Tag Archives: register

This Bristol arts centre is letting homeless people use its address to vote in the election

Trailblazer: The Arnolfini, in Bristol – now standing in as a home for rough sleepers who want to vote in the election.

Wouldn’t it be great if other organisations followed the example of the Arnolfini in This Writer’s home city, Bristol?

Bosses at the arts organisation in central Bristol are letting homeless people use their address so they can vote in the General Election.

Rough sleepers have under a week to register to have their say in the coming election on December 12.

According to the Bristol Post:

Just two per cent of homeless people are on the electoral roll which could largely be down to the process of registering being so hard for people without a home.

They have to print off and then post a form – something that most people without access to a computer would find impossible.

To help rough sleepers, workers at the Arnolfini will print off the forms, send them off, let people use their address and give them a free hot drink while their register.

A spokesperson posted on Facebook: “Don’t lose your vote.

“If you know any homeless people that would like to vote but don’t have an address they can use ours.

“Just let them know to pop to the Arnolfini Café Bar. We’ll give them a form and a hot drink.”

The Post stated that the Electoral Commission has also approved the Bristol Beer Factory in Southville as a place homeless people who sleep rough can use as their address.

The cafe there will also offer people a free hot drink while they register.

This Writer would like to ask other organisations in different constituencies across the UK to provide the same facilities, if possible.

Many people who are homeless and living on the streets are only there because they have suffered the brunt of Conservative austerity.

We should all – in every constituency – be going out of our way to provide them the opportunity to vote – something the Tories have done their best to take away.

Source: Arnolfini letting homeless use its address so they can vote in General Election – Bristol Live

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Tories admit planned election timing was to STOP students voting. Voter registrations SOAR

More than 200,000 people have applied to be registered as UK voters within 72 hours – as a national newspaper claimed Boris Johnson’s government had set the date of its planned election in the hope that students would not be able to vote.

The BBC is reporting that nearly 200,000 people have registered to vote in 72 hours, and more than half are aged under 35.

That’s twice as many as registered within 48 hours when this story was reported earlier this week.

The story states: “According to official government figures… more than 199,000 people have registered to vote in the last three days, with 118,000 of them between 18 and 35.”

The boost to the electoral roll came as Tory aides made this shock admission:

“Boris Johnson’s campaign team have privately admitted that one of the advantages of an October 15 election was that it could limit the number of students registering to vote.

“No 10 is said to have factored in term times in deciding to push for an early election as it would mean campaigns had less time to ensure that students registered to vote. Those on the electoral roll at their home address would be less likely to travel to vote.

“A large turnout of younger voters in the June 2017 election is thought to have contributed to the Conservatives losing their majority. Labour has also promised to scrap tuition fees.”

Here’s a link to the Times story if you want to see it for yourself – but be warned: it’s behind a paywall.

Clearly, if Boris Johnson wants to deny you your vote, it’s important that you do – and it is terrific, therefore, that so many have already signed up for it.

But the BBC report says despite the surge, there are still worries that if an election is called at short notice, people will miss out – as it is estimated that a third of 18-24 year-olds are not correctly registered, or missing entirely from the register.

If you’re still not convinced it’s important, here’s Ash:

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TINGe group to register as formal political party. Does this mean we can find out who funds it?

Party girls: Heidi Allen (left), interim leader of “Change UK”, with fellow members Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston. You can read about their decision to register as a formal political party here.

The INdependent Group of elitist MPs – colloquially known by its critics as TINGe after a racist comment by member Angela Smith – is to register as a political party on the advice of the Electoral Commission and will be known as Change UK.

Small Change UK? Or Short-Change UK? One has to ask.

What I want to know is, does this mean we will finally be able to see who is actually funding this shadowy organisation that has, until now, hidden its finances by registering itself only as a private company?

That information would be worth knowing.

TINGe – sorry, CHINGe – claims it is registering as a party in order to take part in the upcoming European Parliament elections – so it seems clear that MPs like Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen, Chuka Umunna and Luciana Berger are nailing their flags to the mast and saying Theresa May’s third attempt to get her withdrawal agreement through the House of Commons today will end in defeat.

