From the vote fraud capital of England, this BBC story:
"A court will have to decide on the validity of a Birmingham election result after the acting chief executive said some votes were counted twice.
The BNP has officially won a seat in Kingstanding, but it was later announced this was not correct and it should have been a Labour win."
"It was later announced".
When was 'later' ? Who announced it ?
It appears that the votes were counted thrice (two recounts), in the presence of the usual tellers, party and council officials. The result was declared.
A couple of hours later, when the only people with access to the ballots were Birmingham council officials, the council apparently decided to conduct a third (and invalid - the winner of en election is s/he who is declared so by the returning officer) count all by their little selves. Apparently, some votes had been double counted, an error not spotted in the three public counts, but immediately apparent once council officials were alone with the ballots.
Amazingly, Labour won both seats in this private recount - for as luck would have it, far more BNP votes had been double counted than any others. And they are inviting the unsuccessful candidates (at the council tax payer's expense) to get their private recount confirmed as the correct one.
Words fail me. DSD has the details, as do the Birmingham Post.
This is serious stuff. I don't care if the winners were Combat 18 or the People's Revolutionary Army, the principle's the same. You count and decide in the presence of those who can keep their eyes open for dodgy dealings, not in the presence of a couple of mates when everyone's gone home.
Reading the council's explanation (pdf) I'm prepared to admit that it's possible, though it will need proving. How was this 'additional column that should not have been on the sheet' not spotted in the previous three counts ? How did this column come to be on the sheet ?
The Returning Officer presiding over this shambles should be sacked. By accident or design, this gives the appearance of an unpopular minority party being cheated of office by the paid staff of the ruling party. The terrible thing is that with the track record of Labour and the Lib Dems I wouldn't put it past them.
UPDATE 1 - Councillor Bob Piper points out in his usual entertaining style that Brum is now a Tory/LD coalition, so although the election staff may have been appointed under Labour, they no longer work for a Labour administration.
UPDATE 2 - it appears that the reverse of this scenario (someone apparently missed the '1' off the front of the BNPs vote figure) is being played out in Barking.
UPDATE 3 - stories like this and this, from Barking and Dagenham, are what make people cheesed with the main parties.
"A YOUNG boy is searching for a shy hero who saved him 'being kicked to death'.
If the brave adult hadn't intervened, 13-year-old Ryan, of Halbutt Street, Dagenham, might have suffered more serious injuries when he was attacked by a gang of thugs.
Now the youngster wants to find the have-a-go hero to say thank you.
Police say that Parsloes Park in Dagenham has become notorious for crime in the past few months.
Ryan and two school friends were cutting across the park at 7pm on Tuesday, last week, when they ran into the crowd of 60 boys and girls, aged between 11 and 20."
"A FRAUDSTER who claimed a staggering £130,000 in tax credits for 12 non-existent children will be deported after greed led to her capture.
Julie Olanrewaju, 31, of St Mary's Road, Barking, claimed the amazing sum after the immigration services simply 'lost' her.
She was only caught because she became greedy and tried to change her tax credit claims to income support.
Olanrewaju was jailed for four years, after which she will be deported.
In a barbed comment, Judge David Radford at Snaresbrook Crown Court said: "I make the recommendation for deportation - with the hope it will be acted on by the Home Secretary."
It was revealed Olanrewaju had applied for leave to remain in Britain in 1991, but was turned down."
1991. She's been here illegally - and ripping off the taxpayer - for 15 years.