Britain is turning into a third world country. If you want to know how and why, consider three of the ongoing scandals that continued to fester over the weekend.
The first concerns allegations of vote-rigging in London borough of Tower Hamlets, where scandal-wracked, Islamist-linked mayor Lutfur Rahman has just won a second term as mayor.
The mayor himself, according to a senior Labour figure present, was “visibly throwing his weight around” and being “overly familiar with count staff, some of whom were telling him they had voted for him even as they counted the votes”. Mr Golds, another subjected to a recount, found his vote had changed by more than a fifth overnight, from 1,098 to 1,345.
And Sanu Miah?In the recount, his vote dropped by a quarter from 2,270 to 1,722 and he fell from first place to sixth. Two of the three seats in his ward went to Mr Rahman’s Tower Hamlets First party. “I think this election was stolen from me,” said Mr Miah.
Not everyone agrees with that. One of Mr Miah’s opponents had the same surname: the counters could have got them mixed up. But he might be right. The normal rules do not apply in Tower Hamlets. It was Britain’s most troubling election in Britain’s most troubling borough.
Then there's the similarly troubling case of Operation Trojan Horse - the campaign to infiltrate a number of state schools in Birmingham, oust non-Muslim teachers, hijack the curriculum, segregate boys from girls and create a corner of the English Midlands that is forever Islamabad.
At Park View, for example, there have been complaints of segregation in classrooms and of GCSE syllabuses being restricted to comply with conservative Islamic teaching. Sex education lessons have allegedly seen impressionable teenage boys told that rape is legal in marriage, while religious education classes have apparently seen pupils given a list of Christian teachers and told to try to convert them. At one assembly, a senior teacher is said to have endorsed terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki. At another, detailed by a Sunday newspaper, he allegedly described non-Muslims to pupils as ‘kuffar’ —or infidels.
Sex education lessons have, according to reports in a Sunday newspaper, seen impressionable teenage boys told rape is legal in marriage, while religious education classes have seen pupils given a list of Christian teachers and told to try to convert them Last November, Sheikh Shady al-Suleiman, a preacher many regard as extremist, was invited to speak at the school.
Nigel Sloan, a former teacher at the school, has said Mozz Hussain, the deputy headmaster, preached ‘mind-blowing’ anti-American and anti-Western ‘propaganda’ to pupils, describing the U.S. as ‘the evil in the world’ and ‘the cause of all famine’.
And finally, from Charles Moore,an excellent insight as to why this has been allowed to happen. In a piece entitled "Our voting system is flawed but politicians don't seem to care", he writes:
Tower Hamlets has been a problem for many years, but its controversies are not unique. There have been cases of electoral malpractice in Birmingham, Bradford, Slough, Woking, Peterborough. There are also serious problems, particularly in big cities, with the Electoral Register.
Fraud, he says, is widespread - and known by the authorities to be widespread:
There are two reasons for this –forgery and coercion. The first has now been mitigated by insisting on postal voters giving a signature and a date of birth (in Tower Hamlets this time, no fewer than 10 per cent of the postal votes returned were rejected because of discrepancies in this area). The second flourishes, particularly in minority ethnic communities, where leaders can exploit clan or family ties to “harvest” votes from their juniors and from women.
So why is so little being done about it? One answer is that the very institutions charged with preventing this kind of behaviour have been turning a deliberate blind eye to it.
Enter the Electoral Commission - yes, the same Electoral Commission recently embroiled in another scandal concerning a UKIP lookalike on the European election ballot papers. It turns out that this quango, stuffed with usual bien-pensant apparatchiks, is so busy trying to encourage "engagement" - getting people to take part in the voting process - that it prefers not to deal with the less fluffy and more challenging issue of voter fraud.
The Electoral Commission is the body supposed to ensure that all is well with British voting. But if you look at its remit and pronouncements, you will see that it focuses more on engagement than on making votes trustworthy. In a speech in March, its chairman, Jenny Watson, seemed preoccupied with the need to “modernise”. “As a society, we are at risk,” she said clumsily, “of how we ask people to engage with our electoral system… becoming increasingly disconnected from how they interact with both each other and with other institutions, from their banking arrangements to their weekly shop.” The system needed to be “more reflective of the wider society”. She said how nice it would be if people could register to vote on the actual day of the election. She played down issues of fraud. She praised the work of pressure groups, such as Operation Black Vote (OBV), which try to get new voters. She did not praise anyone who checks that registered voters are true ones.
But it's not just the Electoral Commission which is to blame. So too are those police - presumably obeying orders from on high - stood by and watched as the thoroughly illegal voter intimidation took place in Tower Hamlets. So too are the local councillors in Labour-controlled Birmingham. So too is the coalition government, which is said to have been warned four years ago that Operation Trojan Horse was taking place. So too are the three main political parties, all of whom have agreed that dealing with postal-vote is not priority.
Everyone in authority is so afraid of being accused of being "racist" or "Islamophobic" that they have found it easier to sweep the issue under the carpet than confront it. But the problem isn't going to go away. In fact - until someone, somewhere finds the courage to deal with it - it's bound to get an awful lot worse.