Why I spoiled my ballot paper
It’s election day for the Dyfed and Powys Police and Crime Commissioner elections. I think they mean Police Commissioner. I don’t think it’s Conservative Party policy to have more people commissioning crimes too. I think if were to conjure a scheme to alienate people from democracy, the Dyfed and Powys Police and Crime Commissioner elections would be an excellent model to follow.
Labour’s candidate is a former agriculture minister who was censured for failing to deliver on promises. The Labour government removed her from office on the eve of the big agricultural show in Wales because they thought that would be less embarrassing than having her continue in office.
I cannot vote for the Labour candidate. That leaves, and I’m pedantic enough to list every single party, the Conservatives.
To be fair to the Conservative candidate, he does sound sane. He’s in favour of helping drug addicts with rehabilitation. I think a Conservative candidate who favours things that work over dogma is a good thing and I’d like to support him. And there’s the bonus that you’ll be able to say with confidence the police really are the paramilitary wing of the Conservative Party. And that’s the problem. I have complete contempt for the election and it’s the Conservatives who’ve foisted it on the country. A vote for the Conservative candidate is a vote of approval for the system and this is absolutely the wrong system.
Political representation to the police is not the thing I have a problem with. There are issues that are political with a small p that need representatives. My problem with the election is that we already have them. We have a local council, we have a county council, we have a national assembly and we have the UK Parliament. There’s plenty that’s wrong with them, but as far as policing goes they have a fantastic advantage. They’re plural.
The law should be impartial. Politicians often are not, and even those who are need to be seen to be impartial and it’s difficult to do that with a party tag round your neck. However with the layers of government even if I do think there’s political bias, I can find a representative who I can at least talk to. The local Conservative candidate is clear that he will aim to represent all people in the region. Great but why would the Conservative Party want to bypass the democratically elected bodies like the local council (no Conservative majority), the county council (no Conservative majority), the national assembly (no Conservative majority), or the UK parliament (no Conservative majority)?
If I can’t vote for either then not-voting makes sense. The problem with not-voting is that it’s indistinguishable from apathy, which is a signal to all parties that they can do whatever they like. That leaves spoiling the ballot paper.
Spoiling the ballot paper is futile in the UK. It makes no difference to the result, but to me at least it’s an action. Police Minister Damien Green has contempt for people who don’t vote http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20257552 and you can see why when so much of the electorate has contempt for him. I can now at least complain I have tried to take part in the process and a lack of choice including the choice to re-open nominations is excluding me from democracy.
If we were allowed to write in candidates my choice would be Jackie Roberts. I think she has experience, knowledge of the local area and, seeing as she’s Chief Constable of the Dyfed-Powys force, she’d have an office in the heart of the organisation.
The comfort is that presumably Damien Green will be out of his post tomorrow. His sincerity that Police and Crime Commissioners are a good idea must surely mean his own post of Police Minister is redundant?
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