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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 May 2021

New voter ID laws: Electoral fraud - Tory style

  (Click to enlarge)

Dave Murray, Essex Socialist Party

According to the Queen's Speech, people in the UK will need 'valid' photo ID to be able to vote in person in future elections. Most commentators think that the plan is to have this new law in force by May 2023. The government also plans to abolish the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, in order to give the prime minister the power to call a general election whenever he wishes - May 2023 for instance.

Cabinet Office research found that 9% of UK adults do not have the kind of ID that will allow them to vote under the proposed new law. The vast majority of these people will be poor, and, of course, black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people will be affected disproportionately. Anyone whose documents are in the hands of the authorities - for instance, if they are disputing a Home Office asylum or immigration decision - will have special difficulty in voting.

In the last general election, cases of 'personation' - fraudulently presenting yourself at the polling station to take someone else's vote - numbered single figures, according to the Electoral Commission. Even Tory MP David Davis said it was a "solution in search of a problem". The ex-leader of the Scottish Tories was a little more succinct, "total bollocks" is how she described the move.

For a right-wing prime minister whose biography reads as a trail of broken promises, however, there is a very real problem. Even Boris Johnson recognises that his 'popularity' may not last.

As the cost of the government's Covid response comes to weigh heavily on public services, public sector pay, and in and out of work benefits, there will be an inevitable backlash. There is little support for renewed austerity outside of the boardrooms of Britain's vulture capitalists.

This crude attempt at voter suppression must be seen together with the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which seeks to limit protest and direct action. It is part of the Conservative's preparations for a more authoritarian approach to governing the UK.

Given the divisions in the Conservative Party, and the overwhelming opposition in wider society on this issue, it is entirely possible that there could be a U-turn. The organised working class has the power to force this. It must do so as part of a spirited and concerted resistance to renewed austerity

In this we will have to grapple with a major problem for working-class voters. We do not yet have a mass party of our own advocating a socialist alternative to the hardships of capitalism.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 19 May 2021:


Israel/Palestine

Build a mass movement to end Israeli state terror

Tens of thousands march against Israeli state terror


What we think

Johnson's Tories and Starmer's Labour have nothing to offer workers

Starmer moves against Unite - No to the attack on Beckett


Covid

What's needed to stop more Covid outbreaks?

Capitalism responsible for stark global Covid vaccine inequality


Workplace news

NHS: Scottish vote shows unions must fight for 15%

Unison: Elect reps who will back strike action

PCS elections - incumbents win, but solid vote for Broad Left Network

DVLA workers suspend strike for talks

Huge victory at Go North West as Unite defeats 'fire and rehire'

London Metroline strike against 'remote sign-on' goes ahead

CWU members' resolve to strike still firm as union enters talks

Strikes round-up


Campaigns news

Glasgow mass action defeats Home Office deportation attempt

Students and unions must resist misnamed 'free speech' bill

Mulivaikkal Remembrance Day 2021

Socialist Party black and Asian members discuss history

Help fund our bold socialist presence

We will not pay the cost of Covid! Defend the right to protest

Brighton marches to defend Moulsecoomb Primary School


News

Spycops inquiry continues to expose historic attacks on democratic rights

New voter ID laws: Electoral fraud - Tory style

News in brief


Readers' opinion

Readers' opinion


 

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