Voting for the Nasty Party

YouGov, a polling operation part owned by Conservative MP, Nadhim Zahawi, has been reported as running a poll that includes a question as to whether ‘those who receive more money from welfare benefits than they pay in taxes’ should be allowed to vote.

Apparently (and mercifully) there was much opposition to this. It ought to be shocking that this is the way Tories are thinking. Let’s be straight, this is disenfranchising the poor (who, if they know what is good for them would never vote Tory- and that’s what Tories think too) and also straight out of the US Republican playbook.

Meanwhile the Electoral Reform Society points out that in this May’s council elections we shall have trials on voter identity requirements in 4 areas:

“Bromley, Woking and Gosport will have to show officials their papers before being permitted to exercise their right to vote. In Watford and Swindon voters will have to bring their polling cards with them.”

Yet the Electoral Commission’s data shows that only one conviction for impersonation was made in the whole of 2017, and that out of nearly 45 million votes cast.

Further I read that on best estimates about 1 in 10 people do not have a passport or a driving license and they may be too young to be paying utility bills, so this seems to be another field trial to discourage voting by those on the margins of ‘not bothering to vote because it is too complicated anyway’.

Regrettably the whole exercise seems designed to encourage self-inflicted disenfranchisement. Otherwise known as destroying democracy.

This, it seems to me, is truly the work of a ‘Nasty Party’.


  1. Neil -

    For balance, I wonder if YouGov considered asking (or have indeed asked) whether the very wealthy should be allowed a vote. They have less “skin in the game” when it comes to policies that might lead to public sector funding cuts.

    1. Sean Danaher -

      An interesting question to ask. Of course the very wealthy have a greater chance of swaying public opinion through the traditional right wing press and more recently through psycho ops using AggregateIQ etc

    2. Andrew (Andy) Crow -

      “For balance, I wonder if YouGov considered asking…….”

      For balance….?

      Now why would a polling company be interested in ‘balance’?

      They are looking for two things. A convincing ‘result’. And the opportunity to shift opinion.

      All opinion polling should be banned (or at least pollsters should be banned from publishing results) as soon as an election is called.

      Opinion polls shift opinion. That is their purpose. They are not neutral like a weather forecast.

      1. Peter May -

        There’s a lot in that – and some countries do indeed ban polls in the immediate period before the election vote though I’m not aware of any that ban them once the election is called. Such a ban would be a great idea and give a much greater sense of purpose to the actual vote itself – people wouldn’t be giving up so easily thinking they already know the outcome!

  2. Simon Proctor -

    Don’t forget that most utilities are working hard to get people to move to paperless billing making it harder to prove where you live.

    Voter ID requirements without funding to help people get valid ID is a con.

  3. Donald Liverpool -

    What’s the actual problem here? That a polling company ran a poll that you don’t like, or that the Northern Irish ( who already have voter ID ) are doing it wrong?
    The poll was real. I did it and gave an opinion that those aged 16+ should have the vote and those who are net takers also. What the poll didn’t ask was whether you think legally resident EU nationals should have the vote in GEs, the BBC Trustees should be elected by the licence payer, the monarchy should be abolished, the Lords replaced, and the absurd system of the EU where Germany ( heck, even Hungary ) has more say over lots of rules the Republic of Ireland has to follow than the Irish do themselves.
    So before you complain about a polling question, have a look at the areas where accountability is already lacking.

  4. Peter May -

    I complained about a polling question not because it shouldn’t be asked but
    just that it seemed to indicate a rather insidious line of thought.

    Voter ID in Northern Ireland was in response to a particular problem but it’s one that the statistics show does not exist on the mainland.

    Having BBC trustees being elected by the licence payer is, by the way, an excellent idea!

  5. Geoff -

    I fail to see why this question should even be asked. If you are a UK citizen you should have the right to vote and that right should not be questioned. I thought we lived in a democracy

    1. Andrew (Andy) Crow -

      “….I thought we lived in a democracy…”

      I think we did….sort of, but I think democracy is seriously threatened by influence which can be bought…by those with access to enough money.

      When a political party with no majority can use government money to buy seats from the DUP to create a majority, I for one think it is beyond time to be concerned.

      That better fits the title ‘plutocracy’ and we do seem to be drifting in that direction. The US has been in this grip for decades. I don’t think it’s a good direction of travel.

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