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Clegg needs to be challenged on Tory scam to take millions off electoral register

Posted on 17 September 2011 | 9:09am

As the Liberal Democrats prepare for their conference, I hope enough of them will be tugged by the Democrat side of the equation to make an issue of the government’s preparations for the planned boundary changes.

I refer not simply to the redrawing of boundaries, loaded though this is in favour of the Tories, but to the wanton disregard for the fact that as many as 10 million voters could fall off the register, something on which neither of the governing parties appears to have uttered a breath of concern.

The change is being driven by the fact that ministers have decided that there should be no compulsion to co-operate with electoral registration officers trying to compile an electoral register. If the same politicians were election observers in a developing country, I’m sure they would have to say something about it.

One of the few things Tony Blair and I fundamentally disagreed about was my view that we should have compulsory voting for local and national elections (provided there was a ‘none of the above’ slot on the ballot paper), alongside better education on citizenship and politics in schools. This is a massive step in the opposite direction, virtually a plea to millions of our ctiziens to drop out of the political process.

It is bad enough that the Tories are trying to rig the system in their favour, but even worse that they are devising that system so that people more likely to vote against them – the poor, the young, and ethnic minorities – are made to feel it is ok not just to give voting a miss, but to give up the chance to have it. Indeed, there is a positive incentive NOT to get on the electoral register, because it is a sure fire way of avoiding jury service (so much for the Big Society).

If they were not part of the government, I have no doubt that Lib Dems of old would see this as a cause worth campaigning for, and a wrong worth exposing. The Electoral Commission has expressed its concern. But politicians and party activists need to do likewise, and the Lib Dems conference is a good place to start.

It might help if I tell you which department, and which minister, is overseeing this nonsense. The Cabinet Office. And Nick Clegg.

  • Will

    What is the point in forcing uninformed people to make an ignorant decision about something they have no interest in?

    It wouldn’t be democracy, it would be a shambles.

  • Curiously, once again – as in the referendum debacle on PR – the Australians have valuable insight on this matter in that both registration and voting is compulsory there. They also operate the curate’s egg of a system that we, rightly, spurned in the referendum.
    The word that comes to mind with the Libdems is drogue. That is the role that they should be fulfilling in the coalition. They are not. A device that is attached to the stern of a boat to slow it down in a storm and to keep the hull perpendicular to the waves. We are in such a storm, Clegg & Co are not slowing the Tories or moderating their savagery. Steady the bus as my in-laws say.

  • Olli Issakainen

    Redrawing of boundaries is one problem. Another is a cap on party donations.
    Labour depends on unions for party funding, but this is now in danger.
    Third big problem for the future of Labour party is Scottish independence.
    For a couple of years I have been telling that Scotland will soon become independent. Now for the first time people who agree with independence outnumber those who do not.
    The Lib Dems are currently providing support for a rightwing government.
    The Big Lie of British politics is that Britain was on a verge of debt crisis in 2010, and fast and deep spending cuts were needed.
    But Britain´s debt is still only about 60% of GDP. When the welfare system was bulit, it was over 200%!
    We see all over Europe that countires that have implemented austerity measures are being punished for it by the bond markets.
    Rightwing politicians in Britain manufactured a crisis in order to impose policies the electorate otherwise would not have accepted.
    Britain is now heading for a social and economic disaster because of £81bn cuts.
    The coalition´s austerity strategy is not working. Growth falters, inflation rises and unemployment surges.
    The Greek crisis of May 2010 exploited by George Osborne helped to push the Lib Dems into coalition.
    But austerity is not producing results. Not in Greece, not in Britain.
    The increasingly serious economic situation will mean that the coalition will not probably last the full parliament.
    I share you concern that people should be educated about politics.
    And as much of politics is about the economy these days, here is my contribution to this process.
    Public spending is a solution, not a problem.
    Monetarism is an economic doctrine that stresses the importance of the money supply as an instrument of economic policy.
    Governments should leave the economy alone. Central banks should control money supply. Inflation will banish. Economic growth will take off. Unemployment will disappear.                                                                        Milton Friedman was a well-known monetarist. He was a figurehead of free markets and floating currencies.
    Monetarism is a core tenet of the neoliberal orthodoxy.
    Basic Keynesian macroeconomics has been forgotten.
    But austerity has killed growth and recovery. Gordon Brown was right about the stimulus before the 2010 election.
    Fiscal tightening is reducing GDP growth and revenues.
    Much of the structural deficit must be eliminated. But if you do it too quickly, the cyclical part of deficit may increase.
    Classical monetarist theory says to keep the money supply steady and allow the economy to self-stabilise.
    John Maynard Keynes said that monetary policy should be first resort in time of recession. But when monetary policy is not effective, we should use fiscal policy.
    Milton Friedman told that pumping money into the economy would lead to higher inflation. Attemps by government to end recession is likely to do more harm than good.
    Policymakers have two levers they can use to affect demand in economy: monetary policy and fiscal policy.
    Monetary policy can be eased by printing money or by cutting interest rates.
    Fiscal policy works through taxes and public spending.
    According to Friedman budget deficits would rise the cost of money to the private sector, so investment in public works “crowded out” private investment.
    Keynes stated that economies were not necessarily self-stabilising.
    When confidence is down, he favoured easing monetary policy.
    In EXCEPTIONAL circumstances like deep slumps, government spending is needed to boost demand.
    Misunderstanding of Keynes led to the rise of monetarism after the stagflation of the 1970s.
    Growth depends in large part on aggregate demand (total investment and consumption), not the money supply.
    In the current situation public spending will not crowd out private investment. Infrastructure projects and spending vouchers would restore confidence and boost economy through the multiplier effect.
    The best way out of economic crisis is to cut interest rates, create jobs and raise incomes. Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman were wrong.
    The orthodox monetary policy is damaging. Money is not a commodity! Interest rates are a social construction.
    George Osborne´s expansionary austerity is not working. His policy has not encouraged private spending to replace the cuts in public spending.
    Tough fiscal policy (tax increases and spending cuts) combined with loose monetary policy (low interest rates) has been a failure.
    The UK will grow only 1.1% this year. Inflation is 4.5%. Confidence is down. Unemployment is 2.51m (7.9%).
    And in July, Britain´s trade gap was £8.9bn.
    Austerity has killed the recovery.
    Vince Cable has now called for more quantitative easing. This will only add to inflation.
    But there is a demand problem in the economy.
    There should be tax cuts to people with low incomes. Spending cuts should be eased.
    Monetarism should be ditched in favour of a proper high-investment, high- growth strategy.
    The future of the UK economy depends on this!


