Sunday, 28 October 2012

Why I can't trust Labour and their campaigning methods

If you haven't noticed there is something of a campaign going on at the moment.  We have elections for the Police and Crime Commissioner on 15 November and for the last 7 weeks or so I have been out delivering leaflets for the John Dwyer our Conservative candidate.

John Dwyer's campaign is a positive campaign stating what he would intend to do to make sure policing is focused on the priorities of the people of Cheshire.

I've not been the only one out delivering though.  I have had some of the Labour literature handed to me.  Now I'm used to the rough tough world of political campaigning - but I have to say the Labour leaflet is the poorest and shabbiest piece of campaigning I have seen in many a year and I will be suggesting that a complaint is made about it.

First its tone is almost entirely negative and I find its content grossly misleading and inaccurate.  Others may be more charitable about it - but I'm not because they should know better.

The campaign material states that '250 police jobs to be axed across Cheshire.'  Now you might be mistaken into thinking this was a reference to falling police numbers but it isn't.  Read it carefully.
It doesn't refer to warranted to police officers - and for good reason as the number of officers are likely to rise this year.

Second the leaflet shows just why Labour can't be trusted either with economics or with our public services.  Labour are fixated with 'cuts.'  Their implication is that spending less money will in someway mean a poorer service.  This is simply rubbish.

Did you know that it is only recently that all police force helicopters have been brought together under one co-ordinated 'command.'  This means as a country and a county we now have a more efficient cost effective service than ever before?  We now have all north west police forces co-operating on policing our motorways - this saves money and provides a better service.  And the north west police forces are now looking at centralising fingerprinting services.  Yes, you've guessed it - this will mean a better service, provided more efficiently.  For Cheshire in particular this will bring an enhanced service, for a lesser price.  Frankly I find it astonishing that this sort of sensible rationalisation wasn't done years ago.

I've been chairing a policy development board at CWaC and we've been hearing how with all the public services working together on domestic abuse the public purse can save £6.5m over 5 years AND provide greatly enhanced and improved services to those suffering from this dreadful abuse or facing the risk of it.

Surely we all want greater innovation and co-ordination in our public services?  We want services to be improved and delivered more efficiently.  We are seeing that there is no automatic correlation between the money spent and the services being delivered.  In fact we are seeing that the drive to prevent unnecessary duplication and encouraging greater collaboration and cross support improves services and saves money.  Frankly I think it is criminal that in the 13 years that Labour was in government they did nothing to stop the silo working in the public sector that as we are seeing was and is so wasteful and inefficient.

Since CWaC was created on 1 April 2009 we have saved just short of £100m (ie £99.6m) on the cost of delivering services compared to what was being done before.  This has been done whist improving services and investing more in children's services and adult social care and investing more money in them.

Cheshire police are delivering an excellent service, cutting crime and delivering their services more efficiently.  For example they have entered into an innovative collaboration with Northamptonshire police to share back office personnel functions.  More forces look set to join this collaboration - and the net effect will mean more savings to the public purse and improved back office functions. 

The wretched Labour leaflet suggests that Cheshire police have been targeted for cuts and there is no plan to cut crime.  This is absolute nonsense - first Cheshire police has a fantastic record on cutting crime - crime has been falling consistently for the last decade and there is a current policing plan that does place emphasis on cutting crime.  Crime fell 6% last year alone.  The language used may give the impression that in someway Cheshire has been singled out for cuts.  It hasn't - it is bearing its share as with other police areas - however unlike many force areas Cheshire police receives an extra 'dampening' grant from the Home Office to lessen the effects of the cuts here.  Cheshire receives the 4th highest dampening grant in the country.  But Labour can't tell you that.

So if you are unlucky enough to receive one of these leaflets - read it, feel the impressions that the leaflet creates in you - and then test the facts against those impressions.  If like me you form the impression that it is misleading - reject them.

When you become mistrustful of the language used, when you realise Labour can only talk of 'cuts' and not the improvements to service delivery that are being made by Cheshire police whilst also cutting crime you will realise why I have the view that Labour can't be trusted to deliver effective public services efficiently let alone campaign in what I see to be an honourable or fair way.