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Showing posts from March, 2005

Good News for people over 60

It looks like we will be able to reinstate the Senior Citizens concessionary fares scheme for over 60s before the government scheme comes into action. There is a formal consultation period of 56 days which delays any change. However, following discussions earlier today it looks like people over 60 in Birmingham will have free travel on bus and train in the near future (before the government's proposal of 1st April 2006). We think there is a good chance the change will occur across the old West Midlands County. However, what is clear is that we will be reinstating free travel for women and introducing it for men aged 60+. This is a good pro-public transport move which also support our senior citizens.

Who is more guilty: Michael Howard or Howard Flight?

The linked article also has .wav files of the talk Howard Flight gave on 23rd March 2005. It was the original "timesonline" quote. I have arranged for the .wav files to be transcribed and the transcription follows. The big question for the Tories is whether it appears on reading the full text that Howard Flight is actually implying the Conservatives will cut more spending than the £35 Billion in the James Report. (Which includes Labour's £21bn cuts (Gershon savings) in any event.) At the end he says: "I've probably banged on too long." I would agree with that particular line. The real issue, however, is should Michael Howard have sacked him for what he said? I am not convinced that that is the case. To me this shows how Michael Howard should not be trusted with any power. What you can conclude from Howard Flight's talk is that a) The tories have policies that are designed to attract support. b) The tories have dumped suggestions that people would

Jailed: teacher who snapped (tip of an iceberg)

I find this story particularly sad. It is really the tip of an iceberg of problems with disrespectful behaviour across the country. For all that ASBOs and such mechanisms offer some slight hope to people terrorised by yobs they are not the real answer. For the real answer we need to look at why patterns of behaviour are developing such that there are continual aggressive incidents across the country. Yesterday I drove across central London in a taxi and saw an aggressive row which was on the verge of serious violence (people pushing each other). There are a number of difficulties. Most lie around the desire of some people to act in such a way as actually is designed to irritate others. Part of this lies in how schools operate. The government's obsession with the rights of the parents of yobs means that teachers have to run around justifying reasonable actions they have taken to deal with indiscipline. Those children learn that blagging gets results and that if they behave irr

Labour's £21bn of cuts

The linked press release comes from Labour's main website. It is entitled: "Tories' £35bn cut to public spending just the tip of the iceberg" What confuses me is that the Conservative proposals called the James Report include the £21bn in the Gershon Report. The "Howard Flight Redacted" version only finds an additional £13-14bn on top of what Labour already propose. The Lib Dem Treasury team have read the report and find that £8bn of that is bogus. It still remains, however, that Labour are concentrating on the £35bn figure when they really should recognise that this implicitly criticises their own £21bn proposals. The real debate should be do we want to have teachers in classrooms or would classroom supervisors do. Labour appear to be committed to this change as a gradual process. This is evidenced throughout government policy and particularly in DfES documents. Now that would be a useful debate to have. Labour intend gradually phasing out teachers in c

Weddings in The Council House

Although the Evening Mail and Radio WM are interested in this story, the editor of declined to publish the article about Weddings in The Council House. The City Council has decided to allow people to have civil ceremonies in The Council House. They have been allowed at Highbury for some time. However, the Charities Commission are bouncing up and down about what happens at Highbury (because it is a charitable trust). Also it is something that people might like to have as an option. The idea is that The Council House belongs to the citizens of Birmingham. It is, therefore, appropriate that Citizens of Birmingham should be able to make use of the banqueting suite for their events. (Within the constraints of booking and also the payment of the appropriate fee.) The last wedding I went to was that of (Labour) Councillor Mike Olley at Birmingham's CoE Cathedral (St Philips). This was attended by one Labour MP, about four Labour Councillors and three Lib Dem

For earthquakes Lightning does strike twice

I heard about the second strike near Sumatra whilst at a fundraising event in Birmingham organised by Islamic Relief entitled "An Evening of Inspiration". The event was interesting as a musical crossover between traditional south Asian pentatonic scales and the normal western duodecaphonic scales. The end result for one number by 786 was a form of mixture between traditional nasheed and the musical style of Westlife. In the mean time the news agenda is moving on The Independent reports on the further growth in tactical voting with an interesting quote from the Electoral Commission: "A spokeswoman for the Electoral Commission, which monitors general elections, said vote swapping was within electoral rules, but no one could break the privacy of the polling booth." Is this the same Electoral Commission as the one that supported all postal ballots where the polling booth is abolished. The issue of Education and specifically the government's failure on discipline

