The only real surprise for me about yesterday’s election for Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner is that so many people turned out.
That’s not true, it’s no surprise at all. You didn’t need to be a psychic to be able to confidently predict a low turnout and an easy Labour win in the Northumbria area.
A 16.4 per cent turnout is a shambles, and shows the whole project has no credibility with most people on the street.
Even with the ease of a postal vote, only a small minority of the electorate felt connected enough with the role to care about voting for it. Even in South Tyneside, which usually scrapes an average turnout of between 30 to 40 per cent (34 per cent in 2012), could only manage a 16.6 per cent turnout. That’s right, less than half of the number people in South Tyneside who normally vote in local elections could care less about the PCC project.
A bad idea, poorly promoted and forced on an electorate which have made their opinions known by staying away from the polling stations.
My worry now is that the government will use this low turnout as an excuse for introducing electronic voting run by private companies of the kind we see causing problems in the USA.
One silver lining though: no Tory (or politico of any other colour for that matter) will ever be able to criticise the credibility of union ballot turnouts without the PCC elections being thrown back in their face.