  • PeterC

    Hi AC good to have you back. I believe the reform aims at individual registration rather than by household. So those who cannot be bothered to vote now are likely to be those who will not be bothered to register in the future. We can predict a fall in the registered electorate from 90% to around 55% of the population. This can only favour the Tories. It is such a massive “shot in the foot” for the  LDs.,that they might begin to realise that Clegg is a Tory plant in their midst. But whither democracy?

  • MicheleB

    ………. “we should have compulsory voting for local and national elections
    (provided there was a ‘none of the above’ slot on the ballot paper)”…….

    Completely agree.

    I’m not as sure about compulsory politics lessons in school (which by default would be while under 16). 

    The spectacle last year of loads of young adults that hadn’t realised they needed to be on their local electoral roll wasn’t funny, even though most of them had probably only become energised to vote after watching the two glossies in the TV debates.


  • MicheleB

    Don’t you think ‘None of the above’ would allow them to make a suitable-enough protest? 

    If you don’t vote for anyone it’s the same as voting against everyone; just as a switched vote doubles its ‘value’.

    I wouldn’t mind having to tick a box on the card one hands in, saying my vote is actually going to be ‘for’ its recipient and not a spiteful gesture by being against another just for the sake of it.

  • While we’re at it, could someone ask him whether Andy Coulson attended Cobra meetings?

  • Chris lancashire

    Oh dear Mr Campbell, there you again trying to create trouble and conspiracy theories where none exist. Let’s start with the Boundary Commission – an independent body – even you must agree – tasked with a Coalition manifesto promise to make constituencies more equal in the number of voters whilst reducing a bloated parliament from 650 to 600 seats. How is this “stacking it in favour of the Tories”? Or are you complaining that it will remove Labour’s built-in advantage?
    Now for removing “Millions” off the electoral register – wow hyperbole was ever your stock in trade. As it happens, I wouldn’t disagree with you about compulsory voting but I bet you’d be among the first to scream blue murder if voter registration was made compulsory under penalty. So what’s to be done? Well, in a democracy like the UK, not much if some one can’t be bothered to register to vote. So stop trying to make a Tory conspiracy out of absolutely nothing.
    PS Personally, I wouldn’t stop at 600 MPs – about 300-350 of them would be absolutely fine for me.

  • Jim Brant

    Just a pedantic point – I’m sure your in-laws are saying “Steady the Buffs” (a military reference).

  • MicheleB

    ‘Standardising’ constituencies by the number of people in them is using a false ‘standard’.

    There are too many other criteria; area that a constituency covers, density of population, distance from London (just one of their workplaces) and local amenities/lack of.

