Whilst I am probably overlooking a simple complication, surely the easiest way to avoid the minimal level of voter fraud would be to include photographic evidence on the cards issued to voters? Our voting system requires simply restating the name on the card, which is hardly difficult to read and memorise, were anyone wishing to vote in place of someone else.
I have to provide a reasonably current photograph to obtain or renew a driving licence or passport, so surely it is not beyond the wit and wisdom of the government to provide access to these databases for each ward’s electoral registration department? For those who neither drive nor travel it would be possible for those registering to vote to provide photographs to the local borough for inclusion on their cards.
This would completely negate the need for a separate form of identity verification, the need for a national identity card, and were it to be a more expensive option, then those who desire fraud-free elections would surely agree (especially how infrequently voting happens) that it was a good use of taxpayers’ money?
I have no objections to a national identity card, carrying both National Insurance and NHS (why are they the same anyway?), but I do have a problem with libertarians who won’t accept identity checks, but don’t bother to vote.
With their proposed voter ID legislation the Tories have sabotaged their own defence against any inconvenient questions: “Now is not the time because we’re busy tackling Covid/rebuilding after Covid”. Now, any questioner can legitimately ask: “Then why are you devoting time, energy and public funds to a bill which does not respond to any existing problem? (but which is designed to boost the Tories’ vote share?)”
The tragic scenes coming from the Middle East with the death and injury of civilians, including children on both sides, is a reminder that extremism is always dormant. The blame game between Palestinians and Israelis dwarfs into insignificance in the face of real suffering on both sides. More at stake is the belief in the concept of co-existence, severely shaken by out-of-control inter-communal riotous lynching.
The issue of the final status of Jerusalem will have to be settled equitably, overriding the absolutist narrative of both parties, which we witness today, empowering regional extremists bent on destruction and virulent bigotry.
If anything, what’s tragically unfolding before our eyes should make us all more resolute not to give in to this extremist narrative and unite in safeguarding the future of all our children, whether in Gaza or Tel Aviv, Jewish and Arabs alike.
Dr Lu’ayy Minwer Al-Rimawi
Alright for some, eh Boris?
Boris Johnson has been issued with a court judgment over an unpaid debt of £535, which we are told dates back at least seven months to last October. Perhaps Mr Johnson is merely forgetful or disorganised, or perhaps he feels a trifling sum of £535 is not worth worrying about.
However, his housing minister, Christopher Pincher, announced on the very same day that the eviction ban, which was protecting private renters, will now be lifted on 31 May and the notice period has been reduced from six months to four – or just four weeks if tenants have been in arrears for four months or more. I wonder how many people will be losing their homes because they have rent arrears of £535, either due to losing their job or a significant portion of their income during the pandemic.
Between now and the end of September, I’m sure many of these people will be terrified, waiting for the axe to fall while they scrabble to find work. Meanwhile, our prime minister will no doubt shrug off yet another financial irregularity as being of no interest to the public, and the bailiffs are very unlikely to be arriving in Downing Street.
Too slow again
The UK government has brought in strict measures on international travel to limit the arrival of new, concerning Covid-19 variants, yet, once again, it seems slow in taking measures that will limit the spread of the same variants that have made it here.
One of the learning lessons of the public inquiry that the prime minister has promised may be that delays in difficult decisions hinder the effective management of a pandemic, but then the inquiry itself has been delayed.
Bigger fish to fry
I admit to being nauseated by the stream of crocodile tears about the end of a minke whale in the Thames. This from a population that largely thinks nothing of fishing the seas to oblivion to source their fish fingers, thereby destroying the whales’ habitats.
Flights of fancy
I read Helen Coffey’s travel article, ‘If you’re flight-free, the green list doesn’t exist’ (12 May) with interest. Thank goodness that someone has appreciated that not everyone boards an aeroplane.
What I consider to be a major challenge would be for the country I was in to go on the red list. The required hotel quarantine is quite simply beyond my budget, and I suspect that I am not alone in that.
I am hoping that Brittany Ferries looking into the possibility of running a ferry from Plymouth to Porto comes to fruition.
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