If it doesn’t, and the UK leaves the EU without having to participate in the elections, will they go through with registering as a party, or will they go back to hiding behind their shroud of commercial secrecy?

Participation in the EU elections would also provide us with a way to gauge whether the independent MPs and their organisation have gained any real traction among the electorate.

What do you think of this latest development?


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Outcry against ‘settled status’ registration scheme for EU citizens is rising

Dr J Gorski-Mescir tweeted that this was “the last time my family qualified for registration and ‘settled status'”. I hope the reference is not lost on you.

The image above is a mild response to the Conservative government’s racist demand that foreign nationals from EU countries submit to a registration scheme in which their details may be passed on to third parties for reasons unknown, and pay to become a persecuted minority.

I have already referred to the work of Professor Tanja Bueltmann in revealing what this scheme actually means for people who have enjoyed the right to live and work in this country for many decades – many since before the UK joined the EU in the first place. Here’s another video clip, with further information:

The following thread by James Chapman raises extremely important questions about whether the new scheme even abides by current UK law:

He also asks: “10. (one more, a bit leftfield, that just occurred to me) Has Govt taken advice on whether UK citizens who actively want to apply for EU settled status would have any sort of legal claim that refusing them would be discriminatory?”

Mr Chapman’s remark about the lack of media interest (barring a few honourable exceptions) produces one very interesting such exception: The Sun. That’s right – even the most rabid of the right-wing rags has attacked the “settled status” scheme as “sinister”, saying “there is a difference between ensuring control of our borders and straightforward hostility” and warning about the tone struck by “the silent threat of imminent deportation”.

https://twitter.com/jamesrbuk/status/1078956903735148544

Of course, some have tried to defend the scheme – such as Conservative MP Chris Philp. His argument turned out to be child’s play to refute:

Meanwhile, the following two tweets demonstrate the reality for people who, until Brexit, had every right to believe they would be allowed to go on living in the country of their choice, unmolested, until the end of their natural lives:

And some have resorted to satire. Here’s TV comic Jon Richardson:

Going back to Professor Bueltmann’s video clip, it stated that the “settled status” scheme shows ‘Leave’ campaigners were lying when they promised that EU citizens in the UK would be allowed to carry on living in the UK, unmolested.

It’s just one of many broken promises. In the clip below, former EU commissioner Viviane Reding lists just some of the main points:

https://twitter.com/BrexitRaab/status/1078948973749116928

Somehow, though, I doubt that the fact we’re all being shafted, not just those of us having to apply for “settled status”, will be any comfort at all.

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What’s the REAL motive behind the Tories’ racist ‘EU Settlement Scheme’?

Oh yes you are: The Conservative government could have granted EU citizens in the UK a continuation of all the rights they enjoy now but it didn’t. Now they face a future of persecution by the most overtly racist administration the UK has had in decades.

The UK’s Conservative government is creating a central register for one minority in the UK – EU citizens – holding data it can share freely and in secret with undisclosed private and public organisation in the UK and across the world. Why?

Bear in mind that the current Tory administration is well-known as a persecutor of minorities. Consider its treatment of the Windrush generation, of people with disabilities, and of those with long-term illnesses.

I’ve already explored the basics of this horrible idea.

Here’s the3million Twitter account – the largest grassroots organisation of EU27 citizens in the UK, campaigning to protect citizens’ rights – to explain the rest:

The thread concludes: “In summary, the UK Govt is creating a central register just for one minority in the UK, EU citizens, holding data it can share freely & in secret with undisclosed private & public organisation in the UK & across the world. This is truly shocking. /end https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/settled_status_app_data_privacy#outgoing-838331 

Professor Tanja Bueltmann has made a video clip explaining the implications:

In response to the latest revelations, she has added: “This is a *much bigger* scandal than the Home Office clip about settled status. Make sure you read this. Herein also lies to answer to a question many have asked me about what you can do to help: support @The3Million! One direct route to do so is here.

