Monday 25 November 2013

Corrupt communities

Unless he has evidence, Dominic Grieve, the Attorney-General,  was probably unwise to single out the Pakistani community in Britain for special mention in his accusations of "corruption in some minority communities."

However, my friend John Cole, for 15 years a member of Bradofrd City Council, has writen to Mr Grieve pointing out that there is ample reason for concern about the possibility of corrupt  practices in British elections.

John writes:

"I would strongly recommend (assuming you have not already done so) that you get  hold of a copy of "Purity of Elections in the UK:  Causes for Concern".  This is a report by Stuart Wilks-Heeg of Liverpool University on behalf of the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust.  Publication = 2008, ISBN = 0-9548902-3-x.  

This is a carefully researched academic report  which I think gives substance  to the comments you made earlier this week and which you are now being pressurised to retract."

John goes on to point out that the main source of corruption in elections is via postal voting, now available to anyone on a whim, and cites not only himself but senior officials of Bradford Council  as being strongly in favour of  greatly reducing the the eligibility for a postal vote. (  It used to be given only if you were too ill to attend the polling station or would be absent from home, either in the forces, on business, or, I think, away on holiday, on the date of the election.)

 At the time of the publication of the Wilks-Heeg report John tried to raise the matter privately within City Hall. His attempts were squashed: certain party leaders were wary of giving offencet.  The pressure  now being placed to squash further consideration of Mr Grieve's remarks are not healthy for our democracy: we should be ruthless in ferreting out corruption wherever it happens.

If a thorough enquiry results in our returning to the rule that, wherever possible, voting should be "in person, in private," so much the better.

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