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