Underhand political campaigning

Yesterday I received two odious messages from very different sources.

The first was a phishing email purporting to be from the widow of a Japanese ambassador who is herself on her death bed in hospital who wonders whether I would kindly take care of her son's $15M trust fund until such time as her son "clocks" 21.  It's a scam.  Yet another variant on the advance fee fraud - now she asks for my help, but if I agree then a problem will arise that only a payment from me can solve, but it's okay because that payment will give me access to $15M.  You get the idea.

The other message was a letter from Mr Brett Harrison.  I have no idea who Mr Harrison is, but unless you look very closely it appears he has decided to send me a handwritten note explaining that he is a former Conservative Party worker who voted for Boris at the last mayoral election and who used to work for the police.  He is now completely anti-Boris.  Partly because he says Boris has cut police numbers, which is both correct and incorrect depending on which set of figures you work from.  Ultimately, all that claim highlights is that you can prove anything with statistics. 

Next Mr Harrison complains about a whole range of things none of which have anything to do with BoJo, such as fuel bills, petrol, tax on pensions and so on.

The note appears to be hand written and is written in a very personal style, including scruffy hand writing and mis-spellings.

To my mind, the letter appears aimed at the elderly in particular, whose eyesight is probably too poor to read the tiny writing down the side of the page that tells us that this letter is, in fact, promotional material printed by the Labour Party.  This writing is so small I struggle to read it

Neither the phishing email nor the letter are honest.  They both seek to give me a false impression, on the one hand that a frail Japanese lady wants to trust me with her son's inheritance and the other that a genuine member of the public has independently decided to sit down and write a letter to people campaigning against BoJo and the Tories.

This letter doesn't encourage me to vote for Ken or any of the others.  It is simply negative campaigning designed to undermine the support that Labour clearly believe BoJo has.

Politicians talk about lowering the voting age to encourage participation in elections.  As long as the major political parties believe that ignoring the issues and producing wholly negative election material is the way to engage with voters, people will remain dis-engaged.  Then again, maybe that's the point.  A group of Labour supporters knocked on my door late last week to ask who I was voting for, I said probably BoJo and that I'd voted Ken in the past.  Low and behold I get this letter.  My girlfriend who didn't say BoJo didn't get a letter.


  1. I have just got this letter as well and agree with all you say. We have been phoned up by the Ken campaign and said in no uncertain terms what we thought of him so presume that is why I have been targetted. Completely underhand and obviously the Labour Party are extremely worried and are realising they might have picked the wrong candidate

  2. Phishing emails are after your passwords. That as you say, is a typical 419 scam. Not as imaginative as this one.
    "On Thu, 24 Mar 2011 03:56 -0700, "lord camberlain office" wrote:
    The queen of England has invited you to the royal wedding of prince william and kate middleton.the queen has sent out nearly two thousand gold invitations.about one thousand nine hundred people"

  3. Dear Brett,

    Thank you for your recent letter - it was an enjoyable read made all the more difficult by your peculiar handwriting and use of capitals mid-word. It is a shame that our police forces recruit from such poor sources. It is indeed fortunate for us citizens that you have now left the Police,

    You surely cannot have been a conservative in the past - maybe a closet labour voter who was not sure if he should 'come out' or not.

    I heard recently that knife crime was much reduced - yet you blame Boris for the cuts. Of course the gross over-spending by your idols Brown and Blair had nothing to do with it.

    I am also sad to hear that you are angry at the budget, what with increased taxes. Surely this again had nothing to do with the gross over-spending by Brown and Blair which bankrupted UK plc. Does it?

    If Brown and Blair were still in government, or God forbid that pratt Ed Miliband, surely they could have solved the petrol and fuel bill rises by doubling our national debt. That would save Britain, wouldn't it?

    Thank you for making me see the bigger picture. I promise you now that I will note Boris as the Anti-Christ and vote labour until the day I die.


  4. If I were you I'd get back to that Japanese Lady as soon as possible as that sounds like an opportunity that might be too good to pass up on. If you don't want it can you forward me the details, I wouldn't mind acting as trustee for a proportion of the fifteen million dollars.

