Wednesday, 19 November 2014
THE LESSONS OF THE SOUTH YORKSHIRE BY-ELECTION FOR POLICE COMMISSIONER
THE LESSONS OF THE SOUTH YORKSHIRE BY-ELECTION FOR POLICE COMMISSIONER
The fact that is strangest to those of us that have an idealist hope that representative democracy can be a force for good is that over 85.12% of those registered on the electoral roll in South Yorkshire could not be bothered to get off their backsides to vote. This is whilst they were living in the midst of probably the worst scandal in the whole of the Western world. They could hardly fail to have been fully aware of it and of much of its ramifications and their idleness puts them as being somewhat complicit in the scandal. Can it be imagined that if significant numbers had taken to the streets to object over the last 15 years, that even the conspirators at the heart of South Yorkshire Labour wouldn’t have re-thought their approach?
The extent of the scandal is this, for many years now isolated voices have been pointing out that there is a widespread problem of Pakistani/Muslim men sexually predating upon very young English girls. Although it is now clear that many people within the upper reaches of Labour and, no doubt, of the local media were well aware of this happening. Not only did they not do anything to prevent it, but they actively demonised anyone who raised it.
This case must be the most appalling example of institutionalised racism and bigotry that anyone could imagine taking place in England. Given the current furore over Jimmy Saville (and for that matter Ched Evans, the Sheffield footballer, who appears to have taken advantage of a drunken, but at least adult girl), who can doubt the seriousness of what is now officially admitted to be, in Rotherham alone, at least 1,400 children raped, trafficked, abused and, no doubt, at least similar numbers in many other towns across England.
For example, Manchester is beginning to look like a place where Labour behaved in the same way, where Labour government officials, social workers and the police and local media all behaved in the same way. In Manchester the numbers of girls may exceed 10,000.
It would appear that across England that the scandal may well encompass over 100,000 girls, most of whom were supposedly in local government “Care”, very often having been taken away from feckless parents to be put in a situation which turned out to be far worse.
The extent of the scandal is not just those local officials, police and local politicians who were aware of it and did nothing, or actively colluded in covering it up, but the scandal went as far into the heart of the Labour Government as the then Home Secretary, David Blunkett, and was certainly known about by the Labour MPs of the various towns involved, as is clear from the Yorkshire Post article below.
Yet in the midst of this utterly appalling scandal, that any decent human being should be up in arms about, this is the very context in which 849,654 adult citizens living in South Yorkshire couldn’t be bothered to vote. This figure does not even take account of up to 25% of those eligible to vote who care so little about the future of our country that they are not even on the electoral roll. It is not as if there was no choice given to those people to vote against the corrupt Labour establishment. No our candidate, David Allen, had come second last time. We delivered a hard-hitting leaflet, which I show below, and there was a reasonable amount of media coverage and reporting of what was going on.
Why then was it that only 8,583 people voted for the only candidate genuinely committed to a root and branch tackling of this appalling problem?
Well one answer of course is the paedophile vote. Labour scraped back in again with mostly postal voters (somewhere in the order of 80% of their vote was postal votes), and they got 74,060 votes. Those voters would have been the paedophiles themselves, their friends and family and all those that had been involved in the cover-up and institutionalised neglect of their duty to these girls. There were also, no doubt, some un-thinking Labour Party supporters. The Liberal Democrats did not stand and that of course helped Labour, as their standing would have split the votes of unthinking Leftists.
Then there is also the fundamental lack of State support for these elections. When Police Commissioner elections were being introduced by the then Police Commissioner, the aptly named Nick Herbert, I, and many others, lobbied him to have mayoral style booklets delivered to every elector, which would not only explain the role of the Police Commissioner, but also the voting system and every candidate would have an opportunity to put their electoral address into the leaflet.
The Conservative Minister’s calculation was they did not need the booklet as much as the other parties because they have got the most money and therefore could afford to pay for leafleting, but also there is the usual Conservative Party ‘bean counter’ mentality of keeping the costs down, even where that seriously undermines the purpose for which the money has been spent.
Elections are always quite expensive, not least because the returning officers send a notice of the election card to every elector.
All too typically for the British State the card that is sent has very little of importance or use on it and sending it is nothing more than a ‘tick box’ bureaucratic exercise. Whereas if that note was replaced with a Mayoral style booklet we would have a realistic chance of getting some better involvement from the electors. But no, Nick Herbert absolutely refused to support these elections in a way that would have made it likely that this ostensibly commendable reform would succeed.
Given the size of the electorate at 1,000,015 and the distances to be covered over the whole of South Yorkshire, comprising some 14 Westminster parliamentary constituencies, and that there is no support in making contact with the electorate for any of the candidates, it is obvious that the amount of money spent on the campaign is likely to make all the difference.
Unfortunately, but inevitably, the English Democrats had the smallest war chest for fighting these elections. We had a well-designed, hard-hitting leaflet. We did our best to raise the issue on social media, but in the end the amount of money spent was inevitably going to tell.
Labour had not only invested time and effort in the past in getting their supporters on the postal voting system, but also had relatively deep pockets and an urgent need to try to maintain their position in order to close off the prospect of senior members of the Labour Party being arrested for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and various other conspiracy charges arising out of their disgraceful behaviour.
