James Forsyth in The Spectator this week is upbeat (£) about Conservative prospects in November's Police and Crime Commissioner elections. He is told by a strategist that "it is a vote on the policy area where, despite Ken Clarke’s best efforts, our brand is still strongest." Forsyth adds that: "The hope is that voting for a Conservative police and crime commissioner could be the first step to voting for the party at a general election."
A former air chief marshal, Sir Clive Loader, will run for the Tory nomination in Leicestershire and the party is confident that several other military figures will come forward as candidates.
With Colonel Tim Collins in Kent and Colonel Anthony Kimber in Sussex there could be a pattern emerging. I think those who have served in the armed forces would offer great service as PCCs and offer hope to those who despair at how weak the police have become and yearn for a return to crime fighters rather than risk averse, form filling, politically correct glorified social workers.
Sir Clive tells the Leicester Mercury:
"The whole aim of this exercise is to reconnect the police with the people to make them more accountable.
"If it doesn't do that it will have failed."
Labour selection procedure in Greater Manchester seems to have been stitched up for the Labour MP Tony Lloyd without Party members being given a vote. Cllr Afzal Khan was interested but then mysteriously ceased to be. Has Cllr Khan been offered Lloyd's seat?
The Top of the Cops blog reports:
If there has been a deal, then another curious thing is Michael Crick’s coverage of this nomination. There was a brief minor embarassment for Crick on Twitter earlier this week when he tweeted his latest update of Police and Crime Commissioner candidates, but accidentally sent out the 23 February text, and not the 14 March version.
On 23 February Crick reports “The Labour councillor, and former Lord Mayor of Manchester, Afzal Khan, is reported to be considering the job, but has mixed feelings. Khan was previously mooted as a contender for the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election after Phil Woolas was disqualified as the MP in 2010. But Khan is also said to be considering going for another parliamentary by-election which is expected to arise in a good Labour seat in northern England shortly. Khan has yet to return my calls.“
On 14 March this shrinks to “The Labour councillor, and former Lord Mayor of Manchester, Afzal Khan, was reported to be considering the job.”
In other words, Crick’s revelation about Khan’s prospects disappears from his latest text on Police Commissioners a couple of days before Khan’s own disappearance secures Tony Lloyd’s nomination without any pesky voting. It disappears just before it becomes a story. Is Crick in on this? Did he say too much?
Perhaps it is time that Mr Crick was, er, cricked?