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.

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

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  • MJ

    “Remember the fraudulent postal ballot system. You won’t pick that up on exit polls”.

    Yes you will. If there are enough of them and they’re disproportionately skewed in favour of one candidate, they’ll lead to a tell-tale disparity with the exit poll results.

  • Ruth


    ‘Remember the fraudulent postal ballot system. You won’t pick that up on exit polls.’

    Yes, I agree that may be the easiest way to manipulate votes. I noticed the Conservative flyer recently had a form urging voters to use this simple method.

    Then perhaps it would be better to take a random sample from the constituents door to door.

  • technicolour

    Guardian report from 2005:

    “Mr Mawrey, a deputy high court judge who has sat through four weeks of evidence that thousands of postal votes were stolen to be changed or filled in by Labour supporters, said the fraud was not the actions of a “few hotheads”. It was carried out with the full knowledge and cooperation of the local Labour party and “extensively prevailed” throughout the city, where applications for postal votes soared from 28,000 to 70,000 last year.

    It may be belatedly picked up, but what good will that do? In this case the judge declared the elections void. I agree, we need observers.

  • Arsalan

    It wasn’t just there, it happened everywhere. Post votes are designed to be forged.

    They just got caught there, because they had created a vote factory, with many employees filling in votes on a production line.

  • Ruth

    I’ve just noticed this headline from the Guardian

    ‘Mandelson: Brown may not be PM for long, even if he wins election’

    A pre-election campaign through rigged opinion polls and media propaganda coupled with a fraudulent election to bring in a hung parliament followed by a coalition government to be headed by Mandelson – an unparallelled era of economic sanctions and oppression.

  • technicolour

    Writerman: you sound a bit down. If you lived in Cuba, according to a nice person I met who fled, this blog would be banned, and any similar activities likewise. Or one would be in fear of one’s life & liberty, which we are not; vide Russia, Honduras, Burma, etc etc etc. One has to work with what one has?

  • ingo

    technicolour, thats a very good ground rule and do not forget to point to the Greens as a choice, where they are in with a chance, they should succeed, imho.

    So who is nearest to Bushra Irfan? I had a look at her website and there’s not much happening.

    She needs a hand and someone nearer could be that person.

    If she would have someone who has a knowledge of the Constituency and can direct the teams of helpers, with another person making sure that all paperwork and rigmarole is taken care of, then the campaign would have some shape to it.

    I don’t expect that Mathias would come all the way from Sweden, he is probably too busy.

    jack Straw has got an appalling record and there are some local angles that could benefit her campaign, she has a good chance and I like the fact that she has opened her arms by becoming an Independent.

    howboutit? anyone for cricket?

  • stephen

    Sorry Craig

    “Pending” was and is defined in Schedule 9 of PPERA as follows

    (3) For the purposes of this Schedule a parliamentary general election is

    pending during the period?”

    (a) beginning with the date on which Her Majesty’s intention to dissolve

    Parliament is announced in connection with a forthcoming

    parliamentary general election, and

    (b) ending with the date of the poll for that election.

    The TCPA 2007 refers to PPERA so it is pretty clear.

    The long campaign relates to the new limits on election expenses.

    And I think the law is absolutley correct – I very much doubt the public would like to see the landscape covered with electoral hoardings for a period up of to a year and 14 days in theory.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Are there now two Marys (or as in the song, are there three?). This one doesn’t seem the same as the ‘old’ one. Has somebody taken over ‘Old Mary’s’ mind? Perhaps the ‘new’ one could call herself, ‘Mary II’ but then there would have to be a William III, not to mention an Old Pretender. How about ‘Bloody Mary’…? Maybe not. It’s very confusing, New Mary. Please clarify. Or we risk a Marian cult.

  • Ruth

    Maybe they’re going to take us all over – adding a new dimension to our persona.

    No need to censure the blogs like in Cuba now.

    No need to assume such names as Larry or Stephen etc etc

  • Ruth

    Or maybe this is just a practice run before altering the postal votes. Although I thought they’d already had enough practice.

