...and how do we ensure that someone elected predominantly by voters in rural areas gives due weight to the issues affecting inner-city Bristol? How do we stop them pandering to populism? I have real concerns that we’ll end up electing a demagogue or worse. After all, the track record on elected mayors isn’t great…"The record on elected mayors isn't great". Wonderful arrogance, the wishes of the electorate aren't up to Kerry's standard. That's the funny thing about democracy you might not get the result you like. If there's a danger of electing a demagogue (i.e. someone you don't agree with) perhaps we should abolish democracy altogether? Oh wait Kerry, you've done a good job of acheiving that already. And every one of her objections, highlighted above, could be used against electing MPs. After all the track record in elected Members of Parliament isn't so great either.
Ms McCarthy's real agenda is contained in the phrase 'pandering to populism'. A euphemism to smear those who have to live with genuine problems but whose ideas regarding practical solutions are at odds with hers. Critics of populism essentially argue that if you allow all the hoi polloi to have a say; "then...well... they come up with the most inappropriate ideas - they need to be told the 'right' direction to go in". Another way of looking at the proposals of elected Police Commissioners is that they will be more receptive to the wishes of the public because of the power of the ballot box, rather than the top-down out-of-touch priorities imposed by Government.
And as a victim of crime on a number of occasions it's pretty clear to me (and I suspect many others) where Police priorities really lie. Been burgled? Don't bother ringing in unless you need to claim on insurance. The response you will get when you report it is (and I received on 3 separate occasions); "Look, we can't be arsed to visit, so here's your URN for insurance purposes, now sod off." I wonder if Ms McCarthy considers that to be due weight given to the issues affecting certain people?
Have a disabled wife? In a wheelchair? She parks in one of Tesco's disabled parking bays, clearly displaying a blue badge. She then gets verbally abused by a middle aged man who thinks she isn't 'crippled enough' and subsequently physically threatens "to knock her head off". Big lump of a husband (me) returns from putting trolley back, intervenes to protect said wife. Guess who the Police issued a Section 5 to because it was easier to process. Go on you'll never guess.
It's long overdue that the state starts responding to the wishes of the people they serve. That's what Ms McCarthy is really scared of.