PCCs: Independents 2 Turnout 0

 

"Interesting results," said a senior Labour figures as the numbers came in. "But I'm not sure what they tell us."

The rest of us have been puzzling it out over the last few hours. So what do we know?

We know that the line advanced by some that the Police Commissioners should be independent figures rather than politicians has struck a chord with many voters. Enough of a chord for two independents to win, Winston Roddick in north Wales and Ian Johnston in Gwent.

We know too that the much-vaunted Tory machine in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire is purring nicely. It delivered the Assembly seat of Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire for Angela Burns in 2011 when many pundits were looking the other way - and today it helped deliver Dyfed-Powys for Christopher Salmon.

Carwyn Jones' appeal for Plaid Cymru supporters to lend their votes to Labour in Dyfed-Powys didn't work, or didn't work well enough, at least.

Some comfort for Labour in South Wales, where Alun Michael carried the day - although it was another independent that came closest to upsetting things there. And let's not forget that Mr Michael's old Westminster seat, Cardiff South and Penarth, stayed Labour comfortably enough in a by-election. Stephen Doughty, Wales' newest MP.

Mrs Michael - wife of victorious Alun, mother of defeated Tal in North Wales - spent the day knitting as others crunched the numbers. A jacket, apparently - something to keep the chill out on a gloomy November day.

Ah, the weather. Was that why the turnout dropped below 15% - as predicted by David Blunkett a few days ago when I bumped into him on the High Street in Bangor - and why no-one at all voted at one polling station in Newport? I was told of another ballot box in Cardiff last night that contained just two papers - one vote for Labour, one for the Communists. The man who counted them wondered out loud whether that meant one little part of Cardiff is now officially half Communist for the next few years?

Or does the answer lie elsewhere - the lack of a mailshot for the candidates, maybe, or even a lack of attention from the media. The shoppers who stopped to talk to me in Port Talbot today said they hadn't been voters yesterday not because they couldn't be bothered but because they hadn't felt able to make an informed choice - or thought the whole exercise daft.

Whatever the answer, David Cameron says things'll be better next time, when the public's had a chance to get used to the idea of Police and Crime Commissioners.

Next time? That'll be May 2016 - yes, the same day as the Assembly elections.

A final, pithy thought from the Welsh Local Government Association:

"The WLGA would like to congratulate local Returning Officers and their officials across Wales for their efficient running of these elections despite the poor public turn out. We hope that their day was not too dull."

 
Betsan Powys, Political editor, Wales Article written by Betsan Powys Betsan Powys Former political editor, Wales

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  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 11.

    Yet another juvenile slanging match in the making here. As for the PCC elections I didn't vote because I don't agree with supervision of the Police by one person and even if I did I wouldn't vote for anyone who couldn't be bothered to campaign properly.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 10.

    9.gonoph
    My Celtic background half Welsh half Irish has given me a rich culture and a sense of identity. Something that can't be taken away. Unlike you I haven't got a chip on either shoulder. The Empire's prosperity was made on the backs of people who lived on the sides of the mountain. You should research your history you may have a more even view

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 8.

    Yeh according to the antis we haven't got a mandate on such a low turn out and narrow majority for Devolution. Yet under 15% turn out is seen as a great victory for Democracy. Who do we end up with another failed Labour Politician placed in a Labour political job overseeing the Police. Politicising the Police. Does it mean we are a Police state now run by Politicians.

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 6.

    1.comeoffit . You were go again blame the language. Every opportunity for you monoglots to harp back to the days of Empire.
    On a more constructive note-The Tory MP'''s who are trying to push a bill through the English parliament regarding low Union ballot turnouts being invalid haven't really got a leg to stand on now.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 5.

    Never mind the cost of bilingual papers it had to be done by law. What about the millions going to be spent on the new Commissioners and their staff and offices. How much is the Police part of the Council Tax going to go up by to pay for it all. This is a dangerous precedent starting today. Who knows where it will end and who will actually be running it and for what reasons. Blinkered future.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 3.

    Don't know about the other Force areas but in North Wales none of the candidates lost their rip-off £5,000 deposit. That's about the only good thing I can think of about the whole shambles.

    The disconnect between the political class in their bubble and the rest of us is getting wider and deeper almost by the month! The new PCCs had better start planning for the revolution!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 2.

    Last year you called 35% turn out as a terrific result and overwhelming victory for WAG getting legislative powers. The sad reality is that people had enough of politics and in the process democracy is lost.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1.

    Oh dear! Thank goodness we spent 350 thousand pounds of public money plus god knows how many politician and public servant hours in emergency legislation to ensure that bilingual ballot papers were available! Imagine how much lower the turnout would have been without that!

 

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