April 27, 2015 8:08 pm

    Number 1182 is a Tory former Peterborough City Councillor who campaigns on behalf of virulently anti -equal marriage MP Stewart Jackson. Not exactly ‘ non -political ‘.

  16. April 27, 2015 8:09 pm

    Been following this all day; if it had been Labour there would have been news coverage, I’m sure.

  17. Ben permalink
    April 27, 2015 8:15 pm

    Very interesting & thorough stuff!

    There’s also someone on the list who appears to be a recent ex-employee of CCHQ. Listed at No.4463 is Gary Chamberlain (MD of The Printing Shed) who used to be Head of Print & Design at CCHQ until November 2014, according to his LinkedIn profile.

    Also at No.4679 is Stephen Mold (MD, Ubershop Ltd) who was the Tory candidate for Derby North in the 2010 election, as well their East Midlands Regional Chairman in 2011. It’s amazing what putting the person’s name & their business into google can chuck up! Both the Telegraph & CCHQ have made schoolboy errors in not checking their list, but then it seems CCHQ were far keener in mining data & using any which way they fancied.

  18. Alex Fleming permalink
    April 27, 2015 8:17 pm

    The person Niki Molnar who signed this letter, and owns a business in administration according to your Google Doc may well be this person http://www.conservativewomen.org.uk/peo_details.asp?peo_id=22

  19. April 27, 2015 8:40 pm

    You deserve to be paid by someone for your valiant efforts. Perhaps crowd funding?

    • April 27, 2015 8:56 pm

      That would be great. Just to have my roof fixed. I won’t have to run from Lands’ Emd to somewhere, will I?

  20. April 27, 2015 8:47 pm

    Excellent piece of research sir! Very well done. Demonstrates the depths the tories will fall to in their desperation. Thanks.

  21. April 27, 2015 8:52 pm

    Telegraph in the gutter and owned by reclusive non-dom tax-exiles who support the Tory party now photocopying Tory propaganda mastheaded by the Tory enobled employee of a pornographer and peddler of fantasy weather-forecasts and a financial supporter of UKIP. It must be time to wake up, this dream is stupid.

  22. Peter Cordwell permalink
    April 27, 2015 8:58 pm

    Bunch of shits.

  23. April 27, 2015 9:06 pm

    Thank you for this – you’ve utterly destroyed the Tories’ outrageously fraudulent propaganda exercise and given me the best laugh I’ve had in weeks.

  24. April 27, 2015 9:22 pm

    Reblogged this on I Am Iamhanuman's Blog.

  25. April 27, 2015 9:36 pm

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

  26. Interested Party permalink
    April 27, 2015 9:49 pm

    889. Chestnut Planning is apparently “dissolved”: https://www.duedil.com/company/04223639/chestnut-planning-ltd

  27. April 27, 2015 9:50 pm

    Reblogged this on Freudian Slippers.

  28. Rachel Collinson permalink
    April 27, 2015 10:25 pm

    I do think that some of these charity owners ought to be prosecuted under the Tories’ very own Lobbying Act. For it is this act that prevents charities being partisan towards any political party and in this case the charity signatories to this letter have committed a criminal offence.

    Not that I think this should be the case, of course.

  29. April 27, 2015 10:30 pm

    I think the Tories might have broken their own website Privacy policy. The questionnaire on the Tories website:

    https://www.conservatives.com/businessletter

    refers directly to this policy at the bottom of the page:

    “Your responses and contact details are used in accordance with **our Data Collection and Use policy**. By clicking “submit” you agree to your responses and email address being used in accordance with that policy. We will not share your details with anyone outside the Conservative Party. ”

    I’ve added the pairs of asterisks to indicate the start and end of the text that is a link to their privacy policy:

    https://www.conservatives.com/Privacy.aspx

    Some selected passages from that:

    “…

    Data Collection and Use

    The Conservative Party strives to meet ‘P3P’ standards (the ‘Platform for Privacy Preferences Project’) on data privacy. We are the sole owner of any information we collect. We never sell, share, or rent this information unless we first disclose the fact in this privacy statement. We collect data in nine different ways.

    Online Polls and Q&A Informational Sites

    The Party, from time to time, hosts Online Surveys and Question and Answer (Q&A) Informational Sites on our website. The data you provide in response to questions asked on these sites will be retained by the Party in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and related legislation. We will use the data you provide to:

    a) improve our understanding of political life in the United Kingdom;

    b) compile and provide anonymous statistics about voters in the United Kingdom;

    c) facilitate our operation as a political party; and

    d) help the Party in developing policies to include in manifestos for elections.

    For Q&A Informational Sites we will also use your responses to provide you with tailored information on the relevant subject area.

