‘I’m Brian and So’s My Wife’: The Gosport Voter ID Trial

Local resident Ian Morris enjoyed the cut and thrust of the recent council elections, and watched with interest his birthplace of Gosport as it underwent a trial in which voters were required to produce forms of ID.

I can’t be the only one who remains puzzled by these conspiracy theorists who are claiming that the ID trial is a dastardly plot by the government to stop poor people voting, because they will invariably opt for Labour. I am 47 years old and bald, but if I go to one of Portsmouth’s more lurid nightspots they ask for ID. So I need ID to be overcharged for beer and deafened by young people’s terrible music, but I can take part in the democratic process determining who runs my council by uttering the words ‘I am Brian, and so’s my wife,’ or something to that effect. How can this be the case? The current system is a little bit ridiculous, if you ask me.

People were turned away from the polling booths in Gosport, even ones who wanted to vote for my preferred party. And so they should have been. The trial was promoted across all forms of media and every household was notified of the change, yet still some folk couldn’t comply. Let’s for a moment consider the absurdity of someone who is completely ignorant of a basic requirement such as producing ID who wants to have a say in the political future of their community. I put it to you that these people, whoever they might be, are going to make their decision on little or no information at all, as they appear to have been living off the grid, under a tree or in a cave. Perhaps they stroll about the place with a bucket over their head. If they can’t follow simple instructions who’s to say that they wouldn’t vote for a tin of baked beans if it was wearing the right colour rosette?

The last thing we want to happen is to reduce turnout for any election, but casting your vote should at least be done with some amount of thought and consideration. If you managed to miss the deluge of info on voter ID then you probably think that the Conservatives are still led by that ‘call me Dave’ fellow, that the Labour Party allows more than one person’s opinion to dominate it and that the Lib Dems need more than a Ford Galaxy to transport the entirety of their parliamentary party to the House of Commons.

As yet we don’t know whether who was turned away was rich or poor, left or right. But I think we can all agree that all of them were rather dense, and that’s probably for the best, eh?

This article has been slightly re-edited upon the request of the author.