"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Friday, 30 October 2009

Here We Go

The Ministry of Justice has drawn up a Working Paper for the Treasury which suggests how to make savings of about £65m 'efficiency savings' in the cost of the next General Election. Some of the measures require legislation but others, such as opening fewer polling stations, cutting staff, or reducing security, do not and can be done quite arbitrarily.
Thousands of polling stations would be closed and voting hours reduced under a plan to cut the cost of elections.  Other proposals include cutting staff, replacing polling cards with e-mail requests, increasing candidates’ deposits, fixed-term parliaments and reducing security at election counts.
How dare they?  How bloody dare they even consider the possibility of taking away our right to full, free and fair representation on the grounds of saving money?

Costs have apparently risen enormously in line with checking postal votes so it seems pretty obvious that withdrawing postal voting should be the first simple step to cut cost and also restore some integrity to the democratic process.  But no, that's too easy for them so they'll retain that system which is open to abuse and add a few more ideas to the mix which make corruption even more likely.

At the same time as local councils are considering ending the practice of overnight counting and leaving ballot boxes hanging around they're actually thinking of reducing security.  Regarding overnight voting Jack Straw has said: I must not improperly seek to interfere with the necessary discretion of returning officers or the capacity of the Electoral Commission to give advice as they think appropriate.  It would be inappropriate for the Government to use its control of the purse strings to influence the judgment of the returning officers."

Hey, Weasel! Leave our vote alone!

See here for the full list of possible savings.

Our economy, the standing of MPs, our Parliament, our Constitution, our elections, our country: all being undermined. All the better to eat you with, said Mr EU Wolf.

UPDATE: There's more on this at  Conservative Home..  Dominic Grieve has spoken out against the proposals and a debate is underway. They also have this gem:

Yet according to the LGC, David Monks, the chief executive of Huntingdonshire council and chairman of the Society of Local Authorities & Senior Managers’ electoral matters panel, "insisted the democratic process could not be treated as sacrosanct".


  1. At least they're still talking about holding an election!

  2. Hi Hookie, yes, but only just. Call me cynical but I doubt Straw would have publicly back-tracked if he hadn't been caught out. And there's still that guy Monk who's the CE at Northamptonshire - he needs sacking.


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