Over at The Chamberlain Files they are big supporters of that ghastly Blairite concept 'modernisation'. They were sadly let down in the Spring by those dreary old stick-in-the-muds, known to you and me as the electorate, who steadfastly refused to go along with the 'project' for elected City Mayors. And even in areas where they have fallen for it, the daft sods tend to vote for politicians instead of handing the reigns of power to well-intentioned celebrities, who we are expected to believe would bring 'new thinking' in to the job. In reality, of course, putting the celebs in charge means handing over power to council officers who will bamboozle the poor sods with local government-speak and general guff!
The Chamberlain Files latest gripe is that those dreary old politicians – dismissed as the 'usual suspects' – are now interfering in the elections for the 'modernisers' latest wheeze, police and crime commissioners (PCC). Apparently they are insisting on standing for election – what a shocking thing for politicians to consider – instead of standing aside and letting our old friends the well-intentioned celebrities have a free run at it.
In South Wales Falklands War veteran Simon Weston, a fine and admirable chap who has an exemplary record in charity work after recovering from his horrific injuries, has decided not to stand as a candidate in the election for PCC, complaining that the post had become 'too political'. For The Chamberlain Files this is so distasteful because 'this being South Wales' the likelihood is that the successful candidate will probably be a member of the Labour Party. Reading it you almost get the impression that some sinister figure has put a gun to the temple of poor old Simon and forced him to stand down. We are even told that in the West Midlands Labour has chosen a bloke with over 25 years experience of how the police service works, as if any knowledge of the job you are required to carry out for £100,000 plus a year should instantly tule you out of being a candidate.
What really surprises me is not the naievity that Simon Weston is said to have by Paul Dale… but the naievity of a hard-bitten political journalist like Paul Dale! The most basic thing that any 'A' level politics student would tell you about the role of political parties, is that their very raison d'être, is to aggregate the vote in elections. Journalists blaming political parties for standing in elections is a bit like, to turn an old phrase on its head, a sailor complaining about the sea.
But what it really boils down to is that the 'modernisers' don't only despise politicians, they also have a deep contempt and distrust of those that vote for them. No-one in South Wales or elsewhere will be frog-marched down to the polling station and be forced to cast their vote in the public gaze, risking the wrath of local political worthies if they have the temerity to cast their vote for someone who wants a job but doesn't have a clue what it's all about.
Time to change the electorate, eh Paul?