The link encourages you to become an “EU Citizens Champion”, donating funds to support the campaign for a legal immigration status that will protect all EU citizens and their families after Brexit and for the rest of their lives.

And if you need another incentive to visit the page and donate, consider this:

Will you really stand aside and let the Tories launch another Windrush scandal? Are you really the kind of person who’ll let a criminal government persecute anyone else, until there’s nobody left to help when they come for you?

I don’t think so.

Please prove me right.

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NHS privatisation: Are there ANY ‘qualified providers’?

zcoalitionfailNHS

Qualify v. To give eligibility.

It seems there are very few, if any ‘qualified providers’ from the private sector currently working in the English National Health Service, according to the latest issue of Private Eye (#1382, p38).

It states: “When the government decided to flog off large chunks of the NHS, it insisted that private providers must ‘qualify and register’ before being allowed to offer NHS-funded services.

“But the NHS regulator Monitor never carried out the promised ‘assurance process’ to test whether providers were suitable or not. It confirmed that it held no register of ‘any qualified providers’ and a spokesman even said it would ‘love to know where there is a list’.

“Monitor only licenses organisations that hold NHS contracts worth more than £10 million a year. This leaves the vast majority of smaller ‘alternative’ providers and non-profit businesses unchecked.

“NHS England doesn’t check them either. Not only does it not hold any list, but it has also stopped providing support to local clinical commissioning groups to enable them to check the credentials of companies that are bidding for contracts. It has closed its online ‘Any Qualified Provider Resource Centre’, along with the Supply2Health website which at least listed contracts and current providers.

“All that can be found after a determined trawl through the Care Quality Commission website is a cobbled-together list of 41 mainly small-care providers, many of which have not been inspected, leaving the issue of whether they are ‘qualified’ open to question.

“Responsibility for deciding who ‘qualifies’ to carry out NHS work falls therefore not on those who are supposed to scrutinise and regulate NHS services but on local health purchasers. As the Health and Social Care Act doesn’t define what ‘qualified’ means, health ministers have neatly opened up a postcode lottery in healthcare when certain companies may be accepted as qualified by some local commissioning groups, but not others.”

In fact, it’s worse even than that.

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) were sold to the public on the premise that they would be composed of doctors – mainly GPs. But the CCGs’ own management teams are in fact steered by private sector consultants – McKinsey, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Capita, you know the names because they belong to all the usual suspects (see NHS SOS, Jacky Davis & Raymond Tallis (editors), pp24-25). Some of these organisations provide their own healthcare services, creating an opportunity for corruption that makes utter nonsense of the assurance ‘no decision about me, without me’ made by Andrew Lansley when he was pushing the Health and Social Care Act through Parliament.

So, if you live in England and you are told you need a health service that is only offered by a private provider – you demand to see proof that they are qualified to run the service. Who checked them? To what standard? Don’t be fobbed off with an assurance that the CCG has given them the thumbs-up – ask what organisation advised the CCG. Get to the bottom of the matter.

You might find that your ‘qualified provider’ doesn’t have any qualifications at all.

And then who’s liable if your treatment goes wrong?

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Labour will ban MPs from having second jobs – hooray!

 

Corporate 'partners': These are just some of the companies that 'work with' your representatives in Parliament. Wouldn't it be better if the relationship was kept at arms-length and your MP wasn't their employee?

Corporate ‘partners’: These are just some of the companies that ‘work with’ your representatives in Parliament. Wouldn’t it be better if the relationship was kept at arms-length and your MP wasn’t their employee?

 

This is an important step on the way towards winning a personal crusade of Vox Political – to clear corruption out of the House of Commons.

The Labour Party will change the law to ban MPs from having second jobs including corporate directorships, employment or consultancy work.

Think about it; this means MPs will no longer be allowed to have dangerous conflicts of interest between their positions as representatives of the electorate and any responsibilities to other employers.

It would go a long way towards meeting the terms of the Vox Political e-petition from last year, which called on Parliament to ban MPs from voting on matters in which they have a financial interest.

It would not help when MPs have shares in particular companies – but those should be declared in the register of members’ interests in any case, and neglect to mention such interests should lead to strict penalties.

