We Earned Them Votes Tonight in South Shields 122

“We earned them votes tonight”, said Emma Lewell-Buck. The House of Commons has gained a social worker who can’t speak English. The auto-didacts of the early Labour movement would have been horrified. I am aware that the readers of this blog are among those who believe an inability to communicate in standard English is a mark of authenticity; I fear my view is that it has been a hundred years since the state education system in this country was so patchy that there is any reason beyond sloth for inability to follow the most basic of grammar.

But she spoke truth in one sense. They did indeed “earn them votes”. Producing fraudulent postal ballots by the thousands is very hard work, and the Labour Party in the North of England should perhaps be congratulated in bringing back aspects of manufacturing heritage in this regard.

*This was the first parliamentary constituency election in British history in which the postal ballots outnumbered the polling station votes. UKIP beat New Labour in the polling booth ballot boxes by a very clear majority, according to my mole in the count.

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122 thoughts on “We Earned Them Votes Tonight in South Shields

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  • Rose

    Look Craig – she’s got a double barrelled name – what more do you want?

  • Michael Stephenson

    I live in a north-eastern English urban area and I have not seen or heard about this, I don’t doubt it may happen on a small scale, enough to account for 5,000 votes in South Shields? I doubt it.

    In which constituency have you personally witnessed this?

  • David McCann

    If anyone has any doubts about how Labour ‘manage’ the postal vote, take a look at the result in the by-election in Glenrothes in 2008, when Labour had all but conceded victory to the SNP, when hey ho, the postal votes came in and lo and behold, Labour held the seat by a large margin.
    Strangely enough, following the result, the marked up registers went ‘missing’and have not been seen since.
    Funny that.

  • Graham

    My experience of postal voting is postal ballot papers are opened, checked for spoilt ballot papers; the number for each ward recorded and then returned to the ballot box and sealed until the night of the count where they are mingled in with the rest of the papers before sorting. Speculation based on the limited observations of enthusiastic supporters are to be treated with caution.

  • JimmyGiro

    I voted UKIP yesterday, at the local elections. Upon arrival their were two folk loitering near the entrance, one a fawning mangina, the other a curt harridan. They wanted my ‘voting code’ number on my way out.

    After voting, there they were again, only this time I noticed their rosettes, one was New Tory, the other was Old Marxist. I asked them: “Why they wanted peoples voting number?” The mangina said it was nothing, just checking; and the haridan said: “It was to see how many people voted.” So I suggested to her: “Why don’t you just count heads [as she wasn’t interested in whom I voted for]?”. The mangina replied on her behalf [naturally]: “The list will probably be thrown away.”

    I suspected they they were gathering the codes so that they could target subsequent postal campaign leaflets towards those that actually vote, rather than just reigning paper liberally upon all those in the catchment. But if so, I was irritated by their lack of honesty.

    In annoyance I asked: “Isn’t it illegal for candidates to be at the polling station?” The fawning mangina sheepishly replied: We’re not allowed to go past that door [he points to hallowed frame].” To which I enquired: “Do they sell such doors at B&Q ?”

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella)

    Excellent post, Craig.

    All the more so because you’ve probably upset a number of regular commenters by coming out with a couple of things on which they probably assumed you shared their line.

    The first is the question of postal vote rigging by Labour in cities with high Indian sub-continent ethnic populations. Yhis certainly exists and if anything you probably under-estimate the scale of the problem. And you have displeased some by pointing it out, the reasoning of the latter probably being : (1)it doesn’t happen, or only to a very small extent – cf. Michael Stephenson above; or (2) it does happen but it is indélicat to point it out (and a Labour victory is better than a Conservative or UKIP one).

    The second is your very accurate description of the use of the English language by many of the commenters here. I wouldn’t even say it’s mainly a question of being unaware of, or flouting grammatical rules; to me it’s the sheer lack of structure of, and disorder within the texts presented. Now there could be two causes of this as well : (1) if you haven’t ordered your thoughts in your mind before expressing them, you’ll probably produce a confused (and mainly unreadable text), and/or (2) the commenters’ indignation overcomes clarity and the result is what Orwell once described somewhere as ‘the political writer seeming to foam at the mouth’.


    By the way, it’s good that you’re keeping up the tempo; fewer and fewer off-topic posts and those that are off-topic have less time in which to get noticed and expanded on.

  • craig Post author

    Michael Stephenson

    It’s called “knocking up” and it’s not especially sinister. The parties check who has voted against their canvass returns, and in the evening they go round and hassle the ones who have not voted that they believe will vote for them, and “remind” them to vote, often offering a lift.

