I won’t vote in election I know nothing about

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From: PA Sherwood, South Kilvington, Thirsk.

Here in North Yorkshire there has been very little coverage ahead of today’s police and crime commissioner elections.

As a JP I have been aware of the proposed changes for almost two years, but until 10 days ago I had no idea who any of the candidates were.

I now understand there are two nominations, only one other police area is to have so limited a number of nominations (Staffordshire) but North Yorkshire is the country’s largest police area, 3,200 square miles, with a population of 800,000. Neither of these two nominees have sent any “mail-shots” or any “flyers” and there has been almost nil in the media about their policies or about the candidates concerned, other than they are both women.

I understand one is a Labour candidate and the other Conservative, from the very limited information published neither appear to have any past involvement in similar positions, or any evidence of their ability to handle a budget of £145m. The Conservative candidate claims she wants to close (and sell) the police headquarters at Newby Wiske, no reason as to why, nor explains how a saving could be made by renting similar property elsewhere. This sort of pointless, glib information is not a basis of voting!

The current police authorities seemed to work, had elected members from the relevant local authorities, a magistrate member, other nominated members and were in general politically unbiased. The Chief Constable was answerable to an elected neutral body, not to a proposed political biased person – this indeed could make working conditions almost untenable.

Something has gone seriously wrong in this pointless election, when hardly anyone has the slightest idea of what it’s all about, areas such as Humberside have had coverage with John Prescott standing, a person we know all about and no doubt this will have occurred elsewhere, but not in North Yorkshire.

I have been eligible to vote since 1964 and have done ever since, but unfortunately this election will not have my attendance. I cannot vote for someone I know nothing about!

From: David Gaunt, Rectory Drive, Birstall, Batley.

along with many of your correspondents, my wife and I will regretfully be exercising our democratic right not to vote in today’s PCC elections.

Now retired, both of us have voted in every election and referendum when these have been held, from the age of 18.

No mandate was given to David Cameron and the Conservative Party at the last election to impose PCCs on us and no democratic choice has been given to those of us who oppose these appointments being made.

As voters, we should have been given the opportunity to express if whether we want a PCC or not, and I am sure like the failed policy of elected mayors the answer would have come back with an overwhelming rejection!

If as predicted, the commissioners are elected on a turnout of less than 15 or 25 per cent, they will not have a legitimate mandate to carry out their duties, and this will set a dangerous precedent for how future policy decisions could be implemented.

Finally, and as an example, a low turnout in the election also removes the right of Ministers and others in Parliament to criticise the legitimacy of trade union leaders such as those in the public sector who recently authorised strike action on a minority turnout of eligible members. Mr Cameron, I fear you have lost the moral high ground.

From: David Gray, Buttershaw Lane, Liversedge.

MICHAEL McGowan MEP (Yorkshire Post, November 12)extols us to take the election of police and crime commissioners seriously. The only information received is a card from one of the candidates listing three good reasons to support her. They are: Cut crime, protect frontline policing and listen to your needs. Is this not what we have for years been employing Chief Constables to do? How can one person communicate opinion better than a group of representative councillors consolidating a considerable variety of needs and problems? Oh dear!

Governing patterns

From: John Eoin Douglas, Spey Terrace, Edinburgh.

i WAS sorry to hear of the passing of Sir Rex Hunt who, as Governor, Commander-in-Chief and Vice Admiral of the Falkland Islands during the 1982 invasion, proudly wore his gubernatorial uniform on the dark day that he surrendered to the Argentinians.

Contrast this dignified regard for tradition with the disgraceful action of Lord Patten as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Hong Kong when it was handed over to the Chinese in 1997 in refusing to wear the proper uniform so that, when the sun set on this last part of Empire, he was dressed in a dowdy black suit and looked more like a spiv or man of business rather than representative of Queen and Country. A bus conductor or nurse would not have been permitted such impertinence!

And this man was allowed to become Chair of the BBC Trust?

Keeping memories alive

From: Peter Hyde, Driffield, East Yorkshire.

it could well be the Afghan War that has had the effect of an increased awareness of Armistice Day this year. As a relief poppy seller I noted the seemingly increase in donations of £5 and £10 notes going into the boxes I supervised.

I also noted an increase in the numbers at the village War Memorial that I attend. Whilst the First World War may well be a forgotten one and the Second World War memories be fading, the recent conflicts in the Falklands and Iraq and the current war in Afghanistan means that memories are kept alive.