back to article Tories show they're ready for government...

The Tory Party is fighting a by-election in Crewe and Nantwich and showed yesterday that it is ready for power by engaging in computer incompetence that is normally seen as the preserve of our Labour overlords. A local Tory official accidentally sent several Excel spreadsheets containing details on thousands of voters to radio …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. shaun


    "A spokesman for the Tory Party also claimed we weren't allowed to report this story because of today's byelection." - it's nice to see they have the same idea about free speach as labour as well.

  2. NRT

    The rule.

    I think the "Exact Wording" of the rule is "Oh dear! Thats embarasing. Vote for me".


  3. Anonymous Coward


    well theyre all as bad as each other we know - but if the tories get in, at least that stupid little woman jaquie smith will get kicked out on her fat stupid arse.

  4. Mike Crawshaw

    Another reason...

    that they're ready for power:

    "A spokesman for the Tory Party also claimed we weren't allowed to report this story..."

    Yep, "suppression of the media" sounds like a democratically-elected government in this country to me...!

    Anyone remember when Alice Cooper "ran" for President in the US? His slogan was "I don't care".


    (PS: Cheers for running it anyway El Reg - nice to know we can count on you for unbiased and impartial pisstaking of all politicians...)

  5. Anonymous Coward

    No bias

    Nice to see The Register showing no allegiances to any political baws up :-).

  6. Anonymous Coward

    What Free Speech?

    Not enshrined in the Magna Carta, not in any other law in UK. It is allowed at Hyde Park Speakers Corner, but that is because of continuous usage and not by law.

    Mines the raincoat with "SSSSHHH!!" on the back.

    (actually we will have a good idea of the voting intentions tonight or tomorrow morning when, I predict, the Labour party will loose this seat. I am not sure that The Flying Brick (The Official Monster Raving Looney party candidate) will in fact keep his deposit). All over in a day, rather than the debacle of the US which seems to spend an age just getting the wrong candidate.

  7. Dennis
    Paris Hilton

    My confidence soars

    ID Cards and a Central Database will help fight terrorists. The only Terrorist I am concerned about at the minute is the clowns taking my Bank Details and anything else they can stick in a database and emailing it to any fool that asks for it.

    On a lighter note nice to know that its a universal problem and that the Tories are just as stupid as the Labour when it comes to looking after others peoples stuff. I guess there is just no hope.

    So stop shredding your papers and trying to protecting your identies, there's no point because no matter how careful you are its the rest of the (Gordon) clowns are just giving it away

    Paris because when she gets her personal data stolen somebody get arrested. When its me I get a letter saying bad luck

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Speakers Corner, Pedants Corner...

    I think you meant to say "lose this seat...", as in -:

    "You will lose your keys when I throw them in the river..."

  9. Senor Beavis

    El Reg Party

    Dear El Reg,

    I am fighting off waves of despair at the thought of having to choose between the range of incompetent, directionless buffoons that collectively call themselves political parties. At least the Monster Raving Loony Party is transparent in its purpose.

    In order to prevent my current option of writing c**t in the box adjacent to each candidate in the next general election, may I propose that El Reg forms a party whose manifesto is clear:

    1. Flying cars by 2015

    2. Scrap ID cards

    3. Sort out NHS IT

    4. Mandatory encryption of public data before transport

    5. Specific entertainment budget for MPs to engage in off-colour activities, possibly involving alcohol, football shirts, wildlife and hidden cameras, mainly for the general amusement of the voting public. Hey, it's going to happen regardless, so you might as well be up-front about it, right?

    This helpful move would allow me to vote for a group of people I felt at least lived on the same planet as I did. Though you could get amanfromMars to write your press releases to confuse stupid people.


    Senor Beavis


  10. Ash

    How does that work?

    When I to to vote, they cross off my name from a list, and hand me a sequentially numbered ballot paper. They don't note it down (but they could infer the number from the next paper in the sequence).

    I thought the actual vote couldn't be linked to you.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    the data was most likely either polling data or vote data on those marginal people so that they could send the polsters out on some last minute rallying.

  12. Steve Evans

    @Senor Beavis


  13. Dunstan Vavasour

    Why you shouldn't report this today

    There is a widely observed convention/rule that there is no political reporting which may influence voters while the polls are open. That is why election day news reports tend to be along the lines of "Turnout is slow/brisk in Dunny-on-the-Wold" and give no partisan coverage at all.

    Whether this is a convention or a rule, whether el Reg counts as news media, and whether this is likely to affect voters is moot however.

    There was also a rule that when mentioning any specific election, all the candidates had to be named. However, that has now relaxed to "there is a full list of candidates at some website or other".

    As for the voting intentions being in a spreadsheet, when I was campaigning we had a bespoke application from Central Office into which we imported machine readable copies of the electoral roll (the council have to supply this to candidates), matched up with the public phone book (minus TPS registered). We printed out canvass cards which were marked up by hand with voting intentions and then the local office would hack this in to the database. They would then print out the lists of pledged supporters for election day (with phone numbers) so we could go and chivvy them.

    As a candidate, going round identifying supporters was an important part of staying connected with the voters, and tracking voting intentions year on year (particularly as a Conservative through the 1990s) was both revealing and depressing.

    As for the case in point, why the !"£$%^ were they exporting voting intentions into Excel? Why were they sending this by email at all? Why the *&^%$£ wasn't it encrypted? Voting intentions given to a candidate are absolutely confidential, and when they are on paper we always took great care not to let them be visible to (for example) anyone's neighbours.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    yes Ash, its not really a secret ballot - i wouldn't want to be voting in Zimbabwe under this system.

