Dead Men Left

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Ballot-rigging: the strange death of Labour England?

There seems little to be gained from adding to the chorus of disapproval that greeted the Birmingham vote-rigging scandal. What happened was disgraceful - but not necessarily confined to a few "rotten apples":

But Mr Mawrey, a deputy high court judge who has sat through four weeks of evidence that thousands of postal votes were stolen to be changed or filled in by Labour supporters, said the fraud was not the actions of a "few hotheads". It was carried out with the full knowledge and cooperation of the local Labour party and "extensively prevailed" throughout the city, where applications for postal votes soared from 28,000 to 70,000 last year.

There was an excellent report in the Independent a week ago on this (text-only backup), detailing just how serious the fraud was. A great chunk of the existing political system in Britain is collapsing around our ears and revealing all its many vices as it does so. It's not just Birmingham, either; similar allegations have been made in Blackburn and Wigan - formerly rock-solid Labour towns now unable to deliver Labour elections. George Galloway here adds his thoughts; staking his claim on a formerly rock-solid Labour borough, his particular concern is hardly surprising.