Saturday, 17 November 2012

Hardly a disaster for democracy

The earth will not stop rotating on its axis because of the risible turnout in the England and Wales Police and Crime Commissioner elections.  For those of us who bothered to vote it will make no tangible difference to either our daily lives or the conduct of policing - replacing an unelected Police Authority with a dubiously-mandated egotist is unlikely to result in much change.

Pathetic though the elections were, they tell a very uncomfortable tale about democratic engagement and the power that the electorate feels it has.  The incentive to vote is directly proportional to the amount of difference it will make, and this suits political parties just fine - as well as the centralising hand of bureaucracy and graft that is permitting far too much of what should be communal activity to fall into the hands of outsourced greed-monsters whose definition of accountability is ensuring that the brown envelopes can be weighed.

When David Blunkett pops up to say that people are tired of constitutional innovation, you realise quite what a mountain needs to be climbed to encourage any thought of citizen power.  Civic participation and engagement should not be optional, but successive governments have, through emasculation of democratic powers, centralising control and contracting out services that should be accountable to elected politicians in ways that render scrutiny impossible, it's hardly surprising that most people can't be bothered.

Still, Michael Mates lost, which for all those burned by Asil Nadir can only be seen as a positive outcome.

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