    I’d be far happier if the number of MPs was maintained but each one had to set up something like a timesheet on their website or local office noticeboard. 

    I’m afraid I have never ever heard my MP’s name mentioned over the airwaves nor seen/heard the name at PMQs; the claims are mainly about the number of early day motions signed in the past month ……. hello???  No expenses scandals but neither should there be. 

  • MicheleB

    Given that this AC did I’d imagine it’s a given that ACMkII did.

    Why don’t you write to DC re that or ACMkII’s DV?

  • Viviane

    When I arrived in Australia from England I found compulsory voting rather odd for a democracy.  Still do.  Having said that, I believe it is your duty to vote.  The problem with compulsory voting here (Australia) is that parties have to campaign to those with no interest and understanding of politics and so there is dumbing down to a frightening level – almost on par with the US.  Schools are now starting to teach civics so hopefully this will make a difference in the future.

  • Commentator

    Look at yesterday’s leaders from the Guardian and Telegraph. Both are calm and balanced, and both come to similar conclusions. The electoral system should not favour any one party. Equal constituency sizes are more democratic. Indeed, the two papers go further, to offer their support for the shrinking of parliament – with the important condition that government gets smaller as well….

  • MicheleB

    Been sent out for duty by Toxicgraph or Wail boards Stevie ?

  • Richard

    In order to qualify for benefits people should have to be, and remain, on the electoral register. Compulsory voting should be adopted.
    (People not getting on the electoral register just to avoid jury service? What are you on today?)
    If compulsory voting had to be adopted by trades unions in all their  ballots, the outcome of the vote would be much more valid, and respected. It would also lead to a more responsible leadership of the unions being elected.

  • ambrosian

    Voter registration is already compulsory by law. Failure to register by completing a new form every year can lead to a fine of up to £1,000.
    And prosecutions do happen. For example, last year Tower Hamlets successfully prosecuted five residents for failure to register.

  • I am longing for the day when the LibDems look at their balance sheet, by which I mean the two columns of what-we’ve-gained v what-we’ve-lost by being part of this farsical situation we find ourselves in as servants of the tories.

    Ouch, that was strong for me. But, really, when are they going to see how often they are seeing their own leader, NC, having to peddle the words of the real PM, all the unpalatable words, not the nicey-nicey ones?

    OT – even when the PM is being really sincere about loss of life, I can’t take him seriously – sadly, that is an unacceptable feeling for me.

    So if any regret over boundary changes were to be voiced (ha! as if) I know I wouldn’t hear the words. I’d just think – so you know how unpopular you are and you’re using this one as a peace offering…

  • MicheleB

    …………….”It might help if I tell you
    which department, and which minister, is overseeing this nonsense. The
    Cabinet Office. And Nick Clegg.”…………

    He’s got nothing to lose has he? 
    Given the scurrilous crap (ooops, sorry) he spouted last year about the loan promised to Forgemasters for an item with limitless exports potential being bribery in a marginal, I doubt he has any hope of getting back in to his own Sheffield seat.

    There will be no third party at the next election.  The most obsequious of the LibDems (those that are so gleeful about their present dual income roles on the front bench) will be given safe Tory seats, there will be even more shafting (ooops, sorry) of both Tory and LibDem incumbent candidates than there was last year.

  • Pam

    Dear Alastair….sorry Olli.  Why don’t you “butt” out of our affairs!

  • Focusing on education Michele.  Having a good laugh on JR’s blog today:

    I also work and have a lot of children and am working towards a PhD!  Can’t do everything.  Might try and get to one of the libdem Christmas parties and see if I can probe.  In the mean time feel free to write yourself.

  • Anonymous

    Redrawing the boundaries is only “loaded in favour of the Tories” because there is an imbalance at the moment which is “loaded to Labour”. The aim of the commission is to remove the bias so the overall effect is neutral. There appears to be a negative effect of lib dem seat numbers.  Possibly this is because in a first past the post system if the lib dem vote was distributed evenly the lib dems would win few if any seats. In a first past the post system the lib dems need a statistically large vote in an area to come first.

  • Gilliebc

    I would be in favour of compulsory voting if as AC writes, a “none of the above slot” was provided.
    I’m also very much in favour of “a little bit of politics” being taught in schools, providing it’s from a non-partisan perspective. We were taught at my secondary school the basics of how both Houses of Parliament work.  We learnt about white papers and how Bills progressed throught both Houses to become law.
    I luved it and that’s when and where my interest in politics began.
    ambrosian pointed out in his post that being on the electoral register is indeed a legal requirement.  Also, as Richard wrote in his post that jurors are selected from the electoral register.
     Being called for jury service is something my husband knows about only too well!  During the 1980’s and 90’s he was called on so many times we lost count!  He found it interesting at first.  But then it got beyond a joke.  I suppose there must have been some sort of glich in the selection system.  He was told that it wasn’t legally possible to get him removed from the selection process. Eventually we did find a way which kind of proved the old adage that it isn’t what you know, but who you know that counts.

