Tuesday, 31 August 2010

UKIP should use the Electoral Reform Society

Another UKIP election surrounded by allegations of ballot rigging. The mysterious box of ballot papers that allegedly appeared at the last minute whose contents allegedly moved Mr Finch from in the lead to, well not elected to the NEC.  When you add in the Junius allegation of a 'B' list of approved candidates sent out to some members by a UKIP MEP and subsequently find 4 B listers were elected then of course questions will be asked. The UK media would ask questions if this happened in a Banana republic!

You can't stop MEPs taking ill judged actions. The only solution is the long term one of selecting better MEP candidates. With this end in view, when on the SWCC I argued that UKIP use the ERS service which cost only a few pence per ballot more than an internal ballot and would have squashed most allegations of ballot rigging and given UKIP their seal of approval. This was passed by the SWCC but stopped by the Cabal. I wonder why?

The ERS also always uses FREEPOST so would have generated a higher response than the actual ballot that I estimate was in the low 30 percent range. The ERS will not only issue; receive and count votes, they will also verify the database containing the membership details of the voters. A service worth paying for in my opinion.

When at the NEC I tried to have the ERS used for all regions MEP selection ballots. I was shouted down by Farage and Whittaker who claimed completely wrongly that the ERS only did Single Transferable Vote ballots. I had a copy of an email at that meeting from the ERS stating they would use any system the client wanted including specifically the UKIP one. Still Farage and Whittaker insisted this was wrong and then there was the usual Cabal tribal chants from Clarke, Denny et al in support of NF.

There was so much to gain from using the ERS that one must ask why not? Well the latest allegations answer that question. As to those elected I know Julia Read is honest decent and will speak her mind without fear or favour. I cannot say the same about the rest that I know who were elected.

So now we move on to another leadership ballot. Last time this was conducted by the ERS funded by Mr Mickelwaite who was I believe subsequently reimbursed by Lord Pearson. It was a fptp election thus showing Farage and Whittaker were wrong but nothing unusual in that -it happened all the time. Let us just hope the ERS is used this time also.

Every professional body I and my wife have ever been a member of uses the ERS for their elections. They all have larger and better resourced head offices than UKIP yet they still see the ERS seal of approval as worth paying for. It stops dissent and argument about the probity of the election. Its high time UKIP learned its lesson on this. It became a political laughing stock over Pearson but a banana republic allegation will be much more damaging.

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