Tory Campaign in Full [Howard] Flight

You wonder if this is the one which is "the boomerang strikes back". The tories have brought in an Australian political advisor to run their campaign. He may have said "sack the MP as an MP". Clearly this decision was taken in haste and may be repented at leisure. I still haven't seen the full quotations that he was sacked for. However, most of them have only been what one would expect tories to say. At an absolute minimum an argument that they would exclude from proposals politically unacceptable ideas is only reasonable. The question, of course, is whether or not they would later implement them. If he was saying that the tories said one thing in private and another in public then that is a valid area of criticism. The effect of sacking him as an MP is that it winds up the other Tory MPs. It is also likely to keep the issue on the political agenda. Michael Howard has then got the difficulty that reversing position will also cause problems. In a sense th

Gershon (James takes [Howard] Flight)

The relationship between the Gershon report of the government and the Conservatives' James report is coming to light now. The big problem for the tories is that their James report actually includes the Gershon savings. For example if you look at page 56 of the report on James you will find that of their identified potential savings in education of £5,687,000,000 this includes the Gershon figure of £4,133,000,000. In other words the total figure of £34,864,000,000 includes the Gershon figures of £21,480,000,000. All big figures. The real question is what is means when implemented. This information is much harder to find. I have a copy of the DfES Efficiency Technical Note described by them as: 1. This Efficiency Technical Note explains how the Department for Education and Skills will monitor and measure the efficiency gains that are achieved across the services funded by the Department between 2005-06 and 2007-08. The Department plans to achieve over £4.3 billion in annual eff

Tariq Ali Says: vote Lib Dem to beat Labour

This issue is relevant in Sparkbrook and Small Heath and Perry Barr. In both of these seats the Respect group are standing. Extracting from his article: " the votes cast for the Greens, Respect and others will have no impact, with a possible exception in Bethnal Green and Bow," and "It is possible that in some constituencies the Green/Respect vote could ensure the return of a warmonger, as we have seen in the odd by-election." In this he is referring in part to Hodge Hill where having the Respect votes were sufficient to stop Labour winning. The challenge for Talib Hussain and Jon Hunt is that of persuading anti-Labour voters to unite behind them as the best placed candidates to beat (probably) Roger Godsiff and (probably) Khalid Mahmood.

Bring Back Matron (what is MRSA about?)

"Yet, three years after the first reintroduction of the "modern" matron, the number of deaths from the superbug MRSA has doubled. The figures, up from 487 in 1999 to 955 in 2003, have caused alarm among health professionals and patient groups." The problem is that even if you have a budget that does not mean that you can actually control what is done. There is a philosophical flaw in the concept that everything can be managed effectively through a contract. It is a bit like keyhole surgery. In theory things can be done, but not a lot although if only little bits need to be done then everything works. One of the problems with MRSA is noone really has any idea of how much underreporting there is. However, unless you actually give the ability to manage to people which means the ability to sack a contractor or member of staff then it is difficult to manage all aspect of a system. If a "matron" says - you haven't cleaned there and the response is "i

Good news for 6 monthly council tax payers

It has been raised with me that people who pay every 6 months are not expecting to pay the first installment in April, but instead in May. The good news is that the City Treasurers Department will agree the later payment date for those who wish it. (only for 6 monthly council tax payers).

News from Kyrgyzstan

The sagas across the world about how to achieve "open government" continue. It is important for people to remember the scuffle involving 200 people in Somerville Road that happened last June. If we don't have systems of elections that the losing parties accept as being operated properly then this sort of thing will grow (as it has been doing). Incidentally in the last week there has been news of postal vote fraud in Reading. What the government should agree to is that postal votes are counted separately to non-postal votes. A simply statutory instrument would do this and it would not impact in any serious way on the mechanics of the election. Why don't the government want this?

