Tag Archives: elections

The struggle of the class

I stayed up the People’s History Museum after the meeting and had a quick wander round the standing exhibition. Since it’s a museum of the working class, it’s stronger on the period after the industrial revolution and focuses on the coming of the franchise, the foundation of the trade unions and the Labour Party and the suffragettes. I did however stop at their exhibitions on Thomas Paine and even earlier the Levellers. It opens with two panels on corruption of power and the secret societies which were the precursors of the trade unions, both of which are becoming more accurate by the day.

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Keep your vote

At the beginning of the summer, I got a letter saying that I was to be kept on the electoral register, and yet over the weekend I received a letter addressed to the occupier, demanding to know, who lived there so they could write and ask all residents to register to vote. Previously, registration was done once for the whole household, now it must be done each and every voter on their own behalf. If the letter is not returned or if filled in untruthfully the residents are threatened with a £1,000 – £5,000 fine. If we fill in the form, or it is filled in on pur behalf we will be invited to fill in another form, or use an online form. The online form, asks all sorts of impertinent questions including and this is a new one, my NI number. (I thought we’d voted not to have a national ID card.) You should note, it’s a central government site, and while it uses https, to stop others seeing what you’re doing, it means that the Government now has a list of all people who apply to vote online. That’s also new.

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Voting by Mobile Phone


Polly Toynbee in the Guardian today bemoans the low turn out and the perceived ‘rotten borough’ nature of Britain’s parliamentary democracy. Among her arguments she suggests voting should be made easier by allowing people to use their mobile phones.

I have commented; because identifying oneself to government, counting elections and guaranteeing the secrecy of the ballot are the last things we should hand over to proprietary, closed software. Digital activists have come to the conclusion that even counting election results by scanned paper ballots is undesirable and where it is done in this country, a sample based manual verification is undertaken. I presented the argument that the regulator’s code must be open to the @labourdigital Top of the Manifestos event.

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What do London’s MEP candidates think about digital?


Yesterday the Open Rights Group held its final European Parliament hustings at Shoreditch Village Hall in Hoxton, London. It’s been a while since I visited and it’s certainly cleaned up well. It was great to be there. On the way in, I met Claude Moraes, Labour’s spokesman who told me that the Tories non-attendance was deliberate policy. I don’t know if it’s shame at their behaviour on the lobbying around the data protection directive or fear of a digitally educated audience. The meeting was moderated by Glyn Moody, who led the meeting through the issues of privacy, surveillance, whistle blowing, net neutrality, lobbying and copyright reform. The Tories absence meant that representatives from Labour, the LibDems, both represented by incumbents Claude Moraes and Sarah Ludford,the Greens (Danny Bates) and UKIP (Paul Oakley) who were not, were present.

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Voter Suppression?

The Guardian reports that the electoral commission have announced that they propose to extending proof of identity checks at the polling station from Northern Ireland to the rest of the UK. This has been a while coming. I reviewed Mike Buckley’s Banana Republic UK, in which he argued that, proof of Identity should be presented when voting and/or applying for a postal vote,
identity checks should be undertaken when applying for inclusion on the electoral roll & postal votes should be restricted to those who have a need. His arguments also strongly suggest that judicial scrutiny of contested or suspicious results should be easier to start.

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Some thoughts on the NEC and parliamentary selection rules

The Labour List article on the Orgsub’s tuning of the Parliamentary Selection process has attracted some interesting comments which gives some ideas as to how people think in other constituencies, or at least so I assume; you don’t have to be a Labour Party member to comment (or post) on Labour List.

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How important is postal voting becoming?

Late last year, I read Banana Republic UK, which I reviewed here…. We should all be familiar with the dire turnout in the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections, and a comment by Joanna Baxter made me consider what proportion of the PCC elections were cast by postal ballot. Since the postal vote is the most vulnerable part of our voting system, as it becomes more pervasive, the vulnerabilities become more important; the election becomes less safe.

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Police Commissioner Gordon wanted

I voted by post early today for Jacqui Rayment as Hampshire’s new PCC. See what she says on her campaign site and on twitter @jacqui4hantspcc; here is what the last parliamentary results for the region i.e.counties and constabularies other than Hampshire posted. Also check out her opponents; all candidates are listed on the Hants PCC site.

Like many I am not a fan of personal mandates, corruption is too easy, and unlike the executive mayors I can see no elected financial control body. Some have argued for abstention, as has former Met Commissioner Sir Iain Blair, but in some places the choice is acute. I have spoiled my ballot paper before, albeit deliberately, and this time I have decided I need to use my vote, but only the first preference. Luke Akehurst replies to John Harris at Labour List; people have the right to abstain, but should do so on the ballot paper.