    Yes, the mingling of the postal ballots is a total disgrace; it destroys the evidence of fraud. My information comes from somebody who observed that process – the opening and mingling. And who was at the count. Like me, they do not support either New Labour or UKIP. They were not there as a supporter of anybody.

    I did not mean that commenters use bad grammar. I was referring to adverse comments I drew in the past for criticising the use of estuary English by BBC presenters.

  • Michael Stephenson

    Hardly seems like Labour would have to steal a result in Blackburn, neither in South Shields or any of the North Eastern traditionally Labour constituencies, bar perhaps my own, Stockton South.

    Labour support in the North East is not artificial or by intimidation, you just have to speak to people to see that. I have no doubt that in the likes of Easington a Tory voter might keep their head low, but the notion that these elections need to be rigged in Labour’s favour is quite silly.

  • Fedup

    postal voting is postal ballot papers are opened, checked for spoilt ballot papers; the number for each ward recorded and then returned to the ballot box and sealed until the night of the count where they are mingled in with the rest of the papers before sorting. Speculation based on the limited observations of enthusiastic supporters are to be treated with caution.

    Yeah not sinister at all!!!!!! In fact the lost ballot boxes containing the “spoilt” ballot papers (all twenty four of them), which were “accidentally” thrown out in the rotten borough that is known as South Shields stands as a testament to propriety of the “plebiscite” that is as bent as the al Maktoum horses wining.

    On the issue of correct grammar, I will not forget the hue and cries of a small time crook/thief/fence, whose house was subject to a raid by the police, and his complaints post the raid; “I worked hard for them stolen goods I did”, clearly an indication of the simple fact that theft is looked upon as an occupation, in the same rotten borough that David Miliband was the former MP of. Fact that he was getting paid only “£75000” by Sunderland football club along with his other little earners on the side, a clear indication that his new appointment in US ought to be compensating him for all his financial losses in UK. In Hasbara he trusts and, boy he gets paid well for his troubles (he is a fine hasbara author).

    For a glimpse of the shenanigans happening in that rotten borough take a look at this site.

  • Fedup

    but the notion that these elections need to be rigged in Labour’s favour is quite silly.

    Indeed it is silly to pretend that vote rigging does not take place, when the imperative are the margins of the win and the numbers of the votes which are inflated, or deflated dependent on the candidate. Six out of eight voters, voted by the postal ballot, in the rotten borough of South Shields that is; 58 percent of the voters did not attend any polling station, and lo and behold labour got fifty one percent of the total vote.

  • Sophie Habbercake

    Shock News!

    Dad and Craig Murray Form Alliance to Protect English Language.

    Good Luck Craig and I mean that from my heart and anyway so long as it communicates and isn’t in a technical paper and goes and causes engines to fall off planes over Timbuktu then what’s the problem? And I can’t stand having to write lines out of “Othello” for Miss Purvis cos I’ve split another bloody infinitive…………

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella)

    @ Craig :

    “I did not mean that commenters use bad grammar.”

    No, I understood that (although one might have thought that people who presume to comment on matters of state, public policy and international matters of weight on your blog should make an effort to use words like “its” and “it’s” properly).

    But that’s by the by. But I assume you are also occasionally distressed to note the incoherence and anarchy displayed by a good number of the comments your themes attract.

  • Rob


    Thanks for posting this. I noticed that postal votes made up 58% of the total. That is a huge proportion and difficult to explain when the polling stations are open from 7am-10pm. At first sight it looks wrong, but I doubt the establishment would want to investigate and end up installing the UK’s first UKIP MP!

    One answer could be to move elections to Sunday, as happens in some European countries. Then there is really no excuse for postal voting on this scale.

  • MarkU


    Do you honestly not know what a teller is and what their role is? There have been tellers at every single election that I have voted at, ever. Are you really that young or have you never voted before?

  • Neil Barker

    ‘Standard English’ is just one dialect among many, you ignorant snob.

  • JimmyGiro


    Indeed, so why did they not answer in a straight manner? And just because a practice is ‘usual’, does not make it good. And if they are harmless, why have the demarcation for candidates at the polling station?

  • Sophie Habbercake


    “……….I assume you are also occasionally distressed to note the incoherence and anarchy displayed by a good number of the comments your themes attract.”

    Oh Dad.! That’s just the best ever! I hope I was included in that group of offenders.