  • Gilliebc

    AC, you write “ministers have decided that there should be no compulsion…….”

    That’s outrageous imo.  They cannot just (in effect) change the law like that!
    Can they?

  • Olli

    Have you tried typing your posts into the box here, then copying them into a word processing package to proof read them and amending them as necessary?

    It makes them so much easier to read.  🙂 xxx

  • JDUB

    I think it was a Greek politician who  recently commented in response to his country’s situation ‘if you want to milk a cow, you have to feed it’.
    seems like a good simple summary to me, both here and there

  • Yes – you are correct. My mistake. They state the phrase incorrectly yet their version is part of our life. Through your point I’ve learned  – thank you.
    I love words – I’m pleased.

  • ZintinW4

    I totally agree with compulsory voting and support the idea of having a ‘none of the above box’. This might mean that in a number of constutuencies ‘none of the above’ might win. Fine, maybe then you organise a by-election as the voters have made their voices heard.

  • Janiete

    So you’re against forcing Daily Mail readers to vote – you might have a pont!

  • Janiete

    Did both these coalition supporting papers think it appropriate to shrink the democratically elected house, whilst simultaneously increasing unelected Peers? Cameron created 117 new members of House of Lords between May 2010 and April 2011. So much for saving money. 

    Did they suggest it would support democracy if efforts were made to find and register the missing 3.5 million voters? Then we could be sure the new constituencies would be fair and even.

    Were they not worried that individual registration and the removal of the legal requirement to co-operate with compilation of the register would lead to more disenfranchised people?

    If not they don’t sound calm and balanced to me.

  • MicheleB

    Why should he?

    It’s called the internet Pam, or Fred …. wha’evva.

  • Gilliebc

    Dear Pam…..Sorry Pat.  Why don’t you p*ss off.  Permanently, like you said you were going to some time ago.

  • Gilliebc

    Are you a LibDem Rebecca ?

  • Gilliebc

    I won’t pretend that I fully grasp the fine detail of your erudite posts Olli.  But, I think that most of us including me get the general gist of them.

    I think it’s fair to say that this ConDem Government is doing huge damage, arguably irreparable damage to this country.  The big question for me at least is, are they doing it wilfully or are they simply inept.  I fear it may be the former.  But only time will tell.

  • MicheleB

    I could read Delingpole, Gilli, Odoni et al (as likely as reading John Redwood) but I stopped posting to blogs owned by people/organisations I don’t rate …… they often seem to be mad people (viz: some of the occasional visitors here that share the same badge icon, doing ‘hello’ to each other while marking posts for some reason :-s  … a bit like the messages doggies leave for each other!). 

    I’m not waving my CV, was just making what seemed a constructive suggestion as you seem so exercised about whether ACMkII was somewhere (that we can be pretty sure he was) and whether he was DVed (when whether he was or he wasn’t we can be sure he was harvesting o.b.o. others).  Even if you made an FoI application I doubt you would or should trust the reply, nor expect others to express their trust/doubt in public unless they volunteer. 

    I’ll not be asking DC, I am sure ACMkII would have been at some if
    not all Cobra meetings and suggested months ago (baselessly, despite often castigating others for that habit) that he was very likely still working for NI while at No10 and we now know he was still being paid by them. 

    It will all come out  …..   The piece of ***** and his ilk have already seen off some good men with their lies, innuendos and wobbly mirrors at a dreadfully important time (for London if for nowhere else).  We’ve now got Winsor undermining the Met with his mockery of exam standards (has he got round to height and fitness standards yet?) when that’s all about certain quotas being met .

  • Janiete

    Hear, hear!

  • MicheleB

    I don’t think there’s any cynicism in the OP’s fifth para; facts are facts. 

    It’s been true till recently that most yoof voted Labour, rejecting the inherent meaning of the word ‘conservative’, about the preservation of the way things are.  Labour / ‘left’ has naturally come over as more progressive, actions being taken by people familiar with how real life is for most of us. 

    It often seemed that young Tories must have been kidnapped and in fact many of them did grow up away from first hand experience with the hoi polloi (except the servants they felt they were paying).  I always ‘feel for’ poor Douglas Murray, he’s so ernest and looks so hurt and wobbly-lipped when his opinions shock people just by coming from such a young face.

