Next year’s local elections will see the first trial of mainland UK voters being required to prove their identity at polling stations before casting their ballot. But not in Tower Hamlets.
The pilot scheme, coordinated by the Cabinet Office, is a direct result of the extensive voting fraud in Tower Hamlets during recent years.
Five local authorities – Woking, Gosport, Bromley, Watford and Slough – have volunteered to test the new scheme to reduce electoral fraud by requiring voters to prove their ID at polling stations before they are given a ballot paper.
Tower Hamlets, the borough that created the need for the pilot in the first place, will not be part of the polling station trials because ‘a lack of time to inform voters’.
Instead ‘additional guidance’ will be included in postal vote packs.
The Wapping Mole has been unable to discover the size of the leaflet but A4 is a possibility. Maybe with pictures.
A spokesperson for Tower Hamlets council said that details on the precise nature of the ‘additional guidance’ in postal voting packs were currently unavailable and that council officers were due to meet with the Cabinet Office to discuss the pilot.
Met Police plans well advanced
Planning for an extensive operation by the Metropolitan Police in Tower Hamlets to prevent electoral fraud has been underway for some time and is now at an advanced stage.
Gosport Borough Council in Hampshire is putting together a proposed communications plan with the Cabinet Office, using various methods to reach all sections of the community. This is at a very early stage of planning.
In Slough the exact scope of the pilot has yet to be agreed. Slough council voted unanimously to volunteer as a pilot area and is ‘planning a comprehensive communications campaign so all voters are aware of the requirements prior to the local elections in May next year.’
If any further proof was needed that the London Borough of Tower Hamlets faces electoral catastrophe in May 2018 we now have it.
In 2015 directly elected Executive Mayor Lutfur Rahman was found guilty of electoral corruption and dismissed from office.
2014 election rigged
It was proved in court that the Mayoral election of 2014 was rigged.
2010 referendum rigged
It is no secret that the 2010 referendum asking borough voters if they wanted a directly elected Executive Mayor was also fixed to ensure a resounding ‘Yes’ result.
2010 election rigged
And so no surprise that the resulting 2010 Mayoral election was also rigged to allow Lutfur Rahman to become the borough’s first directly elected Executive Mayor. That was the sole purpose of the referendum.
The years 2010 to 2014 saw Rahman and his Tower Hamlets First cronies – almost all of whom are still councillors – use the resources of the borough to line their own pockets and keep their core supporters happy with council grant money.
Not invented here
Lutfur Rahman did not invent political corruption in Tower Hamlets. He just did it better than anyone else before him (even though he did get caught) and used it on a industrial scale.
The importance of the May 2018 London local elections is so great that with nine months to go political activity in Tower Hamlets is rapidly building.
For the last year ex-Mayor Rahman, Cllr. Ohid Ahmed and Cllr.Rabina Khan have been busy preparing.
Cllr. Ohid is the declared Mayoral candidate for Team Luftur. If Cllr. Ohid is elected Mayor Ohid only a naive fool would bet against his first action as Mayor will be to appoint Lutfur Rahman as his political advisor.
Many people are unaware of what this will mean so we will spell it out as clearly as we can.
If Ohid Ahmed is elected Mayor of Tower Hamlets in 2018 this means that Lutfur Rahman will, whether by right or not, be the Mayor of Tower Hamlets once more.
You have to admire his bare-faced cheek if nothing else.
Supporters of the current Mayor, Labour’s John Biggs, are clinging to the belief that the Bangladeshi vote previously loyal to Rahman will be split between him and Cllr. Rabina Khan and so permit Mayor Biggs the second term he needs to get the job done.
Neither Rahman or Khan are daft enough to allow their personal animosity to exclude them from power.
If neither has a clear advantage in early 2018 an alliance will be formed between them.
One reason this may be impossible for Rahman to resist is that Cllr. Khan has the backing of Tower Hamlets power broker Siraj Haque. But then this may change by Monday.
A4 or A5?
With this political background the deployment of ‘additional guidance’ for postal voters in the form of a leaflet of unknown size is an irrelevance.
If a political organisation has the ability to organise industrial scale postal ballot fraud they will be undeterred by a stern form of words telling them not to break the law.
The other fatal flaw in the ‘additional guidance’ plan is that it assumes that political groups in Tower Hamlets need to cheat to get elected.
They might not. They might be able to win fair and square. Although it could end up being argued in a courtroom one day that electors voting for one Mayor and getting another might not be democratic.