I spoiled my police commisioner ballot in North Yorkshire. I wrote: ‘This is a very ill-advised idea borrowed from the US and not wanted by the public.’ So the results declare it to have been. The primal fault lies in a belief that voting and democracy are the same thing and that more of one means more of the other.
The great advances – 1832, 1867, the women’s vote in its two stages – were demanded and fought for by a substantial number of the excluded wanting inclusion. Thomas Attwood’s Birmingham Political Union meetings of 1831-32 were informed in a late phase of the campaign that soldiers camped nearby had been ordered to rough-sharpen their swords. They remained and even the Duke of Wellington, even the marmorial old House of Lords submitted.
The political police commissioner is a top-down imposition, something to which we have been summoned, an etiolated notion of good government. There has however been democracy. The spoilers and the stayers-away have told Cameron what they do not want. The people of England have remained imperiously silent, the brutes.