From my article in The Sunday Times today:
“Fraud and forgery are part of any society outside Utopia. Neither element suggests there is something particularly evil about the governance of this society. But limiting the analysis of this scandal to fraud and forgery takes our eyes off the real motivation of the perpetrators of this conspiracy.
“The motivation was neither to pretend they’re doctors nor to steal money. The masterminds wanted all that to happen to reach an altogether more sinister objective. They wanted to meddle with the democratic process, exploiting the needy despair of hundreds of poor people, or their ambivalent greed, or their unmitigated ignorance, in order to sell favours for votes.
“This is how criminals and autocrats capture and retain power without abolishing elections. In place of anything quite so dramatic, they manipulate them and cheat at them, thereby ensuring for themselves a power permanence, creating the self-fulfilling prophecy of their re-election.”