I’ll have you Copper…

AD9W4ATomorrow history is made.

Not something like the creation of a cure for a terminal disease. Nor (hopefully) some catastrophic event where millions of lives are snuffed out in a moment. Nor is it something like finding a teaspoon on Mars.

No.

Tomorrow the British public elect regional Police and Crime Commissioners.

What’s that?

You read right. The British public….that’s me and the people around me….elect….as in vote for, like you would for say, a president or MP….. regional….as in local….. Police and Crime Commissioners1…..Big decision making honchos in the police force.

The end of an era. A moment in history.

So you would think that such a monumental moment in history would be heralded with fanfare, instruction and promotion. Well…you would be wrong. Here in sunny Royal Leamington Spa there has been little in the way of canvassing. 

voteryMuch like during the local and general elections the half hearted mehness of the candidates is not giving me insight into who to vote for nor is it inspiring me to vote. Regular followers of my blogs (Hi Louenne) will probably remember during the local elections in Barnsley I challenged the candidates to come to my house and suggest why I should vote for them. Nobody did, so I voted for an outsider. I also complained of a similar lack of canvassing during the general elections.

I later wrote a piece about local MP Jeremy Wright who, until recently, had only discussed chickens once in Parliament, now seems to be a most prolific letter writer in his new job in the ministry of Justice2

For the Police and Crime Commissioner of Warwickshire there had been nothing much until Mrs Fruitcake received a card addressed to her from the local independent candidate Mr Ron Ball. [http://www.ronball4pcc.co.uk]

1061559606Ron Ball seems to be on the ball. A simple leaflet with a brief résumé, a picture of him and the statement “KEEP PARTY POLITICS OUT OF POLICING”. Nice. 

Mr Ron Ball says that if he is elected he will :

Strengthen policing

Ensure no reductions in policing

Spend money on nice offices for him to use

That’s fairly honest. I mean what else could he say? Nothing, I noted about the commissioning of crime. But maybe he doesn’t really want to advertise that bit.

So like in Barnsley, as Mr Ron Ball was the only person to bother to send some information about himself and why he was standing even though it wasn’t addressed to me, he was going to get my vote.

That is…..Until last night.

Two days before the election a leaflet lands on the mat. This time from the LABOUR Police and Crime Commissioner Candidate – James Plaskitt. [http://www.jamesforwarwickshire.co.uk]

Hurrah! Someone else to consider.

rly8qdhdlyqyo4xytnq2Mr Plaskitt says he will:

Strengthen policing

Make sure there are no reductions in policing

Spend money on nice offices for him to use

Ok. So that’s pretty much standard then. Then…at the top of the back page….

“I WILL KEEP POLITICS OUT OF POLICING”

How? Hang on, you’re the LABOUR PCC candidate. And you’re going to KEEP POLITICS OUT OF POLICING?

That’s like Jimmy Saville running for Child Protection officer saying “KEEP MOLESTATION OUT OF CHILDRENS HOMES”

I don’t get it.

picture-9089As yet Gnomepants Heights is still to receive propaganda from the Conservative candidate, Fraser Pithie [http://www.fraserpithie.org.uk/] . Being a Conservative area he probably thinks “I don’t need to do anything as people in this area automatically vote for conservative here anyway. I mean if Adolf Hitler was standing as a conservative then people here would vote for him.”

 

 

But no doubt he will say that he will:

Strengthen policing

Make sure there are no reductions in policing

Spend money on nice offices for him to use

While probably also keeping politics out of policing.

Hmmm. In all that’s like saying “Vote for me and I’ll do the job” which is to be expected. But it’s so confusing. It’s like being asked to pick your favourite pot of jam. Where all the jams are the same flavour and brand.

Especially as I notice a distinct sweeping resemblance. They all look the same. Perhaps they are. Maybe they are all the same person Surprised smileSo I’ll put the challenge out there.

Dear Messrs BALL, PITHIE and PLASKETT.

I, Stegzy Gnomepants, challenge you to come to my house and tell me why I should vote for you.

