Wednesday, May 02, 2007
British "referendum" on the Iraq War tomorrow
I've been letting Britain go its merrie way, but since elections are planned for tomorrow, we might as well check in.
Two years ago I wrote several posts warning about the level of fraud anticipated for the May 2005 elections. Now Hélène Mulholland reports that "Postal voting fraud in council elections three years ago may have been more extensive than previously thought." Simply Appalling readers were not lulled.
Most of the problems centered about absentee ballots, known in Britain as "postal voting." But there were also instances of flat-out vote tampering à la Ohio. Since Britain is a participant in the European Union, which requires of its members a "pluralistic democracy," it received an embarrassing visit in March from an EU delegation to determine if it was to become "the first western democracy to face monitoring over vote-rigging and electoral fraud."
Britain is making some motions to clean up its act. The BBC reports that—
More than 20,000 postal voters have dropped off the register in Birmingham wards investigated over fraud.
In Aston and Bordesley Green wards - which were the focus of the investigation - the number of postal voters this year is down by 80%.
In four other wards, where there were allegations of fraud at the time but no formal inquiry, more than half the postal voters have disappeared from the list.
Prime Minister Tony Blair and the elections
Elections in Scotland and Wales will seat representatives in their respective assemblies. But for the English these are local elections.
Approximately 10,500 English council seats1 are up for grabs, and local issues would normally be front and center. But the English have endured 10 years of Prime Minister Tony Blair's "New Labour," which, as I pointed out long ago, came to resemble nothing so much as "Old Tory." So, in parallel with the recent American elections, this election is viewed as a referendum on Blair's government and the Iraq war.
In an effort to shore up the party's chances, Blair announced yesterday that next week he will be announcing his plan to resign. I know that's convoluted, but it's about the only hope the British have. Blair also threw his support to Scotsman Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer,2 as his successor. This supposedly will improve Labour's chances in Scotland.
A meet-up by the Brighton bandstand?
Despite Blair's best efforts, it's anticipated that Labour is going to take a massive hit. And the Conservatives (Tories) are likely to be the prime beneficiaries. It's so bad, for instance, that there is speculation that the very people who turned Brighton into a "gay-friendly London-by-sea" might be wooed into the arms of "remodeled" Conservatives.
Yes, it's true. The Conservatives are looking less conservative. They want to improve the National Health Service, not destroy it—or so they say. And 2002 saw the coming out of the first Conservative Member of Parliament. So maybe a little tryst between Conservatives and gays is in order—just to make a point about that asshole Tony Blair. But I would hope it doesn't turn into a long-term relationship.
Absentee-ballot fraud: A lesson unlearned (4/9/05)
Massive fraud anticipated in Britain's May 5 election; Court will not act (4/21/05)
Allegations of British vote fraud begin to surface (5/7/05)