Blackburn Council Jack Straw Electoral Corruption Starts Again 120

Despite the certainty of massive postal ballot fraud on his behalf again, Jack Straw is particularly worried about losing his Blackburn seat this time. The reason is that well over half of Straw’s votes come from the Muslim Blackburn community. And this time, a credible and impressive candidate from within that community has emerged to run as an independent.

Bushra Irfan held an opening campaign preparation meeting at which entry was limited by ticket because of the fire limit, but all 200 seats were enthusiastically filled by community leaders. Straw cannot rely on a herd of Muslim voters this time.

But he can still rely on the corruption of his rotten borough. One of the great failings of the British electoral system is that the Returning Officer is the Council chief executive and in Labour authorities that is a highly politicised post. There was a time when you could rely on honesty in public life: that is not true now, and certainly not where New Labour are concerned.

Bushra Irfan has erected a large election poster in her own garden of her own property. Within three hours, several men from Blackburn council arrived to take it down on the grounds Bushra did not have planning permission to erect a hoarding.

What speed, and what an incredibly efficient council!

Election advertising is in fact exempt from planning permission regulations as class E of schedule 1 of The Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007 which exempts:

An advertisement relating specifically to a pending Parliamentary, European Parliamentary or local government election or a referendum under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000(a).

However that won’t stop Blackburn Council, which has no concern at all for the law when it comes to organising Jack Straw election victories. I still recall their blank refusal to allow me the use of public rooms for election meetings when I stood against Jack Straw.

I pointed out to the council electoral administrators that not only did candidates have a right to public rooms for meetings, but the returning officer had a legal obligation to maintain a register of such rooms in state schools and community centres, and to make the list available to candidates at any reasonable time. The council simply replied “We don’t do that in Blackburn”.

When I telephoned the Electoral Commission to complain, they said enforcement of the law was the job of the local returning officer. When I told them that it was the returning officer I wished to complain about, they said there was no way to do that.

120 thoughts on “Blackburn Council Jack Straw Electoral Corruption Starts Again

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  • Clark


    I was right to distrust you. What point is there in practicing your ability to sound reasonable?

  • Jives

    “Ruth puts it in a nutshell, and it explains her parallel concern about a hung parliament. If all three party leaders agree on the victim card that we are poor little victims of 1/ Islamic terrorism and 2/ a global recession, instead of admitting that we are principle agents of these two problems, then we are in effect kettled.”

    Very honest,wise appraisal there…

  • Jives


    “See how he rose very quickly to a powerful position. Students’ Union, MBA from Harvard, Accenture, Fulbright scholar, employee of Rothschilds, advisor to Bliar,MP, Govt. Minister…a well worn path.”

    Yep you’re right there Mary- a well-trodden predictably smooth path…but don’t forget the Successor Generation and Common Purpose path either….


  • Richard Robinson

    “Wait a moment wasn’t everyone saying that he was gassing Kurds and Iranians when the US was his ally. You guys need to get your story straight

    Last post was from me” – stephen

    I’m suprised at that, the phrasing is straight out of larry.

    Both he and the invasion killed a hell of a lot of people. Is one of those supposed to make the other invisible ? Could they not both be horrible ?

    It’s not a fucking football match, all scoring points and wahey for one arbitrary side. It’s real dead bodies and misery. Act human, can’t you ?

  • Clark


    since my April 4 11:56 PM comment, I’ve read through the previous thread, and you seem to show more humanity there. So I apologise for my comment above. However, I feel that it is a shame to see what you have posted on this thread. Democracy is of no use to the dead.

  • mary

    Oui, c’est moi Suhayl, I sound like Werthers Original!

    I made a typo on Byrne’s company. It is EGS not EDS which is now a subsidiary of Hewlett Packard.

    EGS is thriving unlike the rest of the economy by picking up Govt. outsourcing contracts as announced on their News page.

    This is their website on which Byrne does not feature, either on the Board or Management. It appears that a private equity outfit Frontier Capital Partners own it so presumably he sold out or has one of those remote trusts.

