We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The Rochdale by-election and postal voting increase

Nothing to see here sir, please move along:

From Richard Tice’s X/Twitter feed. Tice is leader of Reform, the right-of-centre party started a few years ago:

To suggest that a parliamentary election in this country has not been truly free and fair is a very serious allegation indeed.

Unfortunately however, the behaviour of certain candidates and their supporters in this contest fell very far short of this our traditional democratic standards. What we have witnessed and experienced in Rochdale is deeply disturbing.

In recent weeks, Reform UK’s candidate and campaign team has:

– been subjected to death threats
– suffered vile racist abuse
– been refused entry to hustings in a public building
– had to be relocated for their own safety
– suffered daily intimidation and slurs

In one incident, Reform UK business supporters were threatened with a firebomb attack if they distributed our leaflets. Menacing behaviour was a feature of the entire campaign, including outside polling stations on the day of the election itself. In this ugliest of contests, we are also concerned by the sudden increase in the size of the postal vote, which has jumped from 14,000 to some 23,000 in this constituency since the last general election.

The results of the Rochdale by-election should act as a stark wake up call to those in power – and the entire electorate. This is Britain. We are supposed to be a beacon of democracy. This shameful contest has been more characteristic of a failed state.
Unless something dramatic changes, our fear is that it will be repeated in dozens of constituencies across the UK at the general election. By Christmas, we face the prospect of numerous extremist anti-Semitic lawmakers in the House of Commons.

I thought the existence of voter ID was supposed to render the need for postal voting less necessary, or something. I have performed jury duty in London, and I recall that I had to submit a fair amount of information in order to be eligible. Voting is, or should be, a serious business.

The UK prime minister, Rishi Sunak, did something he should have done a long time ago about where public life in this country is going.

The new Rochdale MP, George Galloway, is one of those PT Barnum chancers in public life who has a most interesting history, as demonstrated by this Reuters (yes, Reuters) story about his involvement in Iraq.

Rochdale has, in a way, sent a guttersnipe to Westminster, bad even by the often flaky standards of MPs.

21 comments to The Rochdale by-election and postal voting increase

  • Alex

    No fan of Galloway but Sunak’s comments are the pot calling the kettle. The majority of people I speak to find the whole lot equally distasteful and distrust every politician. I used to regard that view as lazy and contemptible but I am complete sympathy with it myself at present.

    Was there voter fraud in Rochdale? To be honest, I’d be surprised if there wasn’t. The confidence of the public has eroded to the point of no return I suspect. Why bother voting now anyway? It’s clear nothing changes, and it’s clear that the two main parties have barely a hair’s breadth of difference between them. In such a scenario, you’d expect minority parties to do well as a form of protest. It seems unlikely this outcome would be repeated at a general election, by-elections are often used as a protest. Furthermore places like Rochdale, but increasingly the whole country, more resemble the third-world than England.

  • Martin

    Sunak makes a speech bemoaning an old fashioned Stalinist winning a by election and then makes out right-wing extremism is the issue….well to be fair Gorgeous George is more conservative on a lot of social issues compared to liberals like Sunak, but that’s to George’s credit, not Rishi’s.

    I’m sure there was electoral malpractice and intimidation etc, but given how badly Reform did, it does look like a bit of a cope Tice banging on about it. They got beat by the (impressive) independent local businessman candidate, the Tory(!), the disavowed Labour candidate, and the Lib Dems. In an area where grooming gangs has been an issue (and Cyril Smith used to be MP!) having the Reform candidate being an ex-Labour MP who got thrown out for sexting a 17 year old wasn’t exactly smart.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Martin, I suspect Galloway is “conservative” on things such as male/female differences: given his close affinity with Islam that makes sense. But that’s not much consolation given his evident loathing of Israel, cultivation of dubious friends abs regimes, etc.

    We have a terrible weakness in the U.K. and certain other countries for brassy political “characters”. Galloway with his black hat and braying Scottishness being a case in point.

    Sunak was right on the money.

  • Bit rich coming from “Mr. Coup d’etat” who couldn’t get elected to the office of PM in a genuine open contest, so finagled his way in.

    Pot, Kettle, Black indeed.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    John. Sunak was elected under the rules that exist. He’s an elected MP. Voted for Brexit when he was told it would kill his career.

    So I repeat: what he said was correct. Whataboutism doesn’t work.

    Come on commenters.

  • Martin

    “Islamist extremists and far-right groups are spreading a poison,”

    -Rishi Sunak

    He says this in response to a far-left candidate winning an election.Notice how he fails to mention ‘far-left’.

    What money was he right on here? Zimbabwean dollars?

