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For the first time...should I vote or not?

It’s a toughie. Well, for me it is anyway. For the first time in my adult life, I’m wondering whether I should use my vote.

Elections for new police and crime commissioners across England and Wales are imminent – just a few days away now.

And I still can’t say, with conviction, how I will vote or even if my convictions will allow me to vote for a system about which I have grave misgivings.

So, there’s a funny thing – for a woman who can bore for her country about suffragettes, sacrifice, railings and race horses.

The very idea of failing to fully embrace democratic privilege at the polling station has always been anathema to me. Inconceivable. But when something kicks in to make a wholehearted democrat want to rail against the democratic process, I have to wonder... did I turn my face from democracy or did it turn its face from me?

Voting cards on the table – I really don’t like being asked to vote on party political lines on how the police are policed. Long years of disappointment in the party system (if we’re calling a spade a spade, maybe it’s age) have left me exasperated and frequently angry with political insistence on having to take a side, rather than look for the best we can be.

The very idea of one politically impassioned commissioner imposing his or her prejudices when hiring, firing, monitoring and controlling those who lead our police services, is one I find depressing and more than a little scary.

They have police commissioners in America. But I don’t find crime rates there particularly reassuring. They have them in the Metropolitan Police – and the least said about that force’s track record, the better.

Since my trust in politicians and their promises wore worryingly thin a long time ago, I don’t believe the commissioner system will be cheaper, more efficient, cleaner or more professional than the police authorities that went before. And I can see no good reason for imposing a new hierarchy, when the old one could have been built on and improved – should improvement have been necessary.

So what’s a girl to do, when presented with such a toughie? Does she vote for a whole new process of control in which she has no faith? Does she withhold her vote and allow some individual with – at best – a flimsy but nonetheless politically rubber-stamped mandate to grab power?

Flummoxed, and no mistake. But perhaps open to persuasion, should anyone have the answers I seek. They’ll need to come quickly though... only nine days to go.

Have your say

Just back from voting - or should I say spoiling my ballot paper. I took great delight in drawing a silly picture on the paper, as I totally disagree with the whole crime commissioner fiasco.

Posted by Anon on 15 November 2012 at 22:26

Completely agree with TW. For me it is either the independent candidate (the ONLY one who could be bothered to send me any literature) or spoiling my ballot. Given the inevitability that someone will be chosen, not voting speaks to no one. I think the ideal result would be: 1st - Spoiled Ballots, 2nd - The Independent Candidate, 3rd - The Labour/LibDem/Conservative rabble too lazy to send anything out (to me at least).

This could be the best result ever for Spoiled Ballots in British electoral history.

Posted by BM on 14 November 2012 at 21:13

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