Blame those truly responsible, Tony

Cllr Tony Cox is a bit right, and a lot wrong, in his critique of the PCC elections and the manner in which they were run.

The bit: he criticises the way these elections were handled and the poor turnout – right on both accounts.

The lot: his criticism misses the real target – unsurprising for a Conservative councillor as this would mean him damning his own government.

An election to any new post will always have a reduced turnout” – not true. For example, the London mayoral elections have had the following turnouts:

2000 34.43%
2004 36.95%
2008 45.33%
2012 38.1%

Three out of four of these elections have similar turnouts, only the first Boris versus Ken contest raised the level of interest.

The Scottish Parliamentary elections saw the following turnout figures:

1999 59%
2003 49.4%
2007 51.7%
2011 50.4%

Now, Tories will have to defend their policies, but they could at least attempt some rigour when it comes to verifiable facts.

What is inexcusable for me was the guidance given by the Electoral Commission in polling stations and on postal ballots as to how to fill in your ballot paper.” Poor guidance will account for some of the spoilt ballot papers, but it does not explain the low turnout. Tony appears to deliberately misunderstand English in his critique. The guidance clearly states “you can vote twice” – note ‘can’ and not ‘must’. This is clear enough for the vast majority voting and I have heard of no-one abstaining because that did not understand how to vote.

“These elections have without question have been conducted in a shambolic manor which would disgrace a banana republic.” I agree, but not for the reasons stated by Tony. I lay the blame fairly and squarely at the door of the Home Secretary. I think Tony should be calling for the head of Theresa May.

The poor turnout was caused by a combination of the following factors:

1, Dreadful timing: which idiot thought a November election was a good idea? (This is a rhetorical question.)
2, No tax-payer funded mailshot: this meant that many were unsure of who was standing and what they were offering.
3, Unwanted politicisation of the police: it was clear to me that many refused to endorse an idea they disapproved of by voting.

Unlike Tony I think the electorate is intelligent and adaptable enough to cope with the Supplementary Voting system. The election was a shambles – I have said this myself – but I put the blame where it belongs, and that is at the door of the Coalition Government. If Tony thinks that makes us a banana republic then he is more than welcome to join me and my colleagues in our attempts to remove them from office. Roll on 2015.

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