DD National Level

Cross-posted from ScribblingsfromSeaham:

We today have news that our government is to trial various forms of identity at polling stations with a view to reducing electoral fraud, coupled with a press release from the Cabinet Office.

A a result of Sir Eric Pickles’ report Securing the Ballot published in August this year, the government will seek to introduce a number of his recommendations to tighten controls around the conduct of polls to eliminate electoral fraud. As well as piloting the use of ID in polling stations across England, the government will seek to:

  • prevent the intimidation and undue influence of voters at the hands of activists and supporters
  • end the dubious practice of postal vote harvesting, and
  • consider measures for nationality checking that will prevent fraudulent voter registrations

We are informed that the government will consider how to bring a number of these measures into practice including introducing new guidance for Electoral Registration Officers who conduct the polls. The aim is that pilots for ID in polling stations will be conducted at the local government elections in May 2018. Electors will be required to bring ID to prove who they are before they can vote, preventing anyone fraudulently taking another person’s ballot paper. Local authorities will be invited to apply to trial different types of identification, including forms of photo ID such as driving licenses and passports, or formal correspondence such as a utilities bill to prove their address backed by a signature check. Voters will be asked to produce ID before they can be given their ballot paper. If successful, the measure could be introduced for general elections and other polls. The key recommendations from Sir Eric Pickles’ report that the government will consider how to take forward can be seen in the aforementioned government press release

Chris Skidmore, Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office, is on record stating: The government’s view is that electoral fraud is unacceptable on any level. I want to protect the right of everyone to have their say and participate in our democracy. That is why the new measures we are announcing today will protect anyone who is at risk of being bullied, undermined or tricked out of their vote – and their democratic right. By eliminating fraud and tackling improper practices, we are ensuring the integrity of our electoral system while building a clear and secure democracy that works for everyone.

Regular readers will be aware that I frequently write – and in so doing, complain – that representative democracy is anything but democracy per se as ‘the dice is loaded’ against the electorate. Consequently I am continually amazed at how our politicians feel able to ‘preach’ to we, the electorate, then do exactly that at which they preach against – which leads to the title of this article.

From just the second paragraph of the Foreward to his report Pickles writes: My work in the Department for Communities and Local Government during the previous Parliament highlighted some shocking issues and revelations: our well-respected democracy is at threat from unscrupulous people intent on subverting the will of the electorate to put their own
candidates into power, and in turn, manipulate local authority policy and funding to their own self-centred ends. Towards the end of this Foreward Pickles also writes: Electoral fraud and corruption is intertwined with other forms of crime as well. Local authorities
have a large procurement role. A group of people who cheat their way to power are unlikely to hold a higher moral standard when handing out public contracts, or when making quasi-judicial decision on planning and licensing.

Er, do not political parties subvert the will of the electorate by putting their own candidates into power; and do they not, when in power, manipulate local authority policy and funding for their own self-centred (and idealogical) ends?  By such reasoning, is not Pickles agreeing that political parties and politicians are thus unscrupulous? Do not political parties and their politicians cheat their way to power with manifestos, the contents of which they have no intention of fulfilling – think recall of MPs as promised by the Coalition Government in their ‘post-election’ manifesto of 2010?

Returning to that which Skidmore said, just how do these measures ensure that those of us with a factual view of Brexit get heard – and thus have their say? Just how do these measures ensure that FlexCit is acknowledged; as I have yet, to my knowledge, hear one of them mention it? Are not we, the electorate, bullied into accepting falsehoods told us in manifestos or during election/referendum campaigns; especially when our voice is in effect ‘blocked’ from being heard?

In total Pickles made 50 ‘recommendations’ – and in most of them questions arise. To take just one – #7: Completed postal ballot packs should only be handed in at a polling station by the voter or a family member / designated carer acting on their behalf – a limit of two should be applied for any one person handing in completed ballots and require an explanation as to why they are being handed in and signature provided. Is it not well known that there exists in the UK immigrant communities in which tribalism/mosogynism is a way of life? What proof could be provided that would negate any suspicion of coercion? So it must be extremely easy for any such person to circumnavigate their way round that requirement.

There must be those on the electoral register who possess neither passport nor driving licence; and do not have a utility bill in their name. On that latter point I do not have a utility bill in my name and recently, on a property transaction, had to provide a second bank statement in lieu. How many are there on the electoral register without a passport, driving licence or utility bill – but has two bank accounts?

Yet another point that has to be taken into consideration where Pickles’ report is concerned; how much more bureaucracy will be involved and what will be the cost? We all know who will be paying that cost; however one question: when did we agree to so do? It is here that I must use a statement, one reputed to have been said by Thomas Sowell: I have never understood why it is greed to want to keep money you have earned, but it is never greed to take somebody else’s money. But then as ‘governments’ have no money of their own, how else do they acquire it? Is it not time we insisted that: No tax, levy, expenditure of public money nor borrowing be permitted without the express consent of the people by majority vote  (see here).

In ‘days of old’, when communication took days, weeks – even months – to arrive, it is understandable that representative democracy was an acceptable, nay practical, form of government. However, in today’s world of instant communication which allows a greater extent for the people to become involved in how their country is governed, is it not time for change?

People: wake up, do! Your minds are being controlled, you are being robbed blind, you are being led up the proverbial garden path by those who complain about unscrupulous, mind-controlling individuals – and, more importantly, you elect them!

Comments? Is anyone interested?

As readers/contributors to this website and who follow matters political will know Keith Vaz was recently appointed to the House of Commons Select Committee. The following article was originally published on Scribblings from Seaham:

Yesterday in the House of Commons MPs voted 203 to 7 to appoint Keith Vaz to the Justice Select Committee, despite an objection by Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire - Con). The Hansard record of the resulting debate and a list of MPs who voted can be found here.

According to this source the Conservative Party whipped their MPs to vote for Keith Vaz. During the debate it was ruled that the past 'misdemeanours' of this MP were 'off-limits' where the debate was concerned. For those readers of short memory, said misdemeanours were listed here by the same source.

In view of the closing remarks by Andrew Bridgen:

If the right hon. Member for Leicester East thought himself only last month not fit to be a member of the Home Affairs Committee, and given that the matters relating his resignation are, as I have explained, unresolved, what makes him think that he is a fit and proper person to be a member of the Justice Committee this month?

one can but ask the same question.

One of the requirements of direct democracy is that Prime Ministers are elected and that they appoint their own ministers, the latter being subject to the approval of Parliament. As Parliament appears to have 'lost their marbles' in that they seem more content in preserving the stature one of their own, bearing in mind what has been 'questionable behaviour, perhaps the ability of Parliament to take decisions needs to be curtailed further.

Six 'basic requirments' of direct democracy are listed at the head of the home page and have been drawn up purely for discussion with a view to agreeing a definitive list.; consequently in view of this article I pose the question whether all political appointments should be open to a challenge from the electorate.