Rural Broadband meeting, Upottery 6 February – update

Those intending to be at Neil Parish’s meeting on Rural Broadband in Upottery (see below) may first wish to read this as background information:

Broadband Public Meeting

(Organised by Upottery Parish Council)
Friday, February 6, 2015, 6pm to 8pm
In Upottery Manor Rooms EX14 9PL
Neil Parish, MP for Honiton & Tiverton will chair the meeting.

Invited speakers include:
Phil Norrey, DCC Chief Executive & Chairman of the CDS Board
Cllr Andrew Leadbetter, DCC portfolio holder for CDS
Keri Denton, DCC Head Economy & Enterprise & Director of CDS
Cllr Paul Diviani, Leader, EDDC & DCC Councillor
Cllr Ross Henley, Somerset CC & Taunton Deane Councillor
Paul Coles, BT South West Regional Partnerships Director

What has Hugo Swire been up to recently?

Stirring words in Parliament on the lack of democracy in Hong Kong about which he said:

During my visit to Hong Kong in January, I met with the President of the Legislative Council as well as a number of legislators from a range of parties, and with a range of views on the constitutional reform debate.

and corrupt companies in the Republic if Congo about which he says:

We expect all companies to act appropriately and to the highest of standards, and encourage anyone with evidence of serious fraud, bribery or corruption to contact the Serious Fraud Office.

I’m sure we could find him some similar stuff very much closer to home if he was interested…..!

Independent councillor calls for more Independent Councillors

[At her manifesto launch] Mrs Wright called for more councillors of other political parties to stand at this May’s town and district council elections, adding: “We have a Conservative crime commissioner, a Conservative MP and every council locally is Conservative.”

“The county council…tends to be, fairly progressive, but the district council is…a dinosaur. It has always had a large Conservative majority…getting things through is quite difficult because they block vote, and that can’t be good for democracy.

“People are tired of the old political parties, and May 7 has to be about getting a better balance on EDDC, and [a greater number of] other councillors, especially independents, because they don’t have to toe a party line and can vote with their consciences.”

“To a Louse”: with particular reference to Councillor Moulding, Axminster Hospital and Knowle Relocation

“To a Louse” is, of course, the poem by Rabbie Burns which contains the immortal line:

“O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us.”

Bear this saying in mind when reading the following report on a recent meeting about the reduction in services at Axminster Hospital sent in by a correspondent (very slightly edited of its more pungent comments) and compare it with public criticisms about Knowle relocation: a leading advocate of which is one Councillor Andrew Moulding:

At a well attended meeting to discuss progress in the fight to maintain in-patient beds at Axminster hospital, Cllr Andrew Moulding (wearing both his Town and County councillor hats) spoke to concerned residents about his representations to the Devon CC Health and Wellbeing OSC. He made clear his feelings on the matter to the OSC and stated that his only job as a Councillor was to convey the feelings, views, anger and frustration ohf Axminster people over the shameful way in which the CCG and NDHT had conducted themselves, with misleading figures, loaded and biased consultations and the heavy handed (and expensive) use of lawyers to force a decision through…

A member of the public replied that the whole situation was ” kafka-esque ” and that despite public passion and anger and a huge response ( against the establishment view ) to the Consultation document, it seems as if the publics wishes and views were simply ignored… How do we change this state of affairs…

Jeremy Walden then waded in to say that it wasn’t his place to tell the public how to change things they didn’t like but that the day to do so was soon upon us all…. oooh, cryptic!

However, the real eye opener was when AM then said that the CCG must keep an open mind on the whole issue and could not just proceed as it pleased disregarding public sentiment and that he did not believe them when they said that ” no decisions had yet been made ” – he chuckled good naturedly – again, my only job is to pass on my electorates views, which I will do with a passion… ( confetti rained down from the ceiling, trumpets blared etc ). The CCG and NDHT have not been forthcoming with their figures, the ones they have released are flawed, they have used Commercial Confidentiality as an excuse to withhold data and this does not allow an analytical, reasoned, impartial review to take place by those opposed to the plans. THIS IS QUITE WRONG AND MUST BE CHALLENGED!

Then, oh lord yes, he came up with this peach…

We (the working party – doctors, councillors, league of friends) believe that no decision on this critical matter should be taken until after the General election as governments may change, funding may change, policies may change and so to make the decision before then would be quite wrong as there are too many unknown factors at play. (cue: rousing applause).

Compare, of course, this statement with the Cabinet view at EDDC – of which AM is the deputy Leader – regarding the HQ relocation saga. When a motion proposing a moratorium on the process was proposed by the opposition independent group, the ruling majority were outraged! Why should we hold off on major decisions until after the election; that is not democratic and simply delays good decision making and as for using lawyers to suppress the truth, issuing flawed figures, hiding behind commercial confidentiality, making decisions before consultations complete…. I don’t recall AM making a similar stand then!”

Truly some of us badly need the ability to see ourselves as others see us.

5 February 2015 – National Voter Registration Day

Honestly, to read the EDDC webpage you wouldn’t think that our Chief Executive and Electoral Returning Officer had