Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner – the protest vote should go to the Independent candidate, Ian Chisnall

With the Procession to Victory, also known as the East Brighton By-Election, fresh in our minds, we turn to the next Procession to Victory, the election to become Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner.

There are five candidates in this election:
• Tony Armstrong (UKIP)
• Katy Bourne (Conservative)
• Ian Chisnall (Independent)
• Godfrey Daniel (Labour)
• David Rogers (Liberal Democrat)

Katy Bourne (aka The Winner) has two advantages in this election: she is the only woman in the field of five and she is a Conservative. I’m not saying that the overwhelming popularity of the Conservatives at this time will be a particular advantage, but the Sussex-wide constituency should guarantee a Conservative victory.

In any election Katy would be a formidable candidate, cut as she is from the same blue cloth as my own personal favourite Conservative, Chuck Vere. But it is a shame that this election offers so little by way of a true contest.

I have previously posted my view that this election should not be contested on a party political basis. I am pleased that the Greens have decided not to field a candidate (although I imagine that that is due to pure pragmatic reasons such as the cost of running such a campaign).

I think that the only way that a Conservative candidate could have been properly challenged would have been if the other major party, Labour, and the two obscure fringe parties, the Lib Dems and UKIP, had not stood and put their support behind an independent candidate.

I am very pleased that Ian Chisnall has put himself forward as an Independent. I hope that people will vote for him if for no other reason than to make a statement that this role should not be a party political one.

So good luck to Ian Chisnall in this election and best wishes to Katy Bourne who will be elected on November 15 to represent the 1.6 million population of Sussex as the Police and Crime Commissioner. I am sure she will do a fine job.

22 Responses

  1. Hardly independent, bit too ‘churchy’ for my liking:

  2. BPB: your paragraph on Katy Bourne could have been more succinctly expressed by the word ‘phwooar!’ eh?

    More seriously, this is the first election where I have seriously considered either abstaining or spoiling my ballot paper. We have a real crisis of democracy in this country with low turnouts (see East Brighton by-election), apathy and skewed, undemocratic election results under FPTP. The best the Tories can come up with is a set of expensive elections that outside the political class wants, and that – thanks to the boundaries and units chosen – will result in the election of Tory candidates in the south, and Labour in the north. Terrific stuff, and yet another indication of how strong Lib Dem influence is in the coalition.

    This lavish expense at this time of austerity also has the advantage of giving publicity to the Tories on one of the issues in which they score well: Lora Norder. Of course this is not because their policies are actually effective, but because their sabre-rattling noises and scare tactics make an impression on the vulnerable and politically unsophisticated. The result is that every government-funded TV slot publicising this wretched waste of time is effectively a Tory party political broadcast.

    I’m not minded to vote for Mr Chisnall as I regard voting for independents as the equivalent of giving them a blank cheque, although to his credit he does appear to actually want the job. Godfrey Daniels is apparently not very Nu:Lab so could be my best bet. But really, given that the result is – as the BPB says – a foregone conclusion, and that the politicisation of this post is undesirable anyway, why not either stay at home and watch ‘Borgen’ or write ‘waste of money’ on the ballot paper?

  3. I would not vote for Ian Chisnall. I am attracted by adding the name “Robert Peel” and putting a cross beside that. Whether the late Mr Peel tops the poll remains to be seen but if he attracts sufficient votes, along with any other such candidates, it would be a noteworthy aspect of something so farcical that, come the Count, the current candidates might collide when arriving through separate doors – and one or two of them reduced to baggy underwear by some turn of the plot.

  4. With so many suffering in poverty the post of Police Commissioner with a salary of £85,000 is immoral. Designed by politicians for politicians it’s just another attack on the struggling taxpayer. Michael Coughtrey.

  5. Given BPB’s glowing recommendation, I felt I should find out more about all the PCC candidates. The whole election is an utter farce, but the thought of spoiling my ballot doesn’t sit well with me.

    Having disregarded the Teresa May clone, I read Scrapper Duncan’s interviews, which were most illuminating.

    I’m sure Ian Chisnall is a lovely chap, but he appears completely unprepared for the role, and with only a couple of weeks until the election, there is still no manifesto on his website. Nor does he have much to say for the rest of Sussex – there is life outside our beloved city. Being independent is a selling point, but voters need more substance. I noticed he’s also pictured with Caroline Lucas – is he definately independent?

    Acquaintances who have met Godfrey Daniel suggest that he is very knowledgeable on police matters and that he’s not remotely new Labour. His website says opposes the privatisation of police services and compulsory police redundancies. That’s good enough for me.

    So I will be up early on the 15th November to avoid the rush at the polling stations to vote Daniel.

  6. I would not normally find myself agreeing with former Met chief Sir Ian Blair any more than I would with his namesake Tony. However in this case I agree with him that the only way to stop this stupid and dangerous politicisation of the police is for sufficient numbers to boycott the poll. Most potential voters will of course already be doing this, through apathy or lack of knowledge, so if those few of us who are actually interested in these matters can swell their numbers, we may yet force the results to be cancelled, or at least ensure the positions are abolished in the near future.

    Much as I admire Chris Hawtree and his creative suggestion for witty spoilt ballots, I think total abstention will be more effective, as the turnout figures given for elections actually include spoilt ballots. Turnouts as low as 18% are already being predicted – let’s make sure they are even lower.

    As far as the Green position is concerned, there was lively debate within the B+H party about whether to field a candidate, but members voted against, for reasons both ideological and practical. The same decision was made by local Green parties all over the country, with the single exception of Cleveland, where Green councillor Joe Michna will stand for the PCC elections.

    As far as Ian Chisnall is concerned, he doesn’t strike me as a very convincing candidate, and he certainly hasn’t received any kind of Green endorsement, whatever his website might suggest.