The Tories were there in their role of trying to keep the Punch & Judy shows going between Labour and the Conservatives and splitting any non-establishment opposition vote and got 18,536 votes.
UKIP stood, despite being a party that is opposed to the concept of Police Commissioners, a bizarre position for a party claiming to be in favour of democracy. They put up a former South Yorkshire Police Inspector, who, even if he wasn’t personally involved in the scandal, must have known about it. He was supposedly in “Community Policing” and engaging in buttering up the Imams in the various mosques of South Yorkshire. He would have a vested interest in protecting his friends and former colleagues who are guilty.
However when it came down to money it has been stated that by senior people within UKIP that they spent over £150,000 on the election. I have also heard others say that they spent up to £250,000 on the election. In either case they spent at least 15 times as much money on this election as we did and still got nowhere near winning it. Their vote was 46,883. So UKIP may have spent over £5 per vote.
It was also interesting that the English Democrats counting agents at the various counts reported that about 40% of all the Second Preference votes were English Democrats, so it sounds as if, even if Labour had not succeeded in getting over the 50% mark, that UKIP would not have succeeded in winning the seat.
The lessons therefore of this election are that it is not enough to have the best policies, or the best candidate, or the best leaflet, or even the best social media campaign, what is required to win this was large numbers of potential supporters signed up to vote on the postal vote and also much more money.
In the absence of either of these two key resources, the English Democrats nevertheless did quite well to get 8,500 votes and to retain our deposit. We also got significant additional publicity and were treated with respect by the media as a serious political party with serious political aims and a serious and sensible candidate.
Well done David Allen and the South Yorkshire English Democrats who made it all possible!
Here is the Yorkshire Post article I mentioned:-
Exclusive: MP and Home Office failed to act on Rotherham grooming 11 years ago
by Adrian Pearson, the Yorkshire Post’s Political Editor
ROTHERHAM’s horrific abuse concerns were raised with the Home Office and the town’s MP but never acted on, The Yorkshire Post can reveal.
Abuse campaigners have revealed how in 2003 they met with a senior Home Office representative to say the Rotherham Council and South Yorkshire Police could not be trusted and called for urgent Government action.
And in 2009 they wrote to Denis MacShane with a five page letter detailing abuse concerns made by a Rotherham family but received no response.
Mr MacShane has said he was never approached by constituents raising abuse concerns, and that was why he did not speak on the issue of Rotherham-specific abuse in the House of Commons.
The former MP said he has no knowledge of the letter, and that as it was not directly addressed to him but to a larger group he might not necessarily have had to act on it.
The letter was sent by charity Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation, then known as CROP, who said its own researcher had to stop work because of fears a serving police officer was passing information on to abusers.
Evidence of the 2009 letter, released by the influential Home Affairs Select Committee, comes as it emerges former Rotherham Council staff face criminal charges for misconduct in public office.
South Yorkshire Police chief constable David Crompton revealed he asked the National Crime Agency to look at council failings and those of his own force as part of its investigation into how abuse claims were handled.
The abuse charity PACE said it still could not understand why when the Home Office was informed of widespread abuse, incompetence or worse in public office and the possibility of police corruption, civil servants did nothing.
Minutes from the charity show that in early 2002 the Home Office knew its own researcher was under pressure to stop asking difficult questions, with records stating “The Home Office in London…know that she is being asked to falsify data and has other problems.”
The Home Office though told Rotherham charities and youth workers that the researcher’s work was to be axed and, it can today be revealed, banned them from publishing the provisional abuse inquiries.
From 2003 onwards briefing notes had been prepared for the then Home Secretary David Blunket and the charity was told “The Home Secretary is ready to read what CROP sends.”
In 2004 charity chair of trustees Hilary Willmer met with Sue Jago from the Home Office “in which she promised the Home office would give a high profile to the issues we raised”.
Ms Willmer last night said: “When we found out what was happening to these girls we assumed everyone would be horrified and there would be immediate action. We had to painfully learn that that was not the case, including when we told the Home Office.”
Ms Willmer’s charity revealed a family support worker was appointed but was forced to quit because of “she believes at least one police officer was undermining her work and potentially putting her personally at risk as he/she was being paid by pimps/groomers for information.”
It emerged yesterday that South Yorkshire Police has now referred 14 people to the IPCC watchdog and may make further referrals should the criteria be met. The force said Both South Yorkshire Police and the independent investigation will remain in constant dialogue with the IPCC.
Mr MacShane said he has no memory of the charity rasing concerns with him. He said he was among the first to speak out in 2012 when the claims became public, and said many serving officers will have questions to answer.
“No one ever approached me on this, not a single person came to me as a constituent on child abuse by Asian males. This notion that the whole world knew and there was a cover up is balderdash.”
He added: “The real people who have questions to answer are Rotherham police officers. It happened at a district level and all those who served at a district command from roughly 1999 to 2010 need to exam their records to see what they knew.”
The Home Office did not provide a comment.
Click here for the original article>>> http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/main-topics/general-news/exclusive-mp-and-home-office-failed-to-act-on-rotherham-grooming-11-years-ago-1-6913834