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I refuse to vote

15 November, 2012

There is an election today, and I’m not taking part. This will be the first time since I turned 18 that I haven’t shown my electoral face at the ballot box and put an X in the box. (Actually that’s not true – in the local government elections of 2003 I couldn’t being myself to vote for any party and spoiled my paper with an anti-war message.) The reason for my foregoing the right, the duty, that previous generations fought and died to preserve, is that this election is not for a government role – local, county or national – but for Hampshire’s Police Commissioner.

The government in Westminster have decided that we all should make the decision on who is in charge of the police, and I completely disagree. Policing should be apolitical in every way, and be seen to be apolitical. Elements of the job will be affected by political issues of the day – “austerity measures” to give a topical example (you might know these measures better by the name “cuts”), or increased terror threats – but the role of police should be akin to a civil service position, there to serve, regulated by but external to the political process. By making the job of commissioner an elected post, it will become party political, and only those candidates with the might of national parties behind them will be able to campaign in areas with up to a million inhabitants, and with no free mailshots.

If I did want to vote, how could I decide who is the best person for the job? Other than wanting my local streets to be safe, I have no idea what I want from my commissioner. I don’t know how policing works, so I have no idea how to choose between the candidates. I would rather the selection be left to a panel of experts. I wouldn’t expect the public to elect Army Generals or hospital managers or school head teachers, so why Police Commissioners?

It’s an unnecessary, expensive election, and voting in it will only lend it legitimacy. So I will be joining with 85% of the population in simply not turning up.

 

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12 Comments
  1. Well, you already know how I feel about voting. Go, TRG! 🙂

    • I remember reading your post last week!
      Normally i am the first one at the polling station and badgering into others into voting, but this election tonight is just stupid!

      • Here, here! (Or is it hear, hear?) :/
        Anyway, consider donating blood as a positive alternative. 🙂 (Sorry, maybe that sentiment belongs on my soapbox….)

  2. I agree! I’m from Canada so I couldn’t vote if I wanted to. It’s ridiculous, if you ask this Canadian gal.

  3. Good for you. Here, the police commissioner is appointed by the mayor, and it’s extremely political. I dislike it intensely.

    • It’s madness i tell ye

    • Yes, MW, that’s what I was thinking. The police commissioner’s position is just as political, if not more so, when it’s by appointment. And I hate seeing the increasing militarization of purportedly peace-keeping officials. Good for you for taking a stand TRG, it’s an issue that requires more scrutiny and has no easy answers. xoM

  4. Though like you I would normally vote I have actually heard nothing from any candidate here actually telling me their opinions on anything which suggests to me that the job is already decided and voting would just be a case of extra pain for me attempting to get there to vote after my surgery

    • i think the fact there has been publicity and no campaigning shows how much the main parties don’t care about it, never mind the people. Daft idea from the outset. I don’t blame you not voting.

  5. I didn’t know you guys voted over there.

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