Previously I’ve offered some views on the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections (see here). If you’ve read any of my stuff you’ll realise that I broadly fall into the same category as the majority of the electorate i.e. apathetic!
In addition to all that I’ve said previously on the matter; I’m also now a little concerned that both our local candidates could be using this election to further their own personal agenda?
By that I’m not referring to any financial advantage or self-promotional interests, although the former issue did rear its head in a recent BBC Radio York interview (see ‘analysis’ here) and even the latter one could also be an underlying factor in their respective interests in the post?
Despite our PCC candidates bucking the national gender trend it worries me that something that is so important to our society as a whole, is hijacked and (partly) being used as a promotional tool for feminism. Indeed Ruth Potter, the Labour Party backed candidate, openly admits to her feminist political roots (see here).
I believe that the political culture in this country is still based on male-dominated late 19th and early 20th Century models and needs to be changed to work for women…(Ruth Potter)
The Conservative backed candidate, Julia Mulligan, has also suggested that her ‘network’ of female PCC candidates “naturally gravitate together and bounce ideas off each other.” But isn’t that something anyone can do, irrespective of their sex, if they have sufficient knowledge about all the issues? Even better if they have the skills to deliver solutions to the problems being raised.
The network has proved there are some very, very capable women and it’s been very interesting to swap ideas and learn from each other’s perspectives…(Julia Mulligan)
Candidates to become North Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner have blamed the government for not informing the public about the election…(bbc.co.uk)
There are some that would say (me included) that’s a little rich! Both candidates are suggesting that the lack of public interest in PCC elections is down to the lack of Government promotion (and spending). That may be partly correct however; how have they promoted the process across the county? What efforts have they put into informing ‘their’ electorate? How much promotional work have they actually done, outside the self-promotion inside their own political parties that is? Not very much or very well by several accounts.
Irrespective of the fact I’m no real fan or advocate of the process, in my opinion; given the great importance of this election to our society and the policing it receives, shouldn’t both candidates have put more effort into the process? Especially when it’s (apparently) so very important to them as individuals.
In addition to any personal political aspirations, both candidates should also understand all the financial impacts of the role fully. They are competing to do something that could actually have a profound impact upon all of us, something that far too many politicians very quickly loose sight of after election.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for a county sometimes known for its thriftiness, the debate between the candidates running to be North Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner truly caught fire when the subject of money arose…(Nick Morris BBC)
As Nick Morris pointed out in his analysis of the recent BBC Radio York phone-in, which both candidates took part in, public cash is a big factor in policing. It also appears to be a big driving force for the candidates, or at least their expected salary of £70,000.00 pa does. Indeed, when challenged by a caller on the show about doing the job for half the money, only one of them said they were prepared to do so.
This brings me to another important issue, money. It’s a topic that to my knowledge, hasn’t really been spoken about to any great level. It’s also one that has resulted in wholly negative impact upon the pre-election process, and all that before they even start to manipulate policing budgets to further political popularity.
Electoral campaigning and public relations require a great deal of money to be effective. In addition, anyone carrying out the PCC role, irrespective of them (hopefully) possessing the required knowledge and skills, would also probably hold some high salary expectations. But without substantial personal financial capability, or the financial backing of a major political party, as with the two North Yorkshire candidates, who could actually afford to do the canvasing job properly?
It’s also a contributory factor to why; (a) there has been so little electioneering and (b) why there are so few truly independent candidates standing. The financial considerations have, more or less, ensured there would never be any mass interest from independent candidates wanting to stand for election. It was (almost) the sole reason why I laughed off the suggestion that I should stand for election, whether or not that idea was offered tongue in cheek?
But still most supporters of the process say “it has nothing to do with politics” and/or political party popularity, I still remain unconvinced…
- Police Crime Commissioners – #PCC = ??? (bankbabble.wordpress.com)
- #PCC – Happy to potter about considering a mulligan? (bankbabble.wordpress.com)
- Police and Crime Commissioner Elections (enfranchiseme.wordpress.com)
- VIDEO: What will new police role involve? (bbc.co.uk)
- Women minority in police election (bbc.co.uk)
Recently I wrote about the ongoing confusion and apathy surrounding Police and crime commissioner (PCC) elections (see here). It appears we’re still happy to potter about whilst considering taking a Mulligan…
Many questions regarding the Police and Crime Commissioner elections still remain for example; will we see any solid advantages realised in the policing of our society after the 15th of November? Or, as the cynical amongst us have tended to suggest, is the whole process little more than a limp political ploy, one that is designed to detract from the central government failings on crime and the impacts of crime?