Various PJP Arrests

All we know is that a number of PJP Activists have been arrested. What we cannot understand is that if they had all the warrants on Tuesday when all the people were in court they had to wait until 7.30am this morning. They could have gone to the court and arrested all of them in one go. It appears to be that the police have gone around to witnesses for the Election Court. The witnesses have been asked by the police whether they have signed statements. A few have then been frightened by this so that they have denied signing the original statements and signed further statements to this effect. When you compare the statements they normally end up having the same signature. The end result is that the police are claiming that the original statements may be perjury which is absurd generically on the basis that the witnesses could have been called into court had the respondents been bothered. I am told that one witnesses grandson signed on behalf of her. All this really shows is how ea

A visit to the Elections office

One of the debates in Birmingham at the moment relates to the provision of the list of postal voters. Last year (and in other authorities this year) the elections office provided an electronic list of postal voters before the elections. We have requested that again this year, but the returning officer is saying that the law prevents her from providing the list. I was told I could visit the elections office to see the records. I visited the elections office on Tuesday, but they did not have the records of the postal voters available. Today I was told I could visit the elections office, but I would not get a list. I could sit by the side of someone who would operate the records computer and was not allowed to touch the computer. My objective is to identify which votes are being sent to local addresses other than that of the voter (most of which end up being stolen in some way). The Deputy Returning Officer said to me that he didn't think that would help with my task. I pointe

East Yardley Neighbourhood Forum

I attended a meeting of the East Yardley Neighbourhood Forum to discuss devolution last night. An interesting point was that some youths decided to try to block the door at the end of the meeting. It was relatively easy to break the blockage, but it is this sort of anti-social behaviour that really irritates people. For all the time the government have spent on new laws the procedures do not really exist for the sort of totting up type of situation in which people commit a lot of relatively minor nuisance type offences with no fear of any sanction. I cited at the meeting the problem with the driver of a stolen car who would not be prosecuted according to the CPS. The people at the meeting seemed to be quite happy with the way in which devolution was working. Our proposals to make funding available to smaller groups on an easy basis also went down well.

Vote 2005 and Respect

Vote 2005 is an interesting exercise. It involves an online debating forum with a large number of parliamentary seats identified. It is a better forum than the traditional usenet uk.politics.electoral which has been the online location generally where political activists debate from many places. Usenet, however, has a number of problems which means that it can take a lot of time to review matters. George Galloway's - Respect the Unity Coalition not to be confused with - the "lunacy coalition" have been floating around for some time now. This is an attempt by the Socialist Workers Party to build an organisation that people will actually vote for. Previously they had Socialist Alliance which had some marginal success locally where they had hard working candidates. Their plan was to turn the Stop the War campaign into a political party. In doing so they have lost a lot of the support and activists the SWP had without gaining that much. Through the

Magna Carta and Habeas Corpus

This afternoon I spoke to a meeting in Stechford. Part of my speech related to the damage the Labour Government are doing to the laws and rules created in British Traditions stretching back centuries. Two key elements are the Magna Carta and Habeas Corpus. Articles 38 and 39 of the Magna Carta said: 38 In future no official shall place a man on trial upon his own unsupported statement, without producing credible witnesses to the truth of it. 39 No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land. The Magna Carta was the result of an agreement wrung from King John on June 19 1215. It may have only protected the more powerful feudal lords, but it was a step in controlling overweaning state power. Had the barons not seized London in May 1215 he would

Graffiti Tag

This is one of the tags used in and around Yardley. This particular tag appears twice around the Swan Island. Although we are managing to keep some areas clear of graffiti there are other locations where this becomes harder. Some may say I am a bit sad for going around photographing graffiti. The fact is, however, that graffiti makes an area a mess. The message of keeping things clean (where possible) links through from minor "liveability" issues such as graffiti and rubbish to major issues (see elsewhere in this blog). One thing that has to happen is enforcement action (which I believe would be best through the civil law) to dissuate the graffitis from creating their mess. Labour seem to have taken a different tack and try to make the graffiti artists do better graffiti. I don't think that is a sensible solution.

Talking to local people

Talking to local people Part of Saturday was spent doing the usual tours of Shopping Centres. On this occasion Simon Hughes MP came out with the Yardley team. The response on the streets was quite positive. This was probably helped by the improved weather. The previous week was rather cold. What is nice about this process is that we can get a bit more subtlety into the political debate. It is clear that local residents are unhappy with the proposals for boundary changes that Labour are supporting.

