While I suffered the indignity of witnessing former dance teacher Katy Bourne take ‘democratic’ control of more than 5,000 Sussex Police officers with the backing of just 4.98% of the electorate, I was privileged to be at the election count and found out some quite interesting things.
The best part was the adjudications: at the end of every counting table, a Deputy Returning Officer ruled on whether or not to allow ‘doubtful’ ballot papers; most of them, though, weren’t really that doubtful.
Of Sussex’s spoilt ballots – over 5,900 of them: in fact one of the (impartial) vote counters commented, “There seem to be more doubtful votes than UKIP!” – some were just mistakes but some were serious political statements, such as the person who’d drawn a large part of the male anatomy in a thick black felt tip that they must have deliberately taken into the polling booth with them. At the more genteel end of the spectrum, one ballot paper was marked:
Somebody had written, in red ink, Don’t politicise the police. Katy sniffed and turned to her aide: “Yes, well that’s because they don’t understand the role.” Both Katy and her aide were wearing Conservative Party rosettes at the time. Not politicised at all then. Or patronising.
She made no comment about the person who had voted Labour but also (almost as an afterthought) written, “Tory scum,” next to her name on the ballot paper.
When Katy eventually won on the back of second-preference votes, she said in her victory speech (which I saw her writing even before the first round of counting was completed) that “now is the time to park the politics of the campaign.” So I’m sure she’ll be resigning from her party forthwith to symbolise, properly, this new period of independence. Won’t she.
In other areas of the country, Julie Iles (she of the ‘drunken man photo’) lost the Surrey PCC election after coming just 13 votes behind the winner in the first round. And this blog’s Surrey readership can easily account for those 13 votes. So well done people!
Abu in the hand
Despite the cockup of the elections she organised (or failed to organise), the Home Secretary’s job is safe for the moment because she’s still needed to get Islamic hate-preacher Abu Qatada kicked out of the country.
Presumably with her newfound fetishism of voting, Theresa May feels that judges should bow down to public opinion as embodied by her as the democratic figurehead of our nation.
An even more senior figurehead of our nation, however, had this to say:
Katy Bourne: my first week in power*
As I said in my victory speech, now is the time to park the politics of the campaign. So on the first day of my new life as an independent public servant, I don a conservative dark jacket and set off for work.
There are several urgent issues for me to attend to; for instance, a rumour I’ve heard that Godfrey Daniels, who had been the Labour ‘candidate’, is actually a traitor to the people of Sussex. I send a few vanloads of officers to raid his house and thoroughly interrogate him.
I also order a police horse for the general use of my family and put a 24-hour police guard on my old school, Roedean, in case anybody jealous of my tremendous victory in yesterday’s election should try to attack them.
I am particularly concerned about this as a lot of people have attacked me for having had what they call ‘a privileged upbringing’. But they really don’t know anything about how difficult parts of my life have been.
My new secretary asks if I wanted the desktop image on the office computers changed. “Don’t bring my background into it,” I warn.
The armed response unit that paid an informal visit to Godfrey at 3o’clock this morning found some documents suggesting that he had, until recently, been plotting against me! This seems quite serious to me so I have his family put under surveillance and assign a couple of undercover officers to infiltrate the local trade unions.
In the afternoon, the Chief shows me how to use a walkie-talkie. It isn’t particularly fun because all the channels are about policing and crime and none of them were about the things that interest me. Suddenly the radio blares out, “Tango tango foxtrot.”
“That’s more like it,” I say.
I call the Chief down to my office. I told him my plan to reduce his salary to £7,000 per year. “But that’s less than 5 percent of what it was last year!” he protested.
“5 percent’s plenty,” I replied.
“I have a new policy for you,” I announce to the Chief. “In my manifesto I said I wanted to crack down on domestic abuse. So speaking as a woman PCC, could you start arresting men who assault their wives.”
“What do you mean ‘start’?” he replies. “We already do that. In fact we’re prosecuting two of them this week.”
“Just remind me what ‘prosecuting’ is?” I ask.
The Chief Constable texts me to say that he is resigning. Actually he says, “Im leavin bitch,” but I think it was a mistake with his autocorrect app.
The local Police & Crime Panel call me to a meeting to ask what I plan to do about it. I mention how ironic it was that he’d left just a few days after I joined. “Yes,” says the chairman. “What an amazing irony.”
I tell them that I’ve decided to appoint Darcey Bussell as a replacement Chief. They express some surprise that I trust a dancer with no background in criminal justice to lead a police force, but I just put that down to outdated prejudice against women.
“But Ms Bussell is not at the top of our shortlist,” objects the chairman.
“A second choice is just as valid,” I remind him.
I have a breakfast meeting with my colleague Mike Weatherley MP, who has recently been molested at Sussex University. Speaking as a woman PCC, I tell him that now I’m independent, I couldn’t possibly give him preferential treatment, but I do order random stop-and-searches of all Sussex students until somebody owns up to the attack.
Darcey bustles into my office (! ! !) to ask if she should have a police officer investigate reports of a robbery at the headquarters of the Lewes Labour Party.
“I’m sure it’s nothing,” I say, “Best not bother. Aren’t there any new groups of travellers you could move along?”
Gin a BoDy meet a BoDy…
The King of Jordan has cancelled! Due to what he calls “domestic protests” and what I call “my blog,” His Majesty has called off his visit to the UK and did not be grace the Board of Deputies’ annual dinner with his despotic presence yesterday evening. He did, however, send the Crown Prince of Jordan as an understudy, and just to complete the democratic lineup, Baroness Warsi joined them on the top table.
In other Board of Deputies news, the powers that be have finally decided to live-stream our meetings online to our many fans and admirers out there, but as a concession to those Deputies who still wish, say, to compare the Church of England to Goebels, there is a special microphone for anonymous speeches.
One Deputy used said anonymous microphone to complain about the level of co-operation between the Board and those bastards Oxfam, who are apparently “dangerous” and not to be trusted.
Obviously I couldn’t possibly name the cretinous (Shurely ‘anonymous’? -Ed.) Deputy in question, but if I drop the hint that it wasn’t Lord McAlpine, I think you’ll probably guess.