  7. Hi Green Dad,

    I tend to agree with Chris for this reason.

    Yes a very low turnout will look bad. But for those in favour of politicising the police they can blame a low turnout on apathy only, not for any principled objection. Apathy is guaranteed to be higher than principled non-voting. The non-turnout percentage won’t be able to differentiate between the two.

    Whereas, by spoiling the ballot, the vast majority will be due to opposition to elected commissioners. The number of spoiled ballots are published.

    However, rather than Robert Peel, I would suggest the less eloquent but more contemporary Robocop!

    Perhaps there should be some mock hustings.

  8. Centrefold article in the Argus this Tuesday on the candidates and the election to come. UKIP is not my pot of tea, cup of Horlicks or cup of coffee at the Lion d’Or but at least their candidate has relevant experience. 30 years as a copper gets my vote, IF I vote. I don’t approve of this position or this election. Democracy is ill served – indeed I have said to @CoxGraham I believe it to be defiled by this election.

    It would be hypocrisy to vote but I feel sickened that the dolly bird is being trumpetted as a dead cert. So I might vote just to register a vote for the one and only candidate with police service experience.

  9. Yesterday I received my information from the Electoral Commission. From a quick skim it emerges that the election is be conducted under the supplementary vote (SV) system, meaning voters get to give a second choice.

    This might make it less of a shoe-in for the Tory, I guess, but I suppose they will get UKIP transfers, whereas Labour and Lib Dem votes won’t go across in the same way as they might have done previously.

    It also means that refusniks can vote 1. Robert Peel and 2. Robocop.

    Don’t get how the Tories can adopt this system of preferential voting for this election, and then oppose AV (or any other system than FPTP) so vigorously for Westminster elections.

  10. Also relevant:

    As my grandad used to say, there’s more out than in.

  11. Clearly the Tories are most likely to win this election. However I would suggest that the Labour candidate, not the Independent, is the best “tactical” vote to keep them out. With no Green candidate, and left-wing voters hardly likely to endorse UKIP, the Tories or the Libs, I can’t imagine an obscure (and churchy) independent is going to be much of a threat to the Tories. I personally would be kicking myself if the Conservatives won this by a small majority and I hadn’t voted for Labour.

  12. Voting Labour will be voting for a man with strong connections to the Sussex Police Authority. This means that complaints regarding the police are not likely to be considered. (See ‘Brighton Scandal)

    • You pay a premium for a known brand over unbranded products because the brand’s qualities are known- the same applies to party candidates over independents.

      Of course the Tories will win-why else would they have opted for elected commissioners? But the rest of us can at least vent our frustration by voting for our party. Whether Daniel loses heavily or not is immaterial to me, he certainly seems the most credible non-Tory. As for second preference I may hold my nose and vote UKIP as their candidate’s experience is significant.I must see if he is a ‘hanger and flogger’ first because having worked 6 years in the prison system I favour more creative solutions to recidivism.

      • A minor issue, but there’s no point voting Labour first, UKIP second, unless you think the Labour candidate will be eliminated before the UKIP one. On the assumption that the Labour candidate will come second, if you are going to vote Labour first, there’s no point using your second preference vote at all.

  13. Interesting national poll here on these elections:
    Lab 16%, Con 8%, LD 4%, Others 3%, Independent candidates 30%, Wouldn’t vote 27%, Don’t know 11%

    This is a national poll, but the 30% saying they’ll go independent is pretty striking. It suggests that to defeat the Tories in Sussex, the best plan is to vote either 1. Godfrey (Labour) and 2. Chisnall (Independent) or the other way around, if you feel so inclined.

    The Tory score of 8% suggests they could be in for a very bloody nose – maybe even in Sussex. So, regarding some of what I said above as a learning process (lol), I shall be going to the polls, to vote Labour/Independent. A large consideration is that Godfrey Daniel seems a credible candidate.

    • It is an interesting poll, but not likely to be accurate according to the write-up on the very site you helpfully link to! The first concern relates to the fact that according to the same poll only 15% of respondents said they were certain to vote. The second relates to how people generally respond when given the option (as in this poll) to choose a generic but unnamed ‘Indepedent’ candidate. According to UK Polling Report’s moderator, Anthony Wells:

      ‘People invariably tell pollsters that they would like to vote for Independent candidates, and invariably fail to do so when actually given the chance – if you just put on a generic “A candidate that is not representing a political party” people tend to imagine some idealised Independent candidate who agrees with them, rather than the somewhat idiosyncratic sorts who actually stand as independents.’

      • Yep, fair point. All I would add is that even if a quarter of the people who say they will vote independent in this poll actually do so, then there is a pretty good chance of getting some independents elected.

  14. Sounds from that poll as if Robert Peel could be in with a chance from beyond the grave.

    Let’s not forget the scene in Carry On Constable when Kenneth Williams helps the old lady back across the road she has just spent some time in crossing. Obviously enough, he must have been a LibDem PPC candidate.

  15. The final straw in this election farce, John Prescott, sorry Lord Prescott, dead cert to win Humberside.

  16. A new resident to w. Sussex. How fortunate I am to be in a position to find out about the candidates. Otherwise what would I have done? Myl opinion is that this should not be a political election. Policing is necessary to safeguard all members of the community, regardless of how they trouble to vote for representatives to serve on councils and in parliament.

  17. Tis very, very quiet here..

    I know UKIP are on the up – but didn’t realise the other parties had already disappeared!!

  18. It would seem someone stitched up the electors. All the information regarding the Commissioner replacing the Sussex Police Authority, thus saving a bob or two, was a big fib. (see Brighton Scandal’).

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