Lessons from Leicester Trial (New Year's Shootings)

The lessons from the trial in Leicester are that the rules of evidence do need variation to deal with very difficult situation. In situations in which witnesses need protection against violent people we need to protect their identities. It is not possible for the police to continually give people new identities and there are so many shooting incidents that there has to be the facility for identities to be kept secret. This clearly should apply in situations where there is clearly an element of conspiracy. However, it is these mechanisms that would enable progress against gangster crime whether it be linked to drugs, terrorism or indeed relate to matters such as the IRA's involvement in Robert McCartney's killing in Northern Ireland. This killing was particularly brutal and is symptomatic of an environment in which the rule of law has been superseded by a heirarchical clan/tribal based structure. The challenge, of course, is when politics gets infected by clan style loyaltie

Trapped by the Rhythm

Last Friday John Patrick, the erstwhile head of Music at Central TV and band leader for the John Patrick Trio/Quartet challenged me to turn up and play at the commuter jazz sessions (organised by Birmingham Jazz in the Foyer at the ICC. For me this is a good location as it is an easy walk from The Council House at the end of the day. Something like this is a bit of a "deep end" challenge. I had never met any of the band apart from John Patrick - who is the pianist. Mike the Saxophonist suggested I'll remember April which mainly floats around G and G minor. I thought a nice relaxed number, but left the tempo to the band. Suddenly they start at twice the tempo I expected. Luckily I had not planned on doing a solo. It was a good example of "the beat goes on" where one ends up locked into the beat. At least I managed to get in My Funny Valentine in C minor(ish) [unlike the link]. That seemed to go reasonably well.

Good news from Leicester (Killers Convicted)

The conviction of the New Years Killers in Leicester is very good news today. This proves to the communities of Birmingham that working through the system is the way to go. Historically many shootings are actually retaliatory shootings. Such gang warfare tends to escalate. Although reported as "turf wars" generally that is not the case. The only solution to a continuing range of tit-for-tat retaliations is to use the police and the judicial process so that justice is done and seen to be done. The following is our statement: The court case We wish to thank all thoe witnesses who came forward for the trial, demonstrating that community will not tolerate this sort of crime. Gun crime and related injuries have gone down in Birmingham. Resources injected by West Midlands Police have been unprecedented. They have taken 3,000 statements, 4,500 exhibits, 40 witnesses and more warrants have been issued than ever before. The message is that the West Midlands Police will investigat

Council Tax Con

In a sense providing a Council Tax subsidy for certain households, but not others actually highlights the unfairness of the Council Tax. Not only that, but it is only for the year of the Election and the plan is not to help in subsequent years. We highlight a good point in that the proportion of income paid in tax by lower earners is higher than that by higher earners.

Name and Shaming comes to a halt in Bordesley

I think the Commissioner has got this right. The underlying problem is the nature of the current law. A quick hearing without time for people to check the evidence which could result in the end of some people's careers would be unfair. On the assumption that the election court finds that the elections are voided the priority to me is to get the electoral procedures changed so that we have a proper democracy. Having a system whereby the most effective fraudsters win in some electoral areas is very damaging. In essence we have lost the basis of the 1872 Ballot Act . You would think with all the column inches written and minutes of soundbites on the TV and Radio that people would have spotted what was going on.

The Library Assistants Issue

We reviewed the issue relating to Library Assistants today. Unison are currently running a postal ballot on whether or not the Library Assistants wish to accept a proposal of a tax-free payment for a change in terms and conditions. Our view is that we will respect the decision of the Library Assistants. If they decide to reject the proposal then we will not force them to accept it.

St Patrick's Day - a good day out (bleeding for art?)

Today's St Patrick's Day Parade went off very well. The new route seemed to work quite well. It was good that it didn't rain although it was very cold and my fingers were quite frozen until close to the end. As usual I paraded with the Tipperary County Association which is run by an (ex Labour now independent group) Councillor from Rubery. ( Dave McGrath - see main person in photo ) Unusually the Tipperary Association has live music, three accordians and me on guitar/mouth organ. Most other associations have recorded music. We normally play a mixture of irish melodies plus the eternal Long Way to Tipperary (not an Irish song). To properly do that, of course, we have to hold back slightly so that there is a "Long way" until the Tipperary group. Because this association has a relatively small banner in blue with the word Tipperary in large print on it the association tends to feature in much of the photographic publicity from each of the years. The main phot

Prevention of Terrorism

One of the key aspects of the most recent "Prevention of Terrorism" Bill that makes me feel that it is more about the government wishing to play to the crowd rather than actually act to reduce the threat of terrorism is its name. It it had been called the "Control Orders" Bill or the "Reasonable Suspicion" Bill then opposing it could not have been skewed into a misrepresentation. The typical misprepresentation is that voting against the "Prevention of Terrorism" Bill (or for amendments) gets conflated with not wishing to "Prevent Terrorism". One of the issues under debate was the Standard of Proof that would be required. This is the level of certainty that the allegation is true. The Burden of Proof means that it is the job of someone wishing to see a person suffer some detriment to justify that with evidence. Normally in UK Criminal law the Standard of Proof used is "Beyond Reasonable Doubt". For Civil cases the Standard of