    He states that in 2007 he held ‘Shares and share options in EGS Group Ltd, of a value below the registrable threshold.’ ??

    and on 1 November 2005 Shares and share options in EGS Group Ltd, of a value below the registrable threshold. Again ??

    Remunerated employment, office, profession etc

    Member, Supervisory Board, EGS Group Ltd (IT solutions to the public sector). (£10,001-£15,000)

    A bit of digging for a financial sleuth

    to do?

    If you have nothing else to do today you can scroll down this page for the current register of interests for all MPs. Interesting to see what fees and bunce they pick up in addition to their salaries, expenses et al.

  • stephen


    Nothing is of any use to the dead in my view. The important question is what goes on in real life – and I will happily, and always, defend the view that democracy provides a better defence against genocide, and protects human rights better than other political systems. I’m not saying it is perfect but it is definitely the least worst alternative.

    Others of course may wish to put words in my mouth and say I support genocide in defence of democracy and/or condone all acts during and after the invasion of Iraq (or by the allies during WW2 for that matter. Which they then top up with continual abuse. But they would be wrong – even democracies do nasty things I’m afraid, but they do have the virtue that they are open to improvement, which is not usually a feature of dictatorships and totalitarian regimes.

    The more serious, and helpful, questions which those who opposed the Iraq war might address, rather than condemnation of the perpetrators which probably doesn’t help anyone either, is how we design a system that helps prevent dictators like Saddam ever coming to power, and the not unrelated question of achieving peace and stability in Israel/Palestine.

  • stephen

    The problem of course is consistency. if we attacked Saddam Hussein because he was a dictator and to restore democracy, why do we simultaneously support the regimes of Karimov, Mubarak and the Saudis? Why don’t we give Diego Garcia back to the islanders?

    If you belive Iraq was about democracy, you are a fool.

    I agree there is a chance – no more than that – that in a few years things will be better than they were under Saddam. Whether that was worth the hundreds of thousands of deaths, the devastated infrastructure and the millions exiled is a different question. But gambling on the outcome by expending the lives of hundreds of thousands of people you did not ask is not a moral position.

  • Vronsky

    “how we design a system that helps prevent dictators like Saddam ever coming to power”

    I’m not sure that this is a wise objective. What constitutes an undesirable leader is often simply a matter of opinion, and that opinion can be warped by self-interest – I’m sure that the CIA and I would not wholly agree on which leaders should never have been permitted to achieve power.

    I once saw democracy defined as the power to remove an unpopular government by some means short of assassination. I think that is a safer idea – but by that definition, are we a democracy? It seems (at least in England) that all votes lead to the same governance.

  • Parky

    Blackburn has gained quite considerably compared to its surrounding neighbours in terms of investment, transport etc and in some part this has had to do with having a senior cabinet member as it’s mp. (Barbara Castle previously). The council will do whatever is required to retain Straw in the election and if that means bending the rules abit then this will be a fair game to them. As Craig found out previously, it won’t be a level playing field in Blackburn. Don’t hold your breath waiting for a change.

  • Clark


    thanks for the clarification. Stephen’s changes in opinion have been rather confusing, but that last one was utterly bewildering, until I saw that it was really you!

  • anno


    Saddam was an ally of the US, but not a slave. He aspired to teach the world respect for the owners of Middle Eastern oil. The British had previously used dirty tricks to stitch up oil states with slave dictators like the Saudi regime. He did not calculate that some people in his own country would prefer to be wealthy slaves of the next superpower, the US, than be members of a respected independent nation.

    The blood of the Iraqis is just as much on the shoulders of those Iraqi pimps who are now in power in Iraq, as it is on the US and UK. Craig’s uncertainty of the balance between non-intervention and intervention was answered by Suhayl’s recent comment that slave dictator is the government of choice of the superpowers when it comes to colonial asset-stripping of wealthy nations. Saddam was behaving much too like an equal.

