Saturday, July 10, 2021

WEEKENDER: Voting Intentions, by Wiggia

If ever there was a sign not all is well in the land it is the regular polls showing voting intentions. You would like to believe that the last few years and more would shine a light on the incumbents of our HoC and the mendacious chicanery that pervades the place and decide none of them - with a few worthy individuals as exceptions - are worth the price of a lead pencil on the day.

The recent by election at Amersham was a classic, a Tory stronghold taken by the Lib Dems. Why would anyone believe the Lib Dems were any different from the other main stream parties? They have all had their moment in the sun and all failed us badly, but 'the other lot are worse' is the excuse for voting for nonentities these days, both individuals and parties, since Farage decanted from UKIP  there hasn’t been a viable alternative where you can place your X on polling day.

So we have poll after poll showing the Tories, I can’t call them Conservatives because they aren’t, having a comfortable lead in voting intentions despite failing to do much at all for the country since taking power. The Covid period was just a convenient time to hide the fact that apart from dealing with the virus, badly in many aspects and managing to put the country into a debt situation at least equal to the last world war, they have achieved nothing apart from frightening the life out of a large part of the population; bravo.

The problem for the public is those incumbent parties here and elsewhere in the western world have it all sewn up. Breaking the mould is extremely difficult: the party apparatus is very good at belittling any upstarts by lying innuendo and smears, using all those recent words and phrases such as the catch all 'racist.' With the press and big donor business on their side and the institutions filled with left of centre ex-university graduates with political PhDs and no real world experiences, it has become almost impossible to unseat those who believe they rule by right, the so called ‘heritage’ parties - that title alone should be enough to warn off any intending voter, the entitlement in that phrase is gross. 

Why do populations still believe a single word any politician from these so called heritage parties says? You would think that past failures would make people hesitant in giving the same failures another chance when as recent decades have shown nothing does change.

It is still in the people's hands to vote them all out if they wished. When Tower Hamlets had its corrupt council scrapped, the indigenous population in the area was still large enough to stop it happening but even with previous evidence on what was going on they failed to vote them out and the Muslim bloc voted them in again.

Apathy was the reason that happened not lack of numbers, the same has been true up and down the country, people vote one way because they always have, why, what has been gained from that lazy approach, nothing, other than being taken for granted by the sitting MP who in many of these areas doesn’t even have to campaign to retain his seat.

I still live in a constituency like that. The last election showed the MP to be invisible; he gets fatter, does nothing of value and opens a few enterprises; if you write to him an anodyne reply by his paid staff is what you get. Having an MP like that is pointless, there must dozens the same all over the country; at a guess you could cut out 50% of them and no one would notice the difference. Belgium after all managed without a government at all for eighteen months, others have had locked coalitions resulting in no parliamentary work being done for long periods and it made no difference. Anyone who believes we need all these parasites needs their bumps felt.

Am I being too cruel? I think not. The vast majority put party and themselves before the people of this country. Look how many said the right things about getting over the line with Brexit and then reneged at the last moment for party unity, leaving us with a poorer deal.

Yet time and again come voting day people applaud the ones who have shafted them, people stand and say someone with no attributes at all would make a good PM; why so deluded?

What has also become apparent is the usage of postal voting to ensure the right results in certain areas. It was pooh-poohed at first as being insignificant; not any more, yet the major parties refuse to do anything about the misuse of postal voting. Why? Because they both have skin in the game.

The Batley and Spen by-election showed how much postal voting can sway an election. This chart borrowed from elsewhere gives a graphic example of how postal voting has increased particularly in areas like this. The last two figures are worse than they look as the turnout at the by-election was lower than in the general elections so the postal vote was an even higher percentage than the last one, virtually double. 

Postal voting should not be the default method to put your cross on a piece of paper. It was never intended (or was it?) to be anything more than a way of getting people who had genuine difficulties getting to a polling booth a chance to vote. After all if you can’t be arsed once every four years to drag your sorry backside to a polling station then you should forfeit your right to vote.

Labour have painted themselves into a corner with postal voting as it suits them so well in areas where people are told where to put their cross and have the voting paper collected from them by community persuaders.

For the Conservatives to object would open a can of worms about corrupt spending tactics in many constituencies they have contested in recent years; the farce of Thanet was still never resolved by a commission known for talking but never acting.

So now we are stuck with postal voting that cannot be verified and is abused by ever more of the same and nobody says a word.

It will of course all fall down when those same areas who are allowed a ‘community’ candidate as a sop to the postal voting practice decide to start up their own party when the demographic grows and that won't be long. In mainland Europe it has already started; small enough to ignore now, but in time...

The western world has become indolent. Even when an opportunity has arisen to change those in power for something truly different the voters run back to the hen house at the last moment and then moan for four more years. True, in many cases the full strength of the incumbents and a compliant press has helped, but have people given up on free thinking? I believe in the main they have; the ‘I will continue to wear masks forever’ brigade, and there are millions of them, have sadly shown that to be a fact.

They have become inured. Whatever is taken from them, whatever the cost, they never question why. A neighbour who is a good friend and far from not seeing what is going on is typical: when the crunch on any issue comes, I get the ‘I don’t know what to believe ‘ reply; he really would not rather bother with it all and there lies the problem.

There is an awful lot going on in the background at the moment that is not public knowledge in any meaningful way. It is all damaging and a threat to our prosperity or what is left of it. If the voting public doesn’t wake up soon we are done for, I see no light on the horizon at this point.

As it stands George Carlin summed up the state of things well: without something meaningful to vote for you may as well stay at home.


