Monday, 11 May 2015

Why the Tory victory seems deeply suspicious with 25 recorded cases of electoral fraud

Dear all,

One last word from me on the election and then we'll go back to the music but I had to say something about that election result last week. Even for Conservative supporters the result seemed a little...odd. Everyone was expecting for there to be a minority Government - and I mean everyone: even Cameron himself had admitted as much - as reported here (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/general-election-2015/11581187/Ed-Miliband-defends-tomb-stone-Labour-pledges.html)  - and wife Samantha had even finished packing, against all protocol, so sure was she that her family was moving house.

Like many other people I was confused as to how so many of the world's leading political experts could be wrong (including US statistician Nate Silver, who got the last US election spot on) time and time again, right up until the exit poll a few hours before the results started coming in. The experts tries to explain it via 'shy tory voters' - but that makes even less sense to me; the few Tory voters I know are anything but shy about it and the evidence was that the election would go quite a different way (after all why would a lib dem voter frustrated at their inability to hold back the tories vote for the Conservative party instead of Labour? It made no sense!) And this wasn't just in one or two constituencies where weird things always happen in politics, but in patterns repeated right across the board - which never happens in politics. I wouldn't say I was at all confident about what kind of a Government we would have on May 8th but I was absolutely confident that it wouldn't be a majority Conservative one - that just ran in the face of everything.

So as the  impossible had to be eliminated I did a little bit of digging to find the improbable. And a bit more digging. And a bit more digging. Because I couldn't believe what I was seeing: unreported by the major press (except in small ways) were at least thirty examples of at the very least suspicious circumstances and at worst a wholesale vandalisation of the electoral process. Now there's always  something funny going on at an election - you get that humans together counting crosses late into the night and under pressure to work fast and there will always be mistakes. But we've been doing this election thing for a centuries now and I can't say I ever remember reading more than two or three unusual things happening at elections: this years there's ten times that! And twenty-five constituencies out of 650 - many of them suspiciously expected to be close before the election - is a high enough percentage to make a difference. Remember too that in this election things were so close in so many seats that a few hundred votes either way had huge ramifications - far more so than in any other election since the 1970s. So I put it to you: Ed Milliband won, David Cameron lost and should be thrown out while an investigation is undergone because we don't have cheaters in power in this country (well, not this soon after election anyway!) The votes have been altered and falsified along the way in a variety of cunning ruses and our electoral system is a shambles. Also, while many are complaining about the amount of people who didn't vote again this year, turnout was roughly 1.5% higher than last time in 2010 - just enough, suspiciously, to make the difference in tightly contested seats. And yes I may be a sore loser, but that's because I don't think I did lose and I hate being lied to. The Conservatives do after all have form with this with their notorious mis-use of statistics during the Coalition (this onbe, on benefits, is my favourite - Tory haters all have their own favourites on crime figures, employment and even flooding: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/may/09/iain-duncan-smith-benefits-cap-statistics) There was no way Cameron could have won that election outright, although there was always the chance of a minority Conservative Government. Instead we demand a new election, a fair one this time, overseen by someone that we trust.

Here is the evidence:

1) First of all the one mentioned more or less during election night: Glasgow East. The police were called in when a voter tried to use their poll-card only to be told that someone had already voted in their place. At the time of writing nobody has found who the real culprit was. While it's possible it was a mistake, who knows how many other names they or a crowd of people voted under?  This scandal might never have been found if the people doing it had picked their 'victims' with care as people unlikely or unable to vote. The losers? Labour The winners? The SNP You can read more here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/generalelection/general-election-2015-police-investigate-fraudulent-vote-allegations-in-glasgow-10234021.html

2-4) Other, similar cases came to light afterwards and were reported in the Edinburgh, North Lanarkshire and Cumbernauld areas. The losers? Labour The winners? The SNP again Suspiciously the original article I found this in, via newspaper The Daily Record, seems to have been taken down but here's a shorter article from the BBC that's still up: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-scotland-32634888

