Sunday, June 15, 2003
How successful was the Daily Mail referendum? - 15th June 2003, 0.00

The Guardian took four electoral observers to travel across London and assess the safeguards that the Daily Mail had put in place during the referendum. The answer was not a satisfactory one, even if the Guardian's neutrality in this instant was sanctimonious and disingenuous. In a patronising article, under the headline "What a Load of Ballots",

The Guardian was not trying to queer the result of the Mail's ballot, which asked voters to answer yes or no on whether a future European constitution should be put to a national referendum.

The electoral observers concluded that the process was flawed, due to the lack of safeguards on the ballots, emails, texts etc. What they actually showed was the dangers inherent in holding a referendum, when the government holds the financial whiphand.

The government has loosened the regulations concerning the electoral process and concerns have been raised about the potential of fraud in the use of texts, post, and email as channels for casting votes. Moreover, the Blair government never implemented those parts of the Nolan Report concerning the measures that should have been put in place to ensure a fair and free referendum. As long as the government can draft the wording of a referensum, we should approach this strategy with some caution.


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