Islamic Respect Party bullies British voters
There have been extensive reports over the possible misuse of the postal-voting system in Britain’s general election of 2010, perhaps amounting to systematic fraud by groups intent on manipulating the choices of voters in particular areas. The issue raises great concern over the integrity of a democracy long regarded (particularly by itself) as one of the world’s cleanest; and it is even more embarrassing when Britain is so prominent in earnestly lecturing other countries (not least two it has invaded, Afghanistan and Iraq) on the need for democratic probity.
Not a good look for the home of democracy:
A young woman in Tower Hamlets told me that she and her elderly mother were “bullied” into handing their postal-ballots to a representative of the Respect Party after he knocked on their door seeking support. It was implied that they had to give him their ballots if they wanted to vote at all, as if this was normal procedure.
The canvasser initially asked the mother and daughter - who, like him, were of Bengali Muslim background - about which party they were thinking of voting for. The young woman, a first-year university student, said she was going to vote Green or Liberal Democrat. The man replied that the women, as Bengal Muslims, had to vote Respect because the party truly represented the people of the borough.
The pressure didn't stop there:
The young woman was concerned that the eventual effect of such pressure would be to make her feel she had to wear a hijab when outside her home. She challenged the campaigner and said that she would stick to her original decision, ticking her chosen boxes. “No, you cannot vote for them, that is pointless. You may as well vote for the [extreme-right] BNP", the Respect man replied. He then accused her of being "brainwashed", continued to berate her about why it was her duty to vote for Respect, and moved on to questioning her devotion to Islam and their shared faith. She reports feeling very intimidated.
A confident enemy within need not be subtle.