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Oldham By Election

On the morning of Friday 4th December 2015 I woke up at 7am.  I quickly ran to BBC News to see whether we had done well in the Oldham West & Royton by-election.  We pretty much did what had been done in May 2015 - Labour swept the board.  I immediately went to Twitter and said congratulations to Labour - I don't like it, but hey, that's politics.  I had expected the usual congratulations and inward looking consideration of what we had done wrong and how we could do better.  But no, we did not get that by any stretch of the imagination.

[1]

 

I have to say - I was embarrassed by Nigel's tweet.  Sour grapes was the phrase that came to mind.  My secretary's comment was that he sounded like a spoilt, petulant teenager having a hissy fit.  Why not just say well done?  Later in the day thoughts turned to the evidence he had been told about that would prove that there had been electoral fraud etc etc.  Then, just to make it worse, the talk turned to it all being the fault of muslims who gave postal votes to their mosques to fill out, with a suggestion that in some high density muslim wards the vote had been 100% labour.

 

My view was that Labour had simply done what Labour did in May 2015 and whilst we ran a good campaign, the results were what they were.

 

I do not mean by what I am about to say that I think in any way UKIP could have won this vote - I simply am reporting what I have seen.

 

There are a number of issues to look at.

 

I do not like to blindly follow what others say - I like to research things.  I do not like making videos without including with it all links to evidence my point.  This issue is no different.  No doubt Labour would absolutely refute that electoral fraud could happen and would definitely refute that high muslim areas are any more susceptible to electoral fraud than anywhere else.  Well, let's look at the evidence.

 

The voter report for May 2015 has  been released by the Electoral Commission yet[2].  In it at paragraph 1.45 it refers to the previous report that identified 17 local authority areas with high electoral/voter fraud.  It states:

 

"Prior to the elections, we had identified 17 local authority areas18 where there was a higher risk of allegations of electoral fraud. We based this assessment on previous history of fraud allegations, combined with a range of demographic factors that have been shown to increase the risk of electoral fraud allegations. We worked closely with the relevant EROs and ROs, as well as the local police, in the lead up to the election period to ensure that:

 

  •  The risk of electoral fraud had been robustly assessed locally
  •  Appropriate preventative measures were in place in advance of the polls
  •  Local elections staff and the police were equipped to respond quickly to any allegations of criminal activity"

 

So, where are these 17 areas?  They are in the January 2014 report[3] and are listed as

 

Birmingham, Blackburn with Darwen, Bradford, Burnley, Calderdale, Coventry, Derby, Hyndburn, Kirklees, Luton, Oldham, Pendle, Peterborough, Slough, Tower Hamlets, Walsall, and Woking.

 

Notice that?  Oldham is one of the highest areas for a lack of voter integrity.  Notice something else?  Yes, I did too.

 

Paragraph 3.,4 says this:

 

"We have heard some strongly held views, based in particular on reported first-hand experience by some campaigners and elected representatives, that electoral fraud is more likely to be committed by or in support of candidates standing for election in areas which are largely or predominately populated by some South Asian communities, specifically those with roots in parts of Pakistan or Bangladesh."

 

Please do read paragraph 3.7 which states " It would be a mistake to suggest that electoral fraud only takes place within specific South Asian communities."  But 3.8 states "We are, however, concerned about the extent to which electoral fraud affects or originates from within specific communities."


So, Nigel may not be wrong.

 

Paragraph 1.44 on page 17 of the Report[2] looking at the May 2015 report identifies multiple areas of concern for voter fraud.  No one, not one person, ever has to prove who they are when they rock up to a polling station.  It could be anyone.  Every postal vote is supposed to have the signature checked.  But does anyone check the identity of the person offering the first signature, which is then used to verify the signature of the postal vote?

 

In 2014 there were a number of by-elections, EU votes, council votes and [rip-off] Police & Failed Politician Commissioner positions.  Two were held in my local area - Wythenshawe[4] and Heywood[5] [both had by-elections].  There were a total of 272 allegations made to police in 2014 of electoral fraud[6].  This is the Electoral Commission's pie chart showing the outcome of the 2014 allegation of voter fraud[7]:

 

So, what does this tell us?  It tells us that 60% of cases go no-where.  It also tells us that there is a significant number of allegations made that ultimately lead to prosecution.

 

What does that tell me?  It tells me that once again Nigel has been allowed to say something that sounds incredibly wrong (such as that AIDS statement during the debates) that ultimately is correct but which should not have been stated in the manner that it was (or, indeed, in the immediate environment it was said).

