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Saturday, July 07, 2012

Police Commissioner elections flop fear

There is an interesting article in today's Independent, which reports that the Home Secretary is panicking over fears that November's Police Commission elections are going to be a non-event.

The paper says that Theresa May has asked the Treasury for money to fund an advertising campaign to encourage stronger candidates to come forward.due to growing alarm among ministers that the contests for 41 new local police chiefs will be an embarrassing flop with dismal turn-outs in November's elections.

They add that Minister's hopes that a series of well-known non-political figures would bid for the posts have not materialised andas a result the elections look set to be fought out between unremarkable party stalwarts, including former ministers and MPs.

One of the reasons for this may well be the huge £5,000 deposit required to stand in the first place plus the cost of standing. Without a freepost election address facility only candidates with deep pockets, lots of volunteer help and good organisational and election experience could hope to defeat the bigger party machines.

Perhaps a rethink on this aspect of the legislation might help as well as the imposition of a limit on national spending by the political parties so as to prevent independents being drowned out in a deluge of direct mail and bill board advertising.
Here's a chance to ensure that a long standing Lib Dem policy becomes actual fact. Get rid of the deposit scheme and replace it with a minimum of 1% of the electorate (in somewhere like Greater Manchester, just over 10,000) to sign the nomination papers.
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