Treasure a Tourist!
Sadly, we are about to lose our Boss Hogg, and I will have to find some other excuse to talk about old TV programmes. On May 5th, we are going to be asked to vote for a new PCC, and Tony Hogg will not be standing. The last government introduced Police & Crime Commissioners in an effort to make police more directly accountable to the public, a worthy aim, although many doubted either that it was needed or that this was the way in which to achieve the aim.
Certainly, we, the public, didn’t seem terribly keen to have what the Western Morning News once referred to as a “Crime Boss”, since only 15.14% of those eligible turned out to vote, despite our having 10 candidates to choose from, the highest number in the country; only 196,987 ballot papers were verified in our area. Of these, Mr Hogg received 55,257 first preference votes, meaning that he received first preference votes from a mere 4.25% of the electorate. Even if we add Mr Hogg’s second preference votes (14,162), he only scored 69,419 votes, 5.34% of the electorate, hardly a resounding vote of confidence. Admittedly, Brian Greenslade, who came second, got less than half Mr Hogg’s total of first preference votes and the rest of the pack trailed far behind, so Mr Hogg unquestionably was properly elected.
However, the low turnout does make something of a mockery of the avowed aim to make the police more democratically accountable. So why was the turnout low? One thing we can be sure of – it was nothing to do with the quality of candidates. Amongst the ten, we had some excellent candidates, embracing a wide variety of opinions. For those of us who pay attention to the news, whether in print or on-line, there was also plenty of discussion and publicity.
Of course, we are accustomed to low turnouts in elections other than parliamentary general elections, but, even by the standards of local council elections, turnout for the PCC was abysmal. My guess is that most of the 85% who did not vote did not want a PCC and were happy with the previous arrangement, whilst the rest did not care who the PCC is, which amounts to the same thing.
As Winston Churchill once said “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…” Our democracy, which extends the vote, with very few exceptions, to all adults and which aims to treat all equally, regardless of race, colour, gender, religion, sexuality etc. is a very precious thing and, looking back at history, virtually unprecedented. Our predecessors fought hard, and some died or suffered severe punishments, to bring us this democracy and it behoves us to care for and cherish it.
So, in the forthcoming PCC elections, I urge you to vote. If you believe the PCC idea is a good one, vote for your preferred candidate – there are only 6 this time, but there are some good ones. But what to do if you do not believe in the PCC idea? Two of the candidates, the UKIP and LibDem, say they will fight to have the post abolished, but I cannot see anyone voting for them unless they also sign up to the rest of the political philosophies of those parties.
I therefore suggest to those of you who do not wish to see a further PCC, spoil your voting slip.
However, whatever your views, please vote.
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
(From the national anthem, second verse)
Just to prove I can write doggerel as well:
The Barnstaple NDDC
Is not welcome in Ilfracombe, see.
So stay out of ‘Combe
Unless you’re in your tomb
Or floating, and lost out at sea.
There are some lovely people in Ilfracombe, but, sadly, some real scum as well. Two posts on Facebook caught my eye.
First, someone has dumped a load of rubbish in the Holy Trinity Graveyard. The Holy Trinity Graveyard Group have put in an enormous amount of work to get the graveyard looking good and then some moronic, selfish pig comes along and ruins it. Bert Gear offered a reward to anyone fingering the culprit and several people have offered to add to it. I am pleased to say that the rubbish has now disappeared. Perhaps the person who dumped it was shamed by the publicity.
Another post, the same day, tells how someone has stolen a wheelbarrow from the Cow Green Community Garden.
How low can some people get?
There’s also a report that the government is considering extending the ban on pavement parking that already exists in London to the rest of the country, a move which, it is said, the County Council fully supports. I have to say, I would be glad if this happens. Going around on a mobility scooter is not easy and it is not made easier if you have to go into the road in order to get around a vehicle parked on the pavement.
If you haven’t yet seen it, I urge you to read http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/apr/24/heads-or-tails-smarter-than-an-mp-personality-quiz-ben-ambridge
As I previously mentioned. Bert Gear generously gave his £50 prize voucher to the Combe Christmas appeal. The second prize of a £25 voucher from Pedlars has not been claimed and so is also going to Combe Christmas. Pedlars also gave me a £15 voucher, so all three, £50, £25 and £15 will go to Combe Christmas. Thanks to Nick & Helen for your generosity.
Finally, I still have one set of Oliver Tooley’s time tunnel trilogy to give away. Suitable for readers age 8 to 12, probably boys, more than girls, but maybe I am being sexist. If you know someone who would like it, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.