    The Middle East has now become a centre for political analysis and scientific development. Solar energy and heat-resistant architecture is pushing forward while the West is suffocated with the sentimental reassurance of out of date two-party politics and out of date architectural design. The US and UK were prepared to push Iraq back into the dark ages because 1/ It had the potential for being the centre of excellence for political defiance of the superpowers’ world domination and 2/ the centre of excellence for engineering and design, which, in association with oil thirsty India and China, threatened the West’s domination of world trade.

    Tony Blair envisaged a reconstruction of Iraq using Western technology. Instead of this, there has been a global recession that has brought Western technology to its knees. Instead of always wanting to hang Blair, who was only partly to blame for the Iraq invasion plan, Stephen asked the good question: How do we design a system that stops dictators coming to power? I agree with Vronsky’s reply that it is not always the dictator who is malign.

    When will people ask the next question?: Is it better to TRADE peacefully with your younger and more vigorous rivals, or attack them and risk losing your status as the dominant male? I guess those who have apes as their ancestors will always see the world in these macho terms, while those of us whose ancestors were Adam and Eve, can think of more humanitarian ways.

    Going back to the original thread about Blackburn. Pakistani politicos want raw power, and they are not even remotely interested in moral issues. Of course they will not vote for Bushra. They want to change this country to a feudal province of Karsai’s Afghanistan. The Pakistani Muslims on the other hand may get interested in the Muslim alternative, but in my opinion, because of Islamic rules of not appointing women as your leader, she doesn’t stand the slightest chance of winning. In fact maybe she was put up to it by Straw.

  • Clark


    I’m considering the possibility that you have a good conscience, but have not yet noticed the distortions present in the mainstream description of the world. You attracted a lot of criticism here; you defended Larry, who has long shown that he has no conscience. Technicolour pointed out a few of your errors, like assuming that the fall of Karimov would create a political vacuum. By seeming to support such regimes you have incurred Arsalan’s wrath.

    We really have a problem with the media, which shows a consistent bias, and the warped consensus thereby produced. Western violence such as torture or the invasion of Iraq are regarded as “mistakes”. Non-Western violence is characterised as “terrorism” and regarded as pure evil, and anyone pointing out a motivation for it is condemned as an apologist.

    “Democracies” may have better internal records regarding human rights, but look at their foreign policies. The UK, US and Israel are amongst the worst offenders. Can you really blame certain Muslims for saying that submission to God’s will would be preferable? If such critics are to be won over, “democracies” must behave ethically towards other countries.

  • anno

    ‘ “democracies” must behave ethically towards other countries’

    hahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhaha


  • Richard Robinson

    Clark – I met an ape, once, it nicked my glasses. Took about half an hour to persuade it to come close enough to its “owner” for him to grab them back. Undamaged, fortunately for me. Curiosity can be so annoying …

    Anno – I really don’t believe in absolutely-different races. if we chase it back far enough, whoever our ancestors were I’m convinced we all had the same ones – I doubt you meant it so literally, but I’m queasy with it even as rhetoric. I’ve heard people being referred to as “monkeys”, and I don’t like it. Oh, and thanks for the linebreaks in the “hahaha”.

  • Richard Robinson

    Clark – “Democracies” may have better internal records regarding human rights, but look at their foreign policies.

    I wonder if talking about ‘democracy’ as some kind of a ‘thing’ risks turning it all into a game with the meaning of words. And, as Craig points out, the inconsistencies are a problem. It seems rather more partial; that, so far as we have a definition of what is “is”, sometimes the country meets it and behaves like that, and other times it doesn’t. So, so far as it is a ‘guiding principle’, it’s not the only one.

    And, “government” isn’t entirely separate in its behaviour towards other countries and the people inside the country, as when it adopts foreign policies that The People have done their best to say “Oi ! NO !” to.

    It shouldn’t be treated as an ‘absolute’, maybe ? I mean, in so far as we use it to describe the way we do things in the UK, it’s a result of a whole series of particular, sometimes fairly messy, agreements, compromises (or lack of them), and so on; particular decisions taken for particular reasons in specific circumstances, not the “We know the correct set of rules – conform to this that and the other set of descriptions” that it sometimes seems to be presented as (pretty much all metrics can be gamed ?). It’s a process, rather than a thing, perhaps. And, a partial and unfinished one. We no longer have monarghs with a divine right to rule us (I just spotted the typo there. It stands, I _like_ it), but we still have rulers making unaccountable decisions with less claim; the argument isn’t over yet … did you see Michael Meacher in the Guardian today ?

