Daniel Hannan has a great article today about the BBC's bias against elected sheriffs, as evidenced in a Radio 4 PM programme, which suggests democratic accountability would somehow transform our green and pleasant land into a Deep South dustbowl, complete with Confederate flags, rampaging rednecks, and Boss Hogg.
The segment starts about 18 minutes and 18 seconds in:
Are you interested in voting for the people who run your local police force? It's one of the government's 'big ideas' for England and Wales. The first elections could be in 2012. It would be an innovation here, but in the United States it's common practice. Reporting for PM from Alabama, and there's more on the blog, Micheal Buchanan ...Here's a taste of Buchanan's reporting (to replicate his condescension, read it with a cultured Scottish accent):
I went for a spin through rural Alabama with Jimmy Ray Swindle ... Were he to win in November, Sheriff Swindle [a former radio DJ] would not be the only the only law enforcement novice in Alabama. Also standing for sheriff's office across the state this year are a swimming pool installer, a pharmacist, and a church minister. The bar to running for sheriff is pretty low in Alabama ...Hannan was right to describe this as "a snotty, sneering, superior piece":
Drive around Alabama, and the freeway signs act as an aide memoire to America's civil rights past, Selma, Birmingham, Montgomery flash past, cities where the elected police chiefs played their part in enforcing the will of the majority.
You get the idea. Allow people to choose who directs their local police force and you are likely to get racists, half-wits or crooks – often with hilarious redneck names. Just in case we missed the message, the correspondent spelt it out with his closing words: “While popular elections may increase direct accountability, it [sic] doesn’t necessarily lead to better policing”.How indeed? Far better to trust in the Philosopher Kings.
Better for whom? Who is better placed to decide on a local police force’s priorities than a local voter? Some areas might opt for men like Arpaio, though the sheriffs in, say, Vermont, are a very different breed. That’s the beauty of the system: law enforcement reflects the local temper.
Not that the BBC is alone. The unelected beneficiaries of the existing system have also been mounting a fierce campaign against democratic policing. Their favourite argument is that, if you have elections, the BNP might win. Well, yes, they might. But, as a rule, they don’t: the far-Left BNP controls just 0.3 per cent of council seats and 0 per cent of Westminster seats. Still, if the logic of ACPO the Police Authorities and the BBC is sound, why not do away with elections altogether? I mean, how can people be trusted not to pick the wrong candidates?