Vote for the independent Ian Chisnall in Thursday’s Police and Crime Commissioner election

It is never right not to vote. The vote has been hard fought for and should be respected.

On Thursday we are being invited to vote in the ridiculous Police and Crime Commissioner elections in Sussex. Many people have said that they are not going to vote. I would urge everybody to cast a ballot. You may not like these elections and the party you support might not be fielding a candidate. Nevertheless, you have a democratic duty to vote.

At worst, spoil your ballot. Write a message of protest. Better still, write the name of someone not standing at the bottom of the ballot paper. If you are sad and really desperate, vote for the Brighton Politics Blogger!

Alternatively, and this is what I shall be doing, is to vote for the independent candidate, Ian Chisnall. Ian is standing on a platform that includes opposing the party political nature of these elections. I think he is absolutely right.

Everyone has assumed that Katy Bourne, the Conservative Party candidate, will comfortably win this election. I think that is a correct assumption and, given that there will be a PCC, she will make a perfectly competent Commissioner. I’m pleased that it is likely to be the only woman on the ballot paper who will be elected.

But as Alan Clark used to say, ACHAB (“anything can happen at backgammon”. I don’t understand why he said it, it just makes me sound well read!). But I think that there is a very slim chance, very slim indeed, that people around the country might vote in sufficient numbers for independent candidates in these elections.

Therefore, if you don’t like the whole idea of these Commissioners, or if you don’t want to cast a vote for a party political candidate for such a position, or if you are just mischievous, please vote for Ian Chisnall.

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30 Responses

  1. Glad to see that the Blogger does not dismiss the notion of adding names – up to two! – on the ballot paper.

    i am reminded of the time at a Council when Mayor Anne Meadows told councillors to stop passing one another notes “otherwise I shall ask you to bring them up here and I’ll read them out like a teacher”. I remarked to Mike Jones, “well, that would be more entertaining than the speech we’ve just listened to” (I think it was Carol Theobald on i forget what), and this carried on the air, brought much laughter on all sides, including officers.

    In the same spirit, it would be a good thing if the Returning Officer published a list of the, er, alternative candidates.

    Such a system could increase turn-out.

    Meanwhile, will the Blogger be discussing the elections for Rottingdean Parish Council? Two former Labour councillors are standing as independents, and the place is in a tizzy. There has not been such talk of reds under the beds in sixty years.

  2. Well many thanks to the BPB for his endorsement and an interesting twist bearing in mind the comment by Christopher, I have many other endorsers including Sue John who I understand is standing in Rottingdean. I also have support from Kathy Gore who was previously a Conservative Councillor as well as High Sheriff, a retired Asst Chief Constable, a Bishop, several well known Voluntary Sector folk and a previous Victim of Crime. Who knows who else will vote for me!

  3. I think this bears repeating, especially as the blogger hasn’t mentioned it: at the PCC elections everyone has two votes, a first and a second choice. It would be well worth using both, to maximise the chance of it making a difference.

    Perhaps the BPB would care to recommend where the second preferences should go? Personally I’ll be voting for Godfrey Daniel first, as he seems to me to be the best qualified candidate (and the only one who has sent any literature to my address, though I appreciate there are financial considerations to this).

    Ian Chisnall I will put second. I think independent candidates will do well, especially if the turnout is as hideously low as predicted (18% has been mentioned). While I am not comfortable with the ‘anti-politics’ sentiment behind all this, it seems right to roll with it on this occasion – especially in the cause of avoiding the election of a candidate from Tory central casting,

    • I agree with Clive! Given the v. low Labour vote, and high LD vote, in the 2010 election, and the absence of a Green candidate in this election, it will be interesting to see what the many left-leaning Lib Dem voters will do here. Will a Lab / Independent SV ticket be enough to topple Katy Bourne (given that Tory second-choices are very unlikely to count). I suspect not, but with the Lib Dems down from 22% to 7% in the country, and the option to pick two candidates, the left may not be as fragmented as usual in Sussex.

      That said, I think Tory Central Casting have already got this one in the bag. Could be a close run thing for second place, however…

      • Tory central casting SHOULD have it in the bag but with a strong Lab lead in current polls, apathy and a 1/2 vote choice novelty -upsets may be possible.
        At Mass on Sunday the priest read out a message from the diocese telling parishioners to vote for Ian Chisnall because he is a Christian. I greatly resent this as I am capable of making my own mind up and voting Labour! It is rather reminiscent of the ultra Republican stand taken by EWTN(Catholic TV Channel) based on one issue(abortion) rather than a holistic view.

  4. Comments below this item are as sparse as the turn-out.

  5. Well, there is a Commissioner result, of a sort. How much can be read into it, goodness knows but, as it is, the underlying trends – taking into account the low turnout – are more interesting.