5) The one that's causing all the headlines now - South Thanet. Loathe him or loathe him, Nigel Farage and UKIP were a shoe-in for the seat and even if he'd lost slightly I'd understand it given what the polls were saying; but he didn't, he lost badly to the Conservatives again. Furthermore UKIP won the council seat in South Thanet easily, the one that the Conservatives don't much care about - which is odd. Normally votes for MPs and councils are roughly the same. This can alter when you have a major figure as part of an area whose 'larger than his party' if you will, but in that case the vote actually went against Farage and for his party. Why would people vote in the party and yet not a leader who is, within his own party following, almost universally popular? Farage is actually calling for an official investigation into this one which will be very interesting to hear about, with claims of election boxes left untouched until the last minute of the count (when they weren't done 'properly') and an eight hour delay before counting started which still hasn't been explained (the vote-riggers were running a bit late?) The losers: UKIP The winners: Conservatives. You can read more here: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/05/09/thanet-rigged-south-north-general-election-nigel-farage_n_7248496.html

6) The other one that made the news although everyone seems to have ridiculed it - George Galloway's allegations of a conspiracy against him in Bradford West. Normally I don't believe a word George Galloway says, but his loss of his Respect seat - which had been so secure five years ago and against every opinion poll in the area - was as big a shock as any other on the night. Galloway didn't just lose by one or two votes either but by over 10,000 votes which is a figure that would surely have broken the swingometer had it been used in his constituency. A few hundred voters can change their minds after polling day - but 100,000? Galloway demanded a recount and actually got less votes the second time round, ending up in trouble for breaking parliamentary practice by tweeting the first results before they were officially declared. Perhaps, just perhaps, if Galloway is taken to court the bigger story behind all this might come out too. Losers: Respect Winner: Conservatives http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/10/george-galloway-to-mount-legal-challenge-over-election-defeat

7) Plus potentially the most shocking: a van full of ballot papers which was held up and stolen, affecting two constituencies - Eastbourne and Hastings/Rye - who both had slightly higher than average turn-out (allegedly). Officially the burglars were just making off with an unmarked van and didn't know about the contents - which seems a bit odd truth to be told (this has never happened before either in all our years of elections!)  Some 250,000 ballot papers were stolen - enough to make a sizeable difference in the region (one blog reckons it would be enough to swing 30 different seats). Winners: By far the Conservatives, who gained Eastbourne in a tight contest and just held on to Hastings/Rye in an equally close fight with Labour. http://news.channel4.com/election2015/04/29/update-4354/

8) Now the ones that didn't necessarily make the news but still suggest something fishy going on. First up, a computer glitch that affected Hackney (Diane Abbott's region)  where many residents (perhaps several hundred, directly affecting 30 people who came to cast their vote) were not listed as eligible to vote despite registering in time and being sent their polling cards (Ian Duncan Smith's welfare computer system again?!) Winner: Labour won this one easily, suggesting it may have been a genuine mistake (they do happen - just not in these sorts of numbers!) http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/07/election-glitches-unable-to-vote-hackney-bournemouth

9) The same article adds a paragraph on another case in Bournemouth, specifically Kinson, where a botch-up at the printers meant that the wrong candidates were mentioned on the voting cards. Nine polling stations were affected and the mistake wasn't pointed out until the second voter through the doors queries the mistake. Losers: Labour Winners: Conservative Here's a longer article on the same constituency from their local paper http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/vote2015/12936317.Kinson_voters_told_to_come_back_later_after_polling_stations_sent_wrong_ballot_papers/

10) We're off to Pendle next, virtually the only region in the whole of the North West to fall to the Conservatives. This news story actually dates back to a week before the election when Conservative candidate Sajjad Karim raised the issue of postal voter fraud. Lord Greaves, on Pendle Borough Council backed his colleague up, referring to 'exceptionally high' postal votes in the region which had already been returned - up to ten days before the election. There were claims raised about postal voters being 'pressurised' to make their mind up quickly too as can be read here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-32391737 As for winners and losers - who knows? The conservatives raised the issue, but they won the seat comfortably - and against the pattern of the region

11) Another hit for the UKIP party, this time in Darlington, where their local candidate David Hodgson was horrified to find his name was missing from the ballot paper, which couldn't be replaced in time. I don't know about you but I've never ever heard of this happening before - these ballots are checked and re-checked so how did this error get past? Winners - Labour oddly (did the Conservatives overestimate their popularity in the borough?) Losers - UKIP http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/election-2015-name-ukip-candidate-david-hodgson-missing-darlington-ballot-papers-1500184

