Barlow's Beef: Move along now there is nothing to see!

commissioner did you get on?

Did you cast your vote at for your Police and Crime Commissioner?

This was the first time in my entire life I did not exercise my democratic right to vote. There was a very good reason for my non-participation... I knew absolutely nothing about the candidates whatsoever.

If they were placed in a police line up I couldn't identify one of them.

Apart from a few desultory comments on Facebook and the official pre-prepared statement of each candidate all of which were as inspiring as soggy toast I knew nothing.

Given their lack of effort I found it impossible to believe that any of them had the energy for such an important job AND why did they attach their candidacy to a political party? If there's one thing we don't need it's a police commissioner with a political agenda.

Surely he/she (if there was a she) should be independent? We have enough political hacks telling us what to do already.

I was quite tempted to vote for John Dwyer the current incumbent until he came up with the stupefying idea of making Wilmslow Bobbies travel to Macclesfield to be briefed before starting their shift. Clearly Mr Dwyer hasn't heard of video conferencing or social media.

Given the number of road closures, contra flows and utility works come September I'd be surprised to see those officers back in Wilmslow in time to clock off.

So what did I learn about the remaining candidates? I discovered they were all men who wear suits, which hardly seems sufficient information for someone who could (in theory) incarcerate the entire county.

I am truly baffled. Given the opportunity to spout their theories those aspiring to high office usually can't shut up. They have a habit of popping up at every event where the audience is either too polite or too infirm to escape.

You meet these candidates at markets, pubs, village fetes and shopping centres with their partners and spouses cracking jokes and expressing their views on everything from international terrorism to ferret fettling. By the time the election comes around you know more about them than your spouse not our would-be police commissioners, of which we knew nought.

Maybe this election was supposed to be like an office Secret Santa where you have no idea what you're getting or where it came from. That rarely ends well does it? It's usually something useless that you don't want.

Imagine what it must be like for the chief constable knowing he could have a boss whose chief attribute is his membership of the Lib Dems. Hardly inspiring is it? Like having a boss who knits his own jumpers.

By the time you read this you will know who the new Police Commissioner is whether you will be any the wiser is debatable.

Move along there's nothing to see.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Barlow's Beef, Vic Barlow


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Julie Green
Tuesday 10th May 2016 at 8:57 pm
Does anyone know why the Alternative Voting system gets used at these police commissioner elections when the system was overwhelmingly rejected for parliamentary elections in the 2011 referendum? I turned up to vote expecting to put a mark against one candidate (difficult enough to choose as you say Vic) and was utterly bamboozled! When was this system sneaked in?
Vic Barlow
Wednesday 11th May 2016 at 3:56 pm
With less that a quarter of residents voting you have to boost the numbers somehow!
Yvonne Howson
Wednesday 11th May 2016 at 7:57 pm
I didn't vote either because I didnt receive a voting card, nor did I receive any canvassing leaflets. The polling station was opposite my house so I went over to ask what we should be voting for! I was told I could vote without a card, but I didn't even know who the candidates were. Disgraceful organisation.
Stuart Redgard
Wednesday 11th May 2016 at 11:49 pm
I know somebody who aid that they voted but didn't vote for any of the individuals standing. Some people call that spoiling your ballot paper and is a waste of time. I'd disagree. I call it expressing your opinion by voting for none of the candidates standing.
Bob Bracegirdle
Thursday 12th May 2016 at 4:41 am
Same in Leicestershire. Got one flyer. Alternative vote system a complete surprise. Officers at polling station agreed that there had been no publicity at all in the media. Local police officers smiled and said they were not allowed to comment.

Conspiracy of silence to discredit the idea? I think so.
Jonathan Follows
Thursday 12th May 2016 at 8:18 am
Anyone who didn't receive a voting card may possibly have fallen foul of the new "individual electoral registration" system,

I voted because I didn't want our incumbent to be re-elected because of the things he has done and because I don't think it appropriate that a former policeman should have been in a position of oversight and scrutiny over a police force, which seems to defeat the primary objective of the role in my view.

There was no "independent" candidate, shame, he/she would have received my vote.

On the supplementary voting system, I complained about the instructions (I felt to be misleading) to Macclesfield Town Hall (with my postal vote, so not necessarily reflected in the instructions for people voting on the day), who said they agreed with me but they were mandated "by legislation" so I complained to the Electoral Commission who said that my complaint had been noted as I wasn't the first person to raise a similar complaint.

Northumbria PCC "calls for clearer voting instructions after thousands of spoiled ballots" ITV reports - >8,000 spoiled ballot papers across the force area. I can't currently find the numbers for Cheshire (not reported at, wouldn't you know?).

A report following the 2012 elections is at and it will be interesting to see how a report on the 2016 elections differs from this.