Stirring up apathy over law and order

By Mr Brocklebank on Nov 26, 12 08:24 AM in Opinion

"GO TO vote to shape future of policing?" "Stay in and watch Bargain Hunt?" "Go to vote to shape future of policing?" "Stay in and watch Bargain Hunt?"

It was a tough choice, but one where the latter option won out for the vast majority of people last Thursday, when the election of Merseyside's first police commissioner was held.

It was, going by the turnout, the moment 87% of people hadn't been waiting for. And although Labour's Jane Kennedy was returned with a considerable majority (albeit the largest share of next to nothing), it seemed like something of a Pyrrhic victory.

Willie Whitelaw famously said of Harold Wilson in 1970: "He is going round the country stirring up apathy."

But the police commissioner election turnout, low as it was, suggested the issue was less apathy and more antipathy.

Many (again, albeit many of the few) did bother to abandon Bargain Hunt and go to the polls, as the unusually high number of spoiled ballots suggested. Where it would have been easier just to put a tick in a box, Mr Brocklebank saw that one would-be elector had written an essay on his paper, so much so that he had to put "Please turn over" in the bottom right corner.

Another, to the question of who should run policing, added a box for "chief constable" - although, in a finely ironic fit of apathy, didn't bother to tick the box he'd drawn!

WHILE Commissioner Kennedy understandably celebrated her victory, she was by no means the most jubilant about the result.

One candidate, the English Democrats' Paul Rimmer, was practically ecstatic about . . . coming last.

Despite most people on the furthest reaches of the political flanks being as thick as a footballer's tie knot, Mr Rimmer is an intelligent man, having studied at Cambridge University, no less.

So why the jubilation about standing on the bottom rung of the ladder? The reason for his strutting around the room, both arms raised aloft in front of him (that's both arms, by the way), was that he'd managed to keep his £5,000 deposit.

Mr B's advice: there are far more exhilarating and much more quickly- concluded ways of nearly losing £5,000.

Having considered putting it down as a bet for him to have come anywhere other than last being one of them.

THE election was a good result for independents.

Where Liam Fogarty came second in the May mayoral election, independent Kiron Reid (formerly Liberal Democrat), came third in the race to be law and order chief (his old party came fourth).

But his former colleagues were gracious about the way he split the vote (while exhibiting that good old political duplicity). One party campaigner told Mr B on the record that he had done well and his result sent a message to party politicians.

"He's done well and there's no hard feelings," the party hack said.

"Off the record, what a b******!"

Dale Street Associates

David Bartlett

David Bartlett

City editor of the Post and Echo covering politics, regeneration, and urban affairs.
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