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Day: February 6, 2012

Want to give up paying Council Tax? Then become a Special Constable…

Ideas. We all have them. Some of them are good. Some of them are bad. Some of them are indifferent. I once had the idea that you could pay x amount a month and get unlimited access to the internet. Alas I was just 14 and had no capital. Freeserve would beat me to the punch. I had the idea about reviving the Isle of Wight music festival. Alas I was just 16 and had no capital. They are my best two ideas to my knowledge and neither would get acted upon.

However some local Lib Dems have come up with an idea. I think we should have a look at it. In the local rag today there is an article entitled Why special constables could pay no council tax. Certainly worth clicking on as I know a couple of Specials on the beat here in Southend. It turns out it is a Lib Dem idea that the Tory cabinet are indeed going to look at.

he Head of the Lib Dems on the Council Graham Longley is quoted as saying the following, “I am very pleased our initiatives have been listened to and considered.

“This is an ideal way to try to get more people involved in playing a part in society and it would come at no direct cost to the council.”

Later in the piece Nigel Holdcroft, the Tory council leader said: “We have agreed to request a paper on the financial and practical ramifications of offering council tax rebates to special constables.

“I am pleased the Lib Dem group has raised these suggestions.

“Perhaps other groups will follow this lead, which has been sadly missing from all opposition parties over recent years.”

An Essex Police spokesman added: “We look forward to Southend Council contacting us to explore its plan.”

Interesting.

I must say it is a very interesting concept (I know I used interesting twice in close proximity to each other – I’m coming down with Steve Davis disease from the mid 1980s) but it really is. Having more Specials on the beat is important – certainly in a tourist town where these officers can patrol the tourist hot-spots freeing up the regular bobby to do other work. There are always plenty of Specials in the town centre but having patrols along the seafront throughout the summer would be a welcome sight.

The cost of this – and giving that little bit of incentive to people who want to help make their town a nicer and safer place would be small. I have no knowledge of Specials numbers in the town but say if you had 40 Specials who all did 16+ hours a week then the cost would be around £50-60k a year in Council Tax saved. Is that a price worth paying? Quite possibly so.

The Big Society is the calling card of David Cameron but very few people want to give up time for absolutely nothing. If you give them just a small token of your appreciation though then people are far more willing to put in the time and effort. Doing some quick maths based on a Band D property in Southend and basing it on Specials putting in 16 hours a week (two full shifts) then these specials would cost £1.72 p/h. That isn’t the worst price to pay for an extra visual presence of the law on the streets.

It will be interesting to see if the Tory cabinet in Southend adopt these proposals – and it would be interesting to see how much it really would cost – and it would be interesting to see if that shortfall of x amount of Council Tax is made up for in less mone spent fixing anti-social behaviour problems due to a more visual presence on the street and beaches – and it would be interesting to see if I could stop using the word interesting.

Or not.

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Daniel Radcliffe no longer loves the Lib Dems. I’m unsure if I can get out of bed and face the day.

Last night whilst up late watching the New York Giants somehow beat the New England Patriots I saw a curious tweet pass through my timeline only to get retweeted by various Lib Dems. Oh Yes. In a quite dramatic development that could change the course of future elections it has come to light that Daniel Radcliffe has ended his support for the Liberal Democrats.

*smash*

That is the sound of my jaw hitting the floor.

* squelch*

That is the sound of me walking through my tear soaked carpets.

*whoosh*

That is the sound of me pulling over my 15-tog duvet and shutting out the world. It is all too much.

Clearly I’m taking the mick here but do ‘celebrity’ endorsements actually do anything? Did the fact Colin Firth and Daniel Radcliffe came out for the Lib Dems bring in any votes? Did Gary Barlow supporting David Cameron get all the Take That fans out to vote last summer? Does Sir Alan Sugar’s backing of Labour bring home the marginals? I have to think not. Are the British electorate so politically naive that they vote on the basis of what their favoured celebrity says?

I chose to believe that the electorate are smarter than that.

Wenen asked in the piece whether he was happy with the Lib Dems role in government, the Harry Potter actor replied, “No, of course not. Nick Clegg asked to meet me after that Attitude interview and we talked about issues such as gay rights and faith schools.

“I was initially supportive. For me it was good that the Lib Dems would be fighting our corner. But he has become a whipping boy and it seems to me that he has been totally used by the Tories – anything they don’t want badly reflected on them they reflect on to him.”

So he thinks that (like the majority of the electorate) and yet all the right-wing politicos and twitterati are getting more and more annoyed at the Lib Dem influence in power. So someone has to be wrong. Either the Lib Dems are indeed whipping boys and are totally useless or they are in fact doing a fair bit and punching above their weight and the media are not reporting this. I’ll let you to decide which I believe.

But what next for the former Lib Dem? “From what I’ve seen of Ed Miliband, I really like him and he speaks for what I believe in. I think he’s genuine, genuinely leftwing, and will act as such if he gets in.”

Guessing Daniel doesn’t really have his finger of the pulse of the UK political scene then…

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