I am all conflicted over tomorrow’s elections to the post of Police and Crime Commissioner.
On the one hand, I can see what is intended. It’s well meaning. On the other hand, looking at some of the candidates, I doubt that’s what we’ll get. It’s all a bit like New Labour policy or Catholic theology – as long as everyone acts precisely as the legislators intended, what could possibly go wrong?
On the one hand, a good friend who is in a Position to Know recently posted on Facebook exhorting everyone to spoil their ballot papers – a much more effective way of registering displeasure than just not turning up.
On the other hand, even if it does all turn out to be a colossal waste of time, it’s probably not going to go away so maybe should be engaged with.
At the weekend I heard an interview with a woman who expressed extreme frustration with the whole selection process, which she had found cumbersome and overly complicated. She missed the deadline to apply by five minutes, whereupon she cried. I too hate overly complicated bureaucracy, but if someone who is going to be reduced to tears can come within spitting distance of applying for this particular position then the process is already flawed.
My candidates might of course be made of tougher stuff, so let’s take a peek.
UKIP guy is right out. He has staring eyes and his statement talks about “bringing common-sense, fresh ideas, accountability and accessibility to the role”. I’ve been around long enough to know that people who talk about common sense as though it were a subjectively measurable quantity are nutjobs who think the Daily Mail is too woefully liberal.
One of the independents looks sweet enough. Her statement declares: “I have relevant, transferable skills having worked, as a front office cashier, teacher, insurance marketing executive, banker, software tester, Capacity Planner, Project Manager.” No, sweetie, you undoubtedly have skills and all power to your elbow, but they are not relevant and transferable to this particular position.
One of the LibDem candidates has been “22 years a Magistrate in Oxfordshire … Financial experience in the public, voluntary and private sectors, including running my own company … National experience of criminal justice system … Been a victim of crime, including a stabbing and several burglaries.” Now that’s more like it. That is pretty transferable, and I do like the way he slipped that last bit in, just to make it clear he’s not going to be soft on the ASBO brigade.
And yet, and yet …
Maybe I should have stood myself. Transferable skills? I can mostly make Excel work, though conditional formatting is still a bit of a bugger. I would greatly ease the burden of the bobby on the beat by making sure that all the paperwork was nicely designed and correctly formatted. I’ve watched a lot of The Bill and (many years ago) most of Juliet Bravo. The latter in particular taught me that dark evil can lurk at the heart of even the most idyllic RADA-populated rural communities. Sometimes you could even feel there are people who deliberately put the cats up the trees. It also taught me – along with the even older Z-Cars – that what any successful police force needs is a march-time theme song.
Theme songs. That’s it. I missed the boat this time, but come the next round of elections my theme will be up and running.
Still got to decide whether I’m voting tomorrow, though.