The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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2:29pm on Thursday, 15th November, 2012:
It's Police and Crime Commissioner election day today. I'm a little anguished how to vote.
My problem is, I don't think it's a good idea to have PCCs in the first place. The sensible thing to do, therefore, would be not to vote. It's estimated that turnout will be around 15%, so whoever does get elected won't have much of a democratic mandate. However, it's unlikely they'll see it that way and they're sure to act as if they did have a democratic mandate whatever.
OK, so assuming that someone is going to get elected whether I like it or not, I ought therefore perhaps attempt to influence the outcome. The list of candidates is only available online, which is pretty unfair on independents as they can't rely on a political party's footsoldiers to spread their message — they didn't even get a free mailshot. I don't think that the police should be bossed around by politicians anyway, so that means of the six candidates available to me I won't be voting Conservative, Labour, UKIP or English Democrat. I wouldn't have voted Liberal Democrat either if they'd had a candidate. Gawd knows why the English Democrats have put one up; it may be a publicity exercise on their part rather than any serious attempt to seize the position.
That leaves two independents. One of these is a former police Chief Superintendent, so can hardly be regarded as impartial. I don't see rising to the dizzy heights of Temporary Assistant Chief Constable as a plus, either (it's like being acting deputy assistant second under-gardener in a Victorian stately home). The other independent is ... actually, she looks quite a good candidate. She has a home-made web site and everything. I wouldn't mind having her as PCC. The thing is, I already had her on the Police Authority before it was shut down. If I vote for her, it's like saying I approve of the replacement of Police Authorities by PCCs. However, I know she's not going to win because she's only campaigned in northeast Essex, which is so staunchly Conservative that she's wasting her breath.
People died to get us the vote, but they didn't die for us to put politicians in charge of police forces. I don't want to encourage politicians to have us electing fire chiefs and health service chiefs and park attendants and dog-catchers. By not voting, that's what I'm saying. However, that isn't what politicians will necessary hear. Besides, if I were to vote, the person I'd be voting for has no chance of winning anyway. I'd also have to think up a second person to vote for (you get a 1 and a 2) and I don't have a second (I may not want to see politicians in charge of the police, but I don't want to see police in charge of the police either).
OK, I've made my mind up. I will vote, but only to help the one truly independent candidate save her deposit.
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