Wednesday, 30 April 2008

More like Zimbabwe every day

THE anti-BNP brigade turned-up en masse in Currock ward in Carlisle last night to deliver a second 'holocaust' leaflet. This is real desperation on their behalf. They have already delivered another 'holocaust' leaflet and what voters will think having yet another photo of a pile of bodies of victims from the concentration camps pushed through their letterboxes remains to be seen.

Clive Jefferson covers the story on his website here.

I have received an interesting correspondence from David Moon, a political colleague of mine of many years standing from Lambeth. He wrote to the Electorial Commission over the organisation Operation Black Vote.

"Please explain how the Electoral Commission can sustain the claim to be an independent body set up by the UK Parliament to ensure the integrity and public confidence in the democratic process when it is providing funding for an organisation called Operation Black Vote.
"The aforesaid 'Operation Black Vote' is currently involved in campaigning in the London Mayoral & GLA elections specifically AGAINST one of the lawful political parties contesting that election, the British National Party.
"This makes OBV a 'Third Party' within the meaning of the regulatory legislation as it is not standing candidates under its own name.
"If the Electoral Commission is providing funding to facilitate third party activity how exactly is this compatible with its 'independence' and how does it instil confidence in the integrity of the democratic process?"

Iredia Oboh a Public Information Officer with the Electoral Commission replied:

"Thank you for your email concerning Commission funding for a project run by Operation Black Vote.
"The Electoral Commission has a statutory duty to promote awareness of the electoral process and democratic institutions. We do this by providing information on registration, elections and democratic institutions through a range of resources and advertising campaigns. We undertake particular work targeted at audiences that our research has shown to be more likely not to be registered to vote. This includes British citizens overseas, members of the armed services, students, people who have recently moved house, young people and members of some minority ethnic communities.
"Our Partnership Grant scheme awards grants to not-for-profit organisations or registered charities to fund projects working with young people outside formal education, people with disabilities and people from minority ethnic communities. Grants are awarded following a competitive application process for projects that aim to increase voter registration and awareness of how the democratic process works. Operation Black Vote was awarded a grant in November 2007 for a project that aims to increase levels of voter registration by minority ethnic communities across England, Scotland and Wales.
"The terms and conditions of all our grants specify that no part of the grant shall be used to promote party or other political purposes, or seek to change any aspect of current law. All projects are regularly monitored and grant monies only released on the receipt of invoices once the agreed activity has taken place. 2007 was the final year of grant awards and the scheme is now closed for further applications.
"Your query also refers to the need for Third Parties to register with the Electoral Commission in relation to campaigning activities prior to an election. Third parties intending to spend more than £10,000 in England, or £5,000 in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, campaigning at a ‘relevant elections’ are required to register with the Commission. These rules apply to elections to the UK, European and Scottish Parliaments, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly.
"However, there is no requirement for organisations to register with the Commission as Third Parties for the forthcoming London Mayoral and Greater London Assembly elections. The Representation of the People Act 1983 does impose spending limits on third party campaigning for this election, however the regulation of these limits is not within our remit. Therefore if you think that an organisation has spent beyond these limits, you would need to refer your complaint to the police."

It appears to be the same story that we have experienced here in Carlisle with illegal Third Party leaflets that don't appear on any candidate's expenses. We complained to the Returning Officer who said it was a matter for the police. The police said we should take it up with the Electoral Commission who in turn said we should report it to the Returning Officer and the police. The net result is that nothing gets done about it and the democratic process suffers because of it.

This country's election process and the media's coverage of it, gets more like Zimbabwe every day. If you are political party that the State doesn't approve of, you are not entitled to a free and fair election.


Scarborough_Comet said...

We have had the illegal third party leaflets in Scarborough which no one ever claims for.

We took the matter as far as we could but in the end the CPS said that to bring a prosecution was not in the public interest.

Bert Rustle said...

reportedly, in London, some of the ballot boxes are cardboard. How can one determine if one's ballot papers have been tampered with after being cast?

I would hazard a guess that there will be sufficient fraud to limit the BNP to one London Assembly seat and further that the Ruling Class have not only closed ranks on the Electorate but have also abandoned them.