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The Daily Shame | October 24, 2014

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The stolen Shepway by-election nobody knew about

The stolen Shepway by-election nobody knew about

Never mind the expense-fiddling MPs who are causing us to shake our fists at them every day.   Don’t even bore me with those undemocratic party whips who spend their days bribing votes out of our local MPs with promises of better career options.

Let’s dig a bit deeper, shall we?

What about the district councils that are quietly making sure they get exactly the votes they want, in order to keep their Tory guys anchored in town councils all over the country?

Did you know that, very recently, Shepway District Council decided to have a cheeky little by-election that hardly anybody knew about? No?  Well…they won’t mind me telling you because, apparently, this is perfectly legal and all above board and they’re all so very proud of themselves.

Yes, even at local council level, votes are being fiddled.  David Cameron would be very proud.

However, if you’re not sure how they go about it…I’ll tell you using this recent example.

Okay…in a very small town in Kent, which hardly anybody knows about, there were two candidates running for election.  One Tory and one Labour.   Okay…that’s a good start.   We’ve got a Labour lad eager to get stuck in and start work.   With me so far?

Now…in this little town, where nothing much happens and most people are skint, residents usually get a little bit vocal about how they would vote if given the chance.  Yes…it could possibly be Labour.  Having asked some locals how they would have voted…the answer was Labour.

So…here’s what actually happened.

The local district council decided not to put polling cards through the letterboxes of ANYBODY living in the town where the election was to take place.  Yes…that was nice of them…to exclude EVERYBODY in the town (and surrounding areas) from a by-election about to be held in the very town they live in.

You might think…well…if people knew about the election, they could still have gone to the polling stations…and voted.  I mean…you don’t need a polling card, you can just turn up.  We all know this, right?  Yes we do!  However, what the people living in this town didn’t know was the fact there actually was a by-election taking place.

Remember, this is a little town where not much happens and a lot of the people there don’t really pay attention to what’s going on in the rest of the UK because they’re so far down the country, they’re practically hanging off it and, if you ask around, quite a few people are still under the impression they would automatically receive a polling card for every election they’re entitled to vote in.

Mind you, it’s nice to be sent a polling card every now and again and some information about what’s going on.  It’s not like the residents don’t pay council tax.  Yes…I know…that means nothing to a district council who only wants the best for…well…nobody really.

To be fair, somewhere on the internet, if you look carefully, you can find a little bit of information about this by-election.   Sadly…not many found it, or even thought of looking for it, until after being informed yet another Tory had been installed into their town council.

<cough> HERE IT IS </cough>

Strangely…and this really makes me mad…it’s not compulsory for a district council to send out polling cards or even inform residents of every local election.  If you ask them outright…they simply tell you, “We don’t have to”.  Job done.   To be fair, they will offer you the email address of other people you might like to question on the subject…so they too can tell you to shove it up your arse.

The details and statistics on the by-election in question are detailed in PDF files on Shepway District Council’s website, clearly stating how many votes were counted for each candidate.  Sadly, it’s there in black and white.  The Tory candidate smashed it.  Gutted.

HOWEVER, THE TURNOUT FROM AN ELECTORATE OF 5197 WAS 11.16%!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the turnout was 11.16% and most of those votes were probably made by Tory bods given the nod about a sneaky little by-election going on that was a dead cert if they played their cards right.

However…and PLEASE LISTEN CAREFULLY…everybody registered for postal voting was, indeed, sent a polling card to complete and send back in a pre-paid envelope.  Convenient, or what!  Why can’t we all do that?  Well, actually, we can.

The trouble with this is…if we know for a fact this happened in one town…we know it’s happening elsewhere.  How many Tory councillors are presiding over towns as a result of votes that were not invited, rather than those that were.

It’s worth noting there are a lot of people living in this small town who are sick of having local services either cut or removed completely.   As it is, traveling on buses in the local area costs a bloody fortune.  To add insult to injury, there’s a disused railway station that was closed to the public many years ago, which is maintained well enough to transport nuclear waste away from a power station.

Yeah… I bet the locals really love being told they can’t use their own railway station when containers of nuclear waste are allowed to be transported along it as and when necessary.  I bet they also love it when yet another small business goes bust and leaves them with even less to be pleased about.

Never  mind, though, because all the council tax they’ve been paying for years will be getting spent on everything they need to get things up and running again.  Oh dear…there I go again…forgetting how the Tories work.   Of course it won’t be spent on local services.  It will be spent anywhere and on anything Shepway District Council decides.  Shocking.

Will the new Tory councillor do anything to help these locals, or just carry on letting their town disappear off the map along with other such towns that appear to be of little or no consequence to the Tories’ bigger plans.

Yes, yes…I know…politics aren’t supposed to come into it at parish or town council level.  Hang on, though…if that’s the case, why bother telling us what party the candidates are representing if it’s not political?  Don’t kid yourself you’d vote for anyone other than the person representing the party you feel would do more for your town.

The candidates might have to register as Independent at parish or town council level, but they will always do what pleases their party and we will ALWAYS remember that.

Oh…and tell me again, what those bigger plans are?  No, actually, don’t.  I’m sick of hearing the lies.

