Sunday, May 04, 2008

Election fraud: ‘Labour failed to act’, say MPs

When one considers that more than 500,000 postal votes were sent out in the election for the office of Mayor of London, and that this method of voting has been shown time and again to be less than secure with one judge referring to UK elections being no better than those in a ‘banana republic’, one might have thought that HM Government would be doing all that lies within its power to root out corruption in the electoral process. But one must remember that the Government is Labour, and that such corruption tends to be favourable to its electoral ends.

And The Guardian explains a further unsavoury dimension to Labour’s inaction, as a ‘senior backbencher’ states that the principal reason the issue is not being addressed is that ‘they fear stirring up controversy in ethnic minority communities’. This leaves us to conclude that most of the abuse of the system is to be found amongst the minority communities.

It is a brave group of MPs indeed who have dared to broach this subject, but the Labour-controlled public administration select committee is genuinely more concerned about openness and honesty than it is about offending ethnic minorities or depressing the Labour vote.

Quite why The Guardian begins with an air of anonymity for its ‘senior backbencher’ is a mystery, for it goes on to disclose the name of Tony Wright MP, chairman of the committee, and quote him at length. No doubt the collapse in support for Prime Minister Brown will yield more of these emboldened backbenchers over the coming months - like John Cruddas, John McDonnell, or Frank Field...

Mr Wright is demanding the introduction of some form of individual - rather than household - registration, which would require photo ID. And he calls for an end to ‘Labour silence’ on one source of the problem: “Almost all the abuse cases that we have had have involved minority communities. We should not be mealy-mouthed about it. It is importing cultural practices from one place to another, and if we are serious about Britishness, surely one of the things we have to got to be serious about it is telling everybody that lives here about the integrity of democratic politics.

"If we are honest about it, we have been so anxious to get turn-out up that we have been rather casual about some of the implications ... I think we have (been) casual because we have resisted individual voter registration."

These ‘cultural practices’ are, of course, Asian. They are not specifically Muslim, Sikh, or Hindu, though these religions have certainly influenced the cultural practice. And the practice to which Mr Wright principally refers is that of patriarchal supremacy and the oppression of women. While the West has gradually moved towards equality and non-discrimination, very many Asian families sustain segregation and propagate the suppression of female members of the household. This is not only evident in practices like assisted/arranged marriages or the limiting of female education and career options, but is seen quite clearly in postal voting. Frequently, the father of a household will vote on behalf of all members of that household - which may be a large and extended household - and hand the cards over en masse to a helpful party worker (which is itself a breach of regulations). Thus one voter expresses the will of 7, 10, 15, or 26, as Gordon Prentice MP discovered in his constituency of Pendle. The whole system simply requires male ‘community leaders’ to speak to the men.

Kelvin Hopkins, Labour MP for Luton North, favours individual voter registration, but admits that ‘one of the reasons our party is reluctant to do this, is because it might actually dent our support in certain areas’.

And the final word is left to a report by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, which states that ‘greater use of postal voting has made the UK elections far more vulnerable to fraud and resulted in several instances of large scale fraud’, and then concedes that there is ‘anecdotal evidence that Pakistani clan politics played a role in some of the fraud’.

It is all hushed up, of course, for fear of aggravating racial tensions or causing offence.

And then the 'mainstream parties' wonder why the BNP wins a seat on the London Assembly.


Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

"‘anecdotal evidence that Pakistani clan politics played a role in some of the fraud’."

Yes, that's about what I would expect.

4 May 2008 at 10:39  
Anonymous curry and chips said...

Pakistani people are basically nice people. I know this from experience: for example when I go into their shops and petrol stations I am always greeted with a smile and they are so full of pleasant conversation. I get the impression that they really love western culture, and have a deep respect for maintaining British Culture. I never detect any resentment, sly looks, overt never. They smell nice, they have a really tolerant religion...basically they fit in here very well, OK so Muslims like to remove heads now and again, and throw a few stones at rape victims, but they will overcome this after a while, wont they?

