Votes matter

Today we will hear of the plans for the English local elections, the English Mayoral elections, the Scottish parliament and the Welsh and London Assemblies.

Last year the English Council elections were cancelled and Mayors got extra time in office. Elections at regular intervals are an important part of our democratic system. Elected people and governments need a reasonable time period of several years to exercise the powers they are given and to show whether they can govern well or not, serving the people who elected them. Whilst many elected politicians have a sense of public duty and wish to serve people well, the looming presence of an election concentrates minds . It makes the elected individuals show they have done what they promised and have offered good service in order to seek renewal of their mandate. It forces them into regular communication with those they serve and gives them an added reason to listen attentively to complaints and wishes from voters.

The debate about the timing of these important elections revolves around how much of a threat the virus will still pose to us in April and May. Will it continue to make door to door canvassing and conversations impossible? Will it continue to restrict our ability to go to a polling station? I would hope by May we would be able to hold elections with suitably social distanced contacts. If the experts are sure we cannot , perhaps we need to consider shifting the elections more onto a digital and postal mechanism.

Some will argue postal voting is too open to abuse, and will argue against universal postal votes. Some will complain if campaigning is via the internet with zoom public meetings and social media communications. Others will think this better than delaying or cancelling elections yet again. What are your views? Many Conservative voters in London are very keen to have an opportunity to vote for a different Mayor, and doubtless voters of other parties in various parts of the UK have equally strong reasons to want an election soon.

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166 Comments

  1. Javelin
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    If we can go centres to get a vaccine then we can go to centres to vote.

    Nothing is stopping us putting polling stations in the open air. In a field.

    Election integrity is not difficult.

    Postal ballots are fraudulent ballots.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      +1

    • Hope
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      It is the patriotic duty of everyone to get rid of Fake Tory party. Send a message that this never ending horror show should not continue.

      • a-tracy
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        Hope, what and end up with a split right vote and get Labour! Do you live in a Labour local area? I do! They don’t give monkeys about the local environment and enterprise, they encourage the building of rabbit warren new estates with all the social housing allocations in those estates – tiny tiny low-quality homes in their key voter territories to uphold their vote then give them NOTHING to do nearby. They don’t look after the pavements or roads especially on the private estates, anything goes. They put in daft cycling lanes that would leave walkers with prams and wheelchair users in the road if anyone followed them. Their spending priorities are all wrong and you’ll be sorry if you got them in locally. Local elections aren’t the time for this sort of protest you should vote for the person and their personal promises and I say this as someone who has used one of three local votes for one Labour councillor in the past because he actually cared about our town.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Exactly!!

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      +1

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Agreed, postal votes used to be for our forces and diplomats overseas. Now just tick a box and postal voting is yours as is identity free ballot box voting.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        a.Segwick

        Agreed

        Its also forever, no need to apply for it every year./every time

        Absolutely Crazy

    • Mike Durrans
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      +1

    • jerry
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      @Javelin; “If we can go centres to get a vaccine then we can go to centres to vote. “

      Perhaps they could get vaccinated and cast their ballot at the same time, after all by April only those over 50 will likely have been vaccinated – but casting ones ballot is but just the start, counting of the ballots also needs to be Covid secure too.

      Election integrity is not difficult

      Indeed, but so to is the knobelling of an election by claiming there is mass voter fraud, then using such fears to disenfranchise legitimate voters who are more likely to vote for the opposition candidates.

      Postal ballots are NOT fraudulent ballots, for some they are the only way they can have a ballot, from the housebound to the business traveller.

    • Mark
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Quite. Voters could also book a slot at a polling station through a phone call or the Internet to alleviate the worst queues. I can easily find out how busy my local supermarkets are before setting out, and decide to opt for a less busy time. By May, most polling station staff should have been inoculated.

      Not that local elections typically see polling stations jammed with long queues anyway.

  2. James Strong
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    If elections are not held it is because those in power do not want elections to be held.
    It might be challenging but it is achievable.
    Some options:
    Open more schools as polling stations, using big school halls and gyms rather than small church halls. Therefore more space,easier social distancing.
    Extend the voting over 2,3 or 4 days. Therefore more time, easier to maintain social distancing.
    Extend the use of postal voting, with appropriate and strict measures to prevent abuse. Therefore fewer people at the polling stations, easier to maintain social distancing.
    These are ideas that I put forward at 6.18 am. They can be expanded, refined and/or improved.
    And any necessary legislation can be put through in a day.

    So, I repeat my opening point: if elections are not held it is because those in power do not want elections to be held.

    That is a simple, true and very worrying statement.

    • Enrico
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Postal voting,what strict measures are required to prevent abuse?
      I say reduce postal voting hugely.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      If Labour does not push for elections they must really be worried about their polling

  3. Mark B
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    I am not holding my breath on these elections ever taking place. Why ? It is not as if it makes much difference. I mean, once in power they do as they and their ‘handlers’ please and ignore those that elected them on the promises they made.

    We get a say once every so often and at the behest of those we have elected in the first place. How is that the USA can hold their elections and we cannot ? Farse !

    When the Scots and Welsh get to vote on their Assemblies, do the English get to vote on how much the UK Government has to bung them ? No ! They can make all the promises they want knowing that their electorate will not be the ones footing he bill. How is that fair ?

    Postal voting needs to be restricted. And the last thing we really need is electronic voting. Our system is open to abuse and, whilst some may say it is small scale, I remain unconvinced. It is usually the same suspects and for the same party that brought postal votes in.

    Oh. And whist we may vote for a London Mayor we always end up never getting to vote on all the hangers on. And that includes the Police Commissioners. Another thing we did not want but are forced to pay for.