    Accidents of time and coincidence were what ‘did for’ Labour last time, people believing the headlines about the banking crisis being their fault and that awful but easily absorbed screeched mantra/lie about £120m per day interest.

    I wonder what happened when non-registered people were turned away from polling stations last year; I’m sure it was left to them to register or not (and as well as Jury Duty there are the inherent implications of Council Tax).

    It must also be true that in single-parent households with 25% discount on council tax there’s little incentive to voluntarily declare a child is still at home once aged 18 (and the need to remember to make both declarations match when the Electorate document arrives)!

  • MicheleB

    PS:  Just been looking around at others arrangements; had no idea that some US Primaries are restricted to registered supporters!  Have big concerns about postal votes and wouldn’t mind a big blob on my forehead showing I’d had my go!

  • Janiete

    I completely agree with your argument in favour of compulsory voting and educating children about the political process. As a society we give lip service to democracy but don’t really take it seriously enough.

    There is very little provision to ensure political parties can reach the public without relying on a biased, generally right wing media, part of the problem leading to the News International scandal.

    Before a complete redrawing of boundaries based solely on numbers, a review of the role of an MP should have been carried out. Workload in deprived constituencies must be significantly higher than in wealthy areas. Queries arising from children’s issues be will greater where families are larger, yet only voting adults are counted. Immigration problems must generate work for MPs but these people aren’t counted either.  

    Neither of my teenage children would have made an effort to put themselves on the electoral register if I hadn’t done so. No doubt the loss of young people from the voting register will not worry the LibDems, as few will support them in future.

    To push ahead with the boundary review, based on 2010 registration figures, with no effort to bring the register up to date is indeed shameless gerrymandering. To embark on a change to legal requirements and switch to individual registration is an attempt to deliberately ‘lose’ people and deny them a vote in future.

    The coalition partners should be ashamed. I think the LibDems should remove the word ‘democrat’ from their title.


  • AC you cant force people to vote, that is not Democracy, voters are not political journalists you can order about or Cabinet Ministers. People can vote or not, that was the point of Two World Wars, CHOICE, as for the new House of Commons for 2015, its fair, equal votes to elect a Conservative or Labour Candidate. Its called fair democracy. Speaking of TB, what is your PR spin on his secret trips to Libya, we are curious!

  • MicheleB

    Who is the ‘we’ you speak of (or pretend to speak for)?

    Some of us speak TO the person we are speaking ABOUT, so off you toddle 🙂 … I’m sure RM will convey your query and do so in private.

  • Libdem

    That’s only the opinion of a single person….not very relevant.

  • Libdem

    Absolute rubbish.

  • Pam

    That’s not very nice language.

    A lady of your age should know better.

  • Aidan Mc Mahon

    AC, please oh please oh please won’t you stand for prime minister for Labour in the next election.  you’d be a perfect prime minister.  I’d compare it to Mouriniho following in the footsteps of Bobby Robinson.

  • Janiete

    No-one is suggested that people should be forced to vote, only that they fill in a voting slip. Ticking the ‘none of the above’ box or spoiling the paper would be an option. In a democracy we have rights but it is only reasonable to expects citizens to fulfill their duties as well.

  • Janiete

    When you use the term ‘benefits’, do you mean all forms of state support such as pension tax relief, business tax relief (of various kinds), buy to let mortgage tax relief, tax free ISAs, child benefit, winter fuel allowance, free bus passes etc? 

    Or were you using the term to single out the sort of state support given to poor people?

  • Dave Simons

    I’m against compulsory voting – it seems to me to ratify failure. The failure is partly in not educating people about the value and significance of the vote, a lesson they’d soon learn if they lived under a dictatorship. The failure is also about the perceived power of the vote – a choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledee, both of which will renege on its election promises as soon as elected, and in any case real power is outside the elected chamber in the unelected boardrooms of big business. Compulsory voting tackles neither of these problems.

  • Gilliebc

    Pam, F*ck off!

  • MicheleB

    …………….  “Neither of my teenage children would have made an effort to put themselves on the electoral register if I hadn’t done so”……………..

    Perhaps this does validate what I’d posted against …. political education below age 16……. letting the little tykes know they have to put things in motion for themselves long before any election is called.

    Even at my cough-age I don’t have a clue how long it takes to receive a vote-enabler card with its reg. number once entered on Roll.

    I don’t envy the teachers of the subject, there will be plenty of yatter about ‘Police State’ and having to be registered in order to have a say..