The Portsmouth News reported on a hustings here. None of the candidates have stated they’ll rely on costumed vigilante’s summoned by a searchlight pointed at the clouds.

In the General Election2012, in Hampshire, 14 Tory MPs were returned, 2 Labour and 1 Lib Dem, although Winchester, now Tory, has been Lib Dem in the recent past. it would seem that Michael Mates, the ex-Tory MP should win. Do we really want him as Police & Crime Commissioner?

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What does Obama’s victory mean for us?

Obama wins re-election as President of the USA against the combined might of Wall Street and Occupy’s 1%. Congratulations!

Several UK commentators have expressed the view that it’s good news for Cameron because an incumbent won re-election despite the fact that the economy was in an appalling state. See [James Forsyth in the Spectator]. Most surprisingly Peter Oborne in the Daily Telegraph, who offers Cameron six other lessons. What they miss, as expressed on Conservative Home of all places, albeit in the comments is that the Tories have deliberately wrecked Labour’s recovering economy; Obama managed to get a stimulus package through and as his VP and running mate, Joe Biden said, “GM is still alive”. The Tories and Democrats are also travelling in different directions on Healthcare provision. The most important difference though is when Obama says “We’re all in this together”, he’s believed, when Cameron or Osborne say it, they’re not…partly because as in Romney’s case, they have some very unpleasant and greedy friends.

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La Gauche a gagne en France

Francois Hollande, the PS candidate for President du Republique has won today. 6th May 2012.

I am at home in my flat in London.

I also remember when I heard that Mitterand, the last socialist to hold the post won, I was at CPSA conference in 1981, I think it was the Ship Hotel, and Dennis Skinner MP was speaking, he’d just been heckled, he asked what Williams, Jenkins, Owen & Rodgers had ever done for the Labour Party; the reply being they’d left it. He riposted, “I’ll use that next time”.

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May 3rd, 2012, London

I was pounding the streets in Deptford with @VickyFoxcroft and @Joe_Dromey on Thursday, campaigning for Ken in his campaign to replace the Tory Johnson as Mayor for London.

Thanks to all the people I met, those who voted for Ken and the Labour Party, those who campaigned with me, and those who didn’t but remained polite.

It was a close run thing in the end, and I even had my hopes raised between 16:30 and 21:00 when what became three Labour “constituencies” had yet to declare but it wasn’t to be.

I met several people, who just cheered us on in Brockley, but also one in New Cross, who while saying he had voted for Ken, thought he needed,

to remember where he came from

and those who are still there. I did challenge him, as I personally recognise this criticism of many of Labour’s leaders, I didn’t think it included Ken Livingstone. I promised to repeat it, and I shall remember this advice when choosing our next candidate.

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London votes tomorrow

Tomorrow/Today we elect a Mayor and Council in London.

Labour’s candidate is Ken Livingstone, he is fighting to replace the right-wing tory, Boris Johnson.

I was planning to summarise my feelings but if you check out my internet spore, I think you know how I feel. Nicky Gavron, a GLA Assembly Member summarizes brilliantly, why Ken is right for London, and Johnson is wrong in her blog article, Ken v Boris.

Johnson has been a disgrace as London Mayor, I don’t even thinks he wants to be Mayor, and Ken has always been a great public servant and Londoner. Once again, read Gavron’s article.

The key powers of the Mayor are Transport, Police and Planning. Ken’ll reduce the fares, bring stability to the Police and use the planning powers in the interests of Londoners to build affordable housing.

Johnson will increase fares at above inflation, sack policemen and Comissioners and built 56 houses in the last six months.

There’s only one sensible choice. Vote Labour for London.

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Just one more cadre

I recently wrote to Loz Kaye, the leader of the UK Pirate Party, to congratulate him and his party on their brother’s and sister’s victory in Berlin. I pointed out that in Europe they were at a cross roads. As they grow in maturity and power as a political party, something yet to occur in the UK, it will become harder to talk to and work with supporters in other political parties. There is a mature balancing act to be taken in advancing their ideas, most of which I agree with, and winning political power. In my mind, they have to find a route between supporting the growth of broad campaigning groups such as the ORG or building their own organisation. There is a tendency in both the Liberal Democrats and the British Trotskyist movement to consider each new party member a victory for the cause. Both parties often win these cadres at the cost of those they create, dispirited by defeat who give up on politics. Each person who gives up on politics and hope is a loss to democracy, and we are not winning.

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