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Imperiously Silent

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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.

Comments on “Imperiously Silent”

  1. Phil Edwards says:

    The saddest part of this strange episode has been the semi-spontaneous populist campaign against “politicising the police” by electing party representatives. The Commissioners are replacing a non-elected body – the local police authority – which was accountable to local councils until the then Conservative government decided that this made it too political. In effect local democratic accountability was removed in the name of taking ‘politics’ out of the picture. When another Conservative government takes a small step towards reinstating local democratic accountability (for reasons which remain unclear, but probably have to do with reasserting the government’s authority over ACPO), it turns out that the people have learnt their lesson so well that they oppose it as too “political”.

  2. A.J.P. Crown says:

    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.

    Americans do at least get to vote on their own head of state.

    • ander says:

      Yes, they get to vote. But not to elect. For the election takes place earlier, and results in two candidates, each perfectly acceptable to those who pay the bills, being presented to the public. Then the public votes, and every time elects precisely the right candidate.

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