  • Martin

    Martin, I suspect Galloway is “conservative” on things such as male/female differences: given his close affinity with Islam that makes sense

    It’s a low bar I admit, as the Jacobins, Bolsheviks, and even the original Frankfurt school intellectuals all believed there were only two genders. But given we now have Tory MPs far to the left of Lenin and Stalin on these issues, credit is due.

  • Martin

    Connor from the Locus Eaters site seems more on the money:

    Rishi Sunak just rattled off all the Liberal platitudes on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street

    But reciting “Diversity Is Our Strength” for the umpteenth time, or repeating Fraser Nelson’s lie about the UK being “the most successful multi-faith democracy in Europe” isn’t significant

    The standout statement was the equivocation between Islamists and the phantom “Far Right”

    His promise of more funding to Prevent will just mean further proscribing of extremists like… Douglas Murray and George Orwell

    Make no mistake: this rhetoric is a promise to quell those noticing the rise of Islamism, like Lee Anderson, while taking next-to-no action against the actual threat to peace, prosperity, and the Parliamentary process

  • Martin

    In an area where grooming gangs has been an issue (and Cyril Smith used to be MP!) having the Reform candidate being an ex-Labour MP who got thrown out for sexting a 17 year old wasn’t exactly smart.

    I have further read that Rochdale was 60pc leave EU vote in 2016….at that time at least Danczuk was Remain. Yet Tice and co think he was a good candidate to go against someone who in fairness (unlike Jeremy Corbyn) didn’t change their anti-EU views just because Remain became a left-wing fetish.

  • Roué le Jour

    As per usual Sunak is complaining about things he supposedly controls. Don’t like the way immigrants vote? Who held the door open and invited them in?

    There are 650 MPs and I expect quite a few of them are scoundrels, one more is neither here nor there as long as the vote was fair and honest, something which is also under Sunak’s control. Postal voting has been found elsewhere to be an open invitation to fraud and should be abandoned before the general election if we are to have any confidence in the result.

  • Martin

    As per usual Sunak is complaining about things he supposedly controls. Don’t like the way immigrants vote? Who held the door open and invited them in?

    Apparently it was all an accident. This isn’t true, but even if it was it’s just as damning as the judge saying Biden can’t be tried because he’s a mental vegetable.

    In the liberal mind of Sunak it’s a threat to democracy that Muslims are voting in a sectarian manner. But it’s an even greater threat to democracy to warn that mass immigration makes sectarian voting very likely.

  • Brendan Westbridge

    Postal voting should be banned. If you can’t get to the polling station, you don’t – in the elections as an alternative to war sense – count.

  • Zerren Yeoville

    Reality check on the relative threat posed by (a) l5lamists and (b) the ‘Far Right’.

    This from Spiked: “The glaring double standards in how we talk about far-right and Islamist terrorism would be weird enough were it not for the fact that Islamist terrorism is the bigger threat by a country mile. Despite desperate attempts to pretend otherwise, the fact remains that, from the 7/7 London bombings in 2005 to David Amess’s murder in 2021, 94 people were killed in Britain by Islamist terrorists. In the same period, three people were killed in Britain by far-right terrorists.”

    94 divided by 3 = 31.333 – so basic arithmetic, therefore, suggests that l5lamism presents more than THIRTY-ONE times greater a threat to life than that posed by a handful of pathetic bedsit-dwelling Axis-power cosplayers with a thing about goose-stepping in long shiny boots.

    Get back to us, Prime Minister, when your ‘Prevent’ program devotes its time to ‘prevention’ in proportion to the actual threat levels posed by the two ideologies; i.e., a one-week course would spend most of the week dealing with l5lamism and only move onto the ‘Far Right’ at about 3.45 on the Friday afternoon.

  • Zerren Yeoville

    Further to my previous comment, Sunak’s attempted exhumation of the political career of former BNP leader Nick Griffin as some kind of bogeyman for endorsing Galloway (an endorsement which had completely passed me by, together with probably 99.9% of Sunak’s listeners) only serves as a reminder that the Far Right in the UK consistently does a very good job of marginalising itself, without any external assistance.

    Griffin, a Cambridge graduate, was probably the most effective figure on the British Far Right since Oswald Mosely, taking the BNP from an irrelevant fringe outfit to a high point of having dozens of elected councillors, enough parliamentary candidates to qualify for Party Election Broadcasts on TV, and getting two MEPs elected to Brussels … in return for which, what did the BNP do? Kicked him out. The subsequent trajectory of the BNP speaks for itself. In the 2010 election, they stood 338 candidates and got 563,743 votes. Post-Griffin, in the 2015 election, they mustered eight candidates and got 1,667 votes. By the 2019 election, it managed just one lone candidate who got 510 votes.