    Meanwhile, welcome back Sue John, who is one of those elected to Rottingdean Parish Council. Over there one evening a little while ago, when the subject came up of Councillor David Smith and his notorious hankering for a duel, I thought laterally and suggested that she should stand for the Parish Council as a bulwark against such tendencies in the village.

    Little did I realise that there would an opportunity so soon for a fresh spirit. With four new members of the Parish Council, this is indicative of a whole area which is changing – Saltdean has been galvanised by the Lido and Labour councillors are moving into Woodingdean.

    I find the Parish Council result more fascinating than the Commissioner one.

  6. The future belongs to those who turn up.

    Much nicer atmosphere at the count without the Greens – or Lib Dems(!).

    Greens didn’t have a candidate because they aren a real party – cant handle power, dont know what to do with it…

    UKIP continuing to make progress – suggestions of ‘wasted vote’ shown to be a bogus… brighton parliamentry elections looking more interesting all the time.

    However, point of comment…

    Chisnall has cause be miffed with the broken voting process – he was in third place by 1% when eliminated – but many UKIP votes had him as second choice… if losing candidates had been eliminated one at a time (like AV) he could well have won…

  7. Previously I wondered aloud why the government had chosen the supplementary vote system when the Tory end of it were so vehement in favour of first-past-the-post eighteen months ago.

    Now it seems obvious: they must have realised that a low turnout in these elections was inevitable, and that having candidates elected on (to take Katy Bourne’s first round total as an example) just 31 percent of the vote would further undermine their claims to legitimacy. Having a fairly spurious run-off stage is what they came up with.

    AV (or an exhaustive ballot) has the effect of the producing the compromise candidate as the winner – the one that most people feel they can live with. That might not be desirable for every elected office – but surely, if you are going to elect police commissioners directly, this has to be the system to adopt?

    I’m left wishing I’d spoilt my ballot paper. What a waste of time and money this has been.

    • Hi Clive, it is certainly true that an AV system would have been better from my point of view. I would almost certainly have got more second preferences from Lib Dems and UKIP than Godfrey. In the second round for us (final in the case of AV) Katy increased her lead over Godfrey. I suspect that I would have closed it but whether by enough or indeed whether the Conservatives would have accepted such a system is pretty hard to call

  8. I’d be interested to hear any thoughts on what this result means for Labour, in so much as it means anything to anyone. Clearly a second place overall is good, as is winning in key areas such as Brighton and Hove, Hastings and Crawley, all target seats for 2015. The lack of a Green Party candidate will have had an effect in Brighton and Hove, but not elsewhere to any significant extent.

    In Brighton and Hove what did Green Party supporters do? Most obviously didn’t vote, some will have spoilt their papers, and some may have been tempted to vote Tory, after all, the worst result for the Green Party would have been a Labour victory, giving them some electoral success and momentum in Sussex, with a significant element of any success coming from B+H.

    The fact that people went out and voted Labour rather than an Independent is probably also encouraging to them. Clearly Ian was very close to getting into the second round, and the positive votes for Labour surely made the difference.

    • For me, I would see the results as being very positive for Labour. In Crawley, Hastings as well as Brighton and Hove we did very well, despite the low turn out. There is a definite confidence and self-belief in the party locally & nationally that the public now recognise.

      I was part of the campaign team which held street stalls and canvassed in Central Hove and Goldsmid, both Green (and Tory) areas. In both places the reaction was the same – no one wanted the election, but if it must happen, they were voting Labour. In fact we had two new members sign up in George Street.

      It is interesting that Ian Chisnall recorded his lowest vote here in Brighton. Perhaps it was due to BPB’s endorsement?

      • If you look at the neighbouring counties-independents all won. If Ian Chisnall had got second place in the first round he might well have won on Labour second preferences. As it was Caroline’s analysis seems correct- a good augury for Labour in 2015. Green abstentionism is bizarre for a political party and will cost them in B & H.

      • I am presuming that Caroline is not serious about some form of rejection of the BPB line which was not really that strong in the first case. If so I think his comments will be much more watched in the future. I was thrilled to get so many votes from within the city although I would clearly have preferred the position between myself and Godfrey to have been reversed. I am sure that analysis later will generate all sorts of ideas and responses. I was told at the outset of the competition by a well connected member of the Labour party that their ambition was to come second(!). I of course could afford no such aspiration as i didn’t see this competition as a stepping stone to May 2015 when I think you will be fighting both a general election and Council elections. If those elections saw Independents capturing 20% of the vote we would all be pretty shocked. So I failed by a long way and Labour achieved exactly what it wanted to achieve, but 39,000 votes is a great deal more than some people ever expected to see me achieve so perhaps it was not such a bad result. It would be fascinating to know if my second preferences might have seen me catch up with our new PCC. Indeed if AV had been the system in use we would almost certainly be looking at a very different outcome overall.

  9. Amazed at Faust’s suggestion that Green voters would have contemplated voting Tory. Surely not? I’d suggest that many of those who didn’t abstain would have chosen Labour.

