Friday, May 02, 2008

Secret ballot? What secret ballot?

I was all for celebrating the Liberal Democrats' achievements in gaining four seats in the local council elections last night - which included the defeat of one of the sitting Tory councillors in this ward by 11 votes. It means Colchester Borough Council returns to No Overall Control from a year or so of Tory rule, which only came about when two Lib Dems defected last year.

Yes, I was all for celebrating until it was drawn to my attention that the so-called secret ballot isn't actually that secret. The next time you vote, watch what happens closely. You present your ballot card and a ballot paper will be torn off. Note the serial number (on the back) - that number is being recorded next to your name and address even as you turn away to the voting booth. That number can be used to uniquely reunite you with your allegedly secret vote. Of course the reasons are "sensible" enough - it's an anti-fraud measure, but once again it shows just how soft our democratic system has become. See here for official confirmation of this fact (click download the first PDF file in the list, which outlines it in detail).

Our own politicians may not be a bunch of dictators in waiting (I won't open that can of worms, eh Mr Blair and Brown?), but look at the facts. Our electoral system means the main parties ignore the vast majority of voters to go chasing swing votes - instead of gearing their policies to appeal to us all, they appeal solely to Middle England where elections are ultimately won and lost thanks to our outdated system. Hardly democratic, is it? Eventually, what's happening around us will make it possible for an extremist to appeal to the masses, and once he or she is in, what then? They can lawfully arrest anyone who protests peacefully under the laughable "Human Rights" Act, they can clearly push through laws with minimal (if any) recourse to parliament and after all of this, they can invoke so-called "election courts" to check how individuals have voted under the pretence of electoral fraud!

Makes you realise that Robert Mugabe would probably feel right at home with our democratic system. It also shows how people have forgotten the lesson spoken about below by Maggie Joy Blunt in the brilliant Private Diaries (see last Saturday's entry). For those who are interested, click here to find out more about the book at the author's web site.

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