What’s my vote worth?

How easy would it be to steal an election in the UK? Over the break, I read “Banana Republic UK?” by Sam Buckley. In it, he argues that that it’s too easy to rig and steal elections in the UK, and that this has been compounded by the then Labour Government’s decision in 2000 to allow postal votes on demand as an attempt to increase voter participation. He reviews process of legal review of elections, illustrates the difficulty and cost of starting and winning such a review. He then looks firstly at the specific review of two wards in Birmingham in 2004, which led to the elections being voided and a number of individuals being disqualified from standing for public office because they had corrupted the postal votes. Those disqualified were members of the Labour Party; Buckley balances this by exploring a review of elections in Slough where supporters of the Conservative candidate were convicted of rigging the election by placing non eligible voters on the electoral roll. The constraints on who can request an election court, the burden of proof and the time limits make it hard for the Police to participate in ensuring that vote rigging doesn’t occur. They can prosecute wrong doers, but cannot void the election. …

Mrs Windsor goes to Downing Street.

The Queen attended the Cabinet earlier this week. Basically this as an attempt by this tarnished and cruel Tory-led government to acquire some of the Queen’s current popularity. You’d think they’ve learned since the Jubilee and Olympics failed to help them. Actually, it’s a disgrace and a demonstration of a massive ignorance of the history of democracy in this country. One can only assume that this Government doesn’t care. …

Vile Class Warriors

In the Independent, Owen James eviscerates Osborne’s benefit trap for Labour exposing it as a piece of class war and “vile”. He points out that the economy is still in a worse state than in 2008, the level of debt is over double the level in the 2008, the deficit for this financial year is £100bn higher than planned and that the Government’s own tame forecaster, the Office of Budgetary Responsibility is now predicting a decade of lost growth; they have massively reduced their growth forecast but are still seen as too optimistic by many independent commentators. The economics and juvenile politics is also exposed in a David Blanchflower article, “The Bullingdon Chancellor: why George Osborne is a very uncivil, as well as useless, Chancellor”

The cut in benefits is rightly described as vile. The Tories want to tell a “Strivers vs. Skivers” story, despite the fact that many benefit claimants work, have recently done so, or want to work, James states,

That a gang of multimillionaire class warriors is intentionally attempting to turn poor people against each other for political advantage is as shameful as the often grubby world of politics gets.”

Much of what’s left of the benefit system is now subsidising landlords and exploitative businesses, and other proposals in the “Autumn Statement” protect business profits. Let’s not forget that in the 2012 Budget, they reduced the highest rate of tax from 50% to 45%, a benefit to those “earning” over £150,000.

James argues that the Parliamentary Labour Party needs to take them on and examines the proponents and opposition to this. I agree … what they propose is wrong and they made a mistake in framing the public vs. private wages argument, they have done so again.

This is a brilliantly written, well researched article; wish I had written it. …

Save Lewisham A&E II

Unfortunately, I can’t make the final consultation meeting organised to consult on the TSA report on South London’s Hospitals. It seems that a large number of Lewisham’s residents have managed it. We can find out what’s happening by tracking twitter’s #savelewishamae feed.

After this meeting, it’s important that we all express our views in the “consultation” exercise. How to participate is best expressed at “Save Lewisham A+E” web site. This now has

It’s important to get as many as possible, in Ealing which is suffering a similar attack, the Commissioners are trying to ignore a response of 18,000 as reported in the Ealing Gazette. I have created a short URL, http://is.gd/u5pdea

If you haven’t signed the petition , then it’s here. …