    Apparently it is there as a means to investigate tampered voting, if a large box full of replica slips turns-up, all voting nu-lab say, then they can prove the votes were invalid. -- doesn't help the postal vote scam popularised by the workers representative party though.

    its a really difficult call as to whether this feature should be in or out. maybe one should have the option of receiving an unmarked voting slip.

    i don't see any problem with ticking the fact that you've turned up and voted.

  15. Richard Stubbs
    Black Helicopters


    Sorry to shatter your world, your vote can be linked to you the counterfoils in the ballot books can be matched up to your vote, its was used in the past to track communists in the 1960's see,,-1051,00.html

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'or we well send the boys round'.....................

    wonder if that means they will visit all of those against.

    Would save a bit of shoe leather to avoid those already voting.

  17. Mike Crawshaw

    El Reg Party Seconded

    @ Senor Beavis: I agree. I suggest "5" includes mandatory filming and posting to YouTube. Or possibly YouPorn, depending upon the activity in question.

    Important Requirement!!!

    *As long as El Moderatrix is the "Party Whip".

    Could you pass me my coat? Seeing as I'm chained up, I can't seem to reach it...

  18. Lukin Brewer

    The "ballot" isn't really secret. (Was: How does that work?)

    The serial number on the ballot paper (with your vote on) can indeed be matched to the serial number on the stub which it was torn from. I can't remember how it was done in the London elections (with the electronic counting system), but I think the serial number was noted so that it could be matched. Technically, they could match up all the ballot papers and produce a list of how everyone voted. In practice they only bother with votes for candidates that are considered contentious or seditious or whatever.

    This came up on one of the UK Usenet groups in the 90s, and someone said they knew someone (yeah, yeah, I hear you all say) who was responsible for matching up the ballot papers cast for the Communist Party candidate in a particular constituency, and forwarding the names and addresses of the voters to MI5, CIA, BOSS, Mossad etc.

  19. David

    @ ash

    The number is normally noted down, so in theory ballot papers could be linked up to names on the register in order to investigate allegations of criminal goings-on. But in this case I think the data is "which parties people told the Tories they would be voting for" rather than who they actually voted for.

  20. regadpellagru

    performance limited by Excel, there is hope !

    "Obviously a mere 8,000 voter records is not in the same league as Alistair Darling's benchmark loss of 25m child benefit records, but it's good to see Her Majesty's Opposition showing its potential."

    Yes, indeed, not the same league. However, I tend to believe their performance was largely limited by MS excel. You can't really stuff 25m records in excel, can you ?

    Once they're in power, they'll have large DBs and plenty of monkeys to extract millions of records and send them all over the place.

    Thus the league is not yet over !

  21. marc

    The BBC

    Are reporting a Pro tory story from their front page news ticker at

    Tories are speaking rubbish!

  22. Senor Beavis

    El Reg Party (2)

    Right - that's three votes for the El Reg party. And that's at least twenty more than UKIP and Veritas apiece.

  23. Vaughan Silver badge

    @What Free Speech?

    As there is no written constitution or bill of rights and English law develops by act of parliament and legal precedent, I think it reasonable to assume that, since freedom of speech has not been specifically outlawed by either, we do have it for now. However, I concede that the current inhabitants of London Reptile House do seem intent on abolishing it.

    Tux because freedom is about more than source code.

  24. heystoopid

    Oh no

    Oh no , just another tribe of 419ers racing towards the soon to be vacated feeding trough , as Gordon and his merry band of fat piglets are running down the same footpath that John Major took some ten odd years ago late last century !

  25. David

    @What Free Speech

    Sorry to be pedantic, but Freedom of Speech WAS enshrined in UK law with the Human Rights Act 1998 (can't remember the exact Article, but it's one of the early ones) that NuLab signed us up to, so they should be very familiar with it. I say should because, well, look around!

  26. Graham Marsden

    What Free Speech? I'll tell you what Free Speech!

    > Not enshrined in the Magna Carta, not in any other law in UK

    From the European Convention on Human Rights which the UK has ratified:

    Article 10 – Freedom of expression

    1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.

  27. John Sims
    Dead Vulture

    El Reg Party

    Got my vote.

    *The bleeding vulture because it's strangely cute. Party Logo?

  28. michael
    Dead Vulture

    el reg party

    my vote as well

  29. Spleen

    What free speech?

    It doesn't particularly matter what is written where, since the definition of a "right" is "a way in which the government promises not to use its huge, well-trained and well-equipped army against you, for the next five minutes at least". Realistically a government act, drawn up by the government, passed by the government and enforced by the government, only protects you from government if you print out a few copies, stuff them in your shirt and hope they serve as insulation against Tasers.

  30. Shinobi87

    why were they using excell

    why don’t they just have an actual database its not hard. where i work we have loads of sensitive data. we have secure database's and only ever send anonymized data that is heavily encrypted its not bloody hard!

  31. RW

    In Canada

    While ballots are numbered, the poll workers remove the serial number from the actual vote before it goes into the box, thanks to the miraculous invention "pre-perforation."

    @ Senor Beavis:

    You left out "hold individuals personally and financially responsible for cockups in functions they manage."

    I swear to God it's time for these jerks in the public sector to be nailed to the wall when they goof up. I include the corporate sector in that, given modern corporate influence on government.

    And no bonuses for simply doing the job you're paid for in the first place.

    <rant> <rave> <froth at mouth> <bite leg of computer table> <scream>

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019