As recently as 14th June of this year, in her article in the Telegraph, Theresa May is on record as saying “We hope more independent candidates will come forward” for the post of Police Commissioner.
And yet whilst declaring this aspiration, regulations and orders were being put in place to stack the cards against independents.
- Candidates have to find a £5,000 deposit (compared with election for Westminster where the deposit is only £500). That’s easy for the large political parties but for independents…
- For Westminster elections, all the candidates’ material is delivered free by the post office. Not so for candidates for Police Commissioners.
It’s worth noting the Electoral Commission did not support either of these conditions thinking it would put independent candidates at a disadvantage.
Additionally the government insist that it’s sufficient to simply place candidates publicity materials etc on a web site. The Electoral Commission pointed out this would be not only a disadvantage to candidates but also to those of the electorate who do not have access to or use the internet. The Commission made it clear the approach being taken is not the right one.
If these were the actions of a Government in some far off country our politicians would decry them for ignoring such an august body as an independent electoral commission.
It gets worse however. The government has made it possible for people to ‘buy’ the post by setting the spending limit at a staggering and eye watering £100,000! If you don’t happen to have that sort of petty cash lying around, or down the back of the sofa, you can fund raise……….Hmmmm not a good idea for any elected role but even more so if standing for Police Commissioner. Lets not be starry eyed about this, to raise this sort of sum means some big donors and they normally expect something in return.
If you’re an established political party finding those resources is relatively easy. Afterall you’re already set up for this. You have loads of people on the ground to deliver leaflets, existing fund raising arrangements in place to provide the cash to ‘buy’ the result and you aren’t likely to lose your deposit.
Not so for the independent.
As an independent candidate I can only surmise what Theresa would have done had she really wanted to discourage the likes of me. But there you are. She’s a politician. Just saying one thing and doing another. Nothing unusual in that.
This election should not be about large political parties providing the money to ‘buy’ the result.
It should be about the people of Lincolnshire making the choice to have their police force free of political control under a Police Commissioner working for them.
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