St Patrick's Day

With a breakfast I sadly could not attend today and a performance of traditional irish dance and music (in a reception at 4.30pm) St Patrick's Day kicked off today. My own Irish Ancestry comes mainly from Tipperary where I can prove using the 1881 Census (Handsworth, Staffs) that I have an ancestor from Tipperary. I therefore tend to play guitar in the Tipperary County Association group during the parade. The theme song is, of course, "Its a long way to Tipperary", which just to happened to be written by a Londoner. Hopefully it won't be that wet on Sunday.

Photographs from 2005 and 1960

2005 and 1960 The big photo is one of my mother and I in 2005 when she came for the demolition of Yardley School which was the secondary school that my mother and her two brothers went to. The little inset photo is a photograph of my mother and I in 1960 in the garden in Acocks Green (the old Stockfield Estate which has also been demolished).

Croissants with the DPM

I went to have Croissants with the DPM today. This was a "breakfast" meeting with John Prescott in Admiralty House which is part of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Actually I didn't eat a croissant nor did I see John Prescott eating a croissant, but clearly the government don't seem to know what a breakfast is or they have been taken over by the "Continental Breakfast Promotion Partnership (Croissants and Coffee Division)" The meeting was the 10 Local Strategic Partnerships (Local Authority Areas) that spend about 40% of the NRF (Neighbourhood Renewal Fund) that is spent by 88 Local Authorities. It was useful to be about to raise issues with the people responsible for setting the rules. Clearly there are some areas which I will differ from them on a political basis. For example many of the systems they are introducing undermine the checks and balances in our current system of government and frequently result in mild or greater corruption. Howeve

The Nickelby Bag issue

Today's BMI hearing looked in more detail about the Nickelby Bag. This was a bag of postal votes where the local election ballots were in their envelopes, but hundreds of white European Ballots were merely chucked in with an elastic band. The European Ballots were clearly disqualified (although I think they may have been counted as well) because they were not in the postal vote envelopes. The postal votes should have been in a sealed ballot box. As with Bordesley and Springfield, however, votes were carried around in all sorts of containers. In Springfield there were a load of votes in a black rubbish bag. What is interesting about the issue with the European Ballots was that it shows the people filling the envelopes all made the same mistake and they were probably in a rush and didn't care about the European Election. In essence this showed they were almost certainly not the voters as the voters would generally wish to express their preferences in both elections.

Emergency Cuts by Government in Single Community Programme

For some reason the government are introducing cuts of about 12% in the Single Community Programme about 3 weeks before the start of the financial year. This hits Birmingham to the tune of £200,000 with a reduction from £1,500,000 to £1,300,000. I have often argued that we need a certain amount of coherence in the way in which such structures operate. The disputes that have arisen in Birmingham as a result of the conflicts between different bodies have been quite unhelpful. Philosophically the concept of unaccountable representation is flawed. What I would like to see is greater formal links between the various bodies so that there is less duplication and conflict and greater cohesion. Over the next year this is more likely to happen as we prepare for ... yes ... yet another completely different way of funding things.

BBCSHA Wider View - no further activity (ie no more operations)

An interesting other point of this report is that for the BBCSHA area it is clear that Payment by Results is likely to result in the "price paid to BBCSHA trusts [] on average [rising] for no additional activity" Because our PbR price is on average lower than general this will mean paying the hospitals more for no more work. The SHA also wants increases in the proportion of funds spent on Primary Care (GPs) of 2% per year. To me this does not really stack up properly. ie we will move money out of the hospitals. The cost will go up for no more work and there will be bed cuts.