4 May 2008 at 10:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nobody said they weren't nice. Just that they have a different idea of right and wrong from us on certain issues. This is to be expected, especially when Islam teaches it's ok to lie as long as you're doing so to achieve god's work. But if our political (and tax, and criminal, and banking) systems are to work properly, we first need to admit that immigrant communities interact with them in different ways from the indiginous community, then adapt so that they are unable to gain unfair advantage or 'corrupt' them in some way. Most identity fraud I've come across in my job in a bank has been committed by Eastern European immigrants. They just don't see that theft of someone's ID and stealing money off the taxpayer or a bank is wrong (because at the end of the day, the treasury and the banking industry will compensate the person whose money that was). But our systems and those of HM Revenue aren't robust enough against this kind of fraud because we don't expect British people to do this - we have to wake up and make the system tighter. Step one is admitting what the problem is. It's not racist; no-one's saying that Britons aren't just as criminally minded, just that they commit different crimes and our system works better at dealing with this kind of crime.

When I went to vote on Thursday, I witnessed an Asian-origin man (from the standard of his English, he was born here) standing over the women of his family to ensure they voted the 'right' way. When his daughter put the cross in the 'wrong' box, it was HE who took the ballot back to the officials for a new one - and the idiot let him have it without checking it was HIS paper that was 'spoiled'.

4 May 2008 at 12:29  
Anonymous Sir Henry Morgan said...

20th Annual Seminar of the Association of Electoral Administrators

A fairly long read, but rewarding. Read especially the Times article near the end. But do note the contradictory ststements at the beginning between those that gain from the system in some way, and those who are trying to police the system.

4 May 2008 at 14:38  
Anonymous Sir Henry Morgan said...

Also read this on how ordinary people can bring this fraud to an end - it only takes one person from each borough, in London and nationwide.

There is an unrevealed question referred to in the post - I first gave notice of this - and published it on the web - on the 14th April, so the witheld question is:

How many requests for postal votes were withdrawn between 14th April and 1st May.

4 May 2008 at 14:44  
Blogger The Heresiarch said...

Since the problem is clearly and overwhelmingly caused by the too easy availability of postal voting, I am deeply suspicious of attempts to introduce photo ID at polling stations. It's unnecessary, inconvenient, would cause distress (especially to older voters) and sounds like yet another justification for the hated ID cards.

Individual registration, by all means. Except in rare circumstances, voting should be in person, and by official poll card. Once used, the card should be handed in and destroyed. That would eliminate most of the fraud; and any that remains is part of the price we should be prepared to pay to live in a free society rather than a database slave state.

4 May 2008 at 17:51  
Anonymous dexey said...

the heresiarch said...
..........I am deeply suspicious of attempts to introduce photo ID at polling stations. It's unnecessary, inconvenient, would cause distress (especially to older voters) and sounds like yet another justification for the hated ID cards.

04 May 2008 17:51

I'm an older voter and would not be distressed by an ID card and I would not hate it. In fact, as a soldier, I carried one for years. I often found it a great convenience and never once forgot who, and what, I was.

4 May 2008 at 19:44  
Anonymous Maria said...

heresiach says: "...I am deeply suspicious of attempts to introduce photo ID at polling stations. It's unnecessary, inconvenient, would cause distress (especially to older voters) and sounds like yet another justification for the hated ID cards."

Why should showing a photo ID at polling stations be so inconvenient or distressing? Is it distressing or inconvenient to show your passport to an immigration official when travelling? Or to show your company ID card upon entering the corporate office building? No, because it proves who you are and a photo ID is an added security measure. Furthermore, we take it for granted and millions do it every day.

I am a Spanish citizen and resident in London for many years and therefore entitled to vote for local and mayoral elections. I took my polling card and went to vote last Thursday. I could just as well have handed my polling card to a friend or even a stranger and the officials wouldn't have known the difference. I also voted for the recent Spanish General elections where along with my polling letter (rather than card) I also had to show my National ID card. Before casting my ballot, the official checked the details of my ID card against the electoral list and the polling letter which he then retained. I was then handed a receipt indicating that I had voted. All this was computerised and didn't take any more time than it did to vote last Thursday. I was not inconvenienced and neither was I distressed. In fact, I was impressed.

