Joan Edwards bequeathed a sum of £520,000 to the Government at the time of her death. That italicised word there is the key and obvious sticking point in this latest example of political money-grubbing.
while I am happy to pour opprobrium and even more smelly things upon the heads of our Westminster MPs, one plain fact has been knocking round my noddle since this affair came to light: the decision to ‘define’ this as a political donation was taken by the solicitors acting as executors of her will. Even worse: it seems they consulted the Treasury solicitors and the Attorney General’s office before making the decision to treat the money as a donation to the Parties. (Look for any sign of that intention in the Will, and you will grow old beyond your years trying so to do).
As in classic fashion Dominic Grieve bottled out of saying anything (according to The Lawyer) that just leaves the Treasury….and of course – the lawyers themselves who acted for the late Joan Edwards, Davis Wood of Bristol.
So here we are again in the wonderful world of following the hearse, Daytime Personal Injury TV ads encouraging the litigious, and the most important Ministry of State’s admiration for multiple SME fraudster Stephen ‘Swagman’ Hester. Yes, if there’s one thing worse than lawyers, it’s Treasury lawyers. Ask them about the Co-operative Bank bailin, and then revel in the spectacle of lowlife wriggling, squirming, obfuscating and excusing….but never actually explaining. (Mind you, don’t ask MPs, because they’ve suffered a collective loss of voice on the subject).
The Jim Davis in Davis Wood is a legal adviser to property developers. Aha. He’s very keen on Hockey, Cricket, Golf and Tennis. I understand he is rarely seen wearing catalogue clothing on a Friday night in Geordie Working Men’s Clubs.
The Peter Wood in Davis Wood (left) is a specialist in…..Personal Injury Litigation. Aha. Or maybe, o-oh. He’s very keen on squash, sailing, football and hill walking. I understand he isn’t a member of Left Foot Forward, or even Over 40s against Misogynist Nazism.
OK fine, I know this reads like childish smear stuff, but come on, can we get real please? Let us return to the words in Joan LB Edwards Last Will & Testament…and follow up the theme of potential Party/Lawyer conspiracy here.
The ConDemned spin doctors put forward this bollocks: that the words were, “to whoever was the party of government of the day”. That’s not spin, it’s a lie: this is what the Will actually says:
“whichever Government is in office at the date of my death for the Government in their absolute discretion to use as they may think fit”
Anyone spot the absence of the words Party, Conservative and Liberal Democrat then? And bear in mind Ms Edwards wrote the Will in 2001 when there was a Labour Government in power. Presumably, she was being advised by Davis Wood at the time: if they were clear about her intentions then, why consult the highest in the land about their own wording now?
Thus, the idea that she meant over half a million quid to be left to financially omnivorous political Parties – let alone a hopelessly splintered one at the time – is utterly ridiculous.
And yet, bizarrely, Davis Wood felt the need to consult a Tory dominated Treasury and a Tory Attorney General once Joan died. Why? Where in God’s name was there a reasonable iota of doubt?
Sorry, but there are four-day-old mackerel of a malodorous nature in all this. Davis Wood, I fully accept, may be entirely innocent sailing and golf-playing founder members of Occupy. In which case, they need to clear their potentially besmirched name.
And having offered that advice, it behoves me to give further counsel entirely free of charge: ennoblement of anyone in your firm during the remaining years of my lifetime would be a very bad idea. I only mention this in the context of such facts as James Palumbo, founder of the Ministry of Sound – who gave £65,000 to the Lib Dems – and within weeks became a Peer in the first honours list of the Coalition. Or the rise to Lordship within months of the money-hoovering activities of the Peer Fink in 2011 – massive Tory donor and donor-pimp.
Meanwhile (“Official”) ‘The parties insisted they knew nothing about the Edwards windfall’. Yeah, right.
Let’s get the money out of the Westminster and back under our control.