Having detached myself from active involvement in politics when Jeremy Corbyn was elected Labour leader, I felt a pang of nostalgia when my postal ballot arrived this morning for the Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner election on 5 May. This will be the first election for many years which I will not be involved in: as a candidate, agent, canvasser, organiser, or leafleter. Incidentally, I haven’t been asked to leaflet or canvass so it’s possible there is no Labour campaign activity here anyway.
Who to vote for?
I am a Labour Party member and I have been for 20+ years. I have always voted Labour because I believe in Labour values. I oppose Jeremy Corbyn and the half-baked incoherent ideology he has become the figurehead for but I don’t oppose him enough to resign from the party or not vote Labour.
The Labour candidate, Howard Kaye, is an enthusiastic Corbyn supporter and has criticised me on Facebook for not backing him as our leader (whatever Corbyn is, he definitely isn’t a leader!). The party is in a dire state and may not even exist by the 2020 PCC election. Corbyn is the worst leader of any major British political party in history and if he became Prime Minister he would be the worst one ever and a real danger to the country. Despite this, I will still be voting Labour with my first preference.
Who else to vote for?
This election is run under the supplementary vote system where voters express a second preference which is used if no candidate exceeds 50% of first preferences. Labour won’t win in Surrey so my second preference could actually make a difference. There are six other candidates to choose from:
David Munro (Conservative) – I don’t vote Tory. I’m not that sort of person. Ruled out.
Paul Kennedy (Lib Dems) – I think I remember this guy because he tweeted me presistently during the 2015 general election campaign telling me to drop out or stop campaigning to help my hapless Lib Dem opponent compete against the Tory incumbent. He obviously doesn’t care for democracy much. Juvenile. Ruled out.
Julia Searle (Ukip) – Ukip are oafs. They peddle racism and appeal to the worst in people. Ruled out.
Kevin Hurley (Zero Tolerance Policing ex Chief Party) – Hurley is the incumbent PCC and I know him better than all the other candidates. It is only because I know that there is a difference between his rhetoric and reality that I have a grudging respect for him. It was quite an achievement for him to defeat the Tories in Surrey in 2012. Personally, I would prefer a Zero Intolerance candidate but I realise Zero Tolerance was 99% bluster anyway. His rhetoric motivated voters and may have helped police morale, at least until his public spat with the excellent former chief constable Lynne Owens.
However, cutting through the rhetoric, neighbourhood policing has been cut and council tax has risen by the maximum amount allowed each year. Labour invested heavily in neighbourhood policing and it was hugely successful in cutting crime and the fear of crime. Residents in my village are noticing the cuts and feeling less safe. Council tax is a regressive tax – the poorest feel the greatest burden when this tax is raised. This is not a record of success.
Jamie Goldrick (Independent) – The problem with non-party candidates is they haven’t gone through a selection process to weed out eccentrics, fantastists and Nazis. Goldrick and the other ‘independent’, Camille Juliff, seem to be normal people from reading the GetSurrey pieces on them but why are they standing? Goldrick has 15 followers on Twitter. He is a drug expert but his website doesn’t make clear whether he favours more permissive policing of drugs. Maybe he would be a steady hand on the tiller but I don’t have the information to tell.
Camille Juliff (Independent) – Juliff is another insider, a former Surrey Police civilian employee. She has 70 Twitter followers so is barely making any more effort than Goldrick. It has been suggested that they are standing to confuse the electorate and distract from Hurley. I doubt this but how am I supposed to know how they would do the job of PCC? The content of Juliff’s website is better than Goldrick’s but they could both be much better. I want to believe that Juliff would be a competent and ethical PCC but again I don’t have much evidence to go on. I don’t think there have been any hustings, unlike in 2012 when I attended many and got to question the candidates face to face.
Is that it?
As a voter, I feel dissatisfied by this election.