OfficerRecruits

Police and Crime Commissioners – Two years on: Are there lessons for designing devolution?

By Francesca Gains and Vivien Lowndes

Two years ago the forty one directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners for England and Wales took office, swearing the oath of allegiance and beginning a new era of policing governance.  The way the Commissioners have developed their responsibilities and set local policing priorities has attracted considerable controversy and debate.  In a little over eighteen months their current term of office is due to end, with fresh elections timetabled for the spring of 2016.  But the future of the Commissioner role after this date is very uncertain.  Following a review of the new arrangements for the Labour Party by Lord Stevens, the Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, announced in her speech to the Labour Party Conference that Labour would seek to abolish the directly elected Commissioner role.  Meanwhile under George Osborne’s devolution deal with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (announced at the beginning of November), the responsibilities of the current Greater Manchester Commissioner would be taken over by a new directly elected mayor by 2017.  This is a model that could well be replicated for other city regions or areas seeking combined authority status. Continue reading

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Labour: the 35% solution?

By Steven Fielding

 Ed Miliband’s recent speech, in which he confirmed the lines along which his party will campaign during the six months up to the 2015 election, was seen by the media as part of a ‘fight-back’ to defend his leadership. This meant many ignored the real significance of the speech. To be fair to the nation’s journalists, this hasn’t been a good time for Miliband. Of late, critics in the Parliamentary Labour Party have certainly been free with their opinion that what they see as the party’s weak position in the polls would be transformed if Labour ditched its current leader.

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China’s neighbours embrace asymmetric warfare

By Michal Thim

Asymmetry is the new black, at least among defense analysts dealing with the Asia-Pacific. Asymmetrical warfare is an age-old concept. Recently, however, it has been mostly associated with insurgent groups or guerrillas capitalizing on their familiarity with irregular terrain in hit-and-run operations against regular government forces. As employed by terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and the Irish Republican Army, asymmetrical strategies and tactics were ideally suited to small groups standing against well-equipped government forces in their efforts to pursue a particular political agenda.

In the Asia-Pacific region, asymmetry is more commonly associated with the military disparities between nations. It is often expressed as the concept of Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD), which is primarily referenced in relation to preparations by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to prevent access—and consequently deny unhindered operation—to the US Navy and America’s other forward-deployed forces stationed in Japan. Decades of Chinese military modernization has given the PRC the capability to project force a much greater distance from its shores, with an eye toward eventually deploying a blue-water navy. Despite this, A2/AD remains at the forefront of China’s efforts to establish itself as a potent military power. Continue reading

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Right tactic, wrong target: Tories can’t beat Reckless with carpet bagging claims

By Philip Cowley

You don’t want to vote for him. He grew up in London and went to Oxford, to study politics (of all things). He’s worked as a banker and as a political researcher. And he only moved here to become an MP, the swine.

This is the message being delivered to voters in Rochester and Strood on a leaflet being pushed through their doors ahead of the by-election taking place in the constituency on November 21. The leaflet is from the Conservative Party and it takes aim at Mark Reckless, the MP who defected to UKIP earlier this year.Reckless tactics?

It’s easy to mock the leaflet and plenty have. Reckless has held the seat for the Conservatives since 2010 and the party seemed to have been content to put him forward as their candidate again in 2015 had he not switched sides.

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The significance of Rochester and Strood

By Matthew Goodwin 

Less than two days from now we will witness the latest and most likely the last parliamentary by-election before the 2015 general election.

The by-election in the Kent seat of Rochester and Strood follows the defection of Conservative MP Mark Reckless to Ukip –who is the second MP to defect to the Eurosceptic party. Reckless has followed his former colleague and friend Douglas Carswell, who at a by-election last month in Clacton won almost 60 per cent of the vote on a 44.1 per cent swing as a Ukip candidate. Together, they have brought experience and publicity to the insurgent Ukip and handed its leader Nigel Farage a useful response to the ‘wasted vote syndrome’ that tends to affect minor parties in the British system –once voters you conclude that you cannot win under first-past-the-post it is incredibly difficult to convince them otherwise.