No-one wanted this change… The original system wasn’t broken. So why did they impose it on us? Waste of time and money. I predict the demise of the new system before the 4 years are up.
The police authorities already had democratically elected councillors, magistrates and independent members to oversee the police service.
We now have a system imposed on us which will be impossible to work…. Mrs X phones her local councillor at 11pm to complain about yobs in her street. Councillor says “nothing to do with me, contact your PCC.” PCC says “that’s an operational matter, contact the chief constable.” Chief Constable says “I am following the policy set for me by concentrating on drugs in another area.” Everyone points at someone else!
All public services are suffering budget cuts, so how will a police commissioner change anything? They might be able to re-arrange the deckchairs, but they won’t alter the course of the ship.
Thursday was NOT the dismal day for democracy…. Democracy is a process which needs involvement – association with, belief in, and collusion with – with government. Participation is the evidence that it is working well…. Where each participant has no belief in the process, and people feel estranged from the choices being offered to them, then terrible things happen, such as we have seen today…..Each “disaster” can be explained in at least two ways, and the ‘political class’ – an entity which is more like the old phrase, ‘the establishment’ or ‘the powerful’ or ‘our rulers’ – should be looking at themselves for the explanation, rather than assuming that ‘the people’ are remiss…..We the people, the workers and the tax-payers are getting very annoyed with always being the first-call for blame. The capitalist crisis was not our fault, that Labour is still tory-light is not our fault, and that an arrogant and conceited coalition thinks we should be pleased to have our police politicised through PCC elections is not our fault either. We just say no…..
The first PCC elections generating lower than 15% turnout is largely down to the fact that few people want their police to be politicised by ideological anti-state rightwingers who do not realise that this step reduces the effective accountability of the police.
It seems to me self-evident that people hate this government in huge numbers. In the past, this hatred would have manifested itself in overwhelming support for the Labour Party, but what we see instead is, at best, lukewarm support for them. Yes, Tory-lite policies are ahead in the opinion polls, but this reflects only the ‘get these Tory bastards out at any cost’ feeling among the majority of the electorate.
What is scary, however, is the complete lack of political engagement that characterises most of the population. The Labour Party was born in a world of liberal economics, but grew out of the dispossessed, both represented and was represented by the dispossessed, and argued emphatically that the dispossessed could create a better world for the dispossessed. Today, the Labour Party (like their supposed sympathisers in the media, like Democrat spin doctors in the USA) believe that only an appeal to ‘the centre’ can secure victory in the future. The entire history of the Labour Party demonstrates that this is untrue. The ‘centre’ is so far to the right in modern politics that is says NOTHING to the majority of the population, whose living standards are declining before their very eyes. This appeal to the so-called centre (which, thirty years ago, would have been regarded as off the scale right-wing Thatcherism, with its myopic belief in the power of the unfettered market to do good, for God’s sake) has stranded an ever-larger section of our society in an apolitical wilderness.
When I was a young working class kid, I didn’t really understand the significance of the working-men’s and Labour Clubs that dotted the streets of the industrial north. I do now. They were a genuine link between the daily struggle of ordinary people working for very little (but striving to keep their families going and their pride intact) and those who were fortunate enough to represent them in a democratic system that gave the workers a voice previously denied to them. That voice could, just for once in our history, be heard LITERALLY, in the working class accents in the House of Commons during the 1970s. Just then, the working class were taken seriously. Today, they are nothing… discarded to the dustbin of history. This is reflected in the horrific state of our cities: abandoned, shuttered and derelict. We have lost the battle.
Our parents were engaged politically because they believed that democracy could secure something for them. And it did: it secured pensions, benefits, respect in the workplace. But why should the offspring of that generation have ANY political concerns? During their lifetimes, everything they have heard on the radio, watched on the TV, read in the newspapers has told them that the shitness of their lives is the product only of their own shitness. Is there one single politician (forget the Conservatives or Liberals…is there one single LABOUR politician) who is willing to stand up for the dispossessed and say: hang on, the multimillionaires who rule your lives do so because they happened to be born multimillionaires, and your life is shit because you happened to be born into shit…but it can be different? No. And that is why you now have record low turnouts in the poorest constiuencies in the UK. We have deliberately created a dispossessed class who will never be capable of engaging with politics. And this can only benefit the continuation of the staus quo.
All attempts by Cameron and co to delegate this away is going to fail. They will still be held to account for their failure to reorganise the police, reforming and cutting back on the motley variety of police authorities we have now, and creating more specialist units which can deal, for example, with child prostitutution which skips over policing borders, and sophisticated types of fraud, theft and burglary which organise nationally.
Now can we have our Community Health Councils back, please… with democratically accountable local health commissioning to put a spanner in the works of the approaching health service reforms omnishambles.