Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Seeking Closure, with Paul Uppal MP

You may remember that Paul Uppal has repeatedly, and dishonestly, claimed that he's been the victim of electoral fraud (despite only Conservatives being convicted of this crime in the area over recent years) - presumably it's the only way he can account for a majority of only 600 given his magnetic personality.

I'd have thought it's time he gave up, but no: he's on his hind legs calling for new rules on electoral registration:

In theory, this sounds fair enough - there have been cases in which votes have been stolen through lax procedures. But that's not what Paul's really up to. As is apparent from the article he posted last week, he's been rolling in the sewer that is American politics, and he likes what's stuck to his clothes.

The most poisonous area of American politics is gerrymandering. Look at US constituencies: weird, illogically-drawn areas designed to maintain total single-party domination. But worse than that is the ongoing war against the poor and the black. Republican areas spend massive amounts of time and money in adding further roadblocks - legal and blatantly illegal - between poor black people and the ballot box.
I welcome the Government’s initiative on individual voter registration, especially the provision to deny the postal vote to people who are unable to provide national insurance details. Does my hon. Friend agree that we might expand that principle by considering the option of requiring individual voter ID from people voting at polling stations?
Most of the civilised world is horrified by this, but not Paul. Why? Well, he knows that when the poor and mobile vote at all, they vote Labour. He's a marginal MP with a massive student population. At the moment, most universities register students to vote automatically. Paul's not keen on this at all: the students are a teensy bit annoyed that his party has slapped £9000 per year tuition fees on their education. By the time of the next election, all 25000 students at this institution will be after blood: Paul's blood.

Under the soft words, there's a nasty-minded campaign of exclusion under way. What about the students and other EU migrants who have the right to vote in this country, but may not have NI numbers? What about those moving about to find work (as the Tories demand) and have difficulty providing ID? What counts as ID? I don't have a driving licence, or a UK passport, but I'm entitled to vote. The imposition of further steps in voter registration isn't a drive to tighten security: it's using a bureaucracy to discourage people with little time or patience for struggling through the 'red tape' that Uppal is so keen to strip away from business legislation, yet he's cynically happy to use it against those whom he thinks are unlikely to vote for him.

Disenfranchisement is a huge civil rights issue in the US, because it's a solution without a legitimate problem. It's rich (often white, though not in Uppal's case) people trying to exclude the poor from the political process. There is no meaningful electoral fraud: in the US, 86 convictions resulted from 190 million votes cast. Electoral fraud in this country is almost non-existent, and a Parliamentary briefing (which Uppal should have read) states that there is 'no evidence' that postal voting has increased fraud. Between 2000-2007 there were 42 convictions for electoral fraud in all the general, devolved, regional and local elections together.

This is 'dog-whistle' politics as they put it in the US: red meat for the core voters who just want the poor, disorganised and ethnic people to shut up and go away. Shame on Uppal.

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