Monday, 12 November 2012

Copperhead Stakes

It's not quite up to the excitement of the recent US elections, and won't impact science funding a great deal, but on Thursday we have elections for police commissioners.  I can't say that I think this is a role that specifically needs to be elected (I mean, we have to stop somewhere in terms of electing public servants), but the election is happening, so I thought I'd take in interest and look up the candidates.

My postal vote arrived this morning, two days before the deadline for posting it, which seems to defeat the purpose of having postal votes.  According the the instructions, one should choose a first and a second choice.  The wording implies that the second choice is obligatory, but I'm not sure that is really the case.  But okay, I voted for two.

Choosing police commissioners in Surrey is a curious thing.  It is a very conservative and nimbyish place, and many of the candidates are competing with each other to be the least tolerant of crime - or at least of the sort of crime that upsets middle-class conservative voters.  Certainly, such things as anti-social and loutish criminal behaviour is something police should target, but the prominence given to it in the statements of many of the candidates seems rather to be ignoring other forms of crime.  Guildford in particular and Surrey in general is home to many City bankers, who have, aside form criminal insurance mis-selling and libor-fixing, have caused the wages of their relatively poor neighbours to stagnate and their pensions and/or benefits to lose value.  This seems like rather anti-social behaviour to me (as well as some of it being illegal), but it doesn't seem that the candidate police commissioners are aiming to address this.  Ho hum - too much to ask for, I think.

I was pleased to see that the Labour candidate, at least, mentions the benefits of, for example, working to help young people with drugs problems, saying that he would target money at drug intervention (as well as other things) - shockingly trying to actually fix problems than just punishing.  He has no chance of getting elected.

Since it's the first election for a police commissioner, there will be no swingometer in the overnight election program, but I look forward to staying up all night watching the results come in.  I wonder which county will declare first...