We ought to be proud of our status as the model for parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy but we are in danger of allowing it to fail. Sir Eric Pickles, a former local government minister, has published a report that highlights a tendency for some ethnic community leaders to apply pressure to vulnerable old and young members of their communities to vote for the choice of their community leaders. This is apparently made all the easier by the manipulation of postal votes.
I have never doubted this goes on and I have listened to compelling evidence but it is hard to secure evidence that would stand up in court. This makes Eric Pickles’ report all the more important in challenging what he describes as a PC defensive attitude from the Crown Prosecution Service, the police and local councils. I am sure this is true and these authorities need to wake up and to defend the democratic rights of their citizens.
We need to remember that the Directly Elected Mayor of Newham, Lutfur Rahman, was found to have perpetrated corrupt election practices and was disbarred from office. Such practices may still be common place in India, Pakistan and many other countries but we should be ashamed that they happened in the UK and we should support their stamping out with the most rigorous methods allowed.