I know. The Maria Miller case (to quote a recent example) isn’t going to fill anybody with hope, is it?

A Daily Mail report has stated that the move will infuriate many MPs on both sides of the House, and some Facebook commenters have already trotted out the now-tired line that they’ll believe it when they see it, or Labour won’t be able to push the measure through as MPs would oppose it.

That’s a mistake – a whipped vote in a House of Commons with a Labour majority means an automatic victory – in exactly the same way the Coalition government has continually won controversial votes in the current Parliament (against ardent Labour opposition that has subsequently gone unnoticed by the public – or at least, by many commenters on this site).

The Mail‘s article affected shock at Labour’s temerity in wanting to force this measure on members of other political parties, claiming it is likely to fuel claims that the party is anti-business.

This is, of course, poppycock. How is it anti-business to make sure serving members of Parliament concentrate on their jobs as public representatives, rather than trying to serve two masters at once? It seems more likely that business will revive without their over-rated expertise.

After all, look how well they’ve managed the nation’s finances!

The Mail also quoted some goon who said it meant the electorate would be lumbered with more career politicians who have worked as researchers and special advisors, when there need to be MPs in every party who have had “real world” professional experience.

This too is poppycock. There is no reason a person in any career cannot stand for election and, if returned to Parliament, take a sabbatical from their day job until they are voted out again or choose to return to their vocation.

Ah. I’ve just looked up the name of the goon who made this claim: Tory MP Andrew Bridgen. Need I say more?

Finally, the Mail turned to the Institute of Directors for support. It’s as if the paper really wanted to hammer home how corrupt the system has become, and will remain, if left as it is. Of course, the director general, Simon Walker, said MPs could better serve the public if they have “active links” with the business community.

Well, of course!

How could he influence Parliamentary decisions without a few directors in the Cabinet?

This is a policy that we should all support to the hilt.

I strongly advise you to contact your MP and seek their support for it.

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Don’t lose your right to vote because of apathy

vote

Individual voter registration will replace the current system in time for the general election in 2015, according to a government minister.

It will replace the current system in which households are asked to declare the identities of everyone living there who is qualified to vote.

Instead, it will be up to the individual elector to ensure that his or her name remains on the electoral register.

The Electoral Commission has welcomed the announcement, claiming that the measure will cut fraud and “lead to a more secure electoral register” – but Labour has raised concerns that some voters will be left out.

This is a genuine fear – that pressure of other commitments will push electoral registration out of mind. Most working people, along with the unemployed, are confronted with a multitude of matters that fight for their attention every day; registering for an event that won’t take place for several months is likely to slip their minds. There is also the threat of creeping apathy; the feeling that voting won’t change anything, that has been carefully promoted by right-wing propaganda and agents-provocateurs in the social media.

There is a very deep concern that this is exactly why Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are bringing in the new system.

Tory voters are well-regimented. They will make sure they stay on the register, and they will vote according to their instructions, on a regular basis. It is a gross generalisation, but they are generally less stressed than other voters, with fewer commitments. Liberal Democrats could face electoral annihilation in 2015, so this will add urgency to their attitude.

Labour voters – supporting the main opposition to the two Coalition parties – are often less committed to the process. It can be hard to motivate them to come out and vote, and individual voter registration adds a new layer to this difficulty.

It seems likely that people who have not registered under the new system will still be able to cast a ballot in the 2015 general election, under transitional arrangements – but the Shadow minister for constitutional reform, Stephen Twigg, has warned that 8.7 million voters are “on course” to fall off the register because of the way the government is rushing the change through.

Here at Vox Political, we believe that everyone in the UK should continue to enjoy – and exercise – the right to vote. In fact, ever since universal suffrage was introduced (as recently as the 20th century), it should be the duty of the government to ensure that this happens. Nobody should be turned away from a polling station.

This measure does not ensure that – in fact it makes such a situation less likely. That is why this blog will endeavour to ensure that all our readers are made aware of when the arrangement changes and what they need to do – and we will issue reminders, to ensure that you do not lose the right that your forebears suffered and died to win for you.

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