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Doc Dave’s Blog

POLITICAL CON TRICK

26-04-2010

It’s emerged that former Solihull councillor Trevor Eames, jailed for three years for setting fire to his wife, has now decided to stand again following his release from jail. At least his history is there for all to see but what about the others? Dr David Nicholl argues that all candidates should be subject to a CRB check.

Last year, I set up the BEST4Bromsgrove in an effort to encourage wider participation in the electoral process.

BEST stood for Bromsgrove Electorate for Service and Transparency - as a voter I wanted to see candidates who were prepared to work hard and be transparent.

After all, getting elected as an MP should be no different to job application, where we, as the voters, are the interview panel.

All we need to do is see their CV, see what the candidate plans to do, and run some background checks, like a criminal records check. Right? Wrong!

Unfortunately the campaign flopped. I had no more than half a dozen e-mails from people interested in the campaign, none offering help for a hustings outside of my own area of Hagley.

However, it would be incorrect to say that the idea has not prompted some pertinent questions.

When the local paper, Bromsgrove Standard, recently asked all the candidates standing if they had any previous convictions, there were some surprising answers.

A number of the candidates had previous offences ranging from speeding to theft. Why does this matter?

Our parliamentarians should reflect society - we are electing people to work for us, not angels. On the other hand, voters should have a right to know that candidates have been absolutely straight with the electorate, and own up to any skeletons in the cupboard.

When candidates register in an election is it too much to ask for a CRB check and that the results of that be publicly available? After all, when everyone from doctors to the volunteers who run a Scout pack have a CRB check, is it too much to ask all potential politicians to go through the same?

Some might say I’m being too harsh - after all, both David Cameron and Gordon Brown listed the same ex-convict as their most inspirational living person this week.

OK, so the ex-con was a certain Nelson Mandela, and the voters of South Africa knew exactly about Mr Mandela’s past conviction, were able to see through this as being irrelevant, and elect him.

The point is the voters of South Africa were able to make an informed decision. In Britain, none of us know.

If we are truly trying to clean up politics, then I think we need to know the candidate’s record, not just political, but also criminal.

Doc Dave has set up a Facebook group "all prospective MP's should have a CRB check"

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=111093782242148

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