A Post-Apocalyptic Dawn

Well, it’s taken 4 years but the Horsemen finally seem to have earnt their corn.

The votes have been counted and verified and I can announce that the winner is Theresa May.

Results in Wales are not set to be announced until Sunday but it seems that the Tory Machine has won the day.  Having lost Cheshire, Leicestershire  and Humberside to Labour, they went on to take Hampshire from Independent, Kent from Independent, Lincolnshire from Independent, Norfolk from Independent, Surrey from Independent, Warwickshire from Independent and West Mercia from Independent.  So, apart from 3 losses to Labour it seems that ALL of the Tory gains were at the expense of the Independents.

I don’t really see why we should be surprised by that, the Tories seem to have targeted the Independent seats with some very (in my view) questionable tactics.

Firstly we had the Cabinet Office decision at a very early stage to withdraw/withold funding for a free mailshot.  Not everyone agrees with me but it is my view that this seriously disadvanaged the Independent candidates without the deep pockets of Party candidates.

We have seen Spin, More Spin and downright untruths from some of the Tory candidates in this campaign.  What on earth is wrong with simply telling the truth?  The story you are telling might not be a vote winner, but your proposals for dealing with it might well be.  Don’t keep telling us that Crime is Down, when it demonstrably is not, tell us that crime has risen and what you propose to do about it.  Way too simple that one for some candidates, they had to have a waltzer ride instead.

In Surrey we saw the late entry of two more Independent candidates which caused a few raised eyebrows and split the Independent vote, but having said that the Tory candidate attracted more votes than all three Independent candidates added together.

Here in DeadBadgerShire we had the (unwelcome) intervention of Mrs Theresa May, MP, Home Secretary.  She seemed to be targeting undecided voters with an email assuring us all that Tory was the only way to go.

A certain amount of spin surely?  Not only the Conservative PCCs that have had the power to ‘Hire and Fire’.

Not only the Conservative PCCs that have set the Policing priorities and overseen multi million £ budgets.

Crime is down by more than a quarter since 2012?  Really.  CrimeStats have endured all kinds of problems over the last few years.  The Home Secretary knows full well that the Counting Rules have chsnged more frequently than my socks.  Recorded Crime is on the increase once more but no mention of that.

We need a PCC that will take the job seriously and work with the government?  Is she implying that ONLY a Conservative candidate will take the job seriously?  Why is it essential to work with government?  It isn’t, it is essential to make Policing work properly, and to serve the public properly.  Mind you, it makes Theresa’s life easier to have a compliant PCC, that could well explain why she wants a PCC that will work with government.

How did she choose who to send it to?  How did she get their email addresses (that could be a worry)?  I didn’t get one so it wasn’t sent to all.

Even if wasn’t wrong to chip in (and some think it wasn’t) just because she COULD, doesn’t mean that she SHOULD have.

In Dorset she progressed to a rather more controversial video, promoting the same message as the email but targeted at Dorset.

Some of you know, most of you don’t know, but I was originally standing as an Independent Candidate for my local Force.  I had received all my registration paperwork from the Electoral Commission, I had sorted my £5k deposit, was designing a campaign website and was well over half way through getting my initial 100 nominations as required when the Cabinet Office withdrew mailshot funding. I was left in a similar position to Mike Pannett but with three entire counties to cover I certainly couldn’t afford leaflets for 3 large counties, I couldn’t effectively ‘Press the Flesh’ over such a large area.  Rightly or wrongly I took the decision early that the field was being tilted and manipulated by government so I withdrew.  Ultimately the sole Independent candidate here finished 4th, so it is highly unlikely that I would have won.  The Tories overthrew a reasonable Independent majority, despite the fact that the only candidate I knew anything about was the surviving Indie, and I was taking an interest unlike the average voter.

Do I regret withdrawing? I most certainly do.  Do I think I could have won?  Almost certainly not, but I am immensely grateful to those who supported and encouraged me, and I’m sorry if you feel that I let you down, but realistically I am convinced, with the benefit of hindsight, that success was far from assured.

There is an element that doesn’t believe that an ex Police Officer would make a good PCC.  Whyever not?  Almost anybody from a School Leaver to a 100 year old pensioner is eligible to stand.  How is any knowledge and experience, at whatever level, be a negative thing?

With just the Welsh votes to be declared the Tories have 20 out of the 36 PCCs elected in England.  More than half.  Labour have 13 PCCs in England, leaving a meagre 3 Independents. THREE!!

Party Politics now play a HUGE part in Policing of England, and I’m sure Wales will follow suit.  Who is to blame?  Personally I blame, partly, Theresa May, for her questionable interventions, but mainly, our old friend APATHY.

The government did a wonderful job of keeping the elections low-key, but I’m sure more people COULD have voted but presumably didn’t think it was important.

Finally I want to pay my own personal tribute to Mike Pannett.  I know the administrative hoops that he had to jump through in the background.  He had to endure some pretty tacky tactics along the way, but he did so with head held high.  Well done Mike.  You have lost no friends or supporters here.  The boy done good.

Theresa May – The Petitions

There are 3 Government Petitions relating to the delightful lady at the moment.

The first, and with the most signatures is

Theresa May to go on patrol with a police force for a full set of night shifts. (15,477 signatures)

If it gets to 100,000 signatures the government will debate it, but when it reached 10,000 signatures the Home Office responded thus

Police reform is working and that is due in no small part to the professionalism, dedication and sacrifice shown by police officers and staff in the line of their duty.

This Government deeply values the professionalism, dedication and sacrifice shown by police officers up and down the country in the line of their duty.

This Government recognises that the reforms in policing have presented challenges for police officers, but it is equally clear that the police have risen to those challenges. In 2010, we faced the toughest fiscal challenge in living memory and this Government has had to take difficult decisions across the public sector, including in reforming the police. Throughout this significant time of change it has been clear that the programme of reform is about giving back operational control so that the police can do what they do best – get on with fighting crime.

There is no question that the police still have the resources to do their important work. HMIC has made clear that the police are successfully meeting the challenge of balancing their books while protecting the frontline and delivering reductions in crime.

Police reform is working and crime has fallen by 8 per cent year-on-year, according to the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales, and by more than a quarter since 2010. People, communities and property across the country are safer as a result.

The need for reform does not stop here, and the job is not yet finished. Reform over the next five years will mean working to understand and reduce demand on policing and facing up to the changing nature of crime and its impact on police forces.

Home Office

(my bolding)  No mention of doing a full set of Night Shifts there then.

Next up is

Vote for no confidence in Home Secretary Theresa May (4,656 signatures)

The government will respond at 10,000 votes, but 12 of her own constituents have signed so far)

Last of the three is mine

Urgently review the Home Secretary’s Policing Policies before it is too late (3,635 signatures)

Again the government will respond at 10,000 signatures and all should be debated if they reach 100,000 signatures.

So far 11 of her constituents have signed this one.

If you care about Public Safety and Policing in this country, and you would like to sign one or more of these petitions and you haven’t done so already, click on the title of the petition you would like to sign to go to its page.  Don’t let apathy be the big winner here.  I see no reason why serving officers, retired officers and their spouses, partners etc shouldn’t sign, it’s publicised and it’s all part of the democratic process.

Alternatively, you could always try and persuade me what a damn fine job she’s doing and I might shut up (no pronmises though)

And while we’re on the subjewct of Petitions, we shouldn’t forget Lord John Stevens’ Petition

Protect neighbourhood policing (8,077 Signatures)