  4. Ian Wragg
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    The last thing the government wants is an election in May because due to their inept handling of the pandemic they will be slaughtered.
    We now have Marcus Rashford dictating government policy so we don’t need elections.

    • Hope
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Will SAGE be on the ballot paper?

    • Fred H
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      there must be tens of thousands of families grateful for the intervention of Rashford, where Government has been able to turn a blind eye. I wish more public figures could support much needed changes in other failures of policy.

      • Lynn
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        But that is about the usual value that Government gets. Do you see now why we say the people should spend the money?

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

        These poor families already get plenty of Universal Credit Fred.

        • jerry
          Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

          @NS; But UB/UC benefits for families with school age children are based on children getting a free school meal 5 days a week during school term-time, that is why the same issues always hit the headlines each year during the long summer school holidays.

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted January 14, 2021 at 8:47 am | Permalink

            £36K take home per year Jerry?

            Really?

          • jerry
            Posted January 14, 2021 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

            @NS; Yes, there are always the exceptions… The vast majority receiving UC in addition to a workplace incomes will have an annual income nothing like £36k, never mind those on UC due to unemployment etc.

        • Fred H
          Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

          perhaps you would sit down with the poorly clothed, hungry kids as they wonder why the others have nice thick coats to hang up on their named pegs, and explain that their parent (s) supposedly are given enough money to keep a roof over their head, a warm bed and home at night and sufficient food to avoid the misery of pangs of hunger. When you get the blank look, just turn away and get in your car and go and get an expensive take away latte and muffin. Are you related to Mr Bumble of the workhouse?

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted January 14, 2021 at 8:47 am | Permalink

            £36K take home per year Fred.

    • JoolsB
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      +1 . And Carrie.

    • forthurst
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Obviously a multi-talented person, but can he play the Pangolin?

  5. GilesB
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    If we’d never had elections before, you wouldn’t choose the practices that we have now. Particularly given current technology.

    • jerry
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      @GilesB; I take it you want electronic, remote, voting. The govt (or is it just the Leader of the House) disagrees, if such voting is not good enough for MPs and the HoCs then surely it is not good enough to use elsewhere elsewhere?

  6. Shirley M
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Postal voting is abused. Does anyone doubt this? It should be severely restricted. I have little trust in internet voting after the rumours in the US Presidential election.

    I would prefer in person voting, with ID to be checked for each person. Any suspicion of rigging or fixing would destroy trust in democracy, which we have fought so hard to regain in this country and politicians still need to do much more to regain that trust.

    • agricola
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Spot on Shirley. Postal voting is criminally abused and government has no competence with systems electronic. Personal identification at the point of voting is essential for the maintenance of democracy.

    • Garland
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Postal voting has been common in this country for many years. There is no evidence – none at all – of fraud. It’s shameful that you should say such things, shameful too that John Redwood publishes them. Do you really want to follow the Republicans in America in destroying trust in our democracy with such unsubstantiated slurs?

      • Lynn
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        Proven – people have gone to jail in the U.K. for voting fraud.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        People have admitted they voted twice.

    • Enrico
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      +1

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Explain how it is abused, please, and how the security devices are overcome.

      If you are going to make a claim, then you need the evidence to support it.

      There was some evidence of minor fraud in the US – but that was generally Republican voters trying to increase Trump’s vote.

      • agricola
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        There is much suggestion that heads of families dictate how members should vote. It can be even more extensive in some communities. At present PC prevents discussion of it at any public level so the easiest way to halt it is to have stricter limits on who can vote postally and direct the rest to the polling station with definitive identification in place.

      • acorn
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        One thing the Trump era in the US has proved. The famous multiple “checks and balances” of the US Constitution, just don’t work for the little people; but, do work for the few people who live in the big houses at the top end of Town, Y’all understand?

        The US political system has become a giant Snakes and Ladders game, where the corporate funded Snakes are swallowing all the Ladders. A situation that is not going to end well for main street or rural USA.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

          Yes – read Frank Wilhoit’s crisp, exact summary of Conservatism.

      • John C.
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        My daily chuckle. Keep them coming, “Martin”.

      • Fred H
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        you keep demanding evidence, but never never ever provide any yourself.

      • anon
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

        Its a public policy imperative that elections are free and fair from corruption, mal-practice and error.

        Therefore presumption of material error and fraud should exist unless proven otherwise. T
        The proof being vigorous external audit and verification. The losers should have open access to audit reports and evidence. They then should be part funded through any court actions needed for remedy and changes in law.

        How far can you trust a cabal in control? Its difficult to bribe everyone so lets make the primary aim as being to avoid fraud error and corruption rather than convenience.

    • jerry
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      @Shirley M; Never heard of in-person voter impersonation?

      Any voting method can be abused, the fact is, postal voting is secure, in fact it is more secure from abuse than proxy voting, even in-person voting, in some situations

      Voting in-person hasn’t even need a polling card to be presented, and even when it is produced the ‘security’ question has been to ask the person their postal address, the self-same address printed on the card!

      Hence why the govt is talking about extending positive voter ID. A postal vote is sent to a pre-certified postal address, that can be cross referenced with other data held, such as Council Tax records etc, and any fraudulent use of the ballot paper first needs physical access the postal ballot.

  7. George Brooks.
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    What ever happens do not make the same mistake as the US and extend postal voting. It is wide open to fraud and has more holes in it than a colander!

    • turboterrier
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      G B

      +1

    • Enrico
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      +1

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      How?

      Each paper is unique, and requires the signature and DOB of the person to whom it is addressed.

      Nor can a person who is registered with one vote in person.

      So even if you managed to steal that data and create fake votes, you’d also have to stop the genuine voters.

      It’s a big ask, isn’t it?

      I think that you should learn a few simple things before making yourself look silly.

