In February, on this blog, I noted the lack of success that the Good Laugh Project, run by Jolyon Maugham QC, has been having in using crowdfunded donations to hold power to account. And yesterday the GLP lost yet another case, with the High Court dismissing a GLP claim challenging the legality of ministers’ use of private communication systems, and (reportedly) ordering the GLP to pay £125,000 in costs to the Government.
This claim was heard by the High Court on 22-24 March, and in the weeks ahead of the hearing the GLP had bigged up the associated Crowdjustice crowdfunder – launched in July 2021 and one of 16 launched by the GLP in 2020 and 2021 – in emails to its signed-up supporters and on social media, raising the total from £76,818 on 18 February, to £118,211 by 22 March, when the crowdfunder was (temporarily) closed. Now, all of that money will simply be handed over to the Government that Jolyon and the GLP claim to be holding to account.
The crowdfunder was reopened yesterday, to cover an appeal to the Court of Appeal, and has already brought in another £11,829. Yes, it seems some people really do enjoy throwing good money after bad.
This brings the total raised by the 16 GLP crowdfunders launched in 2020 and 2021 to a stonking £2,403,206. Yet, as the following chart shows, this frenetic money-raising has (so far) resulted in very little. But at least Jolyon is getting to live his values.
Which judicial review and associated crowdfunder will the GLP big up to the FBPE loons next? Judging by the homepage of their website, it could be Abingdon Health, in which (according to GLP’s solicitors, Rook Irwin Sweeney) a “final hearing will take place in May 2022”.
Launched in December 2020, the Abingdon Health crowdfunder had raked in £128,251 by 18 February 2022. And, despite there having been no update since September 2021, as of today it’s up to £128,326, from 5,442 pledges, and has a target of £150,000.
And – lo! – from the GLP’s twitter feed we learn that the final hearing in Abingdon Health is indeed on 3-5 May, and that the last-minute effort to push the crowdfunder towards its £150,000 target has begun.
[Update: Over the Bank Holiday weekend, the Abingdon Health crowdfunder raked in another £28,600 from more than 1,300 punters, and it has a new target of £180,000.]
Correction (8 May): I have today learnt that there are another 11 GLP crowdfunders launched in 2020 and 2021 (they did not come up in my original Google searches). So, there were 27 crowdfunders, not 16, launched in 2020 and 2021. And, in total, these 27 GLP crowdfunders have (so far) raised more than £3 million. Three. Million. Pounds.
So, here’s an updated/expanded chart. Enjoy.