For the first time in my life there is an election taking place which is leaving me perturbed yet peculiarly uninvolved.
When the Tories announced their plan to introduce an American-style contest for virtually every police force in England, it was greeted with widespread apathy and very little interest. Thanks to the self-aggrandizing buffoon calling himself Lord Prescott - a title to belie his so called ‘socialist’ roots - there has been a tiny bit more interest.
Some key facts.
The contest is a sort of preferential voting system - you know - similar to what the tories put the boot into with the help of their media arslikhan chums. You put 1st and 2nd preferences down. The top two candidates then have their 2nd preference votes counted and added to the first round count. More than a whiff of hypocrisy here .
Candidates have to put up £5000 to stand. Mere loose change to some of our toff brethren but not straightforward for an honest Joe or Jill with a family. The Tories claimed they wanted Independent candidates. Oh Yeah!
Political parties have jumped in. They put up a party stooge plus the £5000!
Any virtue in this ballot is disappearing fast. There is a danger (delight?) in the turnout being very low. At what point does it become illegitimate?
As for me in Derbyshire I will be faced with a party hack from Labour matched by a similar one from the Tories and a candidate somewhere to the right of barking for UKIP. Then there is an independent ex-copper.
Laura N’Order is a popular girl across the country just now as all these hacks and stooges espouse her virtues.
Options are limited:
Do not bother voting: not happy with this as it is a right I cherish.
Vote just for one candidate - the independent. Perhaps.
Spoil my ballot paper. This has been advocated by several columnists - chiefly John Harris in a Guardian article recently. What would happen if spoilt papers won? This appeals but what is written has to be pithy and to the point. All ‘spoilt’ papers are read out to the candidates at the count. Can be very entertaining.