Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Your Vote Fraud Riots Tonight

Imagine some country where people rioted at election time amid allegations of electoral fraud, corruption and voter intimidation.

Would the BBC report it ? Of course they would - unless it's England, in which case you'll search BBC News in vain for this story.

"The pitched battle between Labour and People's Justice Party supporters was ignited by the appearance of a postman with a bag.

“Some people tried to get the votes off him and were pinching them out of letterboxes – then all hell broke loose,” said an eyewitness.

“People were rushing out of their homes to join in the fight. Thugs and gangsters are targeting the postmen every day. Everything is getting out of control.”

Police today called for calm in the Bordesley Green ward which has chalked up a city record with the highest number of postal votes ever recorded – 8,500 out of a voting population of around 18,000."

Birmingham Council's Liberal Democrats are furious, with leader John Hemming complaining that in many inner city wards Thursday's city council elections would be decided by people who were intimidating residents and stealing thousands of postal votes.

Even the postmen are at risk.

"West Midlands Police confirmed today they were investigating cases of mailmen being threatened with violence if they didn't hand over bags.

A postman in Bordesley Green was offered a £500 bribe to give up his sack of postal votes before they were delivered.

A friend told the Evening Mail: "He was shocked and very distressed because he believes his life could be in danger. He refused the bribe and got somebody to take him by car to the nearest police station.""

More than 70,000 blank votes are to be delivered before the June 10 polling day for city council and European Parliament seats, compared with 24,000 last year.

The incidence is highest in inner city wards, particularly Bordesley Green where 8,600 postal votes are being delivered.

The number of registered voters in the ward is only 18,000.

Other hot-spots are Washwood Heath, with 5,600 postal votes, Aston, with 5,257, and Spark-brook with 4,510.

In the outer suburbs Kingstanding has only 670, with Oscott, Selly Oak, and Perry Barr each having less than 800.

City leader Sir Albert Bore, who faces the end of 20 years' Labour control of Birmingham, said: "There is a lot going on in this election - particularly in the inner cities."

It looks as if along with the glories of multicultural Birmingham such as the kuthlama (A fantastic plate-sized slab of heavily spiced burger-like meat covered with pastry. Never seen them outside Brum. Get them at the Ambala in Small Heath. For strong men only) are the voting practices of the subcontinent.

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