    • Grey Friar
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Any evidence for this, my friend? I know you Brexiters think evidence is a bit lefty and prefer to trust your emotions, but if you can point me to any evidence at all of fraudulent postal voting in this country, I’d be interested (clue – there is none)

  8. agricola
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Under present circumstances elections and electioneering are something of an indulgence. Delay them until a day in September when the majority should have immunity, and run them over two days to ensure the spacing necessary. Curb your political ambitions for London, there are bigger fish to catch over the next nine months. Postal voting is suspect and government dabbling with electronic solutions has a history of failure, so forget both until you have a soldier proof solution to either.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      You truly believe “they” will ever award us immune status?
      How touchingly trusting.
      Our democracy ( though flawed) is the biggest fish in the sea.
      If at all possible we must not relinquish our mackerel for a sprat.
      Really!

      • agricola
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

        Well I have had a flu jab for 25 + years and have not suffered it. I do not look upon myself as immune from flu, just unlikely to get it. The Covid vaccine is reported as being more effective than that for flu so I will take my chances. There are much greater threats to our democracy than Covid 19. I will not tempt moderation by listing them all.

        • Cuibono
          Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

          I mean that the powers that be will not say “ Go forth and resume normal life” even when we are vaccinated.
          Greatest threat to democracy are those who are meant to work for us and represent us.

          • Everhopeful
            Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

            Sorry.
            OH used my iPad to post and it keeps remembering his name!
            Everhopeful

  9. Peter
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Many Londoners are keen to see the back of Sadiq Khan. However, the worry is the opposition candidate is not gaining support – despite Khan’s mismanagement and looming council tax rises to pay for it.

    Postal voting should be made an extremely limited option to combat voter fraud – especially after the high profile of the issue with the US election.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      Yes, your problem is that even more Londoners are NOT keen to see the back of Sadiq Khan.

      Damn this voting business by them, eh?

  10. Sea_Warrior
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    ‘… door to door canvassing and conversations impossible.’ If that saves me being disturbed at home, then so be it. It’s more important that I get the opportunity to VOTE.
    May I suggest that Londoners also get an extra ballot paper: on which they can vote to either end or preserve the London Mayoralty?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Won’t get that vote.
      Assemblies part of plan to break up UK.

    • turboterrier
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      S W

      Totally agree with your last comment about voting if the people really want a mayor. For what they cost are they value for money?

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Door to door canvassing and conversations – if only, then I could ask them about cutting all those services that I help pay for, and how little is of any value to me.

  11. Sharon
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    My view is, where’s there’s a will there’s a way. There are far too many naysayers in government!

    May, the weather will be better. Door to door canvassing should be possible as long as candidates don’t go round hugging everyone. Richard Tice said if people are worried about the pencils – he’ll source enough. Or wipe them down after use or be vigilant about ensuring people gel their hands, limit the number of people, have the doors open as usual..,.. bit of thought and forward planning makes anything possible!

    The elections MUST go as planned. Our democracy and rights are hanging by a thread as it is!

    • Mike Durrans
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Sharon,

      I always take my own pen as lead pencils can be altered. That could be extended to everybody supply their own!

    • cornishstu
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Or even take your own scribbling stick, as said the only reason for not having an election is lack of will.

  12. Roy Grainger
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Better ask SAGE John, I doubt they’ll be keen to allow this.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Or ask Anthony Blair, he seems to be advising the government.

    • Sea_Warrior
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, elections – giving the public a say – only help with the spread of uncontrolled ‘wrongthink’.

  13. Iain Gill
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    spread the voting over a week, so there is no need for crowds at polling stations, but dont cancel the elections

    • Old person
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Alternatively, in our brave new normal, only allow those citizens testing negative for Covid to participate. That should stir up more interest in Local Elections.

      Not a serious comment though.

  14. Enigma
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Elections should NOT be postponed

  15. Simeon
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Wow. You’re advocating postal and digital voting. After what has just happened in the US. (And after similar problens with postal votes in this country.)

    However, as disgusting as organised electoral fraud is, I’m actually all for it. The sooner people wake up to the fact that, in contemporary politics in this country and others, voting changes nothing, the sooner we might move towards a better way of doing politics.

    I was pleased that you suggested ‘Conservative’ voters in London are ‘keen’ to vote for their man rather than Labour’s. One might think this goes without saying, but you were obviously making a distinction between thus type of voter and conservative voters who, by definition would absolutely not be keen to vote for a Conservative Party candidate.

    So, all in all, your best post in a while. Thank you Sir John.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      Yes, as the US has just proven, it is a modern, efficient, safe and secure way of operating democracy.

      THAT is why the Right hate it so.

      • Cuibono
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        How do you know?

      • a-tracy
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        Martin, have they done the 10 days audit that Cruz asked for?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

          Why should they waste their time?

          Where is Cruz’s evidence that they should?

          You stand legal logic on its head.

          • a-tracy
            Posted January 14, 2021 at 11:46 am | Permalink

            It wouldn’t be a waste of time to put all of these accusations to bed.

            It wouldn’t be a waste of time to prove with no doubt these claims are totally without merit.

            Just one State.

            I think you stand legal logic on its head. These are serious accusations.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        Martin

        Yes very secure and fair, just like they are in Russia, China and many Countries in Africa and South America.?

      • Fred H
        Posted January 14, 2021 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        Up until recently they were using 80 column punched cards…

    • Lynn
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      How do you ‘do politics better’ if there is no voting public to constrain the excesses of the state?

      • Simeon
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

        Without wishing to go over old ground, the basic point is to encourage individuals to reclaim their sovereignty from the state, and to do away with the idea that groups of people can band together to impose their agenda on others. Stripped of much of its sovereignty, and limited in what it can do with that which remains, there will be no possibility of state excess.

