Archives for posts with tag: General Election

Being able to vote in an election, to choose the people that decide the laws by which we should abide, or who commit us to war or set the taxes that we must pay is a right that our forebears have made great sacrifices to procure and protect. It is a solemn undertaking when we exercise our vote, one that we should treat in all seriousness, for we are not just casting a ballot on behalf of ourselves, but also in the knowledge that our choice may impact irrevocably on others.

It is, therefore, important that the ballot is, in every respect, beyond reproach; that we know it has not been tampered with and could not have been subverted to the benefit of any one candidate or a party’s candidates. Seeking to skew an election is not an easy task and while the aftermath of British elections has on occasion led to isolated examples of accusations about individuals or certain groups exploiting seeming weaknesses in our procedures, instances of malpractice or deliberate cunning that have led to prosecutions are, thankfully, rare.

Following the last General Election concerns were raised that young students were encouraged to cast their votes twice by voting once from their home address and again using a second term-time address. To do so would have been illegal, and while the police investigated some 70 specific reports in the end only one successful prosecution was brought against Mohammed Zain Qureshi. He had voted twice from his home address by registering two different versions of his name and thus obtaining two polling cards.

Nevertheless it is not as if we have not had difficulties with personation or double voting before. For decades the joke that in Northern Ireland voters were encouraged to “vote early, and vote often” by using the names of dead relatives that might still be on the electoral roll was believed to have some substance. In 2002 a Northern Ireland opinion survey showed 66 per cent believed “electoral fraud is very common in some areas” whilst 64 per cent thought in some areas it was “enough to change the election results”.

After the Labour government passed its Electoral Fraud (Northern Ireland) Act in 2002 – requiring voters to present photographic proof of identity – comparative surveys of returning officers in 2001 and 2003 indicated the percentage who reported seeing people vote more than once had decreased from 3 per cent to 0.1 per cent. Those experiencing being turned away because someone had already voted in their name declined from 4 per cent to 1 per cent and those presented with documents they suspected to be forgeries declined from 3 per cent to 0.2 per cent.

Source: Brian Monteith: Showing ID a smart move that will curb voter fraud : The Scotsman

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The ramblings of a former DWP Civil Servant ...

Corbynism is not the future, it is the future refusing to be born

1964, 11 years before the EU referendum of 1975, the West Midlands constituency of Smethwick was the most colour-conscious place in the country, and the scene of a Tory campaign that successfully exploited anti-immigrant sentiment.  The infamous slogan that propelled a Tory into the House of Commons was, “If you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour.”

Peter Griffiths, the successful Tory candidate refused to disown the slogan, “I would not condemn any man who said that,” he told the Times during his election campaign.  “I regard it as a manifestation of popular feeling.”  All sounds rather depressingly familiar, does it not?  One need not strain one’s imagination to hear Farage today saying exactly what Griffiths said to the Times in 1964.  One never, in one’s wildest dreams, expected to hear a Labour leader use the…

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Activists ‘horrified’ by universal credit rules forcing sick claimants into work activity  

“Very dangerous” rules are forcing severely-ill people applying for the government’s new universal credit to look for jobs and take part in training, even though their GPs have said they are not fit for work, “horrified” disabled activists have warned.

The rules – which have never been announced or publicised by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – apply to new universal credit claimants who are waiting for an assessment of their “fitness for work”.

And they mean they could have their benefits sanctioned for up to three months if they fail to follow strict instructions from a job coach with no medical training.

They are forced to take part in work-related activity, such as a work-focused interviews and “work preparation”, which could mean training or employment programmes.

They could also face sanctions if they fail to show they have searched for a job for up to 35 hours a week, and have not made themselves available for paid work.

Potential sanctions will continue to hang over their heads until their fitness for work is eventually tested through the notorious work capability assessment (WCA), which could take months.

Dr Stephen Carty, medical adviser to the Scottish grassroots campaign group Black Triangle (BT), who

 

Source: Shock as Universal Credit rules treat sick as ‘fit for all work-related activity’ – against GPs explicit orders – Black Triangle Campaign


THERESA May has called a snap General Election for June 8 in a shock Downing Street announcement as she blasted her political rivals for trying to derail Brexit. The Prime Minister has stunned West…

Source: Theresa May calls snap General Election for June 8 in shock Downing Street announcement


This is all political speak for no one, especially in politics, expects anyone taking over mid-term to go for a public election. This is especially so for the UK, where all we elect is our own, so called, MP.


Original post from The Health Foundation

An extract

‘………..Discussion of the forthcoming UK general election is dominated by military language: battle lines have been drawn, salvoes have been fired, skirmishes are underway. So it seems appropriate to suggest that the political arms race over the NHS has now well and truly begun.

The campaign promises on the NHS we’ve heard so far – and doubtless also the promises we’ll hear between now and 7 May – essentially split into two categories. First are commitments about resources, ie pledges to either provide additional funding or make existing budgets go further by cutting perceived waste (NHS managers will be wearily familiar with this terrain). Second are commitments about setting priorities for how the NHS will use those resources, such as extending GP opening hours, speeding up cancer diagnostics, improving access to mental health services, and so on.

The basic purpose of that second set of commitments is essentially to convince the public that the political party making them has the right plan for the NHS. But recent polling suggests only 16% of the public generally trust the political class to tell the truth, whereas 90% of people trust doctors to do likewise. So why do politicians continue to compete over who has the right priorities for the NHS, if the public doesn’t really trust any of them? ………….’


Every Disabled Child Matters from Learning Disability Alliance England

An extract  ‘…………………In the field of policy shaping the lives of disabled children generally (not just children with learning disabilities) probably the most important such organisation is the Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM) Alliance, coordinated by Contact A Family, the Council for Disabled Children, Mencap and the Special Educational Consortium.

Just as the LDA is currently producing a vision of what we want for the future and a commentary on government performance as part of our General Election  campaigning, EDCM has just published its ‘manifesto’ Right from the start: What we want from the next government.

This document is nicely produced, based on talking to disabled young people and their families and well referenced – offering research evidence on its powerful messages like: ‘4 in 10 disabled children are living in poverty’, ‘9 in 10 parents are concerned about cuts to local services’ and ‘49% of parents say their health has been affected due to lack of sleep’.  ………….’

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