Monday, 19 November 2012

PCC Elections

Wake up Mr Cameron
My mother did not vote in the PCC election. I should say right away that this is the first election, ever, that she has not voted, and she is 89. My mother was a policewoman during the war, she is one of the most upright, law abiding and effective people that I have ever known. For many years she ran her own business. Since retirement she has spend thousands of hours doing voluntary work, serving in charity shops, driving infirm people to hospital, helping man phones in the local voluntary centre, in fact generally being a model citizen.
So why did she not vote? Because she knew nothing at all about the election or the candidates. How come? Because she had received no information through her post box, heard nothing from any of the candidates and does not use the Internet. As a result she had no way of finding anything out.
What was completely remarkable about this election was that if you don't use the Internet then you had no chance of playing your part as a citizen. In some ways I think it is reasonable to expect the Internet to play a big part in our lives, but to make it essential seems to be going a bit far without actually asking people if that was OK.
For some time I have had a theoretical objection to the TV license, in the back of my mind, because it means that in order to listen to party political political broadcasts, or to listen to the Queen or the prime minister, you have to pay to be able to receive TV. However, there was still the possibility of listening to the radio, so if you did not want to pay to receive TV you were not completely cut off.
This election has gone a lot further.
There is also another somewhat unfortunate aspect, the actual web site was rubbish, as is the result service. I can find out from the PCC site, who got elected, but they have not published the percentages. I can read about the low turnout all over the place, but I don't get the official data, from the place I voted.
This is not democracy in action. For institutions to exist in a decent society, not only must they act in a proper way, but they must be seen to do so. Were they trying to convince us that policing only matters to those who use the Internet?
All I can say is Dear Mr Cameron, wake up. If you stop treating me like an idiot, I might stop thinking you are one.

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