    That Sunak should try to convince his listeners that Griffin is somehow still a significant or relevant figure with any meaningful influence just bears out the point made by the author of the Spiked article (referred to in my previous comment) that the Establishment instinct is desperately to try to “downplay Islamist terrorism while fluffing up Britain’s far right – which has long been pathetic and marginalised – into some existential threat.”

  • Runcie Balspune

    “Islamist extremists and far-right groups are spreading a poison,”

    -Rishi Sunak

    Strangely, if you examine the ideologies, they’re basically the same, apart from the sky fairy and the kiddie fiddling.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Griffin, a Cambridge graduate, was probably the most effective figure on the British Far Right since Oswald Mosely

    IIRC, Mosley himself claimed that it is a mistake to say that he was “right-wing”, that he used to be “of the Left” but, in post-war Britain, was at home “in the Center”.

    But it is true that fascism has been viewed as “right-wing” by continentals, at least since the early 1930s (and that is not because all other Italian and German parties were more socialist). Don’t be fooled by the different definitions.

    The subsequent trajectory of the BNP speaks for itself.

    To be honest, i wasn’t even aware that Griffin had been kicked out of the BNP; but i suspect that the UKIP would have drained votes from the BNP anyway.

  • Paul Marks

    There were a lot more safeguards on postal voters in Rochdale than there were in many American States in 2020.

    As for the Reform Party – I am NOT an admirer of their candidate, but YES they were treated horribly.

    Both Islamic forces (after the vote – can we really talk about “extremists” when it is clearly the mainstream position?) and the far left (Marxist atheists in their bizarre alliance with devout followers of Islam – that alliance must break down at some point) targeted the Reform Party.

    The Prime Minister responded – by denouncing “the far right”. I wonder who wrote that speech.

    No doubt there will be more laws and policies against “the far right” – such as the Reform Party.

    “The left beat you up – then you are arrested and prosecuted for being beaten up”.

    That is where America is now – and it is where Britain is going.

  • Paul Marks


    Sir Oswald Moseley always backed Progressive Big Government policies – whether it was little things such as mocking the “old fashioned” dress uniforms of British soldiers, or major things such as leaving the Labour Party because it would not spend as much money on public services, and so on, as he demanded – the “Moseley Memorandum” at the Labour Party Conference, with its demands for leftist control of the economy (of Moseley had waited till Ramsey MacDonald and Philip Snowden left the Labour Party he might have taken it over).

    Like Mussolini, Moseley never really left-the-left – the orthodox Marxists hated Mussolini as a heretic (because of his effort to adapt Marxism to the modern world), but he remained an ardent admirer of Karl Marx to his dying day.

    Mosely was never a follower of Karl Marx – but was an admirer of Robespierre and other Revolutionary statists.

    Robespierre was the classic leftist – death penalty for murder, an outrage – how inhumane. Death penalty for political dissent or for breaking price control regulations – yes! yes!, kill! kill!.

  • Martin

    Galloway’s interview with Sky news the other day is a good example of how to deal with hostile, established media. He called them out, didn’t let them shit on him, told Sunak and Starmer to go pound sand, didn’t apologise for anything, and came off across as very masculine without having to try.

    If there were 15 right-wing populists in this country with his profile and personality, well that would be interesting 😄

  • Paul Marks

    Martin – as you know, Mr Galloway is an ardent leftist. For example, his own criticism of (the insane) Covid lockdowns was that they were not extreme enough.

    As for those who say that we can use the same methods as the left – for example those people who suggest we use such guides as Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals”, you are mistaken.

    Evil methods lead to evil results – and evil methods corrupt the people who use them.

    But, YES, Martin – when challenged by hostile media one should respond strongly – not try and appease the media (as so many Conservatives try to do). For example, when the Prime Minister talks of (Islamic?) “extremism” he is making a doubtful statement, as the Rochdale result (and the endless Hate Marches, and sorry Neil Oliver, they are Hate Marches – the people on these marches want to exterminate the seven million Jews of Israel) shows – this would at least seem to be the mainstream Islamic opinion concerning Jews and other infidels (rather than “extremism”). As for when the Prime Minister blames the “far right” for what is happening in the United Kingdom – well it is hard to be polite about such a claim, so I will confine myself to saying that the Prime Minister is mistaken.

  • Paul Marks

    It is reported that the government is “updating the legal definition of extremism”.

    I repeat – how can the majority opinion of a community be “extremist”, by definition it is the “mainstream” opinion – of-that-community.

    I suspect that when the officials are finished “updating” it will be opposition to Islam that will, de facto, be considered illegal “extremism” – it is “Islamophobia” (the old Soviet trick of “medicalising dissent” – dissenters are not dissenters, they are “ists” and “phobes”).

    More “far right” types sent to prison for wrong-think.

    Meanwhile the crowds will continue to chant for millions of Jews (and others) to be eliminated, and, understandably, elect Members of Parliament who share their opinions.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>