Saturday 27 September 2014

Kipper Salmon?

Apart from the Tories, nobody much wanted elected police commissioners. At the elections in November 2012 Christopher Salmon (Con) was elected police commissioner for Dyfed Powys on a salary of £65,000 a year, narrowly defeating the walking electoral disaster that is Christine Gwyther (Lab).

Out of an electorate of 395,000, just 67,500 bothered to vote, and just under 33,000 of those voted for Christopher Salmon. Almost 3,000 people spoiled their ballots.

In other words, Salmon was elected with less than half of the votes cast in a two-horse race, and just 8.3% of the people who could have voted made a conscious decision to vote for him.

As mandates go, it was the thinnest ice imaginable, even by the standards of Britain's rotten first past the post system, but that has not prevented Mr Salmon from using his office as a platform to set out his backward-looking vision for Wales, or "West Herefordshire" as he would probably prefer to rename us.

Here he is holding forth on the outcome of the Scottish referendum:

We are left with the consequences of a misguided devolution process which, to my shame, I supported at the time. Devolving power without responsibility, as Labour did to its client fiefdoms in Wales and Scotland, is a recipe for disaster. We now know where it leads: to separatism, division and nationalism.

Mr Salmon thinks that devolution was a mistake, although the most recent referendum on giving the Assembly law-making powers in 2011 saw 63.5% or 517,000 of those who voted saying yes. That's 484,000 more people than voted to make him police commissioner.

He is especially horrified by the idea that the police and criminal justice could be devolved from Westminster. Giving Wales responsibility for policing itself would apparently be far less democratic than having a Tory Home Secretary in Westminster deciding the future of our police forces.

In another piece, this time for Conservative Home (Mr Salmon seems to have a lot of spare time), he explains how police commissioners are "devolution in action", citing all the good work being done by Tory police commissioners in Essex, Sussex and Northamptonshire.

Unfortunately this latest think-piece is likely to be airbrushed from history by Conservative Home because Mr Salmon obviously thinks quite highly of Mark Reckless MP, the latest Tory defector to Ukip.

Perhaps Mr Salmon is sending out coded messages. Could he about to join forces with Nathan Gill MEP who knows a thing or two about law and order?


Anonymous said...

I think his arguments are sound. Devolving policing and criminal justice to Cardiff will be a disaster.

What is your objection to the principle of commissioners - is it because ours is a Tory and not Plaid ? It seems to me that an elected individual appointed to challenge the Chief Constable on behalf of the public is sound.

God forbid that we return to the old Police Authorities the members of whom were all yes men/women and would roll over on every occasion.

Cneifiwr said...

Anon @21.38 Here's why.

1.Christopher Salmon has neatly demonstrated why political commissioners are a bad idea. In his piece on Conservative Home none of his colleagues in Wales gets a mention - because they are not Tories.

I don't want to know what the man in charge of the police thinks about the Scottish referendum, devolution, or anything else that does not have to do with policing. His views on devolution are out there in Ukip land, for example.

2. The recent election in the West Midlands had a turnout of just 10.4%. Elected commissioners lack legitimacy, and the public has never bought into the idea.

3. Electing commissioners is no guarantee that you won't get party hacks and rubbish. The Labour commissioner in South Yorkshire who recently resigned was described by Paul Flynn MP (Lab) as a charlatan.

The authorities were not perfect, but they were more balanced. Let's go back to reformed and strengthened authorities and cut out the party politics.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Christopher Salmon on devolving policing powers to Cardiff. From my own experience with policing here in Wales I have been badly let down. To have a commissioner acting as a go-between for members of the public can only be for the good. I most certainly would not wish to see Wales as independent, as history has already shown in other areas of politics the Welsh Government is reluctant to use the powers it does have - God help us if they had even more to do nothing with!

Cibwr said...

I would rather have elected regional authorities in Wales taking over functions like police, ambulance, health, transport and social services. Far better to have proper democratic control and joined up thinking than nominated bodies and single purpose elections. What next health commissioners or education commissioners? And yes devolve policing to the National Assembly - that makes sense, all other emergency services are devolved.

Welsh not British said...

I was one of the 3000 who took the time to go along just to spoil my ballot.

Commissioners are an English solution to an English problem, they are not needed or wanted here in Wales.

Anonymous said...

There we are. Welsh not British! In Scotland it brought out some very nasty scenes re anti English/incomer behaviour . It feeds the radical nationalists which is a backward retrograde step and causes rifts between people who would otherwise get along together. If you think it would be any different in Wales you are not seeing and hearing what is blatantly obvious.

Police Commissioners still have freedom of speech -even in Wales.

Cneifiwr said...

Anon@17.16 I think you'll find that some of the nastiest episodes were perpetrated by members of the No camp, including a fascist celebration in Glasgow after the result was announced:

There was also a large Orange Order march through Edinburgh.

Odd, isn't it, that wrapping yourself in the union jack is not nationalist.

In Europe the process of smaller nations breaking free began with Norway in 1905, and it has been continuing ever since, not to mention all the countries which were once ruled by Britain.

It is inevitable and right that the UK goes the way of all the other empires. Good friends and neighbours, yes, but not the semi-colonial set-up we have now.

Anonymous said...

Yes ugly nasty behaviour on both sides was apparent , but if you are English living in either Scotland or Wales you are the minority and are going to feel completely ostracized -this is the point I was making.
Most certainly this would happen to English living here if independence was an issue.

Jac o' the North, said...

Anon 20:16 Why do you stay in a country in which you feel "completely ostracized"?

Cneifiwr said...

It's worth remembering that there was strong and active involvement by English people in the Yes campaign.

Although there has been a lot of talk in social media about anti-English sentiment in Scotland, I can honestly say that I have yet to see anyone provide any evidence. The suspicion has to be that this was a bogey conjured up by some of the less savoury elements in the No campaign.

As for Wales, earlier this year I saw some appallingly stupid and arrogant behaviour by an individual in a public meeting at a school. The Welsh parents sat politely in silence throughout a prolonged and insulting rant.

It is a minority that behaves like that, but sometimes a very noisy minority. Amazing really that there is so little antagonism evident.

Anonymous said...

Do away with Cardiff its waste of money more powers to C C C and lets all get the same £££ the scotts want it all, and then it will be a good UNITED KINGDOM we could not go it alone .....

Anonymous said...

What about all the teachers , policemen working in London , all our young people that go to UNI there and there are many plaid councilors children in English collages there now as we speak. are you going to tell them to come home , be are better together

Cneifiwr said...

Anon@21.59 You probably have not noticed, but these days lots of EU citizens work or study in different countries. There are about 2 million UK passport holders working in other EU countries, for example.

Anonymous said...

Jac o' the North...

My God - Your comment has proved my point. You are a Nationalist and have not digested what you have read - but par for the course for the one track mind.

Jac o' the North, said...

I'm asking why you, or anyone else, would stay in a country in which (you claim) to feel "competely ostracized". I wouldn't.

But then, you're not "completely ostracized", are you? This is just the kind of hysteria and hyperbole that people like you spout to justify attacks on baby-eating nationalists like me.

Here's some advice; if you wish to engage in a rational discussion, try being rational yourself . . . otherwise I'll come round and eat your babies!

Anonymous said...

To all contributors who are not Welsh nationalist in mind-set you may as well give up progressing proper thought out ideas that don't fit with the Welsh is best attitude as proliferated by the author of this blog.

whatever you say he will come up with an example to prove you wrong " I was in a meeting the other night etc". He comes up with a few examples of bad behaviour by the no campaign, Im pretty certain that they would pale into insignificance compared to the YES campaign.

Scottish seperatism as an idea is dead for a generation - the referendum campaign has served a very useful purpose in awaking the idea of English votes for English matters. The UK will be much much healthier when this is adopted.

Who can complain about this - devo max - for all !!

Cneifiwr said...

Anon@12.52 As far as I know, reading this blog is not compulsory.

I think you will find that you are very wrong about Scottish independence. As for anti-English incidents in Scotland, I have yet to see any evidence.

Jac o' the North, said...

Anon 12:52 You are incredible. There were more than "a few examples of bad behaviour by the no campaign". What happened in George Square, Glasgow the night after the referendum was orchestrated by Loyalists / Rangers fans, many of whom were filmed giving Nazi salutes. These thugs then dispersed around central Glasgow attacking members of ethnic minorities, people wearing Yes badges, anyone they suspected of being gay, etc.

this brings us to a problem that the mainstream media and the political class will not address, which is the ideological continuum that takes us from fairly reasonable Unionist voices out to the lunatic Right and the Hitler-worshippers, taking in along the way as we progress Ukip, BNP, Glasgow Rangers fans, Britain First, Orange Lodges, Loyalist paramilitaties and others. It's understandable why media and politicos would rather ignore this unbroken chain. And it goes back a long way.

Back in the 1980s I remember England football fans singing 'No surrender to the IRA' . . . but no-one in the mainstream media ever asked why this was so. The answer was that many England football fans belonged to extreme Right-wing organisations; they had links with Rangers fans; which in turn gave them an introduction to Loyalism in Northern Ireland; and 'Loyalist' terrorism; much of which was aided and funded by agencies of the UK State in 'the fight against the IRA'. It was Loyalist terrorists aided by the British army that bombed Dublin and Monaghan in 1974 killing 33 people. This was the bloodiest day of the Troubles, but today few know about it. The media didn't ask why football fans were singing about the IRA because they knew where it would lead, and they'd been told not to go there.
This is the unacceptable face of Unionism, but it's there, and in extremis the UK State will not hesitate to use these people again. George Square may have been a foretaste.

Now, then, give us these instances of Yes supporters behaving badly.

Anonymous said...

Jac o the North:

The mere fact that you have presumed I am English, have dared voice an opinion that isn't in line with yours - in Wales - which I have every to state without fear of reprisal or insults - your first comment as a 'nationalist' is "why stay here"? Pretty disgraceful. I don't need to say any more - you have come out of the closet and shown your true colours - they are not very nice!!
I would be scared to voice my opinion in Wales due to the likes of you if there was any referendum here for independence. You've said it all.

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember that there were several reports in the Scottish press about violence and intimidation orchestrated by the YES campaign.

"let's give him a proper YES welcome" was the phrase used which, amongst other things caused Mr Murphy MP, no shrinking violet! to suspend his campaign tour.

I don't think how van base your case by describing the behaviour of idiotic football supporters, who, after all couldn't give a hoot who they would be fighting as long as it's a fight. There is long association between Northern Ireland unionism and some Scottish football clubs which has often resulted in wrongdoing including religious bigotry - not a lot to do with separatism.

As regards the comments about the IRAS, again not relevant.

Accept it - Scottish independence is dead and devolution for home nations is a racing certainty.

And this is a good thing.

Cneifiwr said...

Anon@18.28 This thread started about Christopher Salmon, but then someone introduced the subject of alleged anti-English behaviour by YES campaigners in Scotland.

I can't see how the example you cite - Jim Murphy having eggs thrown at him - qualifies. He's Scottish, for one thing, And throwing eggs at politicians is a venerable old tradition. I don't see how Glaswegians giving Murphy (3 houses and massive expense claims) a bit of a rowdy welcome is evidence of racism.

The union jack waving thugs attacking immigrants, gays, etc are in a different league.

Jac o' the North, said...

"I don't think how van (sic) base your case by describing the behaviour of idiotic football supporters, who, after all couldn't give a hoot who they would be fighting as long as it's a fight. There is long association between Northern Ireland unionism and some Scottish football clubs which has often resulted in wrongdoing including religious bigotry - not a lot to do with separatism."

Difficult to know where to start in answering that paragraph, but let's try. We are not talking about your normal apolitical football thugs, we are discussing Rangers fans, and they most certainly do give a hoot. As for their behaviour resulting in "wrongdoing including religious bigotry", this is a little gem of understatement. The attitudes of those I'm dealing with are founded in religious bigotry and sectarianism, stemming from their hatred of Irish nationalism and republicanism, perhaps even a contempt for the Irish as a people. (Just listen to some of their songs. The 'Famine Song' is a good example. Basically it says: 'The Famine's over, Paddy - so fuck off home).