  • Clark


    I see that you’re very worried about the possibility of a hung parliament. I have generally hoped for this outcome. It seems unlikely that anyone other than Labour or (more likely) Conservative would obtain an overall majority, either of which is very bad, so a hung parliament looks like a better outcome to me.

    I agree that Mandelson would be a disaster. I don’t like to be at odds with you, but I can’t decide what represents the least-bad outcome. I keep wondering what we can do; maybe volunteer to help count the votes – any thoughts, anyone?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Hi Clark,

    Did you do that just now, or some time ago? It’s not come through yet to my in-box, maybe there’s a delay: I don’t know how these things operate, it’s all Greek to me (as the Roman centurion said to the Pict). As soon as I get it, I’ll e-mail you back.

    Ruth – you are the same Ruth as before, I presume, it seems that Mary is not and has become ‘borg’, ‘mind-snatched’ or else ‘legion’, impostered, Jekyll-and-Hyded – yes, I wonder whether all these multiple personalities are designed to confuse. Is Stephen a Larry, after all? Who knows?

  • MJ

    Clark: I think the problem is not that there will be a hung parliament, rather that an inconclusive election result will lead to a coalition government, which is different.

    In a coalition (the last one in the UK was during the war) the parties effectively become as one and opposition disappears. A coalition could push through swingeing austerity measures and other undesirable policies and there would be nothing we could do about it. In only a few weeks time the UK could have effectively become an autocratic one-party state.

  • Clark

    Hi Suhayl,

    I sent it at 18:21 on April 1st. As to your second question, it’s all you and Arsalan’s fault, you know; you said that Larry was a poor quality agent, and asked for someone of a higher calibre to be assigned. Customer Services were unusually responsive!

  • Clark


    wouldn’t that be a difference in appearence only? When it comes to important decisions, like wars of aggression, giving half a trillion to the banks, etc, the two bigest parties tend to back eachother up anyway.

  • anno

    Election engineering doesn’t have to be Carzai style. ie 1/ fraudulent 2/feudal. It is clear that in the Birmingham Muslim community at the last election a judge found that it was both of these. The same was probably true in Blackburn. That’s an inner-city Asian problem.

    For the rest of the country, voters who have seen the accumulative economic mismanagement of both political parties are likely to abstain. Voters who don’t think about politics are likely to protest swing to the Tories as in Norwich North. Younger voters who don’t remember the Tories will give them a chance. Older voters who remember the Tories will never vote for the Tories again.

    From their assessment of who will vote for them, the parties will utter the correct platitudes to bring their share of the catch home.

    On the subject of democracy, we have seen in the latest election in Iraq, 200 political parties, organised on feudal lines, gathered into two blocks of about equal votes, leading to a hung parliament situation. Although the Tony Blairs of this world dismiss Saddam Hussein and dictatorship out of hand, the change to democracy in Muslim countries only encourages feudalism. At street level, keeping your nose clean towards the dictator, in order to stay out of trouble is a much simpler and less dangerous task than being beholden to corrupt, feudal middle-men.

    The West knows that it is much easier to control Muslim societies through tribal, feudal, so-called-democratic oppression, as conceived by T.E.Lawrence’s tribal ladder system. Saddam Hussain was a thousand times better for Iraqis than the present democracy. The problems came when politicians backed by Western powers, challenged the dictator. He took his revenge on the populations, not on the people who were challenging him. That aspect of dictatorship is completely unacceptable. In general, except when provoked, rigid dictatorship keeps the tribal barons under control and this is generally preferable to the type of feudal corruption of a Carsai style regime.

    Democracy in the West is a cover for the malign hegemony of the bankers who run the global economic system. In my opinion the US and UK’s industrial and military power have both been hijacked by the enemies of Islam, to destroy the Muslims.

    Democracy for Muslim countries permits malign feudal corruption to oppress the people so that the bankers who control the global economic system can get on with the job of pinching the people’s assets from them.