The official PCC candidates for the City of York and the county of North Yorkshire have now been confirmed but even that hasn’t really galvanised the electorate. With less than two weeks until the elections I’m still wondering; (a) will the anticipated poor electoral turn-out be significant enough to provide a true mandate for the succesful candidate and (b) will those who are elected realy be in a position to truly ”ensure the policing needs of our community are met” or effectivly ”oversee how crime is tackled in our area”?
After browsing through the websites and Facebook pages of our prospective PCC candidates for North Yorkshire I would have to say, I doubt it. In addition, much of expected electoral apathy is also evident by the Facebook ‘likes’ for both those candidates; Ruth Potter (113) and Julia Mulligan (69) at the time of writing.
I believe I have the experience and skills to do a good job for local people. My focus will be to draw up a police and crime plan that truly reflects the needs of our communities, and then to hold the police to account in delivering that plan… (Julia Mulligan – Conservative)
I understand the cycle of crime that criminals spiral into when constantly going in and out of prisons, and believe in tough restorative justice that is beneficial to communities and to victims of crime. I will prioritize all forms of hate crime. I look forward to working with local people in every part of North Yorkshire… (Ruth Potter – Labour)
The cynic in me would also ask; has the gender of the two candidates got anything to do with appeasing those who say, there are too few female leaders in politics or other public bodies? But gender issues aside, the real concern must be; how will either candidate actually deliver what they say they will? And if they can, does anyone really give a stuff?
In a recent straw poll conducted at our weekly Fisherman’s Arms gathering, where a small group of relatively well-educated and interested individuals examine politics, current affairs and all manner of life issues, the results would tend to confirm the projected electoral apathy. Worryingly, one was even mindful to turn out and exercise his right to vote but intended to ’spoil’ his ballot paper by way of protest.
One of the factors compounding public apathy is; far too many people have no real interest in any of the very important issues involved here, until there is some direct impact upon them as individuals that is. The fact that Mulligan is at least asking what the public think about those issues and asking what they want (answer her survey), is an admirable starting point I suppose.
As I’ve said continually before; all this soundbite rhetoric is based upon little more than a desire to enhance the longevity of individual political careers and the atempt to combat waning public support for political parties. Given the potential impacts upon policing in our communities I’m worried.
I’m concerned that the operational requirements of our police, along with the real needs and desires of our society are, in many ways, out of kilter with each other. The cause of this has been far too many years of emotive media headlines, along with the intentional and constant distortion or manipulation of crime statistics.
Add to this the career aspirations of many self-interested senior police officers, who have used policing as mostly a tool for personal advancement and it’s easy to conclude; the chasm between police capability and public expectation is now almost impossible to repair, despite what the politicians would have us believe!
One thing is for certain; failure to engage in the PCC process, or at least have some modicum of interest about trying to influence the outcomes of what is, for all intents and purpose a done deal, is simply not the right option but thankfully, its still your personal choice!
NOTE: Dictionary definitions of the candidate surnames are probably relevant here, in a somewhat ironic manner; Potter [verb] present participle pottering 1. Occupy oneself in a desultory but pleasant manner, doing a number of small tasks. 2. Move or go in a casual, unhurried way. Mulligan [noun] 1. a stew made from odds and ends of food, 2. (in informal golf) an extra stroke allowed after a poor shot, not counted on the scorecard.
NB. I wish to make it clear, the above quotations are not selected because of any personal agreement/disagreement with the views expressed, neither should they be taken as any form of endorsement for the individual concerned or the political party that backs them.
- Move along now. There’s nothing to see here: Police commissioner elections fail to take off (independent.co.uk)
- Elected police commissioners should be given greater powers according to think tank (express.co.uk)
- May accused on police commissioners (express.co.uk)
- Nearly eight out of 10 standing in police polls are white men (independent.co.uk)