The election for Police and Crime Commissioner where you live could be all over, bar the shouting, by May. These could be the days of the real contest, and it may be happening while no-one is looking.
We have not had a TopOfTheCops election before, so there is no history of voting behaviour over the large constituencies that these elections cover, little experience with the supplementary voting system and an uncertain appreciation of the role of independents, but we are all familiar with the concept of safe seats in Parliament and the possibility this may apply at police force level.
South Wales perhaps is unlikely to become a Conservative heartland overnight. Surrey may not rush into the Labour fold. Barring the sudden intervention of a celebrity, a powerful showing by an Independent, or some other unforeseen circumstance the choice of a particular party’s candidate may in effect be the choice of the Commissioner. Naleem Walayat, for example, feels that whoever is Labour’s South Yorkshire candidate has an at least 70% chance of winning the election.
That choice for Labour will involve a selection and an election, with party members making the final decision in a ballot in each area. In other words, a fraction of the population may do the real choosing in these areas, and not necessarilly in public. For the Conservatives the method of choice is still uncertain, and may differ from one area to another, but as true primaries are expensive, the most public involvement one might get could come down to whoever is motivated to get themselves along to a public meeting.
This would have been an ideal testbed for the mooted public primary election system, but it is not to be.
So don’t leave it 9 months to tell everyone what you have heard about who may be standing, or to put a view about policies. The election is on right now. Drop TopOfTheCops a line and share what you know.