Imagine. It’s 2024 and the night of the UK General Election. The result is very close. Opportunistic Labour, after a pact with Sturgeon, are not standing in any of the seats in Scotland. The election result now depends on three constituencies who are having a recount due to an influx of large numbers of postal votes – Tower Hamlets, Peterborough and Kensington. The BBC has already called the election in favour of Labour. So have the various media operations once belonging to the press baron Rupert Murdoch, now sold to Alphabet.
“The UK under Sir Keir”, “Why Boris lost” and “Scotland’s Independent Future” appear on the BBC website in pre-written articles. Alastair Campbell beams from a Newsnight studio. A random woman called Carole is found by a nodding BBC interviewer on a street in London and rants about Russian-backed Tories. Meanwhile gangs of hooded Antifa thugs gather outside Buckingham Palace. Twitter has started blocking tweets by anyone mentioning the boxes of late votes transported to the counting centre – filmed by Project Veritas who tailed a battered Toyota Previa driven by a Mr Mahmood from the Peterborough Islamic Centre.
The country’s memory immediately returns to the shameful 2020 US election, which reached Mugabesque depths of fraud and was eventually decided in the US Supreme Court after being called incorrectly by the media. World leaders had mostly been embarrassed into congratulating the wrong winner. America has never been seen the same since, having become the world’s laughing stock.
Now, the above (at least the bit about America) could turn out to be partisan nonsense. But just how far from descending into a third world chaos is the UK’s voting system? Without voter ID how many corpses are voting? How many individuals who do not exist? How many students vote at both university and at home? How many hidden-away wives and daughters are losing their votes to their husbands whose electoral choices are determined by religious leaders? How many proxy votes are genuine?
If you live in England, Wales or Scotland you do not need to bring any identification to vote. You will need to show photo ID to vote in Northern Ireland (your passport, driving licence, Electoral Identity Card or certain kinds of Translink Smartpass). You do not have to take your poll card with you.
In France, voters must prove their identity to vote: at the registration (proof of address — a phone, water or electricity invoice — and an identity document that proves your nationality — National Identity Card or Passport — and on the day of the vote, in towns larger than 1000 inhabitants, an identity document is required).
Why risk it, Britain? One corrupted election and – as Chavez proved – opponents are then shut out of the next several votes by crooked incumbents. The counter argument – that voter ID “adds a major barrier to democratic engagement off the back of so few proven cases of fraud would be a sledgehammer to crack a nut” is trotted out by Labour acolytes, is unpopular, plain wrong and should be outright dismissed. According to government figures, around one in 10 of us doesn’t have a passport or driving licence? So get one.
The Tory majority must now be used for a rebalancing. A series of sensible measures that protect the integrity of our democracy are much needed. When will voter ID be required by law across the UK? How will we avoid succumbing to the same depths as a Zimbabwe or Venezuela one day in the future? For that matter when will constituency boundaries better reflect actual numbers of voters and geographical areas?
Boris, you know what you need to do. Now get on with it. You have the support of by far the majority of the country. Bring in voter ID, sharpish.