    Most centre-left voters just aren’t that partizan, and will seize whatever stick is biggest and handiest to beat the Tories with.

    Zombie’s point about possible damage to the Greens from their non-appearance is interesting. I’d venture that perhaps it is better not to bother if a) your funds are limited and b) you don’t believe the elections have any purpose or benefit. To do a thing half-heartedly is sometimes worse than not doing it at all – have a look at the Lib Dem results, in Sussex and beyond, to see what I mean.

    In Sussex this was indeed a good result for Labour. Picking a non NuLab candidate who appeared to be qualified for the job will have helped. The literature and other publicity that I saw was good too.

    • Agree with all your points here Clive. I’d be amazed if there was a single Green voter in the whole city who voted Tory in these elections. Most Greens I know here and elsewhere spoilt their ballots, while a few others such as myself stayed away from the polling booths altogether. Personally I believe the decision not to stand was the right one. However, there was a significant majority who wanted to put up a Green candidate, and if the posts still exist by the time of the next PCC elections the decision could go either way. Those who do want to see a Green PCC candidate in Sussex will be encouraged by the result in Cleveland, the only area of the country where the local Green party did put up a candidate. He received 13% of the first preference vote with minimal publicity in an area of the country with very few Green councillors.

      • I will focus on building up from my 21% base to actually win in 2016 in that case if the Green objective is to come in behind UKIP!

      • Of course I was speaking largely tongue in cheek about Green Party supporters voting Tory – but the fact remains that a Labour victory in Sussex would have been problematic for them – another Tory they can live with. Some echos of 2010 – delight at the Pavilion result, and made even better by Labour defeat across the City, even if that meant more Tory MP’s.

        If most Green Party supporters spoilt their papers as you suggest then their support must be far less then recently. Spoilt papers accounted for only 3.06%.

  10. If an elected PCC is a guard to guard the guards, then it will be a worthwhile post.

    If another hillsborough cover up is now impossible – great, worth every penny. If not then the surface of what is required has not even be scratched.

    PCC must be the publics man on the inside – shinning lights into every dark corner

    Dozens of skeletons must exist on every forces wardrobe – any PPC who doesnt turn out at least one a month is probaby an ineffectual waste of space…

    • If police authorities couldn’t stop the likes of hillsborough then it’s difficult to see one person doing much better. Like elected mayors and the local cabinet system, this is a step backwards for accountability. Not that we were that far forwards.

      • What practical incentive did police authorities have to please me?

      • I take your point, though one would hope that any public official or body would want to do a good job without being directly elected (and direct elections won’t necessarily ensure that they do a good job).

        My point is that the concentration of power in one person’s hands is almost always a bad idea, whether that’s police commissioners or ‘superheads’ of academies. If you get a dud, in terms of their competency or trustworthiness, you are truly stuffed: there are no checks and balances.

        It springs from the notion that committees and group decision are synonymous with shuffling inaction and fudge. The cry goes up that we need is a ‘Tsar’ – and I still can’t believe that term is used without irony. Jimmy Savile being put in charge of Broadmoor is the most obscene example of this.

      • Clive, I share your concern about the Tsar model. However we were never consulted about the PCC model (unless someone is bringing up 2010 manifestos). The challenge is to work with what we get presented with by those we elect to laud it over us (at local as well as national level). My view was (and still is) that a good person could make the PCC concept work really well and as you suggest a dud will leave us all vulnerable. Based on all of the feedback I have received from the Tory selection process, even party members wanted a none of the above box. The use of political parties and their machines in the election almost guaranteed a Conservative coronation (even Labour were only after a second position (something I nearly denied them). Unless the PCP is changed to enable more Independent voices (10% is not enough IMO) I would imagine that Katy and the 12 Conservative members (60%) of the PCP along with a Conservative Home Secretary will ensure that any wild idea that they can dream up will be adopted without any real opposition until 2016.

      • All interesting stuff, Ian – I didn’t know too much about these PCPs (Police and Crime Panels). http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/police/police-crime-commissioners/partners/police-and-crime-panels/

        So the independents are co-opted – all a bit ‘tap on shoulder’, it would seem. I wonder how independent they will be? Will you get asked, I wonder?

  11. Hi Clive, at one level the Independents could easily be simply patsys but Sussex unlike other areas has a track record of including properly Independent members of the Police Authority in the past and the two Independents chosen for the PCP are people I personally would fully support. One is a member of staff from Victim Support and the other is someone who previously worked for I think the Audit Commission. I know both of them and the Conservative Chair is also someone of great integrity. However the system is badly inbalanced, in my view because when it was being established everyone believed the Govt who at that point were stating that the PCC would be Independent of Party Politics. Otherwise this really is a conspiracy to control the Police. I still subscribe to the cock up camp, but perhaps that is just naivety.

  12. I voted for Katy Bourne and the Brighton Politics Blog ended. Coincidence? I think not.

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