    In addition we may also ask you for your contact details such as your email address. By entering your contact details you agree to receive communications from us, from which you can opt-out using the “unsubscribe” link in each email we send or using the contact details at the top of this privacy notice. We will not share your details with anyone outside the Conservative Party. In addition we may use your responses in the survey to keep you informed about issues that matter to you.

    If you wish to participate in an Online Survey, or make use of a Q&A Informational Site, in addition to your answers, we collect your Internet Protocol (IP) address. This data will be used to help validate the results and help prevent multiple entries from individuals. In addition to this a cookie will be placed on your system after participating in an Online Survey or Q&A Informational Site. No identifiable information will be stored in this cookie. If you wish to participate in an an Online Survey or Q&A Informational Site, in addition to your answers, we collect your Internet Protocol (IP) address. This data will be used by ourselves and our agents to help validate the results and help prevent multiple entries from individuals. In addition to this a cookie will be placed on your system after participating in a poll or survey. No identifiable information will be stored in this cookie.
    Log Files and Statistics

    We use IP addresses, URI’s of requested resources, timestamps and HTTP user-agents to analyse trends, administer the system and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use.”

    So they “…never sell, share, or rent this information unless we first disclose the fact in this privacy statement” and “…from time to time, hosts Online Surveys and Question and Answer (Q&A) Informational Sites on our website… to:

    a) improve our understanding of political life in the United Kingdom;

    b) compile and provide anonymous statistics about voters in the United Kingdom;

    c) facilitate our operation as a political party; and

    d) help the Party in developing policies to include in manifestos for elections.”

    Nothing there about compiling and sharing that data with a 3rd party organisation. And in the case where someone has clicked on a link in an e-mail address but not completed the form yet ended-up on the letter, this seems to preclude that too:

    “We use IP addresses, URI’s of requested resources, timestamps and HTTP user-agents to analyse trends, administer the system and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use.”

    Using IP addresses for identification purposes isn’t “broad demographic” or “aggregate” use!

  30. josh brolin permalink
    April 27, 2015 11:34 pm

    Why is it the BBC News were just simply reporting the alleged 5000 businesses supporting the Tories and made no mention of the irregularities?

  31. April 27, 2015 11:38 pm

    Top of the class goes to Michea Withers who seems very keen, 4 entries;

    Michae Withers M.d. Sefton Meadows ltd. North West,
    Michae Withers M.d. Microse Ltd North West,
    Michae Withers M.d. TRADEWINDS Europe ltd North West,
    Michae Withers M.d. Trans-Continental Group ltd North West

    Here are a couple of triple entries…

    Simon Sales Director Landscapeplus Ltd South East
    Simon Sales Director Unseen Webteam South East
    Simon Sales Director Waterwell Limited South East

    Robert Freeman Director DW WiFi South West
    Robert Freeman Managing Director Eagle Europe South West
    Robert Freeman Director Hermes Systems South West

    And cause it’s past my bedtime, these are some of the other duplicate names.
    Remember some of these will just be different people with the same name.

    3 Simon Sales
    3 Robert Freeman
    3 Richard Williams
    3 Jens Bojen
    3 David Wright
    3 David Rushton
    3 David Jones
    3 David Allen
    3 Christian Baker
    3 Andrew Craig
    2 William Notcutt
    2 Warren Lister
    2 Tony Iles
    2 Terry Baron
    2 Stuart Smith
    2 Stuart Heath
    2 Stuart Caldecourt
    2 Stephen Potter
    2 Scott Richardson
    2 Sam Amrani
    2 Russell Thompson
    2 Rudolph Diesel
    2 Roy Burman
    2 Robin Johnson
    2 Robert and
    2 Richard Woods
    2 Richard Silberbauer
    2 Richard Long
    2 Philip Porter
    2 Peter Wood
    2 Peter Haig
    2 Peter Davies
    2 Peter Brown
    2 Peter Booth
    2 Paul Reach
    2 Paul Morgan
    2 Paul Holmes
    2 Paul Davis
    2 Paul Bennett
    2 Patrick Bogue
    2 Owen Butcher
    2 Oliver Marshall
    2 Nigel Stephenson
    2 Neil Wilson
    2 Neil Fraser
    2 Nathan Davis
    2 Muzibur Rahman
    2 Michael White
    2 Michael Wall
    2 Michael Jones
    2 Michael Holland
    2 Martyn Hale
    2 Mark Thompson
    2 Mark Smith
    2 Mark Mitchell
    2 Mark Mason
    2 Mark Hook
    2 Mark Clough
    2 Mark Bailey
    2 Margaret Allen
    2 Lew Bingham
    2 Leslie Costar
    2 Lee Parker
    2 Lee Jones
    2 Lance Adams
    2 Kim Radford
    2 Kevin Armstrong
    2 John Read
    2 John Green
    2 John Davies
    2 John Calvert
    2 Joanne Burns
    2 Jason Perry
    2 James Waterhouse
    2 James Morgan
    2 James Lauchlan
    2 James Espey
    2 Ian White
    2 Ian Smith
    2 Ian Johnson
    2 Greg Jones
    2 Graham Webb
    2 Gill Sabine
    2 Geoffrey Shaw
    2 David Taylor
    2 David Stevens
    2 David Orr
    2 David Lilley
    2 David Jackson
    2 David Harper
    2 David Hardman
    2 David Grant
    2 David Filmer
    2 David Evans
    2 David Dundas
    2 David Blunt
    2 David Batten
    2 Christopher Watson
    2 Chris Parker
    2 Chris Emes
    2 Catherine Williams
    2 Arthur Kay
    2 Anthony Williams
    2 Andy Kingston
    2 Andy Hill
    2 Andrew Sutcliffe
    2 Andrew Moffat
    2 Andrew Mansson-Lowe
    2 Andrew Gardiner
    2 Andrew Davison
    2 Alfred Yazdiha

