Senior Merseyside democratic commentator warns democracy “in danger of dying a slow death” after PCC elections
A LEADING Liverpool academic has warned the dismal turnout in last week’s Police and Crime Commission elections may indicate democracy in this country “is in danger of dying a slow death”.
Dr Stuart Wilks-Heeg, executive director of democratic audit and a senior lecturer at the University of Liverpool, said democracy could be pushed back because people simply were not turning out to vote.
More than 12 times as many people did not vote as gave their support to Labour’s winning candidate, former Wavertree MP Jane Kennedy, to become the city’s first PCC.
In an interview with The Post, Dr Wilks-Heeg said: “The one thing which maintains us as a democracy isn’t that so few people voted it is that all kinds of democratic principles and assumptions are embedded in our institutions.
“I just don’t know how long that kind of wider democratic infrastructure can actually survive if people just stop engaging altogether. It would become all to easy and all too tempting for governments to roll that back as it might be seen to inconvenience them.
“Our democracy is in danger of dying a slow death, absolutely.”
He added that PCCs across the country would struggle to convince chief constables that they have the necessary mandate to push through potentially unpopular reforms.
In her victory speech at Wavertree Tennis Centre, Ms Kennedy said: “I know this is an election probably many of us did not want, but I want to thank all who have voted despite the low turnout.
“I appreciate their commitment to democracy in what is an important election.”