Tuesday, April 05, 2005


in denial

Update 5.30 pm

There are going to be huge increases in postal voting on 05-05-05 (will the three main parties' results have a similar elegant symmetry?)

The Government has broken its thin-lipped silence on yesterday's postal vote fraud verdict. They are understandably extremely miffed that the judge says they are in 'denial' about the problem.
Nick Raynsford, the Minister, has now announced that an additional £10 million will be spent on "preventing fraudulent postal voting". But that is easier said than done. How will postal votes be protected from fraud? The Electoral Commission's report of of August 2004 does not seem to have led to much progress in reassuring those who have been worried about this for a long time. There is very little time left now.

The Electoral Commission's report "Delivering Democracy? The Future of Postal Voting" urged that choice should remain, a new foundation model of voting for statutory elections and referendums should be developed and the law should explicitly require Returning Officers to conduct post-election audits of election stationery such as declarations of identity, security statements and postal vote applications. It also said that the Government should

The Independent this morning quotes more of what the judge, Mr Richard Mawrey QC, said yesterday (see below)

The judge said Government claims that guards against vote-rigging were in place revealed a "state not simply of complacency but of denial". He said:
Complacency, denial and authoritarianism. Well at least one Labour MP has had enough. Steven Wilkinson MP has turned his back on his party and fled to the open arms of the Lib Dems.

He is not alone. We read that for every person who voted Conservative in 2001 but has now switched to the Liberal Democrats, there are no less than three who have made the equivalent switch from Labour. And my splendid brother, one of the few people I know who cheerfully admits to having been wrong about Iraq, says "I was wrong over Iraq.. I suppose I shall have to vote for Kennedy" (Who is described this evening by Jon Snow as "...bounding about like an excited labrador that's just found the Kennomeat under the stairs... we're off!")

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