The PCC system puts too much power with one person and worse still is dominated by big party political machinery. I don’t want a tory or labour politician spouting their views. Even if I agreed with the PCC idea, they are supposed to represent the public’s views but the candidates have utterly failed to engage with the public. I have been on the look out for notices of public meetings / hustings but have found none. Any I’ve heard about have been after they have happened. It’s rather pathetic really.
My voting pattern in recent years has been to examine what each candidate has to offer and even quiz them on this, then decide. I have a bit of a bias towards independent candidates who really care about their communities. The trouble with political parties is they can tell you one thing, get party whipped, then betray you. But obviously I wouldn’t vote for any independent, they would have to be decent and representative with sensible views. The £5000 deposit required from these candidates could put it out of reach for many independents, deliberately perhaps to ensure dominance from major parties. This large deposit is another reason I object to the PCC elections as a whole.
On the campaigns, Matthew Ellis has certainly conducted a better campaign than Joy Garner. He has a dedicated web site setting out his views. She doesn’t, or if she does I certainly haven’t seen it. Matthew also has a dedicated email address and encourages views to be sent to him. I could email Joy at Stoke-on-Trent city council but this isn’t a PCC dedicated route. Matthew has bothered to drop a leaflet through my door, with a reply slip and freepost address. No leaflet whatsoever from Joy. Their policies and statements have positive and negative aspects but not a lot of substance. Matthew seems to have thought about the issues more deeply than Joy.
So why don’t I vote for Matthew Ellis? Well, I might have voted for one of these candidates if I had been convinced enough. But whilst he is the least bad, I don’t think either of them comes up to the mark enough and I still have issues over the deposit and power factors of the whole system. Neither candidate has provided an opportunity for a public meeting, or to meet them, not even an automated reply from Matthew’s email. The key thing they both fall down on is engaging with the public, neither have shown enough willingness for this or have proper plans for it if they win. It just seems to be they expect if they are voted in then they can assume they have a mandate to do what they want without asking the public, if we don’t like it we don’t vote for them next time. Meantime they can wreak havoc and we can do nothing. We see this well enough with what Stoke-on-Trent city council puts us through. This is another prime reason to spoil the ballot, to protest against this poor example of so-called democracy.