Scrobs. said...

A good chum had an idea about all this, a few years ago.

He claimed that the best solution was to put government out to tender, thereby levelling the corruption, bad tactics etc, and relying on commercial instincts to bring a healthy result.

President Trump did this (almost), and his attitude was making government a business, not a place for thick, fat politicians.

Unfortunately, Americans couldn't understand this philosophy, so they now have three and a half years of corruption, failure, fat, thick politicians, and an uncertain future.

We may well be going the same way...

Jim in San Marcos said...

In the US there are a lot of people who don't vote or even care who is elected. An absentee ballot is a money maker. The holder has the right to sell their vote. I've heard of people paying $200 to $900 per vote. Of course most of it is unprovable but the money is real.

Your Napoleon quote says it all.

Paddington said...

@Scrobs - you may have missed the part where Donald Trump never actually ran a successful business. He has run a sequence of scams which make him money, but lost it for his partners and suppliers. Under his administration, the country saw record levels of corruption in government. His appointees regarded the Treasury as their piggybank. As one example, the Treasury Secretary tried to use an official government plane for his honeymoon.

@Wiggia - some of your phrasing is reminds me of conservatives here in the US. While complaining about fraud and corruption in voting by Democrats, especially about mail voting, the only significant cases found have been GOP supporters.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Scorbs

Enjoyed your missive. I think that every country needs to realize that absentee voting leads to the sale of the votes for cash. Standing in line to vote offers no remuneration. A mail in vote can be sold and I have heard that $200 to $700 was common in Michigan. Let's face it, advertising works, but it is expensive. Do you spend a million in advertising or buy votes. If you are buying votes at $500 a ballot, that is one million dollars buying 2,000 votes, better than the return on the ad. If confronted with the option of $500 or voting, many would choose $500? Mail in voting has to stop. It will end democracy.

@Paddington Trump made his millions before he ran for office, and the main reason he was so successful, was because he was beholding to nobody. He came to office with money, he didn't get it after being elected.

Your comments are absurd, they don't have any creditability. I won't waste my time reading your rebuttal.

Sackerson said...

The sale of votes is jaw-dropping; takes us back to pre-1832 UK.

Scrobs. said...

Thanks Jim, that's an interesting take!

Corruption in postal voting can only get worse in my opinion. Finding a load of votes in a shoe box near the end of counting is bound to happen in many places, and we all remember the curtains being put up during the debacle in January.

It's a sorry state when the actual counters can't be trusted, but computer algorithms will take over pretty soon methinks!

Scrobs. said...

We must have posted at the same time, Sackers, but you're absolutely right!

The Reform Bill did much for keeping us on the straight and narrow, but much of that isn't recognised these days, as cheating is the new norm.

Paddington said...

@Jim - you are, to say the least, being disingenuous on Trump.

1. When he built the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, most suppliers were lucky to get 30% of their invoices, and many went out of business as a result. Still, the place went bankrupt, and his partners ended up holding the bag. Partners that he had already cheated by opening another casino nearby, against their written agreements.

2. Trump vodka, Trumpopoly and Trump airlines all went belly-up, leaving money in his handfs, debts to his partners.

3. Trump University was found to have defrauded all of its 'students', and he was ordered to pay tens of millions.

4. He was found to have used the Trump charity as a personal piggy bank, and ordered to offer a public apology, and a large fine.

5. A large amount of the money from his 2017 inauguration was redirected to his organization, and is still under investigation.

6. There is also a major investigation on his violation of the emoluments clause, including the rather suspect uses of the Trump Plaza in Washington D.C.

7. He even tried to have the G7 meeting directed to one of his properties.

Paddington said...

@Jim - as for selling votes, such stories are rife. However, not a single major recent case has been established, even after Trump set up a commission in 2017 to look for any fraud.

In fact, a study by News21 — a consortium of journalism schools — found 867 cases since 2000 in which someone had admitted guilt or been convicted of a voter-fraud offense. That was out of about 146 million registered voters. (cf. Washington Post)

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hello Paddington, I really don't know how to address this, but Trump lost the election and Biden is president. Has that sunk in for you?

This argument from Scrobs is over whether a person should take the effort to vote given all of the corruption. We are discussing solutions to that. Trump news has nothing to do with the voting practices in GB. I don't think that any one in GB gives one whit of what Donald Trump has done, it is too far away to have an effect.

I suggest if you want to talk about Trump, pick on a blog that wants to listen.

Trump is not in the equation in GB. It has no bearing on their current issues. Of course that might take you several years to figure out.

Paddington said...

@Jim - I was addressing comments that Scrobs himself made, so it was germane.

I still would return to the major point. Despite lots of claims, going back to the 1980's, and including the commission of 2017, plus investigations by many entities, no-one has discovered major voting fraud in the US. One set of claims is about mail-in voting, which always seems to ignore the fact that 4 or 5 states vote that way exclusively.

Jim in San Marcos said...

@Paddington: There is no fraud if it is easy to cheat. That is what the discussion is about. How to eliminate it.

If you cannot recognize that fraud exists, you don't understand human nature.

When votes are stolen, the voting public is non the wiser, the people running suffer the theft and they have no recourse.

Paddington said...

@Jim - and yet no-one is able to get any evidence of fraud. Strange that.

We live in a world which depends on Science and Technology, which in turn depend on hard evidence, rather than anecdote. Sadly, the bulk of the GOP and a fair proportion of the Democrats want to turn their backs and pretend that the Universe works according to their whims. It is arrogant, and ultimately suicidal.