A state of Independents shall be? Lessons from Simon Weston’s bid for TopOfTheCops in South Wales.

When Alun Michael (former First Minister) said he wanted to be TopOfTheCops in South Wales, he may have been thinking that a Labour nomination there was as good as getting elected, for he said he would step down as an MP if nominated by Labour.

He may now think he’d have been better waiting for the actual election to bring his years as an MP to an end, as even if he beats Rhondda Councillor and former police Inspector Paul Cannon QPM to the Labour nomination, he will then face a challenge from an Independent, Falklands Hero Simon Weston, according to The Sun’s Tom Newton-Dunn.

The Police and Crime Commissioner elections could be fertile ground for independents, making the elections less predictable than would otherwise be the case, for the following reasons:-
1. The Government has yet to decide whether Police and Crime Commissioner candidates will benefit from a free postal delivery, a booklet of election addresses, or nothing at all in their campaign to inform the voters. This places a premium on independent candidates who are already well known.
2. It’s not clear whether any party has put any money away to fight this election where party volunteers will already be tired from their efforts for Council elections in May before being called back to the doorstep at a time of year that has half as much daylight as early May, to campaign in an area so big that even they won’t likely know their candidate personally.
3. Political parties have yet to win the battle of hearts and minds that they have a role in policing.
4. The Supplementary Vote allows voters to risk their vote on an Independent they prefer, and still return to help their normal party pick to beat the other side. Expect to see lots of ‘Lend me your first preference’ campaigning from Independents.

All of this raises the question, after years of parties being stage-managed, ‘on-grid’ and run by control-freaks, will the Parties be able to let their candidates be a bit more ‘Independent’ themselves, to offset the risk of them falling victim to an anti-politics vote? Will the police state be a state of Independents? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

2pm Update
Michael Crick argues that this is great news for the government, who were hoping for prominent independents, and that it means the Conservatives will need to decide whether to stay out of the South Wales race to help Mr Weston along.
However, are Mr Weston’s policy positions any more favourable to the Tories than Alun Michael’s? Also, the Supplementary Vote system would mean that Conservatives could run without doing any damage to Mr Weston’s campaign, because whover is not in the top two can have their votes reallocated among the top two according to voters’ second preferences.

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