Personal Musing On The PCC Candidates
Okay, look – this is just my opinion. My personal opinion. Nothing more, nothing less. I don’t claim the opinion belongs to any other organisation, or group, or anything like that. It’s just me. That said, I’m going to talk about who you, dear reader, might consider voting for in the election this coming Thursday. I’m sure you are absolutely on the edge of your seat wondering what the end of this mysterious story is, right? Well, I’ll ruin it for you. The spoiler is that at the end of this I’m going to suggest you vote Conservative. But it’s not the destination, its the journey. Let us begin.
Name: Ansar Ali (Independent)
“We need to prioritise and target what the public feel is the most beneficial services for them,” said Mr Ali.
“I will be fighting very hard. We are the second lowest funded police service in the country. That is unacceptable. I want fairer funding for Cambridgeshire.”
He’s been a BBC broadcaster, a “community advocate” (are there people who advocate the lack of communities then?), a county councillor, a justice of the peace and a “senior manager” for 30 years in the public sector. His main platform point seems to be that he was on the police authority. So, in my view he is the “more of the same” candidate. If you’re happy with what has gone before, great! Because he’s been part of it. If you think there are enough police in your neighbourhood, that crime is handled correctly and that victims are properly prioritised right now, then he’s your man. Because he has been part of the authority who oversaw it all. But then if you like everything as it is right now, why vote at all?
Name: Paul Bullen (UKIP)
“My personal view is we should not be cutting the budget. We can’t keep cutting and cutting,” said Mr Bullen. ”We need to sit down and go through the figures.” He said that depending on what the accounts say, the precept may need to be raised.
It’s interesting to hear UKIP, who I had thought were on the right enough to understand that money does not grow on trees, would be taking an anti-cuts position. Are we really suggesting there is no waste, no duplication, no efficiency-savings, and no new ways of doing things which might be more cost-effective? I quite liked his “more police on the beat, tough on the causes of crime” line, but it’s a pretty obvious line, isn’t it? I mean, who is going to say: “Let’s have fewer police on the beat and let’s be gentle on the causes of crime?” Nobody! Oh wait. I forgot about Rupert Moss-Eccardt. He might. More on that later.
Name: Stephen Goldspink (English Democrats)
Mr Goldspink said he thought there was room to save money by making the force more efficient and “by improving the management”.
“My view is I would look at the budget with a fine tooth comb and reappraise the priorities of spending. I will look at how the money is spent,” he said.
I couldn’t find an actual website for Stephen’s PCC platform. There might be one and Google just wasn’t playing nice, I don’t know. But I did find the Your Next MP site as linked above. You have to wonder how many other jobs the multi-talented and ambitious Mr Goldspink plans to stand for? President of the Society of St. George? Elected Fire Chief? Chair Of Friends Of The Park in Little Puddlingham? It could be almost anything. He’s going to “reappraise the priorities of spending” – so there’s a meaty policy to get fired up about. But seriously, You can skip this one, if you like. He’ll be standing for something else before you can say: “England, my England.”
Name: Farooq Mohammed (Independent)
“As far as Cambridgeshire Police is concerned, it is the most underfunded county in the country. Resources are very stretched,” said Mr Mohammed.
He said it may be acceptable to make cuts to backroom staff to invest in front-line policing, but cuts should not be made “for the sake of cutting”.
Doesn’t he sound sort of like a policy cross between Paul Bullen and Ansar Ali? I mean, he’s ticked the “we’re really underfunded” box and the “anti-cuts” box. I love this comment that cuts should not be made “for the sake of cutting.” As if there are people sitting in a room giggling maniacally and cutting at random. They’re cutting because they’ve run out of money, Farooq. The last thing we need are more people whinging about how unfair it is that we have run out of money. These are precisely the sort of people who spend too much money. Nor does all this complaining make the money magically reappear. We need people who will find new and innovate ways to save while still delivering an excellent service. We need people to look for waste, duplication and to be creative in the application of the funds we do have. But, I suppose, if you just want to hear a good old bit of nagging, Farooq sounds like a nice enough guy. He’s even offered to spend his first two years salary on a breakfast club for malnourished kids. Which is great if you think offering to buy votes is a reasonable way to do business. Personally, I don’t much like it. But the kids who eat the nourishing breakfast probably will. So there’s that. If you really must vote Independent, then I think Farooq is the better choice.
Name: Ed Murphy (Labour)
“Cuts of 20% are far too much. It is putting neighbourhood policing teams at risk,” said Mr Murphy.
“Labour will be fighting against 20% cuts. We have so far managed to protect neighbourhood policing teams, but in policing terms, the previous chief constable predicted Armageddon if we carry on with cuts.”
I found it interesting that in my Google search for a website for Ed, I came upon a link to the peterboroughlabourparty.co.uk under which Google helpfully suggested “This site may harm your computer.” I don’t know about that, but I reckon there’s at least a fair chance it will eat your soul. Now look, there are a lot of things that Police & Crime Commissioners will be able to do and should try to do – but to attempt to be some kind of socialist campaign tool in parliament just isn’t one of them. His key item on the BBC Cambridgeshire website was to moan about national cuts. Without even pointing out that it was his party which spent all the money, I still can’t see how all this sabre-rattling will actually keep anybody safer. Oh, and he really, really, really hates G4S. Inspiring, huh?
Name: Rupert Moss-Eccardt (Liberal Democrat)
Mr Moss-Eccardt said: “Now the authority has set a precept of 2% [in council tax] and the government has pre-empted the vote for a PCC by indicating that the incoming PCC will not be able to raise it more.
“We will look at the collaboration of back office services with nearby police forces.”
I was briefly on the same council as Rupert. He always seemed like a lovely guy. But I simply cannot imagine him as a police & crime commissioner. Almost anybody would be a better vote than this. Except maybe Ed Murphy. And I’m not even sure about that. I mean, Ed Murphy might or might not be a union puppet, and he might or might not waste endless time trying to lobby government in vain. And he might or might not be an authoritarian socialist, red in tooth and claw. But at least he wouldn’t advocate giving dangerous criminals a “nice hug” and some kindly words. Or suggest they were, actually, victims themselves. I don’t know if Rupert would either, but he is a Liberal Democrat. Right?
Name: Sir Graham Bright (Conservative)
This is the person to vote for. The End. Oh, you want more? It’s here.