Remember, remember the 15th of November ...

... and don't forget your polling card either because without it, you won't be able to vote.

Vote? Again? Surely we're electing local councillors in May and don't tell me another referendum's come round that soon? Relax. It hasn't. Not sure any of us could take that. But come November, the UK's first 41 police and crime commissioners, who'll take over from the police authorities, will be elected - four of them in Wales.

If you're a little behind the curve on this one, an admission: until yesterday afternoon, so was I. AMs made their feelings on the matter known last year. The Home Office returned the favour, then got on with introducing commissioners. That much I knew.

I knew the plan was to elect them for a term of four years in November and not, as had been considered, on the same day as May's local elections. That'll cost more, some £25m more but the coalition's thinking is that we all need more time to work out what the jobs are, what the responsibilities will be and who, therefore, are the best men and women for the job.

I knew too that while the Tories were keen on elected commissioners, the other parties weren't .They fear the job will be politicised, that policing will become a political football.

So - take contemporaneous notes if you will - this is what I've gleaned since Alun Michael stepped forward as a potential Labour candidate.

  • In June last year the policing minister, Nick Herbert told Labour's Chris Bryant in the House of Commons that "the running costs of Police and Crime Commissioners should be no more than police authorities currently". Elections are an obvious additional cost but "no money for elections will come out of police force budgets".
  • What Chris Bryant wanted to know was the cost to the public purse of each of the four commissioners in Wales. I can't tell him that but I do now know how much the Senior Salaries Review Body has recommended that each is paid: South Wales: £85,000, Gwent: £70,000, North Wales: £70,000 and the smallest force, Dyfed Powys: £65,000.
  • Labour still opposes the idea but take the view that since the jobs will be there anyway, it isn't serious politics at a time of spending cuts they oppose, not to fight for them. They will field candidates in all four force areas in Wales. As one Welsh Labour source put it to me: "We don't pick and choose like other parties might. It's all or nothing."
  • The Liberal Democrats, despite forming part of the government that is bringing in police commissioners, make clear that having elected police commissioners is not Lib Dem policy. "It is imperative," says the Welsh party in a statement, "that operational policing does not become a political football." The National Executive Committee of the party in Wales has decided therefore "that there will be no national funding for Welsh Liberal Democrat police commissioner candidates". In other words, if a Lib Dem wants to go for the job, they can but they'll have to do it off their own bat and stump up their own £5,000 deposit and battle fund.
  • Plaid Cymru also opposes the idea of elected commissioners in principle. The National Council decided some months ago to look at the option of sharing a ticket with "other like minded groups". Like whom? Groups, they say, who share Plaid's view that policing powers should be devolved and the politicising of the police opposed. Party chair, Helen-Mary Jones - a name sometimes mentioned by those wondering out loud about possible candidates - said yesterday that "if this attempt fails, Plaid Cymru will contest all the elections for Police Commissioners in November 2012."
  • Another name mentioned as a possible Plaid candidate is Elfyn Llwyd. I spoke to him last night and he confirms that he's coming under pressure from inside and outside the party to go for the job in North Wales. Those piling on the pressure are people whose views he respects and so, he is thinking about it. Watch this space, but don't count your chickens (or should that be racing pigeons?)
  • The Welsh Conservatives are in the process of identifying potential candidates - too early to give more of a steer than that, they say.

The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 says MPs running to become police commissioners would not have to stand down from parliament unless they win. But Alun Michael will stand down if he becomes his party's candidate and that, of course, means a by-election in Cardiff South and Penarth.

Will there be a Cardiff South and Penarth for much longer? We'll find out the Boundary Commission's initial proposals for a redrawn electoral map of Wales next week, what the cut from 40 to 30 seats will look like. Pencil Tuesday/Wednesday into your diaries.

Either way, it's clear that there will soon be more Welsh Labour MPs than future seats for them, which would make the exit of Alun Michael from Westminster - and his entrance into a new job - good news for Labour in more ways than one.