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15 November 2012 @ 05:53 pm
PCC Elections  
Just got back from spoiling my ballot paper, following carefully the instructions* provided by [personal profile] spiralsheep.

I don't particularly object to the PCCs themselves, accepting the argument that senior police officers have been playing politics without accountability for pretty much as long as there have been senior police officers. However I do strongly object to the barriers that were placed in the way of candidates making their positions known to the electorate. I actually visited the official website where it was clear that the candidates in my area had been told they only had 500 words in which to state their case. Oddly enough they were all hoping to minimize the impact of budget cuts on policing (a non-policy since I can't imagine any candidate seriously putting forward a policy of maximizing the impact of budget cuts on policing).

While there are evils associated with unregulated campaigning, at 500 words it seems people have little choice except to vote according to party ideology which is, I believe, the opposite of the stated intention of these elections.

*There seems something terribly British and middle-class about needing instructions for spoiling a ballot paper.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/80776.html.
parrot_knight: UKPoliticsparrot_knight on November 15th, 2012 06:05 pm (UTC)
I have voted, despite my not agreeing with the post. I suspect that at 4pm I was only about the sixth or seventh person to vote that day. I tried to put aside party affiliation and voted for someone from a party for which I don't usually vote as first choice, though of the candidates it seemed to me that there were only two credible choices in any case.
louisedennislouisedennis on November 15th, 2012 07:57 pm (UTC)
Most of the candidates were vaguely credible, though fewer than half had an actual background in policing. I was tempted to vote for the Independent but based on his pitch on the website he could have believed in almost anything policing-wise.
lukadreaminglukadreaming on November 15th, 2012 06:16 pm (UTC)
I'm usually very particular about voting. But I forgot to apply for a postal vote. If I had, I would have spoiled the paper, which I did at the last election when it was a choice between two candidates who were both as moronic as each other.
louisedennislouisedennis on November 15th, 2012 07:59 pm (UTC)
I know quite a lot of people who are spoiling their ballot. It'll be interesting to see if the proportion of spoiled papers is higher than normal.
daniel_saunders: Marxistdaniel_saunders on November 15th, 2012 06:39 pm (UTC)
We haven't got such elections in London. Maybe I should riot?

I can't imagine any candidate seriously putting forward a policy of maximizing the impact of budget cuts on policing

It's like when politicians say they'll improve government by eliminating waste and inefficiency - good, because I was tempted to vote for the party aiming to increase waste and inefficiency...

I should ask my policeman cousin what The Force feels about this next time I see him.
louisedennislouisedennis on November 15th, 2012 08:01 pm (UTC)
I imagine police opinion would be divided. A good PCC would be in a position to protect the police from a lot of political interfering.
adaeseadaese on November 15th, 2012 06:50 pm (UTC)
I have voted - there were a few other electors around, but it certainly wasn't as busy as the last general election.

I agree, a 500 word limit is ridiculous, and leaves very little room for differentiation or CV. They are at least not all wasting space on stating the obvious round here - only three of the four candidates said they stood for reducing crime.
louisedennislouisedennis on November 15th, 2012 08:02 pm (UTC)
I don't know there was a 500 word limit. But the official statements all seemed to be about that length so I assume it was the case. I don't think they necessarily needed 1000s or words but 500 didn't seem to give room for more than "I'm a magistrate and I want to reduce crime".
bunn: Bahbunn on November 15th, 2012 06:56 pm (UTC)
I just voted (54th person at our polling station!)

We had several reasonable-looking candidates standing as Independents, and they all had websites of their own, detailed in their official site entries, plus they were all holding forth on Twitter and Facebook too - so I felt I had a reasonable amount of info to judge on.
louisedennislouisedennis on November 15th, 2012 08:04 pm (UTC)
Some of the party-backed candidates had separate websites, but the only independent gave an address. At some level I object to having to write off to someone in order to decide whether I should vote for them.

It does also seem a bit disenfranchising to make the internet the only simple means to learn about the candidates. I find it hard to imagine B's parents, for instance, coping with much more than the basic website - if that.
bunn: Logresbunn on November 15th, 2012 09:04 pm (UTC)
I agree - it would not be good if internet was the only medium.

Our local radio is usually chronically short of content, and I understand has staged several debates with candidates - although I don't know how effective they were, as I only heard about them on Twitter. Still, they did happen.

It's probably more difficult in areas with more actual news :-D
louisedennislouisedennis on November 16th, 2012 09:55 am (UTC)
We're not really very well plugged into the local news scene, so of course there may have been more information at that level. I think it might have helped if we'd started actually trying to find information a little earlier than we did.
May: question authorityrain_sleet_snow on November 16th, 2012 08:20 am (UTC)
Bollocks, I never thought of spoiling my paper. I did insist on voting and on reading all the candidates' election stuff - they all had their own websites, some better run than others. I wanted to vote for an independent, but settled elsewhere in the end.

I was intrigued to see that a lack of experience in how local government/government at large works is considered a positive. In my experience, business and government have very different SOPs and cultures. If the business-minded local independent gets in, he's going to get a nasty shock...
louisedennislouisedennis on November 16th, 2012 09:53 am (UTC)
I'm sure it would have helped if we'd started thinking about who to vote for sometime before last weekend. I'm used to having a bunch of leaflets to pick up and flick through, it was rather disconcerting to be faced with just a web address. It may also all be different next time around when people will have a much better idea what the issues with and powers of a PCC are.