12) The Wirral, too, went back to becoming a Labour stronghold, but the Conservatives had been adamant that the hated MP for the disabled, Esther McVey, was going to get in again. So much so that the party fought tooth and nail for the position and threw everything they had at the area (despite it being a lost cause - most of the people I know from round there are deeply ashamed at how Ice Queen Esther McVey turned out). Did they decide to accidentally *ahem* lose a whole batch of postal votes in the Wirral just in case? New ballot papers were issued to the Heswell region, apparently, but do we know for certain they reached the voters in time? http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/general-election-2015-investigation-reports-9195178

13) Stoke-On-Trent: This constituency had a major discrepancy between the number of votes counted in before counting and the total once all the votes had been added up. A recount was quickly undergone which then tallied - but was a 'fake' box added into the mix somewhere in the night? As it happens Labour held the region, though only just. http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/General-Election-2015-Missing-votes-blunder/story-26464842-detail/story.html

14) Mendip, a region of Wells, was another constituency where many voters failed to get their postal ballots in time. The council whirred into action and printed up enough replacement ballots for everyone - but didn't have time to post them, instead making them 'available' in their offices at short notice, meaning that several residents might not have known where to get them from. Losers: Labour Winners: Conservatives http://www.thewestonmercury.co.uk/news/election/late_re_issue_rush_as_postal_ballot_papers_go_missing_1_4064598

15) The list goes on - Oxford West and Abingdon also had postal voters unhappy at not being sent their polling cards in time. The seat was one of the closest in the whole of the UK and every vote counted - so even though the 150 people affected would not usually have made much of a difference, it might well have done this one time. As with the other cases above, no official explanation was ever given, just an apology. Winners: The Conservatives Losers: Liberal Democrats, just for a change http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-england-32604143

16) Here's an odd one - in Thirsk and Malton, North Yorkshire,  the official polling boxes were found not to have been 'officially sealed' with the electoral ties but a home-made variety, which is another first as far as I know. This means that the boxes that left the polling station could have been tampered with before arriving at the count by someone who knew what they were doing. To quote from the article attached "It is almost as though a systematic plan has been implemented to render the ballot-boxes open to tampering during the period between the closure of the Polling Stations (at 10:00pm) and arrival at the count". This was another tight seat the Conservatives clung on to. Winners: Conservatives Losers: Labour http://nyenquirer.uk/thirsk-malton-ballot-box-infractions/

17) Does Milton Keynes strike you as an eager postal vote borough? Me neither - and yet concerns were raised after a 'deluge' of last minute postal votes almost brought the count to a stand-still. Those present who'd been to lots of these counts knew what to expect: three or four boxes arriving from the post office which had arrived on the last eligible day for counting. Instead 18 boxes were there - an unprecedented number containing nearly 5000 unexpected votes, more than enough to swing another close election. To be fair the postal ballots were scrupulously checked and found to be genuine - but counters under pressure can make mistakes, inside men or women could be found and it may even have been a ruse to distract from other electoral fraud stories - as well as a fourth possibility of a genuine coincidence. Normally I'd think the latter, but the 16 other examples above suggest otherwise... Winners: The Conservatives hold, though not by that much Losers: Labour http://www.miltonkeynes.co.uk/news/local/concerns-over-ballot-rigging-after-last-minute-flood-of-postal-votes-1-6730869

18) Another candidate's gone missing from the ballot papers, this time in Hull - seriously this happened twice for the first time ever in the history of UK elections? - and on this occasion with both Labour candidate Karl Turner and Green candidate Sarah Walpole missing from hundreds of postal ballots erroneously sent out to the local borough. Unusually Labour won this one easy, which was itself an odd result not just for the missing ballot papers but because of the size of the win and the fact that two of the four neighbouring boroughs turned Conservative. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32514019

19-20) Alas the link to these two have suspiciously gone down since this afternoon but both South London and Dorset experienced similar glitched to Hackney, with users registered to vote not turning up on the electoral list.

