16 Nov 2012

Congrats Martin Surl

So the results are out - see here - Independent Martin Surl beat the Conservatives to second place. Martin is a former superintendent with Gloucestershire Police - congrats to him - fears with a Tory in post were that they would privatise large parts of the police as they have promised in many areas.

Gloucestershire Green Party have called the creation and election of Police and Crime Commissioners as a complete waste of money. There was no pressure from the public for this position and it is an unwelcome politicisation of a public service. The requirement for a £5000 deposit means that candidates are either from major political parties funded by big business or Unions or those with the ability to risk losing 1000s of pounds.

Cllr Sarah Lunnon (Green Stroud East) said before the election: “It is not democratic.  It will be understandable if turnout is low and if many of those who do vote choose to spoil their ballot”. With turnout in Stroud at 18% and lower in many other places, fears have only been confirmed about the nonsense of this Conservative/LibDem policy.

Deputy Director of Unlock Democracy Alexandra Runswick said: “This is a calamity entirely of Theresa May’s making.  She had been warned repeatedly what would happen without a decent information campaign but would not listen. In the run-up to the elections we were struck by how unpopular the policy was amongst our supporters. Many told us they did not agree with the elections or the new role the Home Office was imposing on them. We also received many complaints about the lack of information available from the Home Office about candidates and how to vote. There are people who have voted all their lives who simply didn’t feel able to take part in this election because they didn’t know what or who they were voting for. The low turnout is unsurprising considering people had no information and were voting for officials they did not want in the first place.  We must ensure we are never put in this situation again.”

With the government on the ropes over this, Unlock Democracy note that we have a narrow window of opportunity over the next few days to ensure the momentum for change does not get lost.  Will you write to Home Secretary Theresa May and demand she replaces this current system with a better alternative?


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