By Richard Bingley, Director CSARN and Senior Lecturer at the Department of Security and Resilience, Buckinghamshire New University
Well folks, it’s local election day here in the UK and the roads are clogged up with families eager to get to their polling stations; or perhaps not!
Local election turnout has dwindled over the past few years… perhaps an indication of public cynicism, disinterest, heavily mobilised daily work and social patterns, and the fact that the electoral system here makes what should be an incredibly simple function, so remarkably difficult.
For example, ‘Thursday’ might be a good name for a Detective Inspector in the popular new TV series ‘Endeavour’, but is it the correct day, or the only day, that we can hold a national election?
Griping aside, we are where we are. But what implications do local elections have, per se, for security management personnel?
Hopefully some of our students (or all of our students!) are beginning to dig into the detail of wider political dynamics and environments and establish that there may – or may not – be some implications from local elections anywhere in the world for businesses that they manage and protect.
It’s my own observation from working in a party political communications unit for several years, whilst in Government, that in reality, a Council Leader wields far more practical power than the average backbench Member of Parliament.
In fact, many Board Rooms are adept at maintaining strategic focus to risk and opportunities, also a helicopter view of investment and asset management, watch permutations of local elections with keen interest. Why?
Well this is what I want our students to answer as they embark upon Module Four, Security Organisations and Environment, this week on Bucks New University’s BA Security Consultancy programme!
But let me help! Put simply, local elections matter to security analysts. They serve as key indicators to community and societal opinion. They install or bring to the fore public officials with different perspectives and cliques of advisers. They can disrupt or open up opportunity around local investment and building. And their impact can both be really mundane yet extremely expensive. For example, fail to understand a new planning regime, and you could be wasting thousands of pounds on security plans and technology that may not be compliant or socially acceptable.
In fact, strategically, whether we look at the Arab Spring, the 1990s rise of the BJP followed by Congress’s return to national government in India, the collapse of the Labour Party in Israel, the meteoric rise of Barack Obama, or the meteoric fall of Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan several years ago, and even the pivotal role of the tiny Alliance Party on Belfast City Council, significant clues as to how national and global history came to evolve were very publicly rooted in local and regional political theatre. Political and business intelligence units across the world will yawn at this point and congratulate me on stating the obvious!
But to know is not necessarily to be heard. It’s the combination of political environmental awareness, and best approaches for internal influencing, that our BA and MSc students will revisit throughout their time here with Bucks New University. Happy voting!
To find out more about the course, or raise a general enquiry, please contact Richard Bingley at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Richard is a Senior Lecturer and course leader for the BA (Hons.) Security Consultancy.