Below is the explanation given to SNP NEC members about the “missing funds”. It displays a willingness to mislead to even the top body responsible for the financial management of the Party. Of course, as yet ordinary members and in particular those members and others that donated the funds have heard nothing. My response to each of the points follows the initial paper.
Let’s take each point
- The debate has never been about whether the accounts are true and fair. The debate is when they show a cash balance of less than 100k WHERE is the missing £600k?
- This is early “ padding” nobody is asking how you handle the differences between, cash, cheque and bank transfer. Very few donations are required to be reported to the Electoral Commission under their rules.
3.News to me, seems a hugely complicated job to administer, but what has it got to do with 600k ringfenced money that no longer features within the accounts?
4.Who decides this, on what criteria and is it reviewed daily, weekly, monthly, annually against all spending?
5..This is a key paragraph, here we see the line “of course the SNP is the Party of Independence, so every penny we spend, directly or indirectly, can be said to be in favour of Independence”. Sorry that is not the case, the money was raised specifically on being ringfenced for Indyref2 NOT FOR SNP SPENDING, irrespective of what you think you are entitled to do with the funds.
6. Highlights that the figure may be higher than previously known.
7. Is an interesting one that highlights that charities and other bodies do face a regulation to list restricted and unrestricted funds separately. It also acknowledges that the Electoral Commission allow for political parties to do the same. The SNP CHOSE not to and again highlight they are legally not required to do so. They seem to think this is good news, but they fail to realise that this statement completely devalues all the statements that Nicola has made for weeks about how they had to submit their accounts to the Electoral Commission and therefore the “ringfenced” money was safe because the Electoral Commission had to be satisfied. Given the Electoral Commission had no expectation of identifying any restricted funds as the SNP had opted out of that auditing control that seems to have been a rather puzzling and non existent assurance from the start. Indeed it seems like a statement designed to provide false assurance.
8. Here we have the admission the money is gone. What is being argued here is that money still exists, even after it has been spent as long as there is an IOU in place that promises to replace the money in the event it is ever needed. In these circumstances, this is a completely new classification of ringfenced funds which have now been reclassified as spent on anything, replaced by future fundraising at some unspecified point in the future. Difficult not to laugh that anyone thinks this will convince anybody. How many businesses do you know that can operate on that basis?
9.I have to comeback to the fact that the original 600k has been spent so this paragraph is a misrepresentation. He cannot allocate much of a fund that is already spent (see 8 above). What he is talking about here is using current revenues to appear to fund this. Given there is no prospect of an Indyref in 2021 what is he going to find to spend the bulk of the money on this year? In my opinion he won’t, he will allocate other SNP wages and costs to this mythical unit thereby reducing the outstanding loan amount, because that is what it is, while appearing to be reducing general account spending. It’s an old accountancy trick, overall costs will go up but the cost centres will be adjusted. The other important point here is the news that they are going to need a major fundraising appeal in 2022. I am very sure they will. Good luck with that.
10. Finally there is a half hearted apology, or as near as you are going to get, that this has been badly handled and an embarrassment. In my view that is not near good enough. They lied, they intentionally misled, they abused people who were highlighting what was going on, all the time KNOWING THAT IT WAS THESE CRITICS THAT WERE TELLING THE TRUTH. They score their one point out of ten for at least recognising they must improve in the future. My hope is this starts by telling the truth. That usually works. Sadly this latest Treasurers statement indicates they still have a long way to go.
Now there were other matters of interest, for instance there are plans to increase the number of staff at Headquarters. When NEC members asked why these were needed it turned out the number one reason was the huge rise in the numbers of COMPLAINTS that were flooding in to the point that the National Secretary was complaining at more arriving for him to deal with, even during the meeting.
Another discussion revolved round budgets, seemingly the previous Treasurer was suggesting the draft budget would have a serious deficit amounting to several hundreds of thousands of pounds. Have no fear, the new Treasurer, only a few days in office, has miraculously transformed this into a balanced budget. The biscuit tin is safe in his hands. His ability to manage funds is already legend! He believes that money that has been spent still exists. This makes balancing a budget a lot easier!
So it is against this background where the SNP denied any ringfenced appeal was ever made, it was all for General SNP funds. That position lasted until members and others started publishing the appeal documentation that made crystal clear the money raised would be ringfenced for Indyref 2. Senior SNP staff then sent emails confirming this account existed, further they insisted the SNP themselves had no access to the account so therefore they regretted refunds were impossible. That position lasted for a long time until people started to complain to the police.
Suddenly the whole story changed, of course people could get refunds, often next day into their bank account. These refunds came from the General SNP ACCOUNT, not any ringfenced one. At this stage Nicola appeared on TV to confirm there was no other account, there had never been one. She seemed surprised that people could possibly have thought otherwise.
Emails from her own staff are the reason. I still have them, if only she had called!
It was really quite bizarre, the First Minister saw nothing wrong in arguing using ringfenced money as a CASHFLOW tool as general SNP spending and was willing to propose this was perfectly reasonable. Across Scotland first year accountancy students were wondering if these two diametrically opposed meanings could possibly be true or was it some new COVID exemption Nicola had introduced using her special powers? It was of course complete and utter nonsense and a pathetic attempt at. misrepresentation, being preferable to admitting wrongdoing. It was weakness, totally unprincipled and betrayed the status of the high position she holds. She has suffered damage, people should look at everything she says from now on very carefully indeed. It may not be what it appears.
I am, as always
Yours for Scotland
BEAT THE CENSORS
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