Bed cuts by PCT in BBCSHA region

PCT Cuts Solihull -30 HoB Teaching -65 South Brum -133 Oldbury and Smethwick -23 Wednesbury and West Brom -8 Rowley Regis and Tipton -20 Eastern Brum -54 North Brum -65 Walsall Teaching -80 Dudley South -90 Dudley Beacon and Castle -54 Wolves -81 Source: Birmingham and Black Country Strategic Health Authority (BBCSHA) Strategic Framework 2004 - 2010. Note that the BBCSHA "fair share" capitation funding is £100m less than calculated. (that's about £40-50m for Birmingham)

Labour plans to cut 1,405 beds (in the Birmingham and Black Country Area)

These are the figures as to how the BBCSHA intend to reduce bed numbers by 20% (in local NHS Hospitals). Reason Beds Net Change Note Baseline 6,985 Demographic Changes 6,955 -30 Stage 1 Managed Change - daycases 6,913 -42 apply standard LOS 6,198 -715 Intermediate Care 5,556 -642 Shift to primary care 5,452 -104 National assumptions 6,169 717 length of stay for new models of care 5,580 -589 Total Net Change -1405 (20%)

Never mind Iraq, what about a fair ballot in Britain?

This Daily Mail article goes to the nub of the issues. Tomorrow's Times Editorial also looks at the same issue. What I find interesting is that although my colleagues and I have been highlighting this issue for some time it is only now (as a result of the court cases) that the reality is being accepted as being true. Forcing all postal ballots in 4 regions was clearly "improper". Much that there are lots of honest people in the Labour Party I really cannnot believe that the Labour Party organisation is unaware of what I am fully aware of (and is being proven in the court).

Jayne Innes - have they read the minutes?

It is interesting that Labour have decided to campaign on two issues in Yardley. Firstly, they are campaigning on anti-social behaviour. The facts of the figures is that with our administration in the City Council we have more than tripled the number of anti-social behaviour orders from 12 to at least 39 and thats only with 9 months in our administration. In December we had 17 ASBOs to take action to deal with harrassment of the vulnerable. Secondly, they are campaiging to get surface crossings on the Coventry Road. I know that at least one Labour activist has had the minutes of the Yardley District Committee in January (a month before their campaign started) which confirmed that surface crossings are about to be installed. Jayne Innes may know more about Wakefield than Yardley, but some people in the Labour Party must know that we are installing surface crossings. It is something that does, however, need to be done.

Margaret's Shoulder is not the issue

The linked story also about a shortage of Intensive Care Beds is far more important than the so called "war of Margaret's Shoulder". It, however, still does not really look at the key problems in the NHS. Many PCTs and NHS Trusts are in financial problems (forecast deficits) at the moment. There are two main reasons for this. Consultants Contracts - there is an additional cost from the new consultants contracts of about 12% the funding for which has not been provided. and Payment by Results - this has not come in yet, but will result in further financial pressures which will have knock on effects. The issue relating to the shortage of ITUs has been around for years. In part it results from the nature of the arrangements for ITUs which means that the annual cost of maintaining an ITU bed is over 250K per annum. This means that hospitals run on the edge of the numbers required. Addressing this is a matter for getting into the details of the specification to bring in

Telegraph report

Makes a change from the Birmingham reports I suppose. For all of Jerry Hayes' attempts to smear the Lib Dems yesterday I can find no coverage. This report in the Birmingham Post looks at some of the potential ramifications from Bordesley. It remains a question with me as to who told the police that what happened on the Wyrlie Industrial Estate was lawful.

Jerry Hayes and Kamikaze legal cases

Somehow the Tory ex-MP Jerry Hayes has turned up to act as the barrister for two of the Aston Labour Councillors. Today we had two more policemen giving evidence (both PS) then myself. Jerry Hayes had clearly set out to rerun the whole of the local election campaign in Birmingham in the Lyttleton Theatre of the Birmingham and Midlands Institute. He was warned not to try to go into arguing that more corruption occurred as it was more likely that the election would end up as being declared void for general corruption. This was what the Commissioner called a Kamikaze case (which is a suicidal attack). By the time I thought he had warmed up his case he had finished. He also had a go at my Stolen Votes website.

Labour Councillor caught in massive votes Fraud

Somehow this case, which hit the court yesterday, has been deemed prosecutable by the police. This related to an Election in 2002 in which a Labour (now ex) Councillor was prosecuted and has now pleaded guilty to filling in 233 fraudulent postal votes (only 233 were proven, that does not mean that only 233 occurred). This case was in Blackburn, Lancashire. The point I have repeatedly made about electoral fraud is that it happens all over the country. "4,000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire" I always wondered about that particular line in the song "A day in the Life" by the Beatles. It pops into my mind everytime I hear the words Blackburn, Lancashire . At least Google has enabled me to confirm what I had guessed about the derivation of the phrase is true.