I won’t tell you where I live. You must prove your policing skills by using detective work to find me. If you find me and tell me why you’re the person I should vote for you’ll get my vote. And a photo opportunity.

Lots of love

Gnomepants

I’m not holding my breath. My challenge failed in Barnsley. However all this insight into the candidates might be in vain. During research for this article I came across several items about voter apathy. Interestingly enough, one about apathy in Barnsley. [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20301308]

I’ll let you know if anything happens.

 

 


1 – A person that commissions both Police and Crime? Who would commission crime? “Oh we need more burglaries in that area and we should have some more stabbings in that area….”

  2 – Granted, Mr Wright is doing an important job in Parliament now and no doubt his wrist is swollen due to the 3-4 letters he writes each day. But my point remains, he doesn’t seem to be doing much specifically for the Coventry and Warwickshire area. He’s too busy you see….writing letters about prisons and the cost of jam in police cells.

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Further machinations of a frustrated job seeker

>

Further to my last entry here I have managed to obtain a short contract of work. Hurrah! You might say. You might even assume that I am pleased. However, I’m not.

 

Pic-urbis-supercity Four years ago I moved from Liverpool to Yorkshire. It was a necessary move and it held the prospect of stabilizing my three year old marriage which was facing difficulty. The job I left in Liverpool was well paid. £23k helpdesk technician. A job I wasn’t 100% happy in even though I had held the post since 2001. Prior to that I worked in a poorly paid civil servant post where my ambitions for career development were not being met.

 

duck At the time, there were few people with IT qualifications on the jobs market. I embraced the emerging technology with gusto and found I had a seemingly natural ability to grasp the complexities  of computer software and hardware and share my knowledge with others. It was easy in those days to get into IT roles. Hence being able to get the well paid helpdesk job.

 

Of course, not having anything much in the way of IT qualifications at a time when a growing number of people with IT qualifications were emerging onto the jobs market meant that well paid helpdesk jobs were few and far between. Indeed, when the move to Yorkshire became reality the only jobs recruitment agencies offered me were call centre orientated and the only job I could get on my own initiative was a very low paid one in IT at a sixth form college.

 

By this time I had become disillusioned with my career in IT. It seemed that all I did was wipe the bottoms of better paid people who, it appeared, should really have known better.

 

images I sat in the office one day and contemplated my career. Which direction was I taking? I never really wanted to work in IT. I had just fallen into the career. All the jobs I saw that I could do required a degree and my lack of which seemed to be going against me. Thus, the sensible thing to do, it seemed, was to start again from scratch, get myself a degree in an area I was interested in and try, at the age of 36, to carve a new career for myself.

 

And so that is what I did. Only the problem was when I graduated this year, the journalism, writing and media world was completely and radically different to the world I was tempted into by poor careers advice and traditional thinking. Competition for graduate employment these days is high regardless of which subject you study. Attempting to break into a new industry as a mature student was never going to be easy and only made even more difficult by an unpredictable recession.

 

property-graphics-_1070775a So back to the gist. Why am I unpleased about my new job? Simply put I have fallen back into the career I had so desperately attempted to escape. The shackles of experience heavy around my neck. Even though the position is only for four months and I have only been working there a week I already feel resentment and anger with the job, the world  and especially myself for being so desperate for work that I would prostitute myself back into my old industry sector, sullying my CV with even more IT related work instead of riding the storm and attempting to pepper my CV with experience relevant to the industry I want to enter.

 

I must tell myself that the job is only until either something better comes along , until the contract ends naturally or until depression hits. I must tell myself that I don’t have to put the job on my CV. I must tell myself that I can still do voluntary work to gain relevant experience. I must tell myself that I am not too old, that the employers looking at my application forms, covering letters and CVs are not thinking “We want someone younger” because, as we all know, that is illegal these days. I must tell myself that no matter what, I can convert the distaste for my current employment into energies better used in searching for and applying for jobs that I would prefer. Or maybe I should just stop trying to fool myself, bury myself into my work and accept that I am the exception to the “as you get older your salary increases” rule. Accept dissatisfaction and consider those people who are unable to get work themselves because of various circumstances, personal and external.