  • MicheleB

    I need a blob on my forehead shaped as the expletive ‘durrrrr’ ….. have belatedly remembered that the Primaries are about the candidate for the party so are akin to our local choices and naturally only involve party supporters.   Like I said …….. durrrrrrrr

  • MicheleB

    Yes the situation in HoL is become quite ridiculous.  I read somewhere recently that an average of 400 per day attend.  Given that ‘attend’ means simply signing in and signing out with no minimum period separating the two it could simply mean someone is nipping in for a vote and the reward of £300+. 
    There are seldom more than ten to fifteen lounging around the benches and I’m sure the library and other resources/facilities are well-used for research but for what?

  • Not anything Gillie.  Did join the Libdems in the hope they might be able to put some constructive pressure on Gove but their online systems are so abysmal I never even managed to get into their discussion forums.  Besides watching Sarah Teather present the Free Schools and Academies bill made it clear that they’re far too witless to mount a constructive challenge.  Couldn’t have voted for them because of their ludicrous energy policy but fortunately they dropped that as fast as a vindaloo.  Actually didn’t vote at the last election as there wasn’t a credible party.  Spent all day agonising about it on Facebook and watching the polling station over the road through guilty eyes.

    So my only return on the membership fee has been an invite to a Christmas party in Manchester.  Which I now appear to have lost.  Am not devastated.   🙂

    My politics are yin and yang politics.  They aim to nurture both the values of traditional liberalism and social responsibility (which is organised by the state where it is most pragmatic for it to be).  The two objectives are often seen as being mutually exclusive and I can understand why that was the case in the past but it is much less the case now.   There’s still a tremendous amount of work to be done in maximising the benefits of ICT in facilitating the co-development of both efficient organisation and freedom.

  • Janiete

    Libdem – I’m glad you took the trouble to reply. It’s a pleasure to engage in debate with thoughtful people who are willing to back up their opinions with reasoned arguments.

  • Richard

    All of the above.

  • Richard

    How do you propose to “….find and register the missing 3.5 million voters?”
    Please enlighten us.

  • Richard

    Steady, are you on the way to saying that one man one vote is not the answer? Giving the vote to those only who deserve one? Northern Ireland had a system of multiple votes for business owners, and property owners as recently as forty years ago.

  • Libdem

    Shirley, you seem to have forgotten that it takes two to tango!

  • Janiete

    Various ways to do this such as cross checking national and local government records against registered voter/census information. I supported the introduction of ID cards and feel this would have helped identify missing voters. A simple way of ensuring young voters don’t disappear is to require voter registration at the point of issuing a National Insurance number (age 16).

  • Whatifwhatif

    I hope that was in Oirish !!!  It’s even more hilarious when so 🙂

  • MicheleB

    You do mean NI under Whitehall administration don’t you (as in part of the UK)?

    They also (undeer that administration) had no arrangements made for post-16 education for Catholics till early 70s and hang on ……. there were no votes for non-property owning men even here on the mainland till nearly a hundred years ago.

    Spread muck by all means …..

  • Janiete

    Don’t usually reply to myself but just spotted this on a Twitter link:

    ‘Independent academic research submitted as evidence to The Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee shows that the Government’s plans are likely to reduce significantly the number of citizens on the electoral register by about 10%.

    Electoral registration significantly declined in Northern Ireland when individual registration was introduced. Approximately 10% of voters were wiped off the electoral register and registration levels were as low as 82% in 2004, the third register after which individual registration was introduced.’

    You have to question the motives of parties prepared to press ahead with this. 

  • Gilliebc

    Hi Rebecca,

    Thank you for your reply.  After I posted my question to you I sort of regretted it because I suddenly thought “that’s none of my business really”

    I don’t belong to any political party either.  I never have.  Though I’ve never actually voted any way other than Labour.  But to be honest at the moment I’m thoroughly disenchanted with all our main parties.  It seems the older I become the more cynical I become as well.  In fact for this past year or so, for a variety of reasons and evidence, I genuinely believe we no longer have a true democratic system in this country and that this has been the case for a good number of years now.  I am not alone in this belief either.  I’ve said it before and I think it bears repeating, democracy in this country is a sham.  An illusion.  As are a lot of other things in this world.

    You are still young with little children to raise, so of course you have hopes and expectations still for yourself and them.  Nothing wrong with that.  It’s perfectly natural.  And I sincerely hope that you and others like you won’t be disappointed.

  • Gilliebc

    It’s suddenly struck me that we haven’t heard/seen anything from the sometimes sensible/sometimes wacky, but always prolific poster Etch for several days.

    Hope he didn’t have a relative involved in the recent Welsh mining tragedy!
    More likely some problem with his Dad.  Or, maybe he’s simply taking a break.

  • Dave Simons

    Well said Janiete! However I’m sure most genuine ‘LibDems’ would want to dissociate themselves from whoever it is who’s adopted their name.’Hit and run’ is all too common on this site but it is usually practised by supporters of the Conservative Party who are incapable of reasoned argument.