21) This one's one of my favourites: in Norwich North a fire alarm went off and everyone had to be evacuated. The fault was explained away to the press as both a 'faulty tea urn' and 'a faulty fire alarm box' which seems odd - it could plausibly have been because of both, but why such different stories? And why tonight of all nights? (the tea urn in the picture doesn't look new or particularly old and run down!) In the confusion could something have happened? Norwich was won by the Conservatives by the way! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/politics/constituencies/E14000863

22) I'd never heard of a fire evacuation during a count before - and then I read about another one, this time in Dundee! This time the winners were the SNP but the losers, as ever , were Labour http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/politics/constituencies/S14000015

23) Alas, this example features a labour candidate, thus ruining my theory, but we leave it here just to show that electoral fraud does go on: Quesir Mahmood, a candidate for Blakburn borough council, was arrested 'on suspicion of electoral fraud and integrity issues'  in late April and has not been sent up for sentencing as yet. See it does happen sometimes - so why not en masse everywhere else too?! http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/election-candidate-arrested-postal-vote-5602527
24) Saving the best till near-last, Eastwood Hilltop polling station 'accidentally' misplaced two boxes of votes after the count was officially declared. The boxes contained some 500 votes each - crucial in such a closely fought constituency - and the declaration had to be pulled and a re-count made. Would you believe it? The Conservatives held on in a ithgtly contested seat! 
 http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/embarrassing-scenes-bungling-council-bosses-5665689

25) And finally, a general point: many many votes come in from ex-patriot Britons living overseas who still want a say in their old constituencies. Usually the votes are taken in early, having longer to travel, but this year things seemed a bit left to the last minute and over 100,000 people may have been affected living in countries such as Australia, America, France, Singapore and Brazil - easily enough to swing a rigged election, especially if only a few 'choice' votes go 'missing'. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/expatnews/11584068/Expats-in-uproar-over-missing-ballot-papers.html.


And that's all I've found but who knows? That could just be the tip of the iceberg - keep your eyes peeled in your local paper for more underhand dodgy dealings and potential fraud! So, a case of massive electoral fraud? I fear so. Some, perhaps even a few of these cases could be innocent mistakes, made  by human error and not quite all of them affect the labour candidates in a bad way. But all 25? Has there ever been an election so hindered by incompetence? And even if this is all just a coincidence, shouldn't somebody from the national media have picked up the story by now - not just the 'pockets' of trouble like Glasgow East and South Thanet but the whole bigger picture? Because the bigger picture is that The Conservatives need to 'finish off' their policies, to rid the country of the NHS and the Welfare State and to be in power before the next election so they can right the results even more their way and make it harder for anyone else to get in (how is that fair?! See here - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/11593496/New-Commons-boundaries-top-Conservative-government-agenda.html ) This is a battle and one it looks like we've lost, but there's no way I'm going to sit back and let them think they won. More people voted for other parties - all of whom argued against the cuts - than voted for the Tories. The demonstrations in London prove how desperate and isolated the two-thirds of the country that didn't vote Tory are (maybe more if the above is true?) And I won't take it lying down: while I accept that labour would have had as many difficulties winning outright as the Conservatives were unlikely to have had, there is no way that many people voted Tory after what they've done the past five years, no way that the opinion polls were that far out and no way that either party could ever have won a majority after one of the biggest down-the-middle division in British political history. 

Update: there's now 67 cases of electoral fraud being investigated and a petition for you to sign to get a proper investigation into whether the election was rigged: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/a-rigged-general-election

5 comments:

  1. A little something extra in the news today for everyone to think about - proof that people have been collecting data on how we voted and phone numbers is discovered by accident! http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/voter-left-shocked-after-data-9228465#rlabs=2

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  2. And example number 26 this time from Kent - how many more are there going to be?! http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/i-know-voted-me-angry-5703584

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  3. fyi and an explanation of how/why http://aanirfan.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/uk-general-election-results.html

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  4. And another article with 50 cases listed: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/may/23/police-open-inquiries-allegations-electoral-fraud-uk

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  5. And yet more, this time from Hull...http://www.onenewspage.co.uk/n/UK/754uwbgc1/More-than-10-000-voters-disappear-in-Hull.htm

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