  5. Dear Brett,
    Thank you so much for your recent letter. I actually had no idea that you were a friend of my wife. She is clearly overjoyed to hear from you, although can’t quite recollect where you met or at which point you became friends. No matter. The essence of your letter is the most important thing after all, isn’t it?
    I will be contacting the police benevolent fund to see if there is any way they can support you, an old colleague, who is all too clearly suffering from such a loss of memory that you appear to have no recollection of the political history of this country prior to the last couple of years or so. Perhaps I can help? The previous administration was led by two career incompetents:
    The first was a Tony Blair who is now in charge of peace in the Middle East and what a difference he’s making! Regrettably though it appears to be only to his bank balance. Whilst in office he professed to be ‘Tough on Crime, Tough on the Causes of Crime’. He and his administration were neither of these things. However they did manage to create such a vast array of statistical measures for our Police Forces that most officers, not to mention the hordes of back-room staff, were kept safely out of the reach of the criminal elements whilst trying to prove that their Force was .01% better than a neighbouring Force. Money well spent I say!
    The second was a Gordon Brown. You must remember him. His favourite phrase was (and possibly still is) ‘Global Financial Crisis’. If only he had understood the true meaning of those three words he might have ensured that this country’s borrowings were reduced rather than increased to a level way beyond anything that we stood a snowball’s chance in hell of ever repaying. The very idea that increasing an already bloated Public Sector whilst offering no tax incentives for growth in the Private Sector shows not only a poor grasp of Economics but possibly a poor grasp of mathematics at its most basic level.
    Anyway, let’s not dwell on the past when there is so much to do. Unlike you, I and your best friend (my wife) will be voting for Boris again. I can not conceive any situation in which I would vote for that half-wit Livingstone. He was an appalling Mayor the last time, increasing spending for no return (see Tony Blair and Gordon Brown above) and his ‘policies’ (the most fragile of promises in practice) show no signs of being any different this time. The other candidates are clearly a waste of airtime, airspace, and paper.
    There, I feel much better now so I must thank you again for your letter. Never before had I realised that the receipt of unsolicited junk mail purporting to be a personal letter could have helped ,me clarify my thoughts. You truly are an inspiration.

    All the best for the future,
    A friend.

  6. I had no idesa that this blog had become a recruiting ground for the politically inept and mentally challenged amongst the polulus.

    Silly me for thinking I had visited a site which discussed matters legal.

  7. James, I actually quite liked Gordon Brown as PM. After the years of constant ill thought out changes of Bliar the sudden grinding to a halt that seemed to accompany Brown was quite a welcome relief.

    Anon (last one), I have three points to make. First, I am not seeking to recruit anybody to anything, I happen to be voting BoJo this time around (actually I'm voting for the independent but BoJo as second choice) although I voted Ken the first two times he ran. At the general election I voted Liberal. Hardly the voting record of a recruiter to anything.

    Secondly, if you look through past blog posts you'll see that I have always criticised politicians. In fact, way back in November 2010 there was a post simply entitled "Politicians". If you take a moment to read the tag line to this blog, "The musings, moans, groans, grumbles and occasional lucid thoughts... " you'll see that while I am a solicitor there is no suggestion that this blog will always be a sensible and though tout discussion of the law.

    Finally, while you chose to call others "inept and mentally challenged" (I presume because people are saying things you don't like and you couldn't think of a clever come back), I do have to wonder at the mental faculties of anybody who seeks out legal discussions at nearly 2am.

    Go to bed.

    1. Or reply to them at 03.49.

    2. Except it isn't 05.13 it's 13.15.

    3. Dear dear. A nerve has clearly been touched. I was wide awake in the middle of the morning when I replied. I think your blog server has timing issues.

      My main point was that I really don't visit this site to hear ramblings about the ineptitude (or otherwise) of the rather worthless politicians who claim to represent us. I can do that by reading a newspaper.

      I came here by way of Bystander who manages to remain aloof of such political tittle-tattle whilst providing an objective and reasoned view of matters legal (lay of course).

      Perhaps I need to reconsider the blogs which I visit.

    4. Ed (not Bystander)3 May 2012 at 03:19

      If you think BS actually avoids political points, and actually provides objective or reasoned views of legal matters, you need to reconsider more than your blogs.

  8. Thanks Brett, Dear Friend, Iwasn't going to bother voting tomorrow until I received your friendly missive. As an ex collegue of yours(Yes I was a foot plod once)I shall rush to give BOJO my whole hearted support. Wierd really as before I got your letter I was going to vote for Red Ken

  9. It never ceases to amaze me that people come presumably voluntarily to a blog and then proceed to criticise the sentiments expressed if they don't happen to agree wholeheartedly with their particular (often warped)world view.

    If you don't like it just b***er off. Trolling ain't clever and it ain't pretty. The author of the blog has every right to put what he likes on it without your permission as long as he does not break the law in doing so.

    1. Ed (not Bystander)4 May 2012 at 17:10

      Freedom of speech cuts both ways, my little friend. Better to have a discussion than an echo chamber.

  10. Received this letter and I have half a mind of calling up the labour party and demanding to speak to Brett Harrison, or acquire some sort of proof of identity. If he doesn't exist, as I presume he doesn’t, then surely this letter must er on the side of illegality.
    All I have gained from this truly ridiculous letter is a crushing view on how the labour party conducts itself, deceivingly, dishonestly and quite plainly, it's just not cricket!


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