The United Kingdom is a Banana Realm

Most of the media is focused on the political mating ritual being played out between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. However, Steven Swinford in the Sunday Times manages to drag some readers back to a more fundamental problem in the British democratic process, for the zero sum game of ‘how many of my stated principles can I get away with abandoning’ is far less important than the endemic problems at the heart of our voting system.

To underline just how flawed and prone to corruption our electoral process is, we have the embarrassment of being told by election monitors from the developing world that our electoral system is less secure than theirs.  As Swinford writes:

OFFICIAL election monitors from the developing world have warned that the British voting system is less secure than their own and possibly the most vulnerable to corruption in the world.

Observers from Kenya and war-torn Sierra Leone, who spent the past week in Britain, said the integrity of the general election was at risk because it was based on trust rather than proper identity checks.

They questioned the legitimacy of the result after thousands of voters were turned away from crowded polling stations. The observers were also shocked by allegations that the electoral roll was being filled out with “ghost” voters.

To cut to the chase, what this tells us is that the corruptible British electoral system, which enables non-existant people to be registered to vote by post and no checks made as to the identity of electors, denotes the United Kingdom as nothing more than a Banana Realm.  It didn’t take long for many in the media, with their tiny goldfishesque attention spans, to forget all about the postal vote scandal and focus on the political class theatre playing to a bemused population.  To cap the humiliation, just see the comments made by some of the observers.

“The allegations of fraud and of voters being turned away threaten the integrity of the vote, especially in marginal constituencies where candidates have a majority of less than 1,000.”
Ababu Namwamba, MP – Kenya

“Your system is a recipe for corruption; it was a massive shock when I saw you didn’t need any identification to vote. In Sierra Leone you need an identity card and also to give your fingerprint. Here you need nothing. In this respect, our own system is more secure than yours.”
Marie Marilyn Jalloh, MP – Sierra Leone

When the Cameron-Clegg tango is done and dusted and the UK is saddled with a principle-lite coalition of compromise and abandoned pledges, this realm will still be considered by the international community to be an example of electoral incompetence that is incapable of delivering fair and trustworthy elections.

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3 Responses to “The United Kingdom is a Banana Realm”

  1. 1 Alistair 09/05/2010 at 3:48 pm

    Actually, I think we British can be proud that our system has always been based on trust, since it has clearly largely worked for a long time or it would have been altered many years ago. There’s something rather “Continental” and un-British about the need to show ID cards and finger prints before you do things. If you look at the kind of names that are appearing as ghost voters and the constituencies where it is a big problem, it rather suggests that this is not – ahem – an indigenous problem but has been imported from countries where this sort of thing is par for the course. We have a choice: let outsiders change our society based on trust to one not based on trust and thereby make the trustworthy majority suffer, or go after those who seek to abuse it.

  2. 2 JohnRS 09/05/2010 at 3:50 pm

    With Gordon “Mugabe” Brown running the place, why is anyone surprised.

    Under this regime (and that of the slimy Bliar) we have had a period of unprecedent corruption of our institutions:-

    Cash for votes, influence, passports, peerages has been a thread running through the whole period (remember Ecclestone’s millions at the very start of the era?)
    Expenses fraud on a wholesale basis, defended by the awful Michael Martin, was allowed (Major example – we provide Downing Street for Brown, he claims second homes allowance on his Scottish house. So where’s his first home? You know, the one HE pays for?).
    Politicisation of all our institutions is now rampant with loathsome creations such as ACPO running whole areas of our society.
    Creation of a client state of benefit scroungers and underworked civil service seatwarmers has given millions a vested interest in voting for more bread and circuses.
    Corruption of the voting system with a totally insecure postal voting process has been encouraged despite major problems being highlighted in the EU elections. And so it goes on.

    It’s not just a new broom we need…its total demolition of huge areas of the state and a return to systems that prevent fraud in all areas, not just the electoral process.

  3. 3 AJC 09/05/2010 at 4:58 pm

    On Thursday some new opportunities for electoral fraud were presented.

    We already know about the potential for fraud in the postal voting process.

    There were two ballot papers (in most places) but
    1) the ballot papers no longer came off a numbered counterfoil onto which the roll number used to be written (so ballot papers are no longer traceable).
    2) ballot papers are no longer stamped (embossed) when they are issued to you.
    3) there was only one register being used so a line was ruled to prevent you voting twice.

    What about a person who cannot, or did not wish, to vote in both
    elections? EU nationals cannot vote in a GE. Nothing to prevent their unused vote being stuffed.

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