Thursday, 11 October 2012

Vote Prices

At 50 euros a vote it's clear an organisation is needed to market them for a meaningful return.  Individual vote-selling wouldn't be worthwhile.  Step forward the Mafia, more specifically the 'Ndrangheta which has exported itself to northern Italy (or quite possibly gone global) from its historical haunts in Calabria (that's Bari, and its hinterland, as the Ryanair announcement "Welcome to Bari, Mafia city, please ensure you have all your belongings from the overhead lockers with you." noted.)

It used to be that votes were bartered-for individually - right shoe before the election, left shoe once the candidate was returned - so more or less the price is holding steady as the exchange becomes more sophisticated.  The price of shoes once determined vote prices in Naples (and now Lombardy) rather as the price of a gramme of gold determined the price of a decent lunch in Florence.

Berlusconi's PdL rightist party executive councillor Domenico Zambetti is accused of  giving 200,000 euros for 4,000 votes to the criminal organisation for the Lombardy regional elections in 2010,  and now joins 13 other councillors of the Lombardy regional Executive and Assembly under criminal investigation.  This includes their leader Roberto Formigoni , a crucial Berlusconi ally, who is accused of health contracts' corruption  and is expected to resign later today. 

It does cross the mind that the manner of compiling electoral registers in the UK lends itself very well to vote bundling and sale; who needs the Mafia when registration is done by household?  Yes there will be IER in 2014 but it's neither comprehensive nor effective.

The price of a vote in England used to be expressed in beer so it's quite hard to establish where UK vote-prices are  now, both because of the variability in how much beer is needed to get a voter dead drunk and the teetotal habits of many of the bundled voters.


Yours Truly said...

The latest generation of corrupt politicians - unlike the ones subjected to the Mani Pulite (Clean Hands)campaign of the 1990s - are totally unrepentant and unashamed, indeed arrogant and defiant.

Formigoni was indeed expected to resign yesterday, as you say, but did not. After a day-long meeting with Berlusconi's quasi-successor and the Northern League new Secretary Maroni, and telephone consultations with Berlusconi, Formigoni sacked his entire Regional Council, promised to re-appoint new good men, and is still on the saddle.

To get this advantageous compromise he threatened to bring down the regional administrations of Piedmont and Veneto, where a PdL-League alliance also holds office, and to stand for office again in the regional elections for Lombardy if he was forced to resign.

AND a Senate Commission has approved a draft electoral law in which preferences can be expressed - enhancing vote markets - though with a 5% party threshold and a 12.5% majority premium for the largest party (PD and IdV and the Commission President opposed it). Parliament now to vote on it soon.

Watch this space.

Yours Truly said...

The plot thickens.

Yesterday the Northern League's Federal Committee, under great pressure from their electorate, has reneged on the Formigoni-Alfano-Maroni agreement blessed by Berlusconi, and demanded new elections to Lombardy's Regional Council next April, to take place together with the national elections.

Formigoni denounced the Northern League's treason and unreliability and challenged them to confirm their request, in which case he would resign immediately, triggering off much earlier elections, AND promised that he would stand for re-election!!!

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Ha ha, very droll HG.

I think following the move to universally-available no-questions-asked postal voting in the UK, the price of a vote here is now around zero.

After all, you get a whole bunch of forms delivered to one address - dozens, perhaps hundreds - fill them all in in the same handwriting and return them all, and nobody cares or checks up.

It's scandal of practically third-world dimensions.