Mr Monkey would like to take readers back to April 2000.
Councillor Iain Malcolm was up for re-election and it was widely believed that he faced a tough fight against Patricia Piggott, a strong Conservative candidate.
Many people including Iain Malcolm believed that he would lose his seat to the Conservative so he decided to take matters into his own hands and rig the ballot to ensure he won and there was no better way to do this than by manipulating the postal vote – Labour’s recently introduced new election fixing tool.
Councillor Iain Malcolm ensured that every elderly person in his ward was registered to vote and encouraged them to vote by post. He assured them that there was nothing complicated about the process especially as he and his associates would be on hand to fill the ballot papers in for them and even offered to post them on their behalf.
Councillor Iain Malcolm particularly targeted care homes, sheltered accommodation and OAP bungalows. As a sitting councillor no council employee was going to deny him access so he was free to come and go as he pleased.
As the election was nearing its climax, councillor Iain Malcolm was increasingly worried about the reaction on the doorstep and decided that it was time for drastic intervention otherwise he would lose his seat.
Around the same time the sitting MP for South Shields, Dr David Clarke was planning to retire at the next general election which was due to be held within the next year or so.
The only problem was that councillor Iain Malcolm had been selected to sit on the Parliamentary panel and was likely to be selected to replace Dr Clarke as Labour’s parliamentary candidate at the forthcoming election – something Dr Clarke was desperate to avoid, he even raised the matter with the then Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Dr Clarke despised everything Iain Malcolm stood for, he didn’t trust him and questioned his integrity. It wasn’t long before Dr Clarke was proved right.
Prior to polling day councillor Iain Malcolm instructed all Labour party members in Horsley Hill to go around people’s homes collecting any postal voting envelopes that hadn’t been posted on the pretext of “we’ll post them for you”. But instead of posting them he asked his supporters to hand them over to him.
A crucial part of Iain Malcolm’ strategy was to ensure that the postal votes from care homes, sheltered accommodations and OAP bungalows were collected in person. He entrusted this task to an unsuspecting Labour party member called Tom Taylor. He told him to take all the envelopes to his house and that he would come and collect them later.
After he had collected them he called Iain Malcolm to tell him that he had finished his task and that they were at his house awaiting collection. Shortly after Iain Malcolm arrived.
Tom’s wife Mary, asked Iain Malcolm to step inside the house and when he saw that Tom was as good as his word and had collected a large number of envelopes he sat down and started to sort through them. Then to the total and utter dismay of these life long Labour supporters he started to open the envelopes in their front room and removed the ballot papers. Any votes for Labour were returned to the envelope and resealed for posting and any votes for Pat Piggott, the Conservative candidate were destroyed.
In the early hours of May 5th the election result was announced and as people had predicated it was a close run thing. Iain Malcolm was declared the winner with 785 votes with Pat Piggott polling 709 votes, a difference of just 76 votes.
Iain Malcolm celebrated his victory by announcing to a handful of associates that he had cheated Pat Piggott out of victory by destroying her votes and said that he’d done what he’d needed to do to ensure that no Tory took his seat.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? Part 2 of this disgraceful act of betrayal will follow shortly.
UPDATE: Saturday 28th March at 10.35am
Yesterday was a record breaking day for Mr Monkey’s Blog with 4,163 hits being recorded. Bloggers also helped set an all time record for the highest number of hits on a single post.
UPDATE DATE: Friday 27th March at 20.55pm
Apparently Mr Monkey’s blog was mentioned at yesterday’s meeting of the full council and by all accounts it caused quite a stir. Some councillors appeared to want a hole to open up and swallow them. Others managed to raise a wry smile but sadly one or two just sat there with a blank expression on their face.