Monday, 14 October 2019

Voter ID - a populist cop out

Voter ID is a bit of a decoy. Electoral fraud is a problem but it takes a different form to vote tampering and Voter ID doesn't scratch the surface. It's a sledgehammer to miss the nut. It's an easy answer for politicians who dare not grapple with the more sensitive causes.

Voter ID is just a political meme much like "australian points based system". Superficially it sounds like a solution to widespread electoral corruption but in practice is fishing in the wrong pond. It allows politicians to pretend they're doing something whereas the actual policy impact is minimal.

Though I don't have a problem with asking for ID, any requirement for ID for a basic civic function like voting is going to end up with calls for a compulsory national ID. We have been here before under the Blair years. As an idea it sucked then and it sucks now. Not least because we are dealing with a criminal element and if they are ok with forging votes then they're equally ok with forging ID - and no matter how sophisticated the system, they will always find a way around it.

On this it's worth reading the Electoral Commission's somewhat mealy mouthed report on the subject identifying the vulnerabilities. It's clear that the problem is complex and requires a spectrum of policy solutions.

As with immigration you need a long term strategy looking at all parts of the problem, tackling each of the issues as part of a joined up policy - which our politics doesn't stretch to. Without joined up thinking all we'll have is populist sticking plasters that accomplish little.

Moreover, electoral fraud to a very large extent is a symptom of a wider problem starting with immigrant communities which is why we need a much more robust immigration integration strategy. It means asking uncomfortable questions. What we would probably find is that the issues of CSE, voter fraud, and visa fraud are all connected requiring a much more sophisticated and daring approach and I really doubt any administration has the stones to get serious about it.

In that respect Voter ID is a handy piece of electioneering that allows politicians to duck the thornier questions and excuses them from applying themselves to more complex questions. Another failure of our politics. Sadly though, it appears to work.

The Johnson administration can now pretend it's getting tough on the issue when in fact it's just a device to wrongfoot Labour - and the issue is only of temporary expedient interest to them. It's a dog whistle aimed at the kiptard constituency - and they fall for it every time.

For the Tories it's good politics. Labour falls into the trap of opposing it from which they can infer that Labour is up to its neck in it - which of course it is, but then that's just the stereotype. The Tories are just as vulnerable to it in northern slums/Pakistani enclaves. The truth of the matter is that local politics has been a cesspool of corruption for going on three decades now and it follows US trends where ethnic groups operate tribally through mosques etc. The parties themselves need to clamp down on it. That sort of electoral corruption is really only the tip of the iceberg. Once they control a council they have free reign to abuse the system for their own ends.

Consequently the electoral fraud we see needs to be look at as part of our immigration strategy rather than an isolated issue. And this is where we'll see whataboutery from Labour because a serious crackdown would seriously embarrass them and expose further instances of CSE. And of course wherever you find CSE and visa scams you also find instances of modern slavery and organised crime which is another facet of the immigration question. If you want to fix attitudes to immigration then you need to clean up the negative externalities.

That's why backstreet Asian law firms need to go under the microscope. Lift that stone and you'll see the woodlice crawling out. But it's a question of who has the guts to do it. We'd need a serious law and order government - but they prefer the easy answer of voter ID. Unless we get to grips with it then local democracy will cease to be democracy and we'll end up with south asian tribalism that requires central supervision. We need to be candid about this instead of labelling people "far right" for pointing out the bleedin' obvious.

Instead of grasping this nettle though, we'll see leftists scurrying round for any shred of whataboutery they can dig up and crying racism. In so doing they are undermining our democracy whilst enabling industrial scale noncery and corruption. But that's the modern left for you.

But then Tories are far from innocent. The only reason a talentless hack like Priti Patel is in office is because she leveraged the tribal Indian vote to vote for Brexit in exchange for softening of visa requirements. That's why we won't see the Tories get serious about it either. The sick joke of it is, Toryboys and Kiptards LOVE Pritti Patel. She's a darkie but grunts right wing slogans at them and so long as there's a red herring like Voter ID in circulation (along with nonsense about Australian points based blah), they can get away with doing... fuck all.

It's a criminal shame too because for as long as this is too hot to touch we stand no chance of successfully integrating immigrant communities and will only see rising hostility to immigration - not because we "hate foreigners" but because it can't be sustained.

This is why I dislike the Brexit Party etc. They're so easily bought off with sops like Voter ID. Every time Johnson throws them a bone they lap it up. They're too lazy to set out and demand policies of their own and use soundbites instead so soundbites is what they get back. So when we should have a fringe politics holding the Tories' feet to the fire we have pliant little lap dogs like Arron Banks and Nigel Farage patting Johnson on the head - selling out the entire movement and undermining everything it hoped to achieve, ie draining the swamp.

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