East Devon’s population explodes

In 2017, East Devon’s CEO and Electoral officer “lost” around 6,000 voters:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/05/31/those-missing-6000-voters-electors-jump-from-96000-to-113000-plus/

and, when he had to explain it and put some effort into finding them, the population jumped from 96,000 to more than 113,000.

Now, in 2019, East Devon’s population is said to be 144,317!

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Devon

30,000 plus people added in just 2 years!

Wonder if the population increase is reflected in the electoral roll?

“Requiring voter ID in British elections suggests the government is adopting US ‘voter suppression’ tactics”

“This week’s Queen’s Speech revived proposals to introduce photographic ID requirements for voting in British elections. The Democratic Audit team assess the available evidence on the likely consequence of such a measure, and consider whether the legislation tackles the right priorities for improving our elections on which there is consensus, or suggests moves to enhance Tory election chances via excluding voters presumed unfavourable to them….”

Requiring voter ID in British elections suggests the government is adopting US ‘voter suppression’ tactics

Tory donors can, and do, control Prime Ministers

“Two former Conservative prime ministers lobbied a Middle Eastern royal family to award a multi-billion dollar oil contract to a company headed by a major Tory donor, the Guardian has established.

In March 2017, while in Downing Street, Theresa May wrote to the Bahraini prime minister to support the oil firm Petrofac while it was bidding to win the contract from the Gulf state.

Two months earlier, and just six months after stepping down as prime minister, David Cameron promoted the company during a two-day visit to Bahrain where he met the state’s crown prince.

Cameron was flown back to Britain on a plane belonging to Ayman Asfari, Petrofac’s co-founder, chief executive and largest shareholder. Petrofac did not ultimately win the contract.

Asfari and his wife, Sawsan, have donated almost £800,000 to the Conservative party since 2009. The donations were made in a personal capacity.

Documents obtained by the Guardian raise questions about how governments should best manage the perceived potential conflicts of interest generated by donations from business figures to political parties.

The government said it was routine for ministers to support British businesses bidding for major foreign contracts. Petrofac said official support had been obtained through entirely proper channels.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has been investigating Petrofac over suspected bribery, corruption and money laundering for at least two years. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/oct/15/revealed-cameron-and-may-lobbied-bahrain-royals-for-tory-donors-oil-firm?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Young and old people, poor people, disabled people: Boris Johnson is trying to deprive you of your vote

He wants anyone who votes to produce a driving licence or passport in order to vote.

If you have never had a passport and don’t drive, or if you would like a passport or driving licence but can’t afford it, if you HAD a passport or driving licence in the past but gave them up because you no longer travel or drive due to ill-health

BORIS JOHNSON DOESN’T WANT YOU TO VOTE BECAUSE YOU MIGHT NOT VOTE TORY

That’s the kind of world we are living in now.

New Statesman: Tories very worried about Claire Wright in East Devon

“… Very few surprises in terms of the Labour-Conservative battlegrounds. But noteworthy is that – as is echoed privately by many Conservatives from the area – the government regards Claire Wright, of the independent campaign in East Devon, as a serious challenger for the seat. …”

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/elections/2019/10/where-boris-johnson-thinks-next-election-will-be-won-and-lost

General elections: why we need proportional representation more than ever

“It’s easy right now to get caught up in the daily drama of politics – to focus on individuals, and the game playing, and to forget that the current political chaos is all part of a much bigger picture.

Because for all the daily drama, the last year of political turmoil is the outcome of a system that is failing and has been failing for a long time.

The party system is fragmenting and has been for a while. The last two General Elections were the most volatile – that’s the movement of people between parties – since 1931.

And new political cleavages have come to prominence – not only Brexit but on climate, internationalism and more. These shifts are causing the system to malfunction.

All democratic systems have trade-offs. The Westminster system trade-off is, supposedly, government stability and the ability for the government of the day to enact its programme with as little friction as possible.

In return, we have to accept an Executive which has – compared to other democracies – extraordinary power, and an upper chamber packed with unelected individuals – an undemocratic and therefore weak chamber in order to maintain executive strength.

And we’re lumbered with a disproportional electoral system that wastes the majority of votes, sacrificing fair outcomes in order to create a majority. Sixty-eight percent of votes in 2017 made no impact on the local result, our analysis shows.

But that trade-off to get ‘strong’ one party government only works in a two-party system.

In a world that’s a bit more complex than that, this arrangement is over. For good.

Yet we are left with an overbearing executive and warped election outcomes. Parties and candidates can slip in on fractions of the vote, while the prospect of ‘wrong winner’ elections looms large: a government in power despite winning fewer votes than the next placed party.

When marginal seats are won with just handfuls of votes in it, our system is easily exploited. And the prize is huge.

Our political system is not designed to share power. It is a system that preserves hierarchy and hoards power at the centre. As system so stuck in the past that there are still seats reserved in our second chamber for male aristocrats.

As well as flaws in the system, there are growing inequalities at the input end. Turnout has increased at each of the last four general elections. But the gaps in who turns out are growing. You are far less likely to vote if you are young, working class or from an ethnic minority. That was not the case decades ago.

Proposals for voter ID can only make this worse – potentially disenfranchising millions at a time when people already feel marginalised: just 4% feel able to ‘fully’ influence decisions by MPs at Westminster (BMG polling for ERS this year).

As well as a system that hordes power at the centre, and ignores votes, there are huge gaps in our electoral rules themselves. Vast sums of money flow into our democracy with little oversight.

You can still for instance, set up a company in the UK and fund political activity through it even if that company does no business here – one of many loopholes that put fair elections under threat.

So we need to stop seeing democratic reform as a nice add on. Democratic reform is not separate to economic and social change – it is fundamental.

The ballot box is the great equaliser of any democracy. But that only works if votes are equal – both in terms of who participates and whether their votes count. And it only works when our Parliament is fully elected, not a place for preserving privilege.

We cannot underestimate the scale of the challenge but nor can we assume that these systemic flaws can be used for good. It’s now time to create a democracy that works for everyone.”

The current crisis has been a long time coming – and Westminster’s system is behind it