The phrase is Tim Montgomerie’s. He used to deploy it roughly as follows. Yes, politics means making choices. But they doesn’t always have to be either/or. The Conservatives can have immigration control and international development. Green growth and more fracking. Same-sex marriage and transferable tax allowances.
The new majority Tory Government won’t necessarily smile on these examples. But it will want to follow the principle. To this end, ConservativeHome is reviving The Politics Of And. In one series, we will examine Securing the Majority. In another, Growing the Majority. Boris Johnson will want to do both.
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Securing The Majority 2) Tackling electoral fraud
We begin with our usual tribute to Peter Golds, who has led the charge on combatting fraud in Tower Hamlet, and wrote recently on this site. He complained last month that the Electoral Commission has rewritten the law to make it difficult to investigate vote fraudsters. In October, he pointed out on this site that voter ID for elections is long overdue.
The Government is planning an Electoral Integrity Bill which will introduce identification to vote at polling stations and stop postal vote harvesting. Government sources point out that most European countries require some form of ID for elections; that pilot schemes have already been carried out in local elections this year and last, and that producing ID is already necessary in Northern Ireland.
Labour and other opposition parties will argue that Ministers are planning voter repression. But the Northern Ireland requirement was Labour’s in the first place. And the Government says that councils will offer a free, voluntary electoral proof of ID if an elector wants one. In any event, Labour itself requires two types of voter ID for its members to vote in selection meetings.
In answer to claims that fraud is rare, Ministers counter that personation, by definition, is a covert activity – so the critics don’t really know. And the Electoral Commission says that the pilots “worked well”. This is a classic instance of a measures that the new Government will want to take because it is good for its own sake – but which will also have the side-effect of helping to secure the majority. We hope to see the Bill in this Queen’s Speech.