 

What do I mean?  Well, if there had been statements before the election in which Oldham was publicly noted by UKIP as having a higher than average reputation for fraud and, further, that the South Asian community has as bigger reputation for fraud and for block voting then the comment on Friday morning would simply be a repeat of what has already been said.  But no, that did not happen.  Instead, we had a childish, tantrum sounding sour grapes statement about us only losing because Labour nobbled those damn pesky foreigners.  That is exactly what it sounded like.  And unfortunately, that is the impression that was taken away by a lot of people.  Those very people we want to vote for us are once again put off by a bad statement made at just the wrong time.

 

[Please see footnote 7 and read pages 4 and 5 - paragraphs 1.10 to 1.16 - of that report].

 

I also noted something else in the election.  This is something that came up in the May 2015 election.  Why is it that the second

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

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most PC party - Labour - was once again photographed attending meetings at which women were segregated?  This happened in the General election and happened once again in the Oldham West by-election.  They should be absolutely disgusted that a Labour member attended a meeting within which women were relegated to the side of the room and told to shut up whilst the grown ups talk.  One Photo is May 2015[8] and the other photo is November 2015[9].

 

You really have to ask yourself the question: If the Labour Party is all about girl power and feminism, why on earth would any self respecting Labour activist and especially any MPs allow themselves to go to or be photographed at a rally in which women are treated as second class citizens?  I can happily and very honestly say that if I ever turned up to a rally at which any section of society was shunned or treated like this, I would march right out of the room.  This is disgusting, and I was outraged when photo one came out in May.  But they did it again at the Oldham by-election.  Why?

 

Well think about it.  These rallies are organised and run by men in the South Asian community.  Their wives, sisters, mothers, daughters etc are all relegated to the side.  Why would any Labour politician agree to attend?  Because those men are offering the Labour activists and Labour politicians something in return for attending these meetings.  Whatever it is that they are being offered is sufficient to make a Labour activist and a Labour candidate (Jim McMahone was not there) agree to debase everything they hold true in politics, swallow their pride and self-esteem and shake hands with these people and then sit down and talk to them.  I would not do it.  My colleagues in the party would not do this.  I do not know a single Labour person who would do this.  I genuinely cannot imagine my MP (Labour Lucy Powell) or my May 2015 opponent (Labour Kate Green) ever agreeing to attend something that would debase a women like this.  But someone did.  Someone got something in return for it too.

 

So, I leave it to you to consider.  What on earth made these people do this?

 

Conclusion

 

It is very hard to conclude what has happened.  I have seen no photos of men turning up to polling stations with a boot full of filled out postal votes.  I was not in a mosque in which people were forced to hand their postal vote over to the elders.  I was not at a meeting in which women were treated like second class citizens.  I was not a party to the discussions between senior Labour people and the leaders and elders of the Oldham West mosques.

 

But I do know this.  Oldham had already been tainted before 2015 even started.  It had in fact been tainted a year before the May 2015 general election.  I do know that the electoral commission identified voting by post as risky.  I do know that the electoral commission saw postal votes are being able to be subjected to fraud.  I do know that men from the South Asian community have been convicted of electoral fraud.  I do know that Labour had seen polling that showed their margin to be as low as 2,000.  How did they get a margin so much higher?  Was it fraud, ignorance or simply voter apathy that saw only certain groups going out to vote?  I do not know, but if Nigel Farage and the party has evidence, I would rather they use that evidence to kick-start an investigation rather than making childish comments that appear to be sour grapes.  If fraud is involved then every UKIP member needs him to hand that evidence to the police and to push as hard as he can for an investigation.  I also think that Nigel and the party can use that evidence as a means for calling for an overhaul in the system.

 

05/12/2015

 

Resources

 

[1] Nigel Farage Twitter @Nigel_Farage

 

[2] Electoral Commission reports on May 2015 vote - please see page 17 onwards "electoral integrity" and especially paragraph 1.45.  Report is here: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/190959/UKPGE-report-May-2015-1.pdf

 

[3] Electoral Fraud Report by the electoral commission January 2014.  Chapter 3: "Electoral fraud vulnerabilities in specific areas" page 16 paragraph 3.2:

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/164609/Electoral-fraud-review-final-report.pdf

 

[4] Wythenshawe & Sale East By-Election 13th February 2014 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wythenshawe_and_Sale_East_by-election,_2014

 

[5] Heywood & Middleton By-election 9th October 2014 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heywood_and_Middleton_by-election,_2014

 

[6] Electoral Commission March 2015: "Analysis of cases of allegedbelectoral fraud in the UK in 2014"

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/183448/Fraud-allegations-data-2014.pdf

 

[7] Ibid., page 4

 

[8] Express 5th May 2015 "Segregation row rumbles on: Labour defends rally where Muslim men and women sat apart"

 http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/575105/Labour-segregation-Britain-Jack-Dromey

 

[9] Order Order blog 30th November 2015 "Labour Hold Another Segregated Rally"

http://order-order.com/2015/11/30/labour-hold-another-segregated-rally/

 

 

 

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