As the SKWAWKBOX covered on Saturday evening, Theresa May’s latest ‘campaigning’ event consisted of a tightly-controlled appearance at a remote village hall in Crathes, Banchory to speak to a small, invite-only audience – the latest in a string of bizarre visits to empty factories and talks to ‘crowds’ of tiny numbers of people.
Mrs May was at pains to avoid any interaction with members of the local community, pointedly ignoring one local man who called to her to ‘meet the public’:
So keen were May and her handlers to avoid such interactions that they booked the village hall for a ‘birthday party’ under a false name, to prevent the locals getting wind of the event and turning up inconveniently.
And that’s where the (bigger) problems start.
Crathes village hall is an SCIO – a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. As such, similar to charitable trusts, it has to produce a statement of its purpose. As SKWAWKBOX reader John Spencer-Davis pointed out, Crathes’ statement is quite short, only two pages long – and it’s very specific about whom it exists to serve:
The document makes clear that the hall is for the benefit of local people, is owned on behalf of that community and needs the local community to be ‘fully engaged’ with it.
Yet local residents were turned away when they tried to attend:
I was nearby with son's football, it's tiny, I asked to go in, not allowed, only thing they asked me was if I'd been to their jumble sale 🤔
— Rhona Manson (@RhonaManson) April 29, 2017
That’s not all. The terms and conditions of the trust’s hall bookings go even further:
The ‘Ts and Cs’ applying to bookings make unequivocally clear that:
- the hall is for use by members of the community
- the halls hirers may only use the hall for the purpose specified
- by booking the hall, the hirer accepts items one and two along with the rest of the terms.
Theresa May is by no stretch of the imagination a member of the Crathes community – the SCIO document defines the community area as:
bounded by the River Dee on the south, the Hill of Fare on the north, and extending to five kilometres east and four kilometres west of the hall
Not Downing Street, Whitehall nor Westminster. Not May’s Maidenhead constituency, either.
The terms also state that the hall must be used for the purpose stated at the time of booking – and May’s team apparently booked the hall for a birthday – a ‘Burnett’ children’s party, to be precise:
So, Theresa May and her team appear to have made a false declaration during the booking, to have broken the terms and conditions they agreed to by booking – and to be ineligible to use the hall anyway.
And by doing so – and in preventing the local community from attending the event or having access to the hall during it – they appear to have forced the Crathes Village Hall SCIO to breach its own statement of purpose as well.
In stark contrast to Jeremy Corbyn’s towering start to his campaign – which has seen Labour close the gap in voting intention polling by thirteen percentage points in just nine days – Theresa May’s campaign started dismally and has descended into abject farce and possibly illegality.
No wonder May and her campaign appear to be in disarray and to be running scared.
The Banchory situation also raises the question whether this is standard operating procedure for her campaign and they are booking all their venues under false pretences.
If you work at a venue that is to be used by Mrs May – or if you have details of her schedule so that this blog can verify with the venues how the bookings were made, please email email@example.com.
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