Tuesday, May 24 2016

Will low turnout aid the far right in PCC elections?

The Sunday Express published a comment piece by Geraint Jones on the possibility of the far right being handed an advantage in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections on November 15th on account of low voter turnout.

The Sunday Express commissioned a poll which seems to reinforce fears that voters will stay away from the ballot box on the 15th scuppering the PCCs popular mandate and allowing far right candidates to seize the opportunity.

Jones writes:

“Among the assortment of former MPs, local politics veterans and obscure independents competing for the 41 posts are members of the English Democrats and the British Freedom Party, the political arm of the English Defence League.

“Fears about the tactics of the far-Right were heightened after EDL members held a demonstration outside Parliament yesterday after being banned from marching in the London borough of Waltham Forest. The protesters provocatively burned an Islamist flag.

“As the Electoral Reform Society predicts that the turnout at the polls could hit an all-time low, with fewer than one in five people likely to vote, some observers fear the elections open the door to extremists.”

From the paper’s editorial yesterday:

“Our exclusive poll casts a worrying shadow over the Governments inaugural election of police and crime commissioners next month.

“More than half of voters said they did not think the new commissioners would bring down crime or improve policing, 90 per cent could not name a single candidate and just 17 per cent were certain to vote.

“Ministers are facing an uphill battle against voter apathy, not helped by former Met police chief Sir Ian Blair telling people not to bother turning out.

“He may know a thing or two about policing but not, it seems, the dangerous effects of a very low turn-out that skews democracy and opens the door to extremist candidates.

“The only way to stop extremists getting their hands on considerable power and a good chunk of public money is to show up on November 15.”

Among candidates from far right parties – the British Freedom Party and the English Democrats - who are contesting the elections are Bedfordshire (Kevin Carroll, BFP), Lincolnshire (Elliott Fountain, ED), Northamptonshire (Alan Spencer-Bennett, ED), Cambridgeshire (Stephen Goldspink, ED), Essex (Robin Tilbrook, ED), Kent (Steve Uncles, ED) and Merseyside (Paul Rimmer, ED). UKIP is running 24 candidates in the elections.

You can read our manifesto for the PCC elections here.

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