    • ChrisH permalink
      April 29, 2015 12:01 pm

      No mention of Michael Green or Sebastian Fox, but I’m guessing many of the above could be further Grant Schapps aliases.

    • April 30, 2015 6:17 pm

      It’s certainly suspicious, but the same person as a director of multiple businesses is possible. “Simon Sales” is an awkward name to have but possible, and one guy could be a director of three companies, maybe an accountant filling out the board to keep the paperwork straight. Current law means a private limited company needs only one director, which is not what I was used to. Anyway, there is a “Simon Sales” on Linkedin, only one, who matches the company names, and has a fourth company in his Linkedin entry

      So CCHQ has certainly triple-counted one businessman. And the claim was “5000 small-business owners“. The same business could have multiple owners, but this unusual name was so easy to check.

      The implication is that CCHQ didn’t check. It’s very possible that all they wanted was a magical 5000 total.

      The current one-director rule takes away one of the neutral reasons for multiple directorships, but it’s hard to avoid wondering how many of the multiple entries have a less than honest motive, even if older rules still applied. If you ran a corner shop, it might make sense to have the property held by one company and the retail business itself as another, but the result can be called sound planning or fraud, depending on what happens. After all, it’s what Tesco do.

      So what can we make of these multiple entries?

  32. April 28, 2015 12:00 am

    Reblogged this on Beyond The Blog .

  33. April 28, 2015 6:39 am

    Reblogged this on Sometimes, it's just a cigar and commented:
    It’s been a good week for citizen journalism.

  34. April 28, 2015 6:55 am

    Reblogged this on markcatlin3695's Blog.

  35. April 28, 2015 6:57 am

    Reblogged this on markcatlin3695's Blog.

  36. April 28, 2015 7:55 am

    Excellent work. Though I sincerely hope there are two people called Rudolph Diesel.

  37. April 28, 2015 8:26 am

    WOW. I would like to say that I am surprised. ….

  38. April 28, 2015 8:26 am

    Reblogged this on Life with Two Pickles. and commented:
    Disgusting.

  39. Peter Cordwell permalink
    April 28, 2015 8:55 am

    Got to get rid of this lot. There’s never been a crew as motley as them.

  40. April 28, 2015 9:14 am

    Seriously great piece of journalism, thank you.

  41. April 28, 2015 10:21 am

    Reblogged this on nearlydead.

  42. April 28, 2015 12:49 pm

    Excellent detailed blogging, Alex.

    I looked at the solicitors on the list: they all checked out (insofar they they were currently registered at the SRA). One of the solicitors was a sole practitioner with no registered employees, and a couple of others only had one other employee.

    Overall, only one firm of solicitors had more than 10 employees.

    I also looked at other law-related listees. One was an “attorney-at-law” for whom I can find no official details, whilst another seems to simply run a paralegal agency where everyone would appear to be self-employed.

    No smoking guns though, though some points of concern. So this comment is for completeness.

  43. April 28, 2015 1:20 pm

    You’re gonna LOVE this one. Number 27 on the list is Jonathan Glanz of 45 West – a company dealing in overly expensive properties in central London. He’s also a director of a second London property firm called 7 Cosway Street – https://www.companiesintheuk.co.uk/company/find?q=jonathan+glanz&s=s

    Here’s the good bit – He’s also a Conservative councillor in the West End of London! Why not ask him about it on Twitter? https://twitter.com/jonathanglanz

  44. April 28, 2015 2:18 pm

    This is a fantastic slice of investigative journalism.

