The Tory government imposed Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) onto the British public. There had been no public demand for such posts to exist, nor had the police forces asked for such posts. The Tories were fully aware of the lack of any interest in elected overseers of the police forces of the UK, and equally aware of the subsequent highly likely low turnout for any elections for such posts. [Brendan O’Neill discusses fake democracy of PCC here: PCC elections.] So, why would such posts been implemented? The answer is that any back door to power via a low turnout in an election is appealing to any political party. It is a very desirable scenario because it allows an unpopular party to acquire some power, due to the electorate’s utter lack of interest, while simultaneously presenting the existence of the election, erroneously, as greater democracy.
The key point is that although the vast majority of the electorate couldn’t give a panda’s testicle about PCC elections, some power does exist for those political parties that “win” the elections. The Tories perceived the elections as a tool for inserting a Tory onto the people of parts of Britain where, normally, MPs and councils are predominantly Labour. However, the increase in movement of support to UKIP from the Tory party has meant that Farage’s gang of vagabond’s are able to profit from the Tories’ attempted democracy-bypass.
An example of how UKIP could benefit from the creation of the fake democracy of PCC elections occurs on Thursday this week, (October 30th), when there is an election for South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner. (The election is a consequence of the resignation of previous PCC Shaun Wright whose resignation statement is here: Shaun Wright resignation.) Not only does this election coincide with the flow of amoral opportunists along a sewer from Tory to UKIP – Carswell, Reckless, etc. – but the circumstances that led to Mr. Wright’s resignation play into the grubby hands of UKIP’s virulent anti-immigrant rhetoric, provided of course that UKIP’s campaigning avoids all pretence of integrity, fairness and civility, which it is bound to do.
Child abuse in Rotherham
A report of an investigation into child abuse in Rotherham by Alexis Jay can be downloaded here: Alexis Jay. In her report Ms. Jay includes comment on the ethnicity of perpetrators and also includes account of the decisions made by social workers, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and South Yorkshire Police with respect to race and faith of perpetrators, victims and families of either. Such comments are quantitively a small part of the report but many commentators on Ms. Jay’s report have chosen to focus on the race and faith of the perpetrators.
It suits a right-wing perspective if its favoured targets – Muslims, immigrants and non-white people – can be identified as the primary suspects in any wrong-doing. The spurious opportunity to equate a faith or skin colour to propensity to commit heinous crimes has been consumed greedily by politicians and media, with the added bonus, for them, of attacking a perception of “political correctness.” Not only can the favoured targets be fired at but also any counter balances to prejudice can also be attacked.
For the aforesaid PCC by-election UKIP’s wealthy donors have paid for billboard posters that use the child abuse revelations in Rotherham as a campaigning tool to attack the Labour party, a copy of which is posted here on the Brietbart website: UKIP poster. The use of child abuse as a campaign tactic in such a blatant manner is strikingly unremarkable for a party whose grasp of an integrity is very slippery, and is grossly hypocritical because UKIP MEPs voted against or abstained from voting on a motion in EU parliament to tackle child abuse and child pornography, see: EU child abuse vote.
The rhetoric around the posters reveals a further debased intent. UKIP’s candidate for South Yorkshire PCC, former police officer Jack Clarkson, mentions “fashionable ideas,” (see: Breitbart), contributing to a failure to stop the child abuse and he states that he will “roll back the tide of political correctness” in the police force, (see: UKIP website). Throughout Clarkson’s presentation of his intentions the repeated refrain is that he feels the police haven’t been prejudiced enough in South Yorkshire. Clarkson’s assertion is that a lack of discrimination and of cultural profiling has discouraged the police from fully investigating accusations of child abuse. The absurdity of Clarkson’s analysis coupled with his unbendable belief in his logic is very worrying. (The contradiction of allowing ex-police officers to hold a democratically elected administrative position to oversee the police was not considered problematic by the government when conceiving the concept of PCCs.)
What Clarkson neatly skips past is that the ineptitude, the incompetence and the separation from the public of the police force in which in worked for thirty years are contributing factors to so much abuse being ignored or improperly investigated. It was not because South Yorkshire police force was too well-disposed to Muslims, immigrants and non-white people that the abuse could continue, the child abuse continued unrestrained partly because South Yorkshire police force doesn’t give a damn about most of the people who live in the county, particularly those who don’t live in middle-class suburban areas. It was ingrained disdain for the victims, not a fear of harassing the perpetrators, that informed the lack of interest in investigation by South Yorkshire police.
Clarkson shares the police contempt for the people they are supposed to serve. On 2nd July this year Clarkson, a councillor at Sheffield City Council, was one of only a handful of councillors who abstained when voting on a motion regarding the police brutality at Orgreave during the miners’ strike in the 1980s, voting details here: Orgreave motion. Clarkson was a police officer in South Yorkshire police force when the Orgreave battle took place. He has also opposed inquiries into the police incompetence and liability for the deaths of 96 people at Hillsborough football ground in 1989.
Back door democracy (summary)
Low turnout at elections is troublesome for any democracy. It indicates a lack of interest from the public in governance. Also, low turnout allows candidates with a persistently twisted presentation of reality to have an opportunity to succeed given a combination of wealthy donors, as UKIP has, and cheer leading from the media, as UKIP has had.
For the PCC by-election in South Yorkshire UKIP has used child abuse for its own ends, it has garbled the report of an investigation into said abuse in order to promote anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant views and its candidate Jack Clarkson has blamed tolerance of multi-culturism as a factor in the failures to investigate the child abuse. He has ignored his own culpability and his distance from the public regarding his opposition to inquiries into Orgreave and into Hillsborough.
UKIP plough on, ignoring criticsm and reason. Aided by a media that is much more interested in simple-minded entertainment, supplied in spades by UKIP, than it is in coherent balanced analysis, by a few wealthy donors with a dislike for the common man, and by a grotesque single-mindedness of their elected representatives that is as far away from social responsibility as is possible, UKIP are immune to any qualities that are needed to exist in a humane society. Their appeal has an upper limit in numerical terms, but back door democracy will allow some of them to grab positions of authority. What UKIP needs to remember is that receiving less than 20% of the registered electorate’s votes (as Jack Clarkson did in council elections this year, see: Sheffield council election.) means no mandate.