So…come on everybody in the WHOLE OF GREAT BRITAIN…please go postal and opt to vote in every single election you’re entitled to… forever and ever amen.

Don’t let that desire to trek to your nearest polling station to cast your vote overpower you.   The Tories are neither respectful of your votes nor interested in them… unless, of course, you’re a Tory yourself.

So, with all this in mind, I think it’s high time we all acted accordingly.  Don’t let the district councils have it all their own way.  The party whip system makes a mockery of democracy every day.  Let’s at least try to regain a little more control locally.

The only way to find out exactly what your local district council are up to is to make one small change that could make a big difference.  Get on line and go postal!  Now!

Comments

  1. KFR

    come on , the value of my vote grows … doubles , tripples !
    just tell me which one to decide next and the incoming offers of cause

  2. Eleanor Jones

    Hi, was this the Lydd by-election last November?

  3. Yes, Eleanor, it was. It took place on 1 October. An email to Shepway District Council to enquire as to why no polling cards were letterboxed, led only to an answer that they are not obliged to either inform residents or send out information…and the option hear the same answer from someone else. A lot of locals were very disappointed. I hope this helps.

  4. Tim Prater

    This was a Town Council by-election for Lydd Town Council. Although polling cards are required for District elections, they are not for Town or Parish by-elections (I’d argue they should be, and have frequently done so, but its not currently required. Anywhere).

    When you say the Tories smashed it, the Tories didn’t stand. There were 2 candidates, with their descriptions shown on the declaration of the result you link to. Their descriptions were Labour and independent. The Independent did, indeed, smash it.

    I don’t know the Independent who won: perhaps he is a Conservative, but he stood as an Independent in that election. As you’ll see from the results of the election to Lydd Town Council in May 2011 (http://www.shepway.gov.uk/UserFiles/File/pdf/elections/may-2011-district-and-parish-elections/lydd-parish-uncontested.pdf), many candidates stand as Independent in Lydd – including a number of known Conservatives (many of whom are even current serving Conservative District Councillors), Labour (Ben Hart) and Lib Dem (Ted Last). It’s fairly common practice in Lydd – and indeed on many other Town and Parish Councils.

    If you are saying that polling cards should be sent out for all Town and Parish by-elections, I agree. However the choice (and cost of doing so) falls on the Town / Parish Council who would have made that decision, rather than on the District Council who administers that election. If anyone is to blame for the lack of polling cards, it is, at a guess, Lydd Town Council.

    Just sayin’.

  5. Thank you for responding, Tim. It helps to get other views and clarification of some of the issues raised. I was told the position at Lydd was taken by a Conservative and, because no Labour MPs serve Shepway, it was more likely to be a Tory-organized by-election.

    I hope Mr Chapman can, indeed, improve things for Lydd. Being a local, I’m sure he’ll work hard to ensure improvements are made to the town he lives in. I can’t see he’d want to do anything else.

    Locals aren’t disappointed with the individual elected, they are disappointed with the way Shepway went about it. If, as you say, Lydd Town Council was responsible, then I’m happy to concede they were. However, I don’t see Labour having much of a voice in Shepway and this concerns a lot of residents.

    Yes, the people voted and Labour lost out, but there are a lot of problems to be addressed in coastal towns, especially those on the Marsh. I’ll be interested to see how eagerly they are dealt with and how much money is actually spent on improving services.

    David Clarke was all set make a start on improving bus services for Lydd and proposed a community bus service…allowing travel to more far-reaching areas a lot easier. This is something I hope the present Lydd Town Council will consider spending money on.

    I found another article on the subject, which isn’t much more complimentary about the way the by-election was run. Let’s hope future polls are more widely publicized. I’m very pleased to know you agree with that.

    http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/election-Lack-poll-cards-hits-turnout/story-17031923-detail/story.html

    Once again, thank you for the response.

  6. Apologies for the mistake in my last comment. Of course I meant there are no Labour councillors serving Shepway…not MPs. Curse my brain.

  7. Ann M Evans

    Can’t you post this to that sad pageabout pension changes, where all the pensioners are being ripped off by the new changes? Some are so old and tired it breaks your heart. They always think governments are basically honest, like them.

  8. BROKEN BRITAIN UNDER TORIES – CONTINUATION OF BLAIRS SPIN
    Where were our MP’s when Blair was having private meetings with UNUM the backbone of ATOS .How can one man hijack an entire Political Party in power to the detriment of the Public .It is obvious that the Labour Cabinet had no say concerning the Draconian Welfare Reform issues that dog the vulnerable today .Clegg and Cameron are mere clones of the former totalitarian Blair .
    Cameron has shied away from the issue of Welfare and left it to attack dogs ID Smith and Grayling both liars and public purse thieves .
    The Tories are so embroiled in spin their Policies are feeble rhetoric to mask the agenda of dismantling the NHS ,the Welfare State and Freedom of speech .Cameron has lied on an EU referendum once ,he now proposes to try to coerce the public he will hold one when voted in office for another term .Don’t be taken in by a party that has over 10,000 deaths on its hands through its not fit for purpose WCA’s carried out by ATOS .www.brokenbritainundertories.com

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