Which means that these people, and their attitudes, have everything to do with "separatism", and their opposition to it. Scottish nationalism is just the latest bete noir to exercise their blind hatred for anything that doesn't accord with their wet dream of a white Protestant unified royalist United Kingdom.

"As regards the comments about the IRAS (sic), again not relevant". I can understand you not wanting to discuss collusion between the British army and Loyalist terrorists, but it happened, over and over again. I used it as an example of the levels to which the UK State will stoop when it feels threatened. It has always resorted to such methods in the past and it will not hesitate to do so in the future.

Yet you would have us put all this on a par with an egg thrown at Jim Murphy. 'Six of one . . . '; 'As bad as each other', etc. Which, by a remarkable coincidence - or maybe not - is exactly how the BBC and aother agencies reported the events in Glasgow on the night of September 19th.

"Accept it - Scottish independence is dead . . . ". No, it's not. The reaction to the referendum result makes more certain today that Scotland will soon be independent than I was on September 18th, and I'm not the only one. The referendum was the start of the march to independence not the end of the road.

A thought occurs . . . you seem to be the same 'Anonymous' making all the comments on this post. Are you also the one who rushes to the defence of Nathan Gill MEP?

Anonymous said...

It is not the same anonymous Jac - again you jump to conclusions and go off into a rant because other peoples opinions do not fall in line with your 'Wales for the Welsh mindset!

To be spouting off about eating babies is yet another show of your bigoted attitude. Getting back to Christopher Salmon - he's right about Independence here, as you yourself have proven Jac with your nasty diatribe - a referendum here for Independence would feed the extreme views of the radical's parochial unpleasant views.

Anonymous said...

In other words the behaviour of the idiotic football supporters is nothing new and the independence campaign just gave them another opportunity.

Just because you say that the government colluded with the IRA doesn't make it true. It is in any case not relevant to this discussion.

Egg throwing is a minor act of violence and I'm sure you wouldn't want to condone it as traditional ? There was wrong doing on both sides of the argument and I must say yes it probably was half a dozen etc.

In relation to Mr Gill you have still not indicated, despite all your bluster and cutting and pasting what rule, law or convention he has broken. You raked up some paper clippings from 30 years ago concerning his dad but that's all.

adarynefoedd said...

'Devolving policing and criminal justice to Cardiff will be a disaster'

Returning to Mr Salmon's view about devolution - why would it be a disaster?

Although there are obviously UK wide issues, such as terrorism and organised crime, the chance to set criminal justice policies in a Welsh context would be excellent. We would have the opportunity to run our own prisons for welsh prisoners in a far more imaginative way than at present and to set police priorities for those things that are a priority for us. Probation would have not been privatised.

We could also address the issue of how many police services in Wales (I note Scotland has just implemented 1 though there are problems with it. 4 seems mad to me. And get rid of ridiculous posts like commissioners as well.

Jac o' the North, said...

Anon, you are incredible. The mention of eating babies was a piss-take; why! I haven't eaten one for ages. And the fact that I only eat English babies is totally unconnected with my political outlook. They're simply better nourished and, consequently, tastier.

And I never suggested that the armed forces and intelligence services of our glorious Britannic majesty ever colluded with the IRA, I said "Loyalist terrorists".

Yes, I do condone egg-throwing as a traditional form of political protest. In fact, I advocate throwing the egg while it is still in the chicken.

As for Nathan Gill MEP, you really haven't been paying attention have you? I know that because you accuse me of doing no more than raking up things his (step-)father did some thirty years ago.

Now go away and stop being silly.

Anonymous said...

Touchy - "me thinks thou protest too much"

You have nothing on Mr Gill other than the fact he represents a view that you disagree with and had the audacity to stand for election and be elected (by rather a lot of ordinary working class people)

What are you on about babies for - I never mentioned eating babies - is this a northern thing ?