Looking through the EC's website at its written Election guidance one is struck by its high quality. Clear, cogent, succinct, well written and helpfully presented and indexed; no manual of how to conduct fair elections could be better. Our teams of dedicated junior Town Hall officials who conduct the polling stations, counts and checks, who guard the ballots and facilitate candidates and their own teams openly inspecting every stage of the process cannot be faulted. We can have full confidence that the processes are tight enough to prevent the sort of abuses endemic in lesser nations.
Yet at the top level, their perceived bias against Leave-supporting political movements, a bias that culminated in their 'raiding' the Brexit Party's offices practically on the eve of the election whilst seemingly ignoring the most blatant breaches of electoral law by a Remain campaigner, as exposed by Guido, has destroyed any remaining faith that millions of voters had in the EC's impartiality.
Their reluctance to implement ID checks at polling stations is also seen as pandering to the Labour Party - who have long defended corrupt electoral practices in the big conurbations that favour their candidates. One cannot pick up a packet from the local Post Office sorting office on a Saturday morning without showing a passport or driving licence, so why resist this simple check for elections, which may happen only every two years? The Commissioners show an alarming bias to political partiality - for the most part, they are retreads from the Commons or local government of no great distinction who fit Betz and Smith's description
Here are different kinds of political ice cream for sale, but when licked they all turn out to have roughly the same unpalatable taste: a bland, socially progressive, anti-traditionalist, globalist, corporatist flavour.The EC are also unable to get their collective heads around technological change. Our election rules were created in an age of 'push' media, when newspapers had circulations in the millions rather than the hundreds of thousands and the TV audiences of our three channels could reach over ten million. We've moved to an era of 'pull' media, when the audience decide individually on their own news, information and entertainment sources, timings and formats. The EC have proved incapable of adapting the existing rules and are unwilling to move. No, I don't think our electoral processes have so far been corrupted by external interference but clearly foreign powers have been experimenting in how to use technology and social media to disrupt democracy - and we must protect against it.
Political funding and its abuse are also once again under our scrutiny. Whether it's the buying of political influence by the mega-wealthy global corporates, Russian oligarchs or the abuse of Trade Union block funding, we cannot allow our democratic systems to be bought and sold. Recent attempts at funding reform by Hayden Phillips and Christopher Kelly failed because they were establishment solutions aimed at institutionalising the then-existing 2.1/2 parties into quasi-constitutional bodies - all in the name of 'stability', i.e. of preventing the sort of shake-up that millions of voters are now demanding.
This catalogue of failure, of serial incompetence, of second-rate actors not up to the job and of a complacent patrician elite with no interest in correcting these failures must end. We must have institutions that defend our democracy that have probity, integrity, transparency and the ability to protect and defend our most fundamental and hard-won rights at a time of profound change.