Anorak News | First Past The Post

First Past The Post

by | 2nd, June 2004

‘ANOTHER day and another triumph for the postal service, as we hear from Tony Blair that he wants us to have a great Christmas and a happy New Year. And to think, it’s only June!

‘It’s another vote for that nice Mr Churchill’

That’s how good the post is – it can actually make things arrive six months early. Hats off to the Royal Mail.

But even a perfect system is only as good as the people that work in it, and we learn in the Independent that the Government’s postal voting experiment for the upcoming local and European elections has hit a glitch.

Lord Falconer of Thornton, the Lord Chancellor, is heard by the paper insisting that “the vast, vast, vast bulk” of ballot papers would be in the postal system by midnight tonight, the deadline.

And don’t doubt that what the paper estimates to be 430,000 voting papers that may yet miss this deadline is anything but “something of a success”.

Lord Falconer says it is a triumph, so it must be.

So the postal voting pilot scheme, covering 14.2 million voters in the North-east, the Midlands, Humberside and Yorkshire, is a logistical winner, and the Opposition should not “carp on the edges”.

Worry not that Charles Kennedy, leader of the Lib Dems, calls the trial a “democratic disgrace” in the Guardian or that the Election Commission tells the same paper that 300,000 ballot papers may miss their targets completely.

Indeed, the Guardian reports on how such is the level of confidence in the scheme and the Royal Mail that Gateshead council is using 18 libraries as collection points, so bypassing the postie.

And in Oldham, the Indy says that 120 council staff have been delivering papers to local homes after it took charge of distribution.

But the councils should not worry, not with the Royal Mail on the case.

Happy voting, as they say in Newcastle. Oh, and happy Christmas one and all…’

Posted: 2nd, June 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink