Monday, February 28, 2005

Ancient and Modern

While the General Election is likely to be a bloody affair, with Lynton and Alastair battling it out over who can be the most obnoxious to their own side, pity the poor folk of the City of London, who have local council elections next month. Of 25 wards, only six are contested and even then these are mainly three candidates for two seats and suchlike. It's not even on party lines.

Some people might want to emulate this system elsewhere.

Sure, there used to be a dodge where every tenant in the Square Mile could vote. So unscrupulous candidates would divvy up the office and rent out each deskspace with lease contracts and all. Bingo you can stuff the ballot. Something Labour seems to have done in Birmingham - resulting in the first election court to investigate fraud for more than a century. Richard Mawrey, QC, the election commissioner, is looking into allegations that Labour supporters bribed and threatened postmen and stole votes from letter boxes to get hold of blank ballot papers.


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