Geocaching 2010

So this weekend saw the start of the Geocaching season for me. Ok, technically it was a few weeks ago when I went mooching round Wooley Edge and bagged two caches while trying out new software. Zoe and I decided to start out with some easy ones to get us back into the swing of things.

The first trip took us to a disused railway bridge out at Hunningham near Leamington Spa. As I say, it’s been a while but it’s the little things like spotting good places to park, working out that the direct path is not always the best and if at first you can’t find the cache – look in the most obvious place.

So on getting there it became apparent that there was no easy way to get up to where I needed to be. Short of taking a good 4 mile walk to get to the cache the only other option was to scramble through undergrowth and up some rubble.

Further adventures were had trying to navigate a field of potatoes. We could either take the direct path across the crops or round the edge of the field adding about 30 minutes onto the trip. The crops were safe as we opted for the indirect approach which, fortunately, took in another cache on the way.

The glorious sunshine which graced the midlands today meant that rather than the usual slobbing out on the couch, Zoe and I would do some more geocaching. Today’s trip reminded me of why I really enjoy the hobby.

The UK is a beautiful picturesque land. There’s so much to see but often we ignore places because, on maps, there doesn’t seem to be anything there.

However Geocaching takes you to some of the most interesting places that you wouldn’t ordinarily visit.  So today’s trip took us to the lovely sleepy village of Weston Under Wetherley.

I mean look at it. It’s just gorgeous. Makes you feel British. I can just imagine poncing about the place in my blazer with service medals and being called Major or something. So this has reignited the desire to mooch about the countryside looking for bits of concealed tupperware while armed only with my HTC HD2.

Anyway, the glorious weather seems to have awoken other cachers as the travel bug – the Stegzy Gnomepants’ Badger’s Coastal Tour Travel Bug has also been on the move. So it seems the season has begun, work permitting, I intend to do many more caches this year. Maybe actually getting to places outside of the West Midlands and Yorkshire. 

And yet I still find myself wishing there was something like this when I was younger….

>Geocaching 2010

So this weekend saw the start of the Geocaching season for me. Ok, technically it was a few weeks ago when I went mooching round Wooley Edge and bagged two caches while trying out new software. Zoe and I decided to start out with some easy ones to get us back into the swing of things.

The first trip took us to a disused railway bridge out at Hunningham near Leamington Spa. As I say, it’s been a while but it’s the little things like spotting good places to park, working out that the direct path is not always the best and if at first you can’t find the cache – look in the most obvious place.

So on getting there it became apparent that there was no easy way to get up to where I needed to be. Short of taking a good 4 mile walk to get to the cache the only other option was to scramble through undergrowth and up some rubble.

Further adventures were had trying to navigate a field of potatoes. We could either take the direct path across the crops or round the edge of the field adding about 30 minutes onto the trip. The crops were safe as we opted for the indirect approach which, fortunately, took in another cache on the way.

The glorious sunshine which graced the midlands today meant that rather than the usual slobbing out on the couch, Zoe and I would do some more geocaching. Today’s trip reminded me of why I really enjoy the hobby.

The UK is a beautiful picturesque land. There’s so much to see but often we ignore places because, on maps, there doesn’t seem to be anything there.

However Geocaching takes you to some of the most interesting places that you wouldn’t ordinarily visit.  So today’s trip took us to the lovely sleepy village of Weston Under Wetherley.

I mean look at it. It’s just gorgeous. Makes you feel British. I can just imagine poncing about the place in my blazer with service medals and being called Major or something. So this has reignited the desire to mooch about the countryside looking for bits of concealed tupperware while armed only with my HTC HD2.

Anyway, the glorious weather seems to have awoken other cachers as the travel bug – the Stegzy Gnomepants’ Badger’s Coastal Tour Travel Bug has also been on the move. So it seems the season has begun, work permitting, I intend to do many more caches this year. Maybe actually getting to places outside of the West Midlands and Yorkshire.

And yet I still find myself wishing there was something like this when I was younger….