4 May 2008 at 19:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Martyr

You are quite right. Please keep an eye open for the leak of the leak of the leak of the Queen's Speech in these coming weeks.

Constitutional reform (including boundaries, pr and the Monarchy) faces us - and we are a battered and weary people fighting back through the first of the two means we have- the ballot box.

DV we will prevail.

4 May 2008 at 19:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are 20 Muslim councillors out of 90 on a Metropolitan Council in the 5th largest city. They cross party lines in a council with NOC and have influence. They have moved to have the Council invite W Y Police suspend a police officer actively investigating forced marriages.

The influence is greater than the power. The fact that Home Secretary Douglas Hurd sat on his hands when public order offences were committed in this city in 1987 and a book was burned as invocations to murder the author resonated outside the City Hall, suggest a weakness on the part of British politicians to confront anything other than a vol-au-vent.

The extension of postal voting was made COMPULSORY by JOhn Prescott in Northern England in 2004 and there were NO polling stations. That was the reason that Manningham, Little Horton, Toller wards all had huge turnouts.

The shires have no idea what is going on in bi-ethnic cities with Subcontinent politics and the few White settlers left in these village outposts of Kashmir and Sylhet...but they will as the years go by

5 May 2008 at 08:14  
Anonymous mickey said...

I think that New Labour should feel rightly miffed about this whole situation.

Having micro-managed government spending and service provision in order to gerrymander numerous sub-segments of the electorate into voting their way, they then find that the so and so's can't be bothered to turn out and stroll down to the nearest polling booth.

"I know", says some bright spark, "why don't we totally debase and corrupt the voting system to get those votes in the bag?"

And that, my friends, is how democracy works.

5 May 2008 at 09:07  
Anonymous S Jamieson said...

I have no problem with anyone who has taken British citizenship (or indeed a country with HM The Queen as Head of State) having a vote but tell me why a Pakistani or citizen of any other country should be allowed to vote in any of our elections?

5 May 2008 at 14:39  
Blogger Adrian said...

SJ asks "tell me why a Pakistani or citizen of any other country should be allowed to vote in any of our elections?"

e.g. Because if they pay Council Tax, they should have a say in how it is used.

5 May 2008 at 23:45  
Anonymous Voyager said...

SJ asks "tell me why a Pakistani or citizen of any other country should be allowed to vote in any of our elections?"

e.g. Because if they pay Council Tax, they should have a say in how it is used.

Council Tax is unrelated to the franchise. Labour changed the law permitting non-EU nationals to vote in General and Local Elections......EU Law only requires that EU nationals can vote in Local Elections.

In 1997, there were an estimated 695,000 Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK. In 2006, the corresponding estimate was 1,112,000. These estimates are based on Labour Force Survey data and, as with any sample survey data, are subject to margins of error.

With respect to Commonwealth citizens registered to vote, data separately identifying British, Irish, or Commonwealth citizens are not collected centrally; these citizens are grouped together on local authority electoral returns. Therefore we are unable to produce data on voter registration separately for Commonwealth citizens.

With respect to which Commonwealth countries have reciprocal rights for voting in the UK, the Ministry of Justice advise that this information is not held centrally. IB respect of the UK, the Representation of the People Act 1983 provides that all Commonwealth citizens who are lawfully resident here are entitled to vote in parliamentary and local elections. Decisions about the voting rights of Commonwealth, including British, citizens resident in other Commonwealth countries are for the individual countries concerned.

With respect to checks on immigration status, the Ministry of Justice advise that all electors are required to state their nationality on the canvass form when registering to vote. Furthermore, electoral registers are available for public inspection and anyone who believes that an ineligible person has been included may object and notify the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) who may then make further inquiries as to the eligibility of that individual.

16 Jan 2008 : Column 1298W—continued HANSARD


6 May 2008 at 20:13  
Anonymous Adrian Peirson said...

We are creating a New Race of People.
The New Europeans'

We can rely on their Vote to assist us.

8 May 2008 at 13:41  

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