  • Dave Simons

    That’s not very strong language.

    A lady of your age should know better.

  • Dave Simons

    The opinions of every single person are relevant, even yours – stupid!

  • Graeme

    Chris do you really think the Boundary Commission is independent? Are any of these so called organisations independent ? Funded and appointed by the Government, any unpopular conclusions results in a quiet shuffle down the ladder or redundancy. They make the decisions their paymasters want them too and there’s nothing independent about them – regardless of who is in power.

  • I’d add that Evelyn Waugh once complained that in his lifetime successive Conservative governments had failed to turn the clock back a single minute. Now we have the heirs of both the Tories and Whigs rolling back the great century-long reform process that began with the 1829 Catholic Emancipation Act and ended with the 1928 Equal Franchise Act (which – barring a couple of weird university seats abolished in 1948 – finally gave us universal and equal adult suffrage). Before these reforms Parliament was dominated by the representatives of rural constituencies and rotten boroughs that had long ceased to be real towns, while the great urban population centres were hugely under-represented – and most of the population had no vote at all because they were the wrong gender, the wrong religion, or failed to meet a variety of residential and property qualifications     To be sure the Coalition aren’t going to turn the clock all the way back to 1828 – but these changes will roll back the balance of electoral representation to something resembling the situation before the 1867 or 1884 reform acts – stripping the inner cities of dozens of seats and creating many urban constituencies where only a minority of the population will be even registered to vote. So WTF can we do to stop this?Is appealing to whatever vestigial sense of conscience the Lib Dems (or even the Tories) may still have left really all we can do?There is a consultation process that ends on October 14th – the very least we can do as individuals is protest against proposals which will turn us from a democracy where well over 90% of  adult citizens are registered to vote into a tawdry copy of the United States where the Right retains its electoral dominance by open gerrymandering and manipulating electoral registers to exclude class enemies.

  • Libdem

    What a charming chap you are Dave, I assume it comes naturally.

  • Libdem

    Dave, although it was Janiete who wrote this I think that you’re better placed to give an irrational reply…’To embark on a change to legal requirements and switch to individual registration is an attempt to deliberately ‘lose’ people and deny them a vote in future.’

  • MicheleB

    From the link :…………
    Individual Electoral Registration Draft Legislation

    On the 30 June the Government published plans to implement
    Individual Electoral Registration (IER). The draft legislation and White
    paper on IER set out in detail the proposed new system of registration.

    These proposals outline the Government’s plans to take forward the
    commitment in the Coalition Agreement to speed up the move to IER and
    tackle electoral fraud. The current household registration system will
    be replaced by individual registration.  Every elector will have to
    register individually and provide identifying information which will be
    used to verify their entitlement to be included in the electoral
    register. Only once their application has been verified can a person be
    added to the register. This will help to restore trust in electoral

    As part of the move to IER, the Government is also committed to
    taking steps to improve the completeness of the register. In June, the
    Government launched a series of data matching pilots to test how far
    comparing electoral registers against other public databases will allow
    eligible people missing from the register to be identified and asked if
    they would like to register. Based on the outcome of these pilots, a
    decision will be made on whether to roll this out more widely. The
    pilots were provided for in separate legislation and signed into law in
    June 2011.

    We are asking the public and organisations with an interest in this
    subject area to comment on these proposals by emailing the Electoral
    Registration Transformation Programme by the 14 October 2011

    ……….. it would seem there are going to be plans for comparing databases and spotting non-regs.
    I do wonder whether this will be done at the national level or local.

  • MicheleB

    Yes I posted to him about respite availability, hope he’s OK.

  • MicheleB

    But you omit that she did give very good reasons for the concerns.

    Let’s hope someone who knows how the system will function here (vs: in NI) if it happens.

    🙁  seem to have the whatif ID glitch again

  • Janiete

    Look at the evidence from Northern Ireland what makes you think the UK experience will be different?

  • MicheleB

    Yours is the first mention I’ve seen about the mining disaster Gillie. 
    I hope nobody in Wales thinks people are unconcerned about it, sometimes it can seem like stealing others’ grief. 

    Seeing those very old tunnels and the ramshackle little wagon system reminded me of what my Dad (a Maltby miner :-)) said about mining as it used to be and how much worse it became while becoming less physically gruelling with modernisation. 

  • Libdem

    It’s not a question of ‘denying’ anybody as you say; you make it sound as if they’ve been disenfranchised forever. If people choose not to participate that’s up to them, on the other hand if they want to vote then they can register. If your children couldn’t be bothered putting themselves on the register as you say then, would we really miss their votes?

