The recent scathing remarks by High Court Judge Richard Mawrey over the disgraceful actions of the six Labour councillors from Birmingham is something the city could well do without. The Judge went as far as to say that the recent electoral fraud would disgrace even a banana republic.
It transpires that the vote rigging was part of an organised campaign to steal, forge and/or alter thousands of postal votes to ensure that Labour did not suffer from another backlash against it over the Iraq war. The six candidates involved won the Bordesley Green and Aston elections through rigging the vote. The councillors involved are Mohammed Islam, Muhammad Agzal, Mohammed Kazi, Ayaz Khan, Shafaq Ahmed and Shah Jahan.
The councillors have been sacked from the Labour Party and ordered to pay the costs of the trial. A criminal trial may take place after the General Election. Judge Mawrey has decided not to burden the people of Birmingham with the court costs and has ordered that the shamed councillors foot the estimated ?500,000 legal bill.
Incredibly there are no systems in place to prevent fraud. Signatures of voters are not checked against applications. Anyone who manages to get hold of a blank form can return it with a vote. The police are powerless to do much about it and whilst they have received large numbers of complaints about rigged voting incidents they have either been powerless to act or have lacked the time and inclination.
Now we hear that Parliament has threatened Birmingham with the prospect of international observers to monitor its elections. The UK faces the prospect of unsafe elections as fears of ballot-rigging on May 5th increase. Birmingham is not alone. There are ten major enquiries into vote rigging currently in progress. In Blackburn, council candidate Mohammed Hussain has been warned that he can expect a prison sentence. There are investigations in Manchester and Oldham. In Cheshire a Mayor has been arrested in a separate vote-rigging incident. Further investigations continue in Bradford, Burnley and Derby.
Have things really got this bad that we can't even trust the voting process? Think Banana Republic - think Zimbabwee - think United Kingdom.
From the community website http://www.birminghamuk.com