Thursday, 8 November 2012

Politics 1, Democracy 0

In the UK, we're about to have elections for local Police Commissioners. The government have responded to all the fuss about the influence over the police by political parties, for example in the recent News of the World scandal where the police failed to investigate some serious crimes and politicians were somehow involved, along with pool parties and flirty text messages. But there was absolutely no connection between any of those events.

Anyway, at the moment, each police force is overseen by a committee of 17 people, drawn from the local community, social services and so on. They debate policy and standards and the odd number means that there's never a hung vote.

The government, in the interests of maintaining the integrity of the police and the non-interference of political parties, are replacing this committee of 17 good people with a committee of... 1.

One police commissioner will have the power to hire and fire Chief Constables, amongst other important things.

Now, to keep it all fair and above board, anyone can stand for election as a commissioner. Anyone with £5,000 to spend on the deposit, that is.

But oh, hang on, what's this? If you're a serving MP, as in a Member of Parliament, as in a serving party political politician, you only have to pay £500. Which you don't really have to pay, your party pays it for you.

OK, so a politician pays £500 and an ordinary pillar of the local community pays £5,000.

On top of that, the government has levelled the playing field by limiting how much the candidates can spend on advertising. £100,000.

£100,000.

That's quite a lot of money for an independent candidate to spend on advertising, isn't it?

But a drop in the ocean for a main political party.

I say we vote to get rid of democracy. It's all a con anyway.

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