Yes, it’s not the result that Jolyon Maugham KC and his (Not Very) Good Law Project were hoping for, but today the High Court flatly rejected claims by the sanctimonious Jolyon and his dark money-funded GLP that the Government’s purchase in 2020 of one million Covid19 antibody tests from the specialist rapid test manufacturer Abingdon Health was a crime against democracy, or something. (Full judgment here, and a good short summary of the judgment here).
For this particular exercise in futility the GLP raked in a stonking £160,744 from more than 6,900 donors (including a very generous £700 from ‘Bruce’ as recently as 1 September), but we have no idea how that money has been spent, as Jolyon doesn’t do transparency. Maybe we’ll find out more from the fox-battering but mermaid-loving Jolyon’s forthcoming booky wooky, Apricots Plopping.
Whatever, this latest defeat pretty much brings down the curtain on Jolyon’s hubristic attempt to destroy Boris Johnson’s late lamented Government over its handling of the Covid19 pandemic. Between April 2020 and January 2022, Jolyon and the GLP launched no fewer than 18 Covid19-related Crowdjustice crowdfunders, and those crowdfunders have (so far) raked in a total of £2.437 million.
Yet only two of the associated legal challenges have resulted in a legal ‘win’ for the GLP, and in each case all that was ‘won’ was a near-meaningless ‘declaration’ by the High Court: one in February 2021 that the Government had not fully complied with transparency rules on the publishing of Covid19-related contracts; and one in January 2022 that the Government’s high priority lane for the awarding of such contracts, while not unlawful, was “in breach of the obligation of equal treatment”.
No allegedly bent minister has been required to apologise, let alone resign, and not a penny of allegedly misspent taxpayers’ money has been recovered from any alleged crooks or cronies. However, that £2.437 million is helping the GLP’s now 30+ employees – a number of whom are on £84,000 salaries – to live their values in relative comfort.
Two more of the 18 Covid19-related crowdfunders – Bunzl Healthcare and Immensa Testing – remain open, but neither has raised a penny for months now, and in each case the associated legal action appears to have run into the sand, with little if any prospect of ultimate glory for Jolyon and the GLP. And, while the associated crowdfunder closed in March, having raked in a cool £100,145, an on-off legal challenge to the Metropolitan Police investigation of ‘partygate’ continues, but has reached the stage where the Met’s lawyers are openly laughing at Jolyon and his co-claimant Brian Paddick.
Elsewhere, those with money to burn can still donate to three open crowdfunders on transgender issues, including a legal challenge (launched in October 2021) to delays at the dysfunctional and now disgraced Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) that is scheduled to be heard by the High Court in late November, just four months before GIDS (rightly) has its doors shut for good. That’s £45,085 that could and surely should have been put to better use.
Similarly, an ugly, illiberal legal challenge to the charitable status of an LGB campaign group that dares not to share Jolyon’s belief in gender woo-woo has so far splurged another £83,049 that could have been better spent. This legal challenge was part-heard by the Tribunal on 9-15 September, and is scheduled to conclude in early November; in the meantime, the GLP’s seedy co-claimants Mermaids just get seedier and seedier. And the GLP’s grandly-named Legal Defence Fund for Transgender Lives has so far gobbled up an astonishing £189,642, most of which has already been blown on three ultimately futile legal actions in defence of the services provided by the “not safe” for children and now doomed GIDS.
In contrast, two other open crowdfunders – Public spaces (launched in May 2022) and Surrey Hills (July 2022) – are stalled at a relatively modest £33,871 and £33,008 respectively. And, with an annual income of some £4.5 million from direct donations and grants at its disposal, and with more than £4 million of reserves in the bank, you have to wonder why the GLP is even bothering to crowdfund £30K for legal challenges to local planning decisions.
Presumably, with much of the leg work having been done by others long before Jolyon and his ego climbed aboard, the hope is that anticipated court wins in these cases will provide Jolyon and the GLP with some much-needed green shading for their Spreadsheet of Glorious Victories. [Update: Or maybe not. On 12 October, the High Court refused permission to apply for Planning Statutory Review in the Surrey Hills case.]
On the other hand, in recent weeks Jolyon and the GLP have raked in £50,029 for a threatened judicial review that Full Fact and others believe might well be wide of the mark. [Update: This crowdfunder was closed by the GLP on 24 October, having reaped £56,142 from 2,525 donors.]
Whatever, here’s my updated Table of Failure and Pointlessness, showing the sum raised and outcome to date of all 49 GLP crowdfunders since 2017: