Passover Weekend Update – Part 1 – Friday 6 April

Frequent flyers here at TopOfTheCops will know that a constant stream of news and views made for none of our regular updates last weekend, but the good news is that we now have a four-day weekend to make up for it. So, in no particular order:-

Thames Valley Shocker

For a long-time now, Jon S Harvey, frequent commenter on these pages and a Labour Town Councillor in Buckingham, has been writing articles aplenty on the Police and Crime Commissioner elections, and question, after question, after question, for folk to ask the candidates, while repeatedly avoiding my questions of a “so, are you running or not” nature. Today he changed his ways and announced that he was on the Labour shortlist for the Thames Valley Police area. There is great joy in heaven over every sinner that repenteth, though I expect that we ought now to be in line for answer, after answer, after answer to those questions.

I don’t know if he has taken umbrage at my suggestion that his assertion that Ken Livingtone’s tax arrangements were a non-story amounted to defending the indefensible but, instead of a Candidate Statement, he has pointed me, and therefore you, to his website only.

As the Police Foundation research into voting in Police Areas suggests that Thames Valley, the Prime Minister’s own area, falls to the Conservatives in four out of, er, four scenarios, and as Cllr Harvey’s own website talks of the achievement last year of getting as high as 1 Labour district councillor in Buckingham last year, the revelation that he is one of two candidates on the Labour shortlist suggests that this nomination is being sought by both the Labour party members in the area! Welcome to the race, Jon! And yes, I know that I haven’t yet answered my own question either.

Jack Straw Speaks

You may remember that when Michael Crick said the closing of the Labour nomination had brought no more notables, TopOfTheCops interpreted that to mean “No Jack Straw then.” Well, Ibrahim Master, Independent Member of Lancashire Police Authority and shortlisted candidate for the Lancashire Labour PCC nomination, has launched a website which claims Jack Straw’s endorsement. As Mr Master is a longstanding friend of Jack, it’s unlikely to be an idle boast.

What is everyone talking about?

The folk at CREST Advisory have been busy again, this week sending out a Twitpic wordcloud analysing social media traffic on the Police and Crime Commissioner elections, showing that some people and areas are subject to more mention than others. I’d humbly advise readers to check the top right of the graphic!

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3 Responses to Passover Weekend Update – Part 1 – Friday 6 April

  1. Hi Sam. It was only this week that my shortlisting was confirmed so to answer ‘yes’ to any of your previous questions would have been presumptious and (superstitiously) tempting fate… I was being discrete as opposed to being evasive.

    But then privacy is at a premium these days perhaps ref the Ken&Boris show? As I tweeted this morning, I do wonder whether those commentators who seek to make political capital out of people’s tax affairs would support the introduction of the system they have in Norway where everyone’s tax statement is online for all to see. I suspect John Redwood, given his blog this morning, would not be a supporter – but perhaps George Osborne would?

    But I stand by my assertion that the whole affair has been a distraction from the real issues – such as where are all the new routemaster buses that Londoners were promised and how high will fares go with another 4 years of Boris?

    So no umbrage taken – my directing you and others to my website was not churlish. I was simply saying you are welcome to lift your 400 words from the sidebar where I explained why I hope Labour party members should select me to be the PCC candidate. And I had spent sufficient time crafting my website yesterday – I was plain tuckered out!

    But of course, do note that the constituency I am focusing on at the moment are the Labour Party members of Thames Valley. It is their support I am seeking currently. And I would say, as you highlight, I have written more extensively about PCC and wider policing matters than most, so my views on policy are not exactly hidden. I will probably offer a summary at some point.

    But… what is happening in the Tory party in Lancashire and beyond? What is the nature of the selection process for you? Are open primaries still in the game plan? Do you know what is happening in Thames Valley apart from what the Police Foundation document? Come on Sam: spill the beans!

    And before you ask again – yes I will be answering my own set of questions that I had published in the Guardian a couple of months ago – when I get around to it (as unlike you, I do need my beauty sleep…!)

    There are more than two Labour party members in all of Thames Valley as you know. Indeed we have a very thriving party here in true blue Buckingham (although it is “true speaker” at the moment…). (Historical note – Buckingham used to be represented by a Labour MP once upon a time – Bob Maxwell as it happens.)

    Indeed we more or less run the Town Council with 8 out of 17 councillors being declared Labour – we usually get our way. And incidentally it was quite an achievement for us to get two Labour councillors (one form Aylesbury too) on the local District Council. If you lived here, you would know why.

    • samchapman says:

      Goodness! – Think that was more than 400 words, Jon!
      Glad you’re not upset, as that was not the intention, and if you have a decent resolution photo that we can put with your 400 words, I’ll be happy to give you equal billing with other candidates.
      To address your specific question on tax issues, I personally think that the general release of tax returns by all the candidates in the London Mayoral election is an unwelcome development.
      In Ken’s case there may be a public-interest issue, as there seems to be a tension between his views on the morality of legal tax avoidance and his personal practice on tax and national insurance. My point to you was really that you seemed too serious a candidate to be indulging in a partisan defence, when other Labour figures seem to have conceded. We all have sides, and I hope I have been sufficiently ready to criticise those on my own side where it was deserved. I’d like more to do the same – ‘more independence’ may be just as good as ‘more Independents’.
      As to Tories in Lancashire, the moment someone tells me something I can pass on, I will (I tend to respect confidences and check facts). There is a story brewing on Labour in Lancashire – that’s not my fault – it’s just the way the news is coming to me.
      As to open primaries, I’ve already said that they are already thought to be too expensive, amd suggested that the supplementary vote could be used to avoid the expense in the safest of seats. I understand that public meetings are an option, either open to all, or just to party members, or a postal ballot of members. As far as I am aware, no decision has been taken in Lancashire, but may have been in other areas.
      Thames Valley has been fairly impenetrable – perhaps you could pass on what you know? Staffing at TopOfTheCops is not a cast of thousands, as you know.

  2. Is the photo on the webste not high enough resolution? Let me know and I will send you another

    I have now answered my own ten questions too – they are on the blog.

    I would never enage in blanket defence of Ken or anyone else merely because they are in the Labour Party. I just think the whole tax thing has been blown out of all proportion. Yes, people in glass houses etc.. and Ladbrokes have suspended betting on Boris for the time being but I bet you the truth is more complex than it currently seems… But this is all just a side show to the real elections in November!

    I know nothing more about Thames Valley. (Although I do know the name of the other contender – it is not my position to reveal that. They can do that for themselves.) Unsurprisingly, I know nothing from the Tory or LibDem (or UKIP etc) camps…

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