Transparent politics…

My post here about Conservative Police and Crime Commissioners has attracted inevitable accusations of politicisation.

Talking about politics does not politicise the police. PCCs work closely across party political boundaries on a daily basis. I value the perspective of my Labour colleagues. And, for the record, I am pleased we have almost a third independents. Our differences make us stronger and they are much rarer than you might imagine.

One of the great failures of public policy over the last decade has been an assumption that if you could just hand over government to ‘professionals’ everything would be fine. It isn’t. You simply hide the politics in committee rooms and windowless corridors.

Politics is about balancing competing priorities and competing interests. It is about exercising judgement. To govern is to decide.

We may not love elected politicians, but at least we can lambast them for their decisions. It’s the politicians who slither through the murky bureaucratic backwaters that we should really fear.

This post is about being honest about who we are and what we want to be judged by. It can hardly come as a surprise that a Conservative PCC might want a Conservative government in 2015.

Police and Crime Commissioners are elected. They make decisions on local taxes. They set spending priorities. Those are all political acts, whether done by an ‘independent’, ‘Labour’ or ‘Conservative’ PCC. Or even by a faceless committee.

Being honest about our priorities is not politicisation. It is about being transparent and accountable to the public about what we stand for and how they should judge us.

For my money, I’d like to be judged on how well I’ve made our communities safer, relieved pressure on our taxpayers and improved local justice.

I think they’re broadly Conservative priorities. You get to judge.

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