  • Clark


    I think the mentions in the media about a hung parliament are genuine – many people really have lost trust in the Big Two, and are thinking of voting otherwise. I recently saw a BBC piece that attributed decline in some economic indicator (I forget which) to “fears” in “the market” of a hung parliament that couldn’t enact “required changes” quickly. On telly I heard that “business” is now backing the Tory party.

    I think an overall majority suits the non-democratic powers. The smaller party is directed to make a lot of noise, giving the impression of “opposition”, but the real powers know that the vote will go as required.

    In a hung parliament the big two might have to collude to maintain the status quo, and the illusion would break down, possibly permanently.


    I agree that there is worse to come. All these losses of civil liberties were not without purpose. It was obvious that the system of perpetual economic growth was unsustainable. “Unsustainable” – it’s become a slogan, but it means that stuff has to break!


    I agree with your strategy. I wish the LibDems would team up with the Greens in England, and stand aside for, and indeed support, good independents. Breaking the stranglehold of The Big Two should be the priority.

    “Oppose The Big Two” – it’s my new slogan!

  • Clark


    didn’t the Tories actually get less votes in Norwich North than at the previous election, but not as many less than Labour? Just from memory, I haven’t checked.

  • anno

    p.s. With friends of Israel groups operating the main political parties,it makes no difference to the horrible banking hegemony which party gets elected, but in my opinion it will be the Tories, based on what happened in Norwich North.

    It will only make headaches for the horrible hegemony if there is a hung parliament. But there again, if they’ve got their best men and women ready to take advantage of the confusion, like Israel slave David Miliband, yes, I agree they can cause mayhem.

    For myself I find it difficult to conceive of worse mayhem than what they have already managed to achieve with Tory and New labour majorities. But I may be wrong.

  • Abe Rene

    Dreoilin: sorry, my mistake. I would now say:

    If Jack Straw is scared of losing, there must be reasons which other parties could exploit. Is Bushra Irfan interested in being a Lib Dem supporter, even nominally? If so, Lib Dems could go to Blackburn in force and help her campaign, but also use the law courts to enforce the fact that election advertising does not come under planning law.

  • Clark


    I just saw your April 1, 10:56 PM post on the Pentagon Gives thread, and the link to the Daily Mail article – yes, coalition looks like a serious concern.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    Arsalan: “Does anyone else want to join my discussion on Larry’s mother?

    Any questions on how she smells?”

    You really are primitive, aren’t you, Arsalan?

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Having said this:-

    “For the rest of the country, voters who have seen the accumulative economic mismanagement of both political parties are likely to abstain. Voters who don’t think about politics are likely to protest swing to the Tories as in Norwich North. Younger voters who don’t remember the Tories will give them a chance. Older voters who remember the Tories will never vote for the Tories again.”


    A.Is voting not a process that does in fact impact the process; and, if not

    B. Then what is the credible argument that even incrementally some change is not effected; and then

    C. Is the choice either:-

    i) All out revolution: or

    ii) Incremental change?

    Actually a serious question.

  • Phil


    The worry is not a coalition (eg of Labour and LibDems). In a coalition there is still an opposition. The threat is a so-called ‘government of national unity’ where all major parties join the government, and there is effectively no opposition.

    You may well argue that there is only a sham opposition in Parliament at the moment. But at least the principle of the legitimacy of opposition is maintained. If there is a government of national unity then all opposition, even outside parliament may become de-legitimated (eg Craig’s attacks on government ministers such as Jack Straw might be censored).

    Unity governments usually only come into being when there is a national emergency such as WWII, but we may well be on the cusp of an economic emergency.

    It would be nice if we could get an assurance from the LibDems that they would not participate in any such government, but there’s no way we’re going to get one. They seem to be much more insiders these days under Clegg than they were under Kennedy, and consequently their policies are much more aligned to the other two parties.

    We are entitled to know what the parties would do if there is a hung parliament – but they’re not about to tell us.

    Mandelson’s suggestion about Brown going is quite extraordinary, but it has been evident since his last return that he is effectively in charge of Labour now. I dont think he’ll be PM, but he’ll be the one pulling their strings.

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