About a week before every local election my councillor, a Pakistani, goes round to several houses in the area to collect people's postal votes. He sits in the front room as the man of the house gathers the purple and white postal vote envelopes of every registered voter in his family. The councillor then tells the man of the house where to sign for himself and the rest of the family. Once the signatures have been done, the councillor takes the envelopes, ballot papers and all, with him.
All postal votes gathered in this way come from Pakistani families. Many of whom would most likely have voted for him anyway. But to save these loyal and trusted voters from the hassle of taking two minutes out of their day to go and vote at a polling station the councillor has persuaded them all to apply for postal votes – votes which can be submitted a week before polling day.
In this way, he manages to secure a landslide victory for himself and his party colleagues well before the polls even open. I would hazard a conservative guess and say that he manages to bag over one thousand votes in this way.
This doesn't just happen in my ward. And nor does it happen among Pakistanis only. It happens in neighbouring wards, among other communities and in other local authorities. I know for a fact that it happens among the Pakistani community and it happened quite openly. It's been reported in the press and cases have even been brought to court.
I would hazard a further guess and say that 5,000 votes are gathered like this by unscrupulous local councillors in my borough alone. Stretch this to neighbouring Birmingham and the figure there is probably 10,000. Across the West Midlands region it's conservatively 25,000.
You could extrapolate this to other parts of the country with large Pakistani populations – including Manchester, Bradford and London.
But these councillors' helpfulness stretches only to local elections. Come general and European elections and the postal vote-hoarding councillors are nowhere to be seen. Their party loyalty stretches only to their own seats.
Their postal vote-holding voters are left with no-one to make sure they manage to vote. No-one is there to help them make sense of the postal vote process. These councillors have been so involved in filling in people's votes for them that the actual voter is left helpless without them. I know of several cases where people haven't voted in a general election and the last European election because they didn't know how to cast their postal vote.
In the West Midlands region I reckon that probably meant 25,000 people were disenfranchised. In the North West, where Manchester and Oldham have significant Pakistani populations, it was around 20-25,000 people that didn't get to vote.
And how much did Nick Griffin beat the Green Party by?
These 20-25,000 people were probably overwhelmingly ethnic minorities. If they had the opportunity to vote properly at polling stations and had not been tricked into giving up their vote to corrupt tin-pot councillors, the BNP leader would not have gained elected office.