  • craig Post author

    Neil Barker,

    Haven’t heard from you for years. Do I not recall that you had some employment difficulty as a schoolteacher? Could that be linked to your belief in the non-existence of correct English?

  • April Showers

    Commiserations Nevermind. Be proud that you did what few others did and made a stand for Independence away from the troughers.

    The Con got in here. A load of sheeple but only 29% turned out. Enough said. More enlightened the electorate, the nearer the constituency to London it seems.


  • April Showers

    Mil(l)ipede E is pleased with his electoral gains today.

    I think another attempt has been made to cure his blocked up sinuses or nasal passages. He is speaking more clearly.

    Hope he did not have his procedure at this BMI hospital.
    Surgeons at Mount Alvernia private hospital ‘broke rules and ignored critics’

    Damning final report by CQC reveals full scale of chaotic and dangerous care at hospital run by BMI Healthcare

    BMI operate many other private hospitals in the UK. They are part of the General Healthcare Group whose parent is Netcare of South Africa!

    http://www.bmihealthcare.co.uk/ Note the scare messages in the banner windows.

  • Pan

    “I am aware that the readers of this blog are among those who believe an inability to communicate in standard English is a mark of authenticity”.

    – Not all of us, Craig.

  • Michael Stephenson

    I don’t understand why Craig ran in Blackburn as an Independent in the first place. It’s been held by Labour since 1955, held continuously by Jack Straw since 1979, but because Craig failed to secure it in 2005 it must be a postal vote conspiracy. Despite Labour winning it comfortably for years long before, postal voting was allowed for everyone.

    I think Craig just really doesn’t understand the Northern working class voter if he thinks that he will impress them with the rebel Ambassador story, and the content of this post just further underlines why he will have had so little appeal with the voters of Blackburn if his approach is to demean and belittle their class, like he has in this post.

    People who care about Foreign Policy who are likely to be impressed by Murray, are students and Muslims, to have a chance you should have ran in Leeds North-East or somewhere like that. George Galloway understands who appeals to and won in Bradford, I’m sure in somewhere like Leeds you could achieve the same.

    I’m not trying to attack you, I just don’t understand why you thought you’d be a hit in Blackburn.

  • John Goss

    Michael Stephenson, I think Craig Murray took on Blackburn, because war criminal, Jack Straw, was the M.P. there. I remember Blackburn Labour Party going right back to the days of Barbara Castle. It does have an ingrained bias which is understandable remembering it was a former cotton-town. It was a tough ask for him to overturn more than a century of tradition. Nevertheless I agree that any form of voting, be it postal voting, or electronic voting, is susceptible to rigging. In fact, if Karl Rove had not rigged the first George W Bush election, using an electronic system Rove’s cronies had introduced, we might not have had the War in Iraq, and we certainly would not have had George W. Bush, who lost the election fair and square. The electronic system enabled the losers to change the figures by computer fraud. There is a good book coming out soon by Andrew Kreig which covers that topic and other manipulation techniques that the ‘puppeteers’ use.


    The postal vote is important for a few house-bound people to express their voting rights but it is open to abuse, as we in Birmingham know. It should be used with care, not liberally.

  • Michael Stephenson

    John Goss: So did he think he could knock Jack Straw out of Blackburn with the weight of the
    Anti-War movement of Blackburn behind him?

    Or was it just a form of protest that fell flat?

    Because I lived in and voted in Leeds North-East in 2005, and I’m positive Craig could have won that seat with some effort combined with his celebrity at the time.

  • Techno

    “to have a chance you should have ran in Leeds North-East or somewhere like that.2

    You have to be Jewish to stand any chance of winning in Leeds North East…

  • Chris2

    These results look very good for the Tories: UKIP is virtually a wing-the Tea Party equivalent- of the Conservative party.

    The fact that they have mopped up masses of protest votes that Labour was expecting to inherit-without doing any work for them at all, merely waiting for the swingometer to deliver them- indicates the idiocy of the current Labour strategy.

    There is an alternative but nobody puts it forward. So far as the big issues are concerned, there isn’t any difference between these four parties. Except, of course, that the sound of their candidates publicly pledging allegiance to Capitalism and the United States, varies according to upbringing, education, age and taste. I had a liking for the geordie accent until I heard Dan Smith (one of the founders of modern Britain) talking.

  • Michael Stephenson

    Sorry I messed up there I meant Leeds North-West, You know Headingley etc.

  • Juteman

    Tony Blair performed what he was told to do.
    The UK now has the same voting system as the US.

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