Burnt Out Cars and Birmingham Politics
This particular example of a car torched in October 2007 is still relevant to Birmingham Politics. The car belonged to Lib Dem Activists.
It was torched prior to the Aston Election court which started in November 2007. In the judgment of that trial the commissioner criticised Ayoub Khan - who is our candidate for Ladywood in the General Election and is Cabinet Member for Local Services on Birmingham City Council.
A judicial review of that judgment was held. In that judicial review to cut a long story short the judges said it was lawful for the election commissioner to criticise Ayoub because Ayoub inferred that the car was torched by Labour Supporters. He is appealing this judgment.
It is one of those things. I personally believe that the car was torched by Labour supporters in an attempt to intimidate witnesses in the Election Court. To that extent I beleive that it succeeded. Neither Ayoub, nor myself have any evidence as to who torched the car, but we have a lot of experience of Birmingham Politicns. To that extent we have a "reasonable suspicion", but no more than that.
Birmingham Politics is not like politics in a twee suburb. Ayoub Khan during his first election campaign in 2003 saved someone's life that he found in the street who had just been shot (not by Labour Party people). In 2004 Labour candidates were found filling in postal ballots in a warehouse on an industrial estate in the early hours of the morning. The postal ballots were arrested, but found their way into the count - somewhat amazingly.
At the same time there was an affray involving 200 people in Somerville Road also about stolen postal ballots. The postman had been offered £500 for the envelopes and threatened with being knifed if he didn't hand them over (to the Labour Party). At the same time at least one pillar box was set on fire.
The police called my complaints about election fraud in 2004 "Operation Gripe". There were two election courts in Aston and Bordesley Ward which found that mass electoral fraud went on by the Labour Party. This occurred in other wards, but the resources to take on more election courts were unavailable.
In 2006 the police arrested a Lib Dem Candidate (Gultasab) for being in possession of his own family's postal votes. Obviously that didn't go far. In 2007 they arrested a Lib Dem candidate and councillor two days from the election. They did a complete search of their houses (a deep sea trawling fishing expedition) and found nothing and there was no prosecution.
Then they found postal ballots for Nechells where Gultasab's handwriting was found on the applications. That was because Gultasab had been helping people to fill in the forms. He had indeed marked with an X where people should sign the sheets.
The police thought they had something so they went and interviewed the postal voters. The voters (few of which actually cast the votes) on being confronted with a police officer demanding to know if they voters had seen the forms previously denied all knowledge, but in the trial admitted that the signatures were those of the family.
Hence it was quite clear that entirely legitimate assistance for the voters had been provided and there was no fraud.
So fast forward to 2007 and we have a torched car. Sir Albert Bore has written to Nick Clegg to complain about us believing that Labour supporters might torch a car. In the past Labour members have beaten each other up. Why there is something wrong with thinking that Labour Supporters might torch a car to intimidate witnesses I have no idea.
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