After the Olympics

After yesterday's publication of the list of candidates who had declared they had no reason to be worried about a criminal record keeping them out of the race, there have been a few more entries.

The first is a surprise to some – Alan Charles, who has been reinstated as Labour candidate for Derbyshire after receiving advice that his teenage conditional discharge 47 years ago didn't count as a conviction after all. TopOfTheCops readers won't be surprised at this – it's what we told you last Friday when he announced he was standing down. In fact, it's what I emailed him when I heard, though I still haven't had a response. So, no actual declaration to me, but I'm going to count his reinstatement as a declaration, given that he's clearly aware of the law, has checked his compliance, and now thinks he can stand.

He blames the Tory government, which I've questionned. Let's be clear, the Home Office hasn't covered itself in glory on this one, but I still contend that a basic thing to do before applying for a job is to see whether you are qualified, and any brushes with the law should be considered, not least for political reasons. Some folk in Derbyshire are no doubt wondering why they haven't yet been told what Mr Charles's 12 month conditional discharge is for, and why this detail has been kept from them.

Another curiosity was the group of Independent candidates who, refusing to pay the price of a stamp, took a letter to Downing Street complaining about the lack of a mailshot for candidates in the PCC election. I'm with them on the issue, though my preference was for inclusion of Candidate Statements in the booklet from the Electoral Commission which will be going through every door anyway. What I don't understand is why the protest is being made now, in August, when the Olympics has finally left the news and the media get desperate for stories, but more importantly when it's too late to change the arrangements. It would have been better to protest on say 13 March, 5 months ago, when TopOfTheCops first published a view on this issue, supporting concerns already expressed by the Electoral Commission. Perhaps some of the candidates did object then, but by giving us this piece of political theatre yesterday, when the only point is the publicity it secures, it raises the question of whether the new politics is any different from the old politics – a triumph of style over substance.

The demo revealed one new candidateex-cop Kevin Hurley, standing as an Independent in Surrey, who immediately provided reassurances on his eligibility to stand, and therefore joins our list. For people like me he looks like he will be fun.

Other new members of the list of candidates who have declared their relative innocence are:-

Kent – Independent Dai Liyanage

Leicestershire – Independent Suleman Nagdi

Surrey – Independent Peter Williams

Warwickshire – Conservative Fraser Pithie

West Midlands – Independent Cath Hannon


So that's 40 candidates who have made a declaration now.

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3 Responses to After the Olympics

  1. Dave Jones says:

    Completely agree regarding the Alan Charles fiasco. The amendment to the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill (now Act) stating that any conviction for an imprisonable offence would bar a candidate (including juvenile convictions) was passed on the 8th of February 2011 (according to Hansard records). Therefore Alan should have known about this possible complication way before formal nomination and indeed certainly at formal nomination. Any concerns should have been dealt with then by himself or the Party. Allowing it to get this this stage and play out in the press as it has is an embarrassment and Alan blaming the Government is a cheap shot to try and excuse his own mistakes and complacency. Labour then continuing to reinstate him yesterday despite the embarrassment it has caused the Party, his campaign and damage to his reputation seems politically unsound also.

  2. I agree with your comment regarding leaflet drops, too little too late. I do agree with the Ann Barnes sentiment, BUT it is an issue for all parties, not just Independents, and I object to it being labelled as an Independent issue, all candidates have issues with it, though Indies are penalised more. Had this been done 3 months ago, and a substantial amount of cross party/Independents had made the trip, something might have been achieved. But then Ann Barnes wasn’t standing then, and it’s all about publicity for Ann isn’t it? (lol!)

  3. The real solutions to this needed to be formed months ago. I would have been really happy to have some candidate information included in the package of PCC election information that the Government is planning. They would have got more bang for the megabucks they are going to spend on this and candidates across all parties, plus independents, would have benefitted. Unfortunately, that isn’t the plan that was agreed and it’s too late now. Although I do want a level playing field and I don’t disagree over the fundamental issues of fairness and creating a well informed electorate, the costs of a separate mailshot now do sound prohibitive and it’s hard to justify that in a time of austerity. Perhaps the mailshot is an outdated solution anyway, as the Home Office has argued. I trust we will see them drop it when it comes to their own elections…! (Not likely!)
    We must all do what we can to raise the profile of the elections in a positive way and, dare I say it, a mutually supportive way. It’s getting too late in the day to focus just on process. I’ll be very pleased when we can move to discussions about policies. The current slanging matches about things that the voters don’t really care about are doing nothing to raise the profile of the PCC role in a positive way and we could all suffer as a result.

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