    Perhaps what I’m trying to say is, it’s a means, not an end, and it doesn’t justify “the end justifies the means” – type absolutism. But then I would, I don’t like that anyway.

  • Richard Robinson

    – “So who should challenge fascist dictators who gas their fellow Muslims”?

    – The people living under that dictatorship, Stephen, I suggest.

    -And what if they need some help??? Would you have applied the same argument for not fighting the Germans in WW2. What do you think Orwell would have made of that argument when it came to fighting the fascists in Spain?

    I don’t see how “Orwell” makes your case. He did, after all, go off his own bat to help the people of Spain in their fight, he didn’t send in the British Army.

    As to WW2 – how, indeed, should the world respond to an unaccountable leader who whips up propaganda and lies in order to justify invading other peoples’ countries ? Even if he did think he knew how they should run their affairs better than they did themselves. Or, more to the point now, wouldn’t we be better off learning what it established ? vast swathes of the world had to be reduced to rubble, before some culprits were hanged in order to establish “Never again” once and for all … I wish. It would be nice if we could find a neater solution. But, of course, that’s self-interest speaking, too.

    “Dental hygenist I bet you do – you can almost hear the grinding of teeth!”


  • stephen


    I agree the problem is one of consistency. I do believe that sometimes that is is necessary to resort to force in order to remove dictators (e.g Hitler/Hussein) or to try and prevent them coming to power (e.g Franco in Spain – hence the reference to Orwell who clearly agreed with my view on both counts and was very critical of the neutral stance of the British Govt at the time).

    Yes of course wars have costs – and we could probably argue until the cows come home about whether these were justified in the case of Iraq/other disputes. There is however some dividing line which has general acceptance – since I suspect that most people would not argue that the costs of removing Hitler were not worth it (and many of the victims were not asked their view in that case either)

    What I find very sad is that I see little debate about how you develop effective international bodies that can deal with the dictators without resorting to war. It is perhaps the absence of such effective bodies that stops dicators such as Karimov being properly dealt with. After WW2 the UN was set up to try and deal with such situations (and by any reasonable standards Saddam certainly had a case to answer before the war) – perhaps the real lesson from Iraq is that there needs to hard thinking about how the UN can be made into an effective body.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Perhaps, Stephen-from-Brobdingnag, the very first task of the new, “effective” UN would be to move out of NYC. The second would be to send weapons inspectors into the USA and UK, to see whether they were developing biological, chemical and nuclear weapons of mass destruction. The third would be to levitate the Pentagon. Perhaps, eventually, the UN could invade Pennsylvania and Dorset.

    Yours sincerely, Dr Gulliver, from Lilliput.

  • Richard Robinson

    Of course, it would be necessary to invite the Martians to enforce it …

  • anno


    You didn’t read anything I wrote about Saddam, or you wouldn’t still be asking how to stop dictators getting to power.

    The West doesn’t like strong nations. It likes to break them up, so it pays people to ferment trouble. Then they use that trouble as an excuse to carve up the strong nation into a feuding, divided democracy.

    Dictator – Goooood

    Democracy – Baaaad

    Why? because we live in a world of spin.

  • Richard Robinson

    Original spin, makes the world go round.

    Venusians, okay. It’d upset Thatcher, too, she tried to get rid of wets.

  • stephen

    Given Brobdingnag was run as democracy and enjoyed public beheadings perhaps other commenters may be worthy of such an accolade. In fact some of them might be quite proud of it.

  • Jeff

    Re: Jack Straw.

    At the two previous elections, letters containing postal flyers and a £5 note (taxi fare to the voting station) were received within the Borough. No sign this time but postal Ballot papers still not received, no excuse given, just some time over the weekend. Is there some sort of legal timetable, to the distribution of these papers??

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