Yesterday I wrote about the case of Bob Ashford. I was angry (very angry) and upset that a good man was forced to step down from an election that he could win thanks to a minor event that happened nearly fifty years ago. Today the same thing has happened again. This is getting ridiculous now – it’s an affront to our democracy and the law needs to be changed.
I had known, of course, that it was possible other candidates would suffer the same ridiculous and farcical fate that Bob had. In fact I was aware that the Labour Party were contacting all PCCs to find out if anyone else was similarly affected. But I was still shocked to discover this morning that Alan Charles will now be stepping down as Labour’s PCC candidate for Derbyshire.
Everything I said about Bob yesterday could also be said of Alan. He is an exceptional candidate with an excpetional track record. He would have been a great candidate, and he would have added a great deal to Derbyshire police. Now, thanks to an event a lifetime ago, he can’t.
[Update: Top of the Cops suggests that Alan Charles could still be Labour's candidate.]
What kind of Kafka-esque democracy are we running here exactly? Both Bob and Alan could have run for parliament and become Prime Minister, but neither can oversee their local police force. Farce, Farce, Farce – and offensive to the voters to argue that they can’t tell the difference between 50 year old “crimes” and more serious adult criminal acts.
It’s time to stop treating the electorate like kids and change the law so that people like Bob and Alan can stand. There should be an emergency bill to be introduced on 3rd September with cross-party agreement to amend the law – in the hope that no-one else is made to sufer in this way. Had anyone been bold enough to suggest this and gather cross party support then Bob and Alan might still be candidates today.
But it’s already too late. This process has made the already much maligned PCC election into a huge joke – albeit a one with serious consequences. Laws written in haste have excluded great candidates, and all the parties seem able to do is to have the candidates stand down, rather than fight this unjust law.
Which is just a bit weak really, isn’t it?