I've previously blogged about tomorrow's Police and Crime Commissioner elections for 2020UK but, on a more personal note, I wanted to explain why I will be voting for the independent candidate in our area tomorrow. To quote myself in that post (a very immodest thing to do but...):
I wouldn’t really have minded going through a list of independent candidates and seeing who was best suited to the role. I would’ve looked for local knowledge, experience and reputation. Instead, this is all being fought along party lines. It will become another party battle and, no doubt, you’ll end up with people being chosen for their party affiliations and not their ability to do the job. I don’t think I’m in a minority when I say that I don’t like the idea of politics seeping into our police forces any more than it already has. We need our services to be independent...Independent candidates were no doubt put off by the prohibitive registration necessities – each had to give a £5,000 deposit, something easily manageable by the four major parties but difficult for independent candidates to manage. I think there should have been a lower threshold to try and coax more people into standing.
My main reason for voting independent is that I don't think these elections should be political in any way. The Labour leaflet that came through our door ONLY talks about the central government cuts. The headline is: 'The Tories are cutting over 2,000 West Yorkshire Police Staff - on Thursday send them a message... Vote Labour.' Right, okay. Whilst I agree that police cuts are unhelpful, I DO NOT see how a Labour PCC is going to be able to 'fight against' them, as the Labour candidate proclaims in his leaflet. A PCC does not have that kind of power. They are promising a battle they can't follow through on. What they should be doing instead is working within the framework they've got. I look at West Yorkshire's independent candidate, Cedric Christie, and I see that effort.
Christie worked as a front-line police officer for over thirty years. He claims to 'understand the real problems' and, you know, I believe him. There's no party machinery pushing him forward but he feels passionately enough about the role to stand - and given the prohibitive deposit mentioned above I see that as quite a commitment. His election priorities can be read on his website but there's nothing there that can't be delivered, unlike the Labour candidate vowing to fight a battle he can't fight.
Tomorrow, I will be voting for Cedric Christie as my preferred candidate in the PCC elections for the West Yorkshire area. I hope other people will join me but, remember, even if you feel a loyalty to a party in these elections, you can still cast a vote for Christie as your second preference.
Christie's website is here.