Wednesday, 24 October 2012

X marks the spot

The American presidential election is attracting comparatively little interest in the media on this side of the pond compared with four years ago.  The whole affair is, of course, of interest to me and my fellow non-Americans not because of any difference either candidate will make directly to our lives after election but because of the influence that the mighty USA has on global politics.  Personally, I don't find myself much attracted to either candidate.  But I'm not going into that now.

We are to have elections over here in England as well.  On 15 November people outside London will have the opportunity for the first time to vote for Police and Crime Commissioners.  Each police force - there are, I think, 41 or 42 in England and Wales outside London - is to have a PCC.  This is a new position and the role includes (here I quote from a leaflet recently distributed to each home)
  • meeting the public regularly to listen to their views on policing
  • producing a police and crime plan settig out local policing priorities
  • deciding how the budget will be spent
  • appointing Chief Constables and dismissing them if needed.
The cynic in me might remark that the first three of those points should be the responsibility of the Chief Constable of each force and the last is already the responsibility of another body.  Looks like this is another example of a layer of bureaucracy being inserted where it's not needed.  Jobs for the boys even.  Talking of which, I haven't heard or read if these are paid positions.  I imagine they must be as to undertake the duties properly, the elected people will need to be working full-time.  So we will be paying a salary, travel expenses, office costs etc etc.

As yet, we don't yet know who the candidates are: their names will not be available to the general public until 26 October.  I have a sneaking suspicion that very few of the candidates will be known to the electorate although most of them will be from one of the three or four main political parties.  The PCC is supposed to be non-political but the cynic in me once again protests: independent candidates will be unable to afford the cost of canvassing.  I did read that one-time-deputy prime minister John Prescott is a candidate for one police force.  If that's the standard we can expect, Heaven help us!


The Grand Café du Commerce stands at the crossroads in the centre of Pouancé with a narrow, one-way road running alongside the bar and through the medieval Port Angevine.


Uncle Skip, said...

I've read about this elected police commission thing and don't understand how it can work. It only seems to politicize a group that should be anything but.

But then there are a lot of things over here I don't understand either.

Buck said...

What an inviting cafe! I could see myself nursing a few glasses of vin rouge in the sun there.

The Broad said...

I cannot for the life of me understand the point of this particular election -- how can the ordinary voter possibly know enough about the candidates when we don't even know who they are yet? My husband and son got their voting cards a couple of days ago and a leaflet about the election. I can't fathom why there has been no information about the candidates -- beyond belief...