  45. jeff permalink
    April 28, 2015 2:53 pm

    Idiots

  46. Brian maguire permalink
    April 28, 2015 3:00 pm

    Appalled the beeb havent updated this in their election news and get one of the tories top people in for a grilling..

    • Ben cohen permalink
      April 28, 2015 6:30 pm

      Andrew Neil did on the Daily Politics

  47. Ieuan permalink
    April 28, 2015 5:11 pm

    Two people describe themselves as owners of NFU Mutual. As a mutual it’s owned by all it’s members. What do the thousands of others think.? The Office Manager of GHA Coaches Ltd. is on the list. GHA Coaches is owned by the Davies family and he is not a member of that family.

  48. karen permalink
    April 28, 2015 8:13 pm

    3328 Rudolph Diesel Marketing Director and Executive Director Paul Alexander Mortgage Consultants London.

    if you look at the consultants website,not only only is he proper chummy with the PM Rudolph Diesel is a customer.
    http://www.paulalexander.org.uk/paul-alexander-mortgage-consultants-clients-invited-to-10-downing-street
    “Without the help to buy scheme my partner and I would not be able to buy anything yet” says Rudolph Diesel, Paul Alexander Mortgage Consultant client.”
    Have they been using Shapps scraping software???

    • April 28, 2015 8:22 pm

      That is hilarious. I might add tomorrow.

      • karen permalink
        April 28, 2015 8:31 pm

        Even funnier,Paul Connolly of Paul Alexander actually owns a share of Mr Diesels company.

  49. April 28, 2015 10:35 pm

    Current list at 23:30, is identical to previous list published.

  50. April 29, 2015 2:56 am

    Great work, thanks for your dedication to this!

  51. April 29, 2015 3:03 am

    Reblogged this on All About Work and commented:
    I’ve written a couple of blog posts about media outlets mindlessly reporting information without bothering to verify it first. Here, sadly, is another example. The Daily Telegraph in England ran a letter it claimed was signed by “5000 small business owners” expressing support for Prime Minister David Cameron and the Conservative Party in the upcoming UK general election. Alex decided to follow up some of the names of the signatories to the letter, and discovered….that it was not quite what was claimed. And now other bloggers and writers are finding other discrepancies and errors. Good on Alex, and shame on the Telegraph for its carelessness.

  52. April 29, 2015 9:50 am

    I never received the email or clicked any links. However, it was so poorly executed I did check to see if I was on the list. I wasn’t.

  53. Adolf Hitroll permalink
    April 29, 2015 12:17 pm

    Must…. stop….. trolling… companies… on….. list.🙂

    I just can’t help it, it is so much fun. Find contact details, and then take an ironically anti-social stance supporting the company.

    Google for the company name, use their forms and email addresses. Use phone numbers to call – and if you are feeling particularly juvenile then their services can be booked/ordered and never used. I think that is at least as sociable as the politics and actions of any RWB.

    To find unpublished phone numbers call numbers similar to the published fax number: companies buy phone numbers in blocks, and so hitting an office phone and a member of staff not prepared to handle or fob off a troll (and hence waste company time/money) is usually quite easy.

    CEOEmail.com can be helpful too to get obscured contact details too, as can saynoto0870.com

  54. Michael Walker permalink
    April 29, 2015 12:30 pm

    It all follows on fairly predictably from the issues at the Telegraph that Peter Oborne wrote about: https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/peter-oborne/why-i-have-resigned-from-telegraph

  55. May 1, 2015 6:35 pm

    Reblogged this on novalis848 and commented:
    ‘Thousands of small business leaders endorse Cameron and Osborne’…although some of them were so enthusiastic that their names appear twice or three times in the list. And some of them are suffering from amnesia, so that they neglect to mention that they are actually Tory candidates or councillors.

  56. May 4, 2015 7:26 am

    Little doubt about it, it isn´t just the Daily Telegraph – whch makes no bones about where its where its political allegiances are – the entire corporate media has turned massively towards the right and now lies on its behalf. We can no longer trust any of them. Luckily, we can turn to alternative sources such as this for a more accurate picture of what is happening in the world. In point of fact, we are left with no choice but to turn to them.

    Added to that, never in my life would I have thought the day would come when a Russian TV station (RT) would be more reliable than the BBC for news. That day came a few years ago.

    Unfortunately, the words of Emma Goldman come to mind “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.” Just substitute blogging for voting and I think we can guess what is in store for us on the internet.

    A brilliant piece of investigative journalism! Well done!

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