Voter fraud need not be a problem
Letter of the Week: Alan Carcas, Liversedge
Following the allegations of voting fraud in Dewsbury last May it isn’t surprising that the Electoral Commission, (EC), are keeping an eye on Kirklees Council, and some 14 others, in a crackdown on voting fraud.
In their rather wordy explanation of why they are doing this, the chairman of the EC, Jenny Watson, who to the best of my knowledge has never had anything to do with the organisation, running, or participation in any form of election, states: “These are not easy issues to resolve.”
Well, as somebody who organised election campaigns, at every type of election, from Urban Districts, through Counties, Boroughs, Parliamentary elections, to elections to the European Parliament, and participated in producing the official documents that underpin our electoral process in every type of election, I have got to say she is talking absolute rubbish.
There was little or no electoral fraud before the last Labour government decided to make it ‘easier’ for people to vote.
Not that it has ever been very difficult, apart from that first action of getting your backside out the armchair.
But, Labour still brought in Postal Votes (PVs) on demand, including for holidays, and tinkered with the compiling of the Electoral Register – a document that is the very bedrock of our electoral democracy.
I will say no more about their real motives except to say that it isn’t difficult at all to sort out the mess of voting fraud they left behind.
All we need to do is, once again, make the householder responsible for registering to vote every person in the household, and return postal voting to the categories that worked very well for generations: those who are sick or disabled; those who are away at work, or education, and, for General Elections, those who have moved home to another local council area.
A doctor’s signature was required for those who were sick, and I don’t know of any GP who objected to signing PV applications, seeing it as part of their civic duty, unless they were dumped on them in large batches by an enthusiastic political party activist.
Yes, we did have some!
But PVs were not accepted for holidays, although I have no doubt that the ingenuity of some voters got round that – the nearest thing we ever had to PV fraud, because, it’s only in relatively recent times that elections have been held at normal holiday periods, when people might be prevented from casting their vote.
Even today we still have polling on Thursdays to facilitate voting, because that was generally half-day closing in most towns and cities.
Where we had voting on Saturdays, it made little or no difference to the turn-out, but was very often marginally lower.
People who were overseas on business were able to appoint proxies, and that included all Service personnel.
We never, ever, sent ballot papers out of the country, because of the difficulty of guaranteeing delivery, and return, in time for polling day. Another stupid change wished on us by Labour!
It was a system that had stood the test of time, was perfectly well understood, and what electoral fraud there was, and certainly nothing of the scale that is alleged in Dewsbury last May, was absolutely minimal.
Only somebody who has no experience of elections, and voter registration, would think it difficult to ditch the present chaotic system, and clean up British politics, by returning to the way things were, where every individuals vote counted, rather than those of so-called communities.
Family boom not necessary
From: Mr TW Stephenson, Hanging Heaton
There are certain facts that require answers to a serious question.
1) Pensions could become impossible to sustain, especially in the public sector (government, councils etc).
2) Care for our increasing elderly population becoming a larger burden on hard pressed tax paying workers.
3) People over 60 encouraged to carry on working because of pension entitlement being pushed to higher age limits.
4) Fitter, older people who say they can’t afford to retire, or don’t want to.
5) One million youngsters without jobs, and figures rising.
The question is: Why isn’t our government, and most around the world, not putting the problems caused by over-population at the top of their list?
Could anyone explain why people need 4, 5, 6, 7 or more offspring nowadays, unless it is for some sort of programme linked to the bigger picture?
Cleck chaos? Try Dewsbury
From: Richard Ingham, via email
I read in your paper that there will be even more roadworks in Cleckheaton. So they are going to get what we have had to put up with for weeks/months/years in and around Dewsbury.
They have just re-opened Headfield Road last week, after many weeks! Now someone else has started digging another hole almost in the same place.
In addition, in the usual same place, at the junction of Bretton Street and Headfield Road, another set of traffic lights have been put there.
And yes, roadworks again, (single lane) opposite the bus station and B&Q.
How many more times are they going to keep us surrounded and digging the same place? I think Northern Gas should tell folk what’s going on.
From: Peter Moreland, Heckmondwike
Thank you for mentioning our centenary appeal last week, can I just add that the ex-St Patrick’s pupils’ event is at Holy Spirit School in Heckmondwike on June 28 from 1.30pm to 4pm.
If anyone is interested but cannot attend and would like more information can they contact me at email@example.com or telephone 01924 501774.
Madness in all quarters
From: Peter Evans, Thornhill
The Eurozone continues to throw up crisis after crisis, with their top dogs powerless to stop it, and some abandoning the ship with their ‘pot of gold’ pensions.
In most jobs logic and common sense are important ingredients.
Yet there are still a lot of MPs, mainly Labour and Lib Dems, who think we should eventually join into the jamboree.
Also, one hospital trust in Yorkshire is spending £100,000 a month on consultants to work out how they can keep out of even further debts.
I thought that was what their own excessively paid executives were paid to do, instead of the unbelievable mis-management that seems to be in vogue.
Spen vote a waste of time
From: Name and address supplied
This is the first time in my life I will have neglected to vote. The reason why is that I feel there is nobody worth voting for.
I receive letters through my door asking me to help save Spen pool, which was built with concrete that is now rotting.
I ask myself, who awarded the contract to build the pool so who is responsible for the bad product?
The Coliseum in Rome has plenty of concrete and is doing quite well for its age.
If saving Spen pool would mean we have to listen to the screech of the motor scooters tearing at great speed to and from their dealings, then I say let it go.
If, on the other hand, the police did their job then yes, save the pool and more people may not be put off visiting.
I have asked all three parties if they support the under-occupancy charge or bedroom tax as it more commonly known.
Labour leaflet distributors say that this tax is now the law.
The Conservative councillors told me they did not know about it and the Liberals don’t know their own minds anyway.
I just wonder what the turn out will be on voting day. Very, very low I guess.
What a pity no other party put up a candidate but there again, it was kept very quiet about Margaret Bates’ retirement.
The future is looking good? Well, maybe NOT.
Council in it for itself
From: Richard T Brompton
With reference to an article printed on March 1 about Ponderosa and the plans for a retirement village.
Kirklees has built extra care homes in Dewsbury, Huddersfield and Heckmondwike, the latter are available in November.
I can’t help but feel sorry for Mr Cook and feel that Kirklees were a little bit prejudiced against him and his retirement scheme in favour of their own.
They charge lots of little extras on top of the rent to the elderly and disabled like a ‘door intercom charge’ and a ‘restaurant supplied fee’.
Also they won’t be allowing satellite dishes on the property because the phone, TV and broadband have been given to BT so everyone will have to change.
It’s a disgrace. Kirklees are lining their own pockets again against anyone who tries to help the elderly and disabled.