  • Gilliebc

    Hi Michele,

    Yes I know what you mean about stealing others’ grief.  It can be a fine-line to tread.  So your Dad was a miner.  Respect to him and all other miners.  What Thatcher and Co. did to the miners back in the eighties was a shameful period in this country’s history to my mind.  My husband was a young(ish) firefighter during that time.  The FBU having won their battle with the then Labour Gov. in the late seventies, gave what assistance they could to the NUM.  In fact one of my favourite “treasures” from that time is an NUM badge given to me shortly after the battle was lost.  I well remember watching on TV the miners marching back to work accompanied by a brass band.  I was in tears at their humiliation.
    Fire-fighting is not without it’s dangers obviously, but to go underground and work in cramped unpredictable conditions takes an enduring and long term courage imo.  And to think they used to send boys of 10years old give or take, down the mines almost beggars belief.

  • Gilliebc

    Dave,  that made me lol!  Well said. 

  • Gilliebc

    Given that he’s just told you that even your opinion is relevent, I would say that he is charming.  But I am not being sarcastic.

  • Whatifwhatif

    May I remind you of your own charming / first two posts on the ID?

    on Clegg needs to be challenged on Tory scam to take millions off electoral register 2 days ago
    Absolute rubbish.

    on Clegg needs to be challenged on Tory scam to take millions off electoral register 2 days ago
    That’s only the opinion of a single person….not very relevant.

  • Will

    Not at all.  Everyone should have the opportunity to vote, but I can’t see the merit in forcing people to participate in a process they have no knowledge or interest in.

    How would you go about enforcing such a system?  A compulsory act must carry a penalty for non-compliance.  Fines, or prison perhaps for repeat abstainers?    It would be ridiculous.

  • MicheleB

    Unfortunately my Dad had died before the strike Gillie, two years after retiring.  I don’t think he’d have been happy about how it came to be though, without a vote.

    He used to say the blokes could banter and yatter (nod to Y, who I’ve also not read for a while) underground in the bad old days when the work was all done by humans (like the Welsh mine) but when the big machinery came in and they had to wear ear protectors it was all less sociable (daren’t use the word ‘comradely’ LOL).

  • Janiete

    I’m sure you wouldn’t miss my children’s votes, as neither of them voted for your party!

    To take the view that opportunities are there for people and if they don’t take them – tough – seems a rather right wing view. In fact, it confirms my suspicion that many LibDems are very much at home as Tory partners.

    It is surely in all our interests to make the effort to engage as many people as possible in the democratic process, rather than adopt policies which we know will lead to fewer people making use of their vote.

  • Libdem

    ‘a rather right wing view’….tell you what Janiete, it would be easier if you just told your kids which party to vote for, maybe we should all do that and forget about individual responsibility. Will you be voting for them when they’re 45?
    Your ‘suspicions’ are more a sign of paranoia, how on earth could we go into a coalition with Gordon Brown as PM after he had cocked up so much? Labour is more of a natural ‘bedfellow’ given what both Labour and LibDems want but we really had no choice given what Labour was offering.

  • Gilliebc

    I was very sorry to read that your Dad died two years after his retirement Michelle.  Sadly this is still all too common for people who’ve worked physically hard in their lives only to be cheated of their hard earned reitrement.  Also such a long time for you without your Dad.

    I suppose it was slightly contentious how they came to go on strike and Scargill could well have been a double agent, if I can put it that way.  Though I think it more likely he was just a pawn.

    What a shame that the ear protectors had such an impact on the miners comradely interaction with each other because that sort of thing is so important in that type of job/environment.  I think the miners strike was a turning point in many peoples lives one way or another and will never be forgotten.  As far as I’m concerned it’s on a par historically speaking with the Tolpuddle Martyrs and the Peasants Revolt.

  • MicheleB

    By your last word ‘offering’ I take it you mean which Cabinet roles?

    That is all that the ‘negotiations’ were about.

    Don’t try kidding anyone about any other motive, it was sheer prostitution. 

  • Janiete

    Looks like we’ll have to agree to disagree. 

    In one respect at least, voters still on the register at the next election will be better off. They will be able to base their judgement of the LibDems on what the party did and the choices they actually made, rather than having to rely on their leader’s pledges and promises.

    The electorate’s assessment of where LibDems are politically and who they are more likely to get into bed with, will certainly be more accurate than it was in 2010. 

  • Ehtch

    25% of Welsh MPs are planned to be scrubbed from Westminster the coalition has planned, from 40 down to thirty.

    Kick a dog will you…

    CCCC and you hear me? La France again, they wouldn’t put up with it, any bloody godarm region of theirs!–y0