Yesterday, the first, (and I hope it will be the last) by-election for a Police and Crime Commissioner took place in the United Kingdom, in the West Midlands to replace former commissioner Bob Jones who died earlier this year. I barely wanted to notice due to the clear lack of a mandate shown for Police and Crime Commissioners across the country back in 2012-and as it turns out, so did almost 90% of the electorate of the area covered by West Midlands Police.
The final result recorded the worst ever turnout for any notable by-election in British peacetime history-the turnout was a staggeringly low 10.3%. I will just say that the Labour candidate, David Jamieson, won easily by winning 50.8% of the vote and therefore he did not have to go through a second round of voting (PCC elections use alternative vote, not first past the post)
This once again affirms that really, we should scrap Police and Crime Commissioners-they are unnecessary and with turnouts like those that occurred two years ago, it is just not worth it. Police forces should not be politicised anyway, as one unsuccessful candidate for the Lincolnshire PCC post pointed out. (He was beaten by an independent candidate, notably.)
Continuing on the theme of peace, I wish to pay my tribute to journalist James Foley, who was decapitated by a British-born ISIS combatant only known as 'Jihadi John' or 'Jailer John'; all he did was try to report what was going on so the world could know about the potential threat of the extremist group that is ISIS, many of whose members were once part of the globally infamous Al-Qaeda terrorist network. It is often difficult to speak on the subject of this fundamentalist group, but I just want to point out that they are only fighting their own extremist, brutal cause, and are certainly not promoting any Islamic cause (Islam, like all major religions, promotes peace, not violence) and that I hope 'Jailer John' is brought to justice soon for this murder.
I would also like to pay tribute to former Taoiseach (aka Prime Minister) of Ireland Albert Reynolds, who died yesterday at the age of 81. He will always be remembered for the important role he played in the Northern Ireland peace process by brokering the 1994 IRA ceasfire (a loyalist ceasfire occurred shortly after that), which paved the way for the 1998 Good Friday Agreement there and therefore the end of 'The Troubles'.