        • Lynn
          Posted January 14, 2021 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

          I ah.fee that the state should be severely limited, and forced to do what only the state can do, well. But we can only enforce with the power and threat of sacking politicians.

  16. Radar
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    The May elections should go ahead.
    Extend the polling station’s opening time to one week and manage the flow of voters entering the polling stations. Now is not the time to rush out an digital and postal voting solution!

  17. Richard1
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    I have no problem with postal voting, I use it myself. Although it is clear there have been some cases of abuse, so ways should be sought to tighten it up with some sort of two-factor authentication. Likewise it is essential that people voting in person provide proof of identity of some sort. The arguments against this are nonsense. You have to produce your identity to pick up a package from the post office, open any sort of financial services account, get a new passport etc. Why not for choosing the govt of the Country? Those on the left complaining about this reveal a concern that some of their votes must be fraudulent.

    I can’t see why we should still be in lockdown in May or even 2 months earlier, so proceed.

    • a-tracy
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t have a problem with postal voting Richard. I’d started to use postal voting myself, however, now I’m wondering was my vote counted? How would I know if it wasn’t?

      Aren’t you concerned about these students that got a postal vote at their parents home and went in person near their University too? Students have bragged about this.

      Aren’t you concerned about people harvesting vulnerable people’s votes and using them to vote for their personal preferred candidate? In person voting means you have to be fully aware of what you are doing?

  18. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Good morning Sir John,

    I want (desperately) the opportunity to vote our grandstanding and one eyed London mayor out of office. I do not want his campaign to be conducted solely in the fawning media and I do not want an increase in the openly abused postal or internet voting system.

    One person one physical vote.

    We know that this virus reduces transmission in the Summer, move the election one month to the end of June.

    But have them

    • Caterpillar
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      They should absolutely not be moved back, they should be moved forward, if they count at all. To allow the Govt to claim victory against a seasonal virus during long June days is the last thing needed.

      I would suggest holding the elections immediately in person. Those who still think democracy and freedom might recover from the tyranny will turn up, because democracy and freedom matter.

    • cynic
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      +1

  19. Pat
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Postal voting is so open to fraud that public confidence in election results will suffer.

    It is entirely possible that elections will be stolen by those for whom the end justifies the means.

    • Enrico
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      +1

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Just try to explain why.

      You can’t, can you?

      Just chanting the same as the rest of the mob doesn’t turn rubbish into fact.

      • agricola
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        You need to explain why the current postal system is squeaky clean and not in need of limitation.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

          No, I absolutely do not.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        My wife gets a postal vote Martin, we have moved house recently. Had I not pursued the local electoral roll office her ballot paper would be sent to the old address. There would be no check on who had cast this vote if it subsequently made its way to the ballot box.

        Left or right could cast this vote but it is hugely open to fraud as there are no checks on the actual ballot.

        It was also rather easy to get registered.

        • Tammy
          Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

          So you have zero evidence of any fraud. Thank you

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted January 14, 2021 at 8:50 am | Permalink

            No smoke without fire Tammy, a principle I am sure you operate when it suits you.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

          Unless that fraudster knew your wife’s DOB and could convincingly forge her signature – risking prison – they could not do that.

          And do you seriously think that there would be enough such cases to swing a result?

          You haven’t a clue, have you?

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted January 14, 2021 at 8:52 am | Permalink

            Those two items are not checked comprehensively Martin.

            Are you saying there is no scope for fraud?

            Wilfully naïve in matters with which you concur

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

          Your claim is true of ordinary in person ballot cards, which are actually far less secure anyway.

          So your point is?

          • Fred H
            Posted January 14, 2021 at 8:48 am | Permalink

            you don’t need cards – at the polling station you are only asked to confirm your name and address – which is then marked as ‘voted’ and given the ballot paper.

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted January 14, 2021 at 8:49 am | Permalink

            In person voting security should be beefed up too Martin

  20. Chris Dark
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Move elections onto a digital and postal system? Oh dear, sir, this is exactly what is desired by your colleagues. Postal voting, the scourge of the country, being encouraged in ever-increasing volumes? and what could possibly go wrong with digital elections? As an online colleague of mine did this morning; *facepalm*

    • Cllr Pauline Jorgensen
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Agree I can see denial of service attacks, a massive load on Election Day followed by meltdown and of course the inevitable hacking and fishing fraud.

  21. Everhopeful
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Ah..so no voting again then?
    Certainly no more school and the supermarkets are stopping their “click and collect” and have beefed up the chevrons, so obviously moving towards online only. Or maybe just no supplies?
    I would put nothing past the two headed monster of our politics.
    No doubt all politicians very pleased with all this.
    How easy it proved to become tyrants!

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      I would like to see the numbers for Supermarket workers who have caught this virus and other proven or implied transmission in shops.

      I suspect that the data would show it is relatively safe.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      100% agreed. Don’t worry though – plenty of hotel rooms left at the moment for all those foreign surgeons, doctors, engineers and scientists coming in rubber dinghies.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Ive not been able to get a delivery since the start of the pandemic.

      • Cuibono
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        Yes I know how you feel! How the culture-destroying supermarkets let us down!
        Now it looks as if they are going all out for online ( doing away with stupidly called “click and collect” and many disincentives in stores).
        Globalists want everything delivered by drone as we cower in our houses.
        Lovely!

      • miami.mode
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        Fus ,the supermarkets have, quite rightly, concentrated on the most vulnerable.

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted January 14, 2021 at 10:28 am | Permalink

          My husband is vulnerable but still no joy.

  22. Everhopeful
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Well..I do inhabit a different world.
    There has been no door to door canvassing here for YEARS!
    The politicians have been too frit…doubt if they are less so now!

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      It’s only the Labour party which canvasses down my way. They are desperate to unseat the incumbent prime minister and council and ship canvassers in from all over.

      That could be stopped as a Covid measure, local canvassers only.

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Or you live in a safe seat or ward where the incumbents know they are set for life and the opposition know it’s not worth their effort. That is a consequence of the FPTP system used in England where votes don’t matter like they do in Scotland or Northern Ireland (and now Wales).

      If John Redwood really wants these votes to count, he would be arguing for English local elections to use the same system as in Scotland and Northern Ireland, a system where electors still have local ward councillors and still get to vote for and choose between invidual candidates, but which delivers outcomes which are representative of the voters in the ward, not the typical outcome of “3 of the same” which occurs in the typical English council ward.

      • a-tracy
        Posted January 14, 2021 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        I’d be willing to trial this voting system in the Lords (the second chamber) Peter.

  23. None of the Above
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    If all vulnerable people have had one vaccination by end of February then I think it likely that they would have had there second by end of April. By this time many, many others would have had their first and we would, by then, be living under far fewer restrictions because we would be nearing a safe level of resistance to serious illness.
    A General Election can be organised in four weeks so I think it would be safe to assume that choosing a date in early June would allow for any hiccups in the vaccination programme.

  24. ukretired123
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    The May elections will be crucial that is certain – like never before. No one can forecast what will happen. There are so many reasons to vote – many positive, many negative and many why some folks cannot or not vote at all. Dangerous and interesting times as the saying goes.
    Nigel Farage’s Reform party hopes to do well after Brexit as previously he performed in the European elections. Labour are sitting ducks and Tony Blair fancies he can collect Remain votes ….The BBC will be all over the country broadcasting negativity as usual….
    Many will just switch off having had enough.
    Leadership is required like never before and change well overdue.

  25. RichardM
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Some argue postal voting is open to abuse – yes Tories frequently do, are are always proved wrong by the facts, which shows the insignificant volumes, yet you continue to repeat the same nonsense.
    As for the chances of a Tory London mayor, after the last dire one I will offer you 20/1.

  26. Bryan Harris
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    It is viatal the elections go ahead so that we can give our assessment of political life.

    Certainly we must get shot of the current London mayor before he brings in those voting machines that stole the American election.

    Why is it not possible to make use of online voting – it would certainly be far better than postal voting, and should be more secure. Those without home computers could use the library.

    The big question for many is how far the UK deep state extends out to the shires. Most local councillers do a great job, irrespective of party, with Tory people generally being better informed. That doesn’t mean that Tory councillers will not get punished due to Boris getting a third strike against him.

    The chances of the Westminster Tories splitting is probably a pipe dream. I’m not sure there are enough Tory MPs of the right to form their own party. I’d be very reluctant to vote for any of the UK parties ever again, until a real right of centre party gets elected – Faint hope of that I’m afraid. Looks like Independents will do quite well.

  27. Aaron Shone
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    ‘Some will argue postal voting is too open to abuse’

    Mitigate the risk appropriately with sufficient compensating controls then? We have electoral registers managed by local councils, and we could probably work out that 10 voting age people in a 4 bed house is potentially fraudulent and requires further review. It’s not like we have an electronic, unauditable 3rd party managed voting solution to tally votes either.

    Additionally, as you raise the point of elected officials seeking a renewed mandate, the Home Secretary and health secretary seem to be engaged in ever increasing, draconian kerbs on liberty in the name of public health and lockdown. Police fines in abundance for minor infractions of continually changing rules. Where is the parliamentary oversight of this power? How did we get to the point of officials announcing further rules and then it being subsequently voted on in parliament? Having worked in countries that operate like this, I am very disappointed that the U.K. has fallen so low as to be ruled by dictate with it decision being rubber stamped afterwards.

    Sir John, your blog shows you to be a thoughtful, dedicated parliamentarian, but if voting conservative means a continuation of members of your party having unchecked power to make rules and have them arbitrarily enforced by the police without your party challenging those rules, then the overall mandate needs to be changed. I agree this is a public health crisis, and making decisions in the public eye means everything gets reported on and analysed but there does not seem to be much movement on vaccine distribution, the exit strategy for lockdown, or challenging ministers as to why ever increasing rules on lockdown are required.

  28. beresford
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Postal ballots need tightening. In some communities the husband votes for the wife or the leader collects the ballots and votes for all. Meanwhile the Government says that if we don’t obey their covid rules they will bring in more rules. Is the point of these rules to punish us? Now the Leader of the House has closed the Brexit Committee we need a Covid Committee to examine each restriction and balance effect against cost.

  29. Iain Moore
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Politicians mandate rely on people believing the vote is free and fair , as we have seen in the USA presidential election, postal votes are wide open to abuse and fraud , but it also denies people protection and at risk of being coerced, denied their secret ballot. and so their vote.

    I am disgusted that politicians have allowed the racket of postal votes to continue on for so long . But it is worse, I thought we had escaped the introduction of electronic vote counting but it seems not , the last London Mayoral election had vote counting machines that proved disastrous, with votes disappearing into algorithms and spreadsheets . It doesn’t matter how much officials profess that everything was OK in the end, if people can’t see their vote being counted the doubt will remain.

    As to the extension of the Mayors term of office . This has already been done once, Mr Kahn should have been out of office last May, his mandate ended then, but rather than being conscious of his lack of mandate and being inclusive, Mr Khan has set out to be divisive , setting up committees to see what statues to tear down etc. If the government is going to extend their term of office again, then they should be reminded they have no mandate, and there in a caretaker role.

  30. Lifelogic
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    You say – “Whilst many elected politicians have a sense of public duty and wish to serve people” Alas most do not have a clue what serving well means. It should mean doing only those few things government does best and doing them well. For so many politician they think their job is to buy votes using other money robbed of other people, virtue signalling, pissing money down the drain or misguided grand projects or green lunacy or advancing the vested interest of friends or the various companies or organisations they act as “consultants” for. The vast majority even thought their roll was to divest power to the anti-democratic EU.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      All but a handful voted for the climate change act and/or the current lockdown which is clearly doing far, far more harm than good to both health and the economy. So deluded are they.

      As I said the other day excess deaths (excluding in the nasty March-May bulge which had been abd gone) are entirely in the normal range. Just 3.1% up on the 5 year average for 2020 and this with a larger population and a fairly low last five year average historically.

      Government ministers and JCVI experts seem so daft they cannot even work out that vaccinating men at a slightly younger age than women first will save many lives.

  31. Caterpillar
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Bizarre, “how much of a threat the virus poses”, “election concentrates minds”. UK is now post democracy.

    Votes should matter but don’t matter. Delayed local and mayoral elections are a pretence to give a perfume of democracy to the tyranny we live in. Data is denied, liberty is denied, speech is denied. The ‘Govt’ practices ever increasing subjugation of the people (because the people don’t behave) by using a complicit media to propagandise data and hypnotically repeat a message. Science, rather than ‘the science’ shows lockdowns don’t work (if the objective is health / covid) – human rights? Not in the U.K; human rights and bad behaviour are equated.

    Voting should be in person with I.D. No further moves towards normalising unsafe postal ballots should be made. Ideally scanned ballot images should be in the public domain to encourage open source counting.

  32. BJC
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    We’ve known for years that postal voting is open to abuse, so what has the serially incompetent Electoral Commission done to close the loopholes?

    They’ve had more than enough time to put forward their strategy for elections to go ahead safely, or have they annointed themselves with extraordinary powers to shelve our democracy until all their perceived risks are mitigated. They’re howling at the moon, so it would be forever…….and very dangerous.

    I despair; what is it that makes those in authority so paralysed with fear? They’re paid massive salaries to deliver for the country, not to cower in corners wringing their hands worrying over every microscopic detail of “what if?” They can’t possibly be performing their roles to the standard required; do these people even have job descriptions/performance standards to meet?

    Quite frankly, Sir John, we shouldn’t even be having this conversation……our democratic vote is precious and unconditional and our right to exercise it should be defended in every situation.

  33. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    JR: “Elections at regular intervals are an important part of our democratic system.”
    Indeed and there should be no suggestion that these elections will be not be held in May. They should have been held last year but weren’t. Our democratic system is withering before our eyes as our liberty and freedom are removed and those elected to represent us appear mere puppets of an ever authoritarian state. We don’t need postal ballots or a digital system that both have the potential for fraudulent voting.

  34. jerry
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    The majority of voters never receive any direct in-person communication with the candidates, either in the street, at public meeting halls or on the doorstep, so safe canvassing is not the issue here – safe voting and safety of tellers at the counts are.

    If these elections really do have to take place then postal voting, along with perhaps secured postal/ballot boxes in supermarkets (to lessen the strain on the Royal Mail) might be the answer, along with an extended period to count the votes.

    Whilst some national and local politicos do indeed need to prove their worth to be re-elected far to many have safe seats or wards, should a party stand a cardboard cut-out for election it would likely be elected – only when there is scandal or sudden demographic shift does this change.

    Delaying elections, other than by-elections, is not a problem in a democratic democracy facing a public emergency, even less so when we are talking about regional and metropolitan elections rather than national – because normally such situations create a need and wish for a unity administrations, often of a national nature, I call again for a GNU from the highest to lowest level, for the duration of this public health emergency.

  35. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Votes matter? – – What about actually doing what you got the votes for??? How many times has your party said ( I have given up on the promise word – you clearly don’t understand what it means ) that you’ll cut immigration – -but the blatant, govt organised and approved, invasion scheme rolls on.

  36. Everhopeful
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Protest march in Cardiff against death of a man in custody.
    Why were these marchers not arrested/fined?
    The virus knows about voting but not marches?
    Some can march….but doesn’t the govt. care about them getting and spreading the virus?
    Not protecting all EQUALLY? Not very FAIR is it?

    ONS figures do actually support marches and FREEDOM!

  37. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Digital voting? – -can you tell me what my vote will be – it will save me going to the Polling Station.

    • matthu
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      About as useful as a digital lottery ticket?

  38. Nivek
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    “If the experts are sure we cannot”

    The following is another comment you made in your blog post that begins, “Beware the tyranny of experts” (15th March 2020; emphasis in bold added):
    “I have a bigger complaint about the way the so called expert is interviewed…. When interviewing an expert we should be told
    Who they represent
    Who pays them
    Their political affiliations where they have them
    What their main qualification is
    The interview should consider covering professional competence where relevant…. If they earn money from a related interest the interview should also refer to or ask about that. If the expert is a known supporter of a particular political party or movement that too might need to be questioned.”

    This is the kind of diligence that you have requested of UK media when interviewing “experts”.Can you demonstrate that you are practising the same kind of diligence yourself before apparently deferring to the judgment of “experts” in how we carry out our democratic elections?

  39. David L
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I have severe mistrust of postal voting. For something as important as democracy it should be worth making the effort to participate actively. Attending a Polling Station does make it more of an event, while a form ticked in your home and posted makes it of no more import than paying the gas bill.

  40. JoolsB
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    When the people of England were asked if they wanted Mayors they said no but were ignored and had them imposed on them anyway. Surely what is missing from your list above is the words ‘English Parliament’. Despite Johnson’s levelling up rhetoric, your party are as complicit as the EU and Labour were in refusing to recognise England as a nation but rather turn it into a collection of competing regions instead. Any devolution within England should be decided by an English Parliament not a UK one which has clearly shown, this Tory one included, that it puts the rest of this so called union first and England last ever time.

  41. acorn
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Local government elections are irrelevant in England they can change little. The vast majority of what they do is dictated and grant funded by Westminster. There is little discretionary spending ability even at County/Unitary level. English Mayors have a fraction of the powers of a directly elected French Maire or a German Bürgermeister.

  42. formula57
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Perhaps delayed a few weeks but elections ought to proceed as normal. We may be living with Covid and forms of restrictions for years and years.

  43. Anthony Pollock
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    The real issue with Local Elections in May is that campaigning should be starting now with activity increasing in March and April. The current situation with the virus means that that cannot happen. So elections should be postpones until June or July. This will give us a campaigning period from April onwards subject to virus cases, deaths and vaccinations numbers. The latest deferral date should be September which would provide plenty of time for campaigning during the summer when the virus is less virulent or we will have vaccinated everyone over 50 and all those in at risk categories.

    As for postal voting, I would restrict it to those who really need it. Both UK cases where voting fraud was proven in court were based upon fraudulent use of postal votes. The recent US experience should make us all very wary of increasing postal/proxy voting. There is mow a case to restrict postal voting due to the recent US experience.

  44. Cuibono
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    If it’s OK to queue to get the jab, it should be OK to queue to vote in person. Questions over postal voting fraud, both in the UK and more recently in the USA, make it more important than ever for elections to be accepted as legitimate. Are the Conservatives ready for the consequences of even more widespread electoral fraud?

  45. Nig l
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Read Kate Hooey’s article in the DT about your sell out of Northern Ireland. Obviously votes don’t matter. Contemptible and typical two faced Gove.

    • Lynn
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      But you assured us all the Boris’ deal was fine – people you trusted said so without having read it. You said ‘we all just live in Boris’ world now’ – and we do. Humiliated, depressed, suicidal, the U.K. beaten by Sinn Fein publicly.
      You said we were all negative when we clarified our misgivings. You said you were ‘positive and happy’.
      What changed?

  46. Lifelogic
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    In the telegraph today.

    Like night follows day, another Left-wing luvvie gets an Oxbridge job
    Harry Hodges

    It is hard not to conclude Oxbridge are going to the dogs. Dorothy Byrne for goodness sake! He asks Is it about time somebody to the Right of Chris Patten, a Tory so wet he makes the Atlantic look like the Sahara, got a job? Indeed and it is the same at the dire BBC.

  47. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    We get no door to door canvassing in person but do get LABOUR (yuk) leaflets through the door. Do not cancel the elections. The weather is not bad in May. I am against postal voting and digital too. Too open to fraud. This government has to gain trust before then John. I can see Reform UK getting alot of votes if Nigel sets his stall out well.

    • matthu
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      Does voting achieve anything? Councils are simply being dictated to. Parliament is being ignored or side-stepped…

  48. Fishknife
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Photography of completed ballot papers must be made impossible.
    Curtailing postal voting is difficult now the (Pandora’s) box has been opened.
    There is a cost to going to the polling booth, in time and often fuel.
    Prize draw for physical voters in compensation?

  49. RichardP
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    “Elected people and governments need a reasonable time period of several years to exercise the powers they are given and to show whether they can govern well or not“.

    I think a year has been more than long enough to see what your government is capable of with the unprecedented and unjustifiable attacks on our civil liberties.
    Elections this year will probably be deemed ‘too dangerous’ because many of us will use the opportunity to show the Conservatives what we think about an authoritarian state.

  50. Bryan Harris
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    “Thousands of Britons who have already received their coronavirus jab will be offered a vaccine passport…”

    They lied about this being government policy but made sure it came in through a side door — HOW DISHONEST IS THIS GOVERNMENT?

    Those of us that don’t want or need this vaccine can now look forward to being excluded from life on a grand scale…. Which was something clearly planned.

  51. Fred H
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    from BBC website.
    A coronavirus vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac has been found to be 50.4% effective in Brazilian clinical trials, according to the latest results released by researchers. It shows the vaccine is significantly less effective than previous data suggested – barely over the 50% needed for regulatory approval. The Chinese vaccine is one of two that the Brazilian government has lined up. Brazil has been one of the countries worst affected by Covid-19.
    Sinovac, a Beijing-based biopharmaceutical company, is behind CoronaVac, an inactivated vaccine. It works by using killed viral particles to expose the body’s immune system to the virus without risking a serious disease response.
    Several countries, including Indonesia, Turkey and Singapore, have placed orders for the vaccine.

  52. The other Christine
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Delay, delay, delay. The Government will keep using this virus as a reason for delaying elections. Perhaps elections will eventually be cancelled altogether. You read it here first.
    Postal voting and electronic voting are so open to electoral fraud that they are almost certain to be expanded in the former and then the latter will be introduced possibly at the next GE. The masters of the universe will demand nothing less.

  53. John Hatfield
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    “Will it continue to restrict our ability to go to a polling station?”
    Surely no worse than going to the supermarket?

  54. Christine
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    I don’t want to see more postal voting; it is too open for fraud and abuse. We definitely don’t want any of those contentious vote-counting machines.

    What I would like to see is more debate between the candidates. Too often I don’t even know who is a candidate prior to getting to the polling station.

    When I say debate I don’t mean those awful TV debates we have been subjected to in the past, where candidates shout over each other and the facilitator asks bias loaded questions. I would like to see each candidate make their pitch and then be asked questions from the other candidates and the public.

    I know the two main parties like to keep things the way they are as the current system favours those with many members willing to canvas door to door. In this day and age we should be using the internet, as long as it’s not censored, to get the message about policies out to the public.

    Politics needs to change in this country but we mustn’t introduce a system that can be open to abuse. I’d like to see compulsory voter ID and the use of postal votes in only exceptional circumstances.

    I fear that our voting will go the same way as the discredited US system. Khan is already salivating at the thought of using vote-counting machines.

  55. Pauline Jorgensen
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I would delay until later in the year, the postal service is struggling at the moment with high levels of sickness and absence and many people who are elderly or shielding will avoid going out to vote. There has been no chance to talk to voters since the start of last year and leaflet delivery is currently also impossible.

    • Mary M.
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      If the postal service is struggling at the moment, let’s not put more pressure on it.

      In May the weather is usually warm. A lot of our senior citizens who have been as good as locked up since last March would welcome the chance to legitimately get outdoors on Polling Day.

      By May, too, if influenza is anything to go by, Covid-19 should be much less prevalent.

      Having begun their voting lives years ago, elderly people tend to take very seriously the exercising of their right to vote, come rain or shine. The very fact of putting themselves out to physically get themselves to the polling station is an affirming experience in itself.

      No to postal voting, unless a person is out of the country, or is physically unable to get to the polling station. If the Government took this approach, the electorate just might give the Conservatives one more chance. Trust in them is virtually nil at the moment.

  56. Ex-Tory
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    The accountability of government, the economy, freedom, livelihoods and mental health have been among the victims of the government’s lockdown policy. We cannot allow democracy to be the next.

    • Lynn
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Democracy was surrendered when Boris announced to the world that the US Presidential election was ‘free and fair’, something that none of the Courts have done.

    • matthu
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      +100

  57. David Brown
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Why do we have to have polling on a Thursday?
    Why not Saturday and Sunday?
    Probably best to delay until June doubt if many will go on hols.
    On the question about the London elections, Sadiq Khan has a strong support base. Personally, I would love to see him as Prime Minister in the future.
    Conservatives will get voted out in Scotland so expect compelling arguments for independence, and finally the end of the Union Flag

  58. beresford
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    I seem to be under extended moderation again for no obvious reason, despite not being the most prolific or verbose or abusive poster here. But I’ve just realised that it is my own fault as I didn’t read the small print. Under ‘Post a Comment’ it says ‘Your email is never published or shared’! 😇

  59. Peter Parsons
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Why are so many on here opposed to electronic voting when it is in such widespread use.

    I can vote electronically for many things – my professional society conducts its elections that way, I am a Co-op member and can vote that way, charities and organisations such as the National Trust and the YHA conduct their elections that way. As a shareholder in a public listed company, I get to vote on motions at the AGM that way.

    I am even encouraged to keep my electoral registration information up to date electronically.

    And yet I can’t vote for a local councillor that way? Why not?

    • JohnK
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Peter:

      Probably because no-one cares who you vote for at the National Trust. The vote to elect local and national politicians is much more important. I would never trust any form of electronic voting in elections.

    • alan jutson
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      Peter

      Perhaps because all the thing you mention are optional to join.

      So if they do not treat you right you can leave, as many have with regards to the National Trust over the last year due to their silly Woke policies.

      Unfortunately Councillors and Mp’s can invoke laws, costs, rules and taxes which you can do nothing about for at least 5 years but in practice never.

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        Thanks to FPTP I have that now irrespective of how voting is carried out.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted January 13, 2021 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Because having elections on a Thursday stops busy employed people from voting, that’s why.

      • Fred H
        Posted January 14, 2021 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        polling stations are open before 9am, and usually open until 10pm.
        Your example sets a new standard of rubbish. Perhaps if we had elections on a Sunday all the supermarkets would shut?

  60. Michael Jones
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    The elections must go ahead, to re-establish our democracy. If we can into supermarkets, it should not beyond the ability of local authorities to organise socially distanced polling booths, etc.

  61. Iago
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    “…perhaps we need to consider shifting the elections more onto a digital and postal mechanism.”
    I do not think this is a good idea. Even though the US presidential election, held using these methods, was described as free and fair by the prime minister, you may have noticed there is some doubt in the US as to the true result and the swearing-in ceremony next week is to be guarded by several thousand national guardsmen.

  62. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted January 13, 2021 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    After Donald Trump’s experience, the British Conservative Party has an interest in minimising postal voting. It provides an easy alternative for lazy people who tend to vote Labour. It’s noticeable that when it’s wet on polling day, the Labour vote (in person) comes in a couple of percent below polling.

    Then there is the scope for identity and residential fraud (including dead men voting).

    Finally, within certain cultures many households, the patriarch dominates. It’s perfectly possible that the patriarch tells the females within his household how to vote.

    And – pandemic or not – postal votes received after polling day should not be counted, regardless of the postmark date.

  63. forthurst
    Posted January 14, 2021 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Hypocritical nonsense when two thirds of votes have no effect on electoral outcomes. Advocate the replacement of FPTP with a fair democratic system or talk about other things.

  64. Tim Bidie
    Posted January 15, 2021 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    If the government accepts the test results of 15,560 lorry drivers in Kent, 36 positive, which it clearly does, as did France, then there is no kind of health emergency remotely justifying any delay to any elections.

    Nor can is there any justification for any relaxation of any rules concerning postal voting. Postal voting systems lend themselves to tribal voting organised by party machines, particularly in urban areas, where elements of coercion, particularly of the elderly and infirm, cannot be ruled out.

    What recent government interventions have underlined is the need for a written constitution and a reform of the first past the post electoral system.

    Present company honourably excepted, Britain’s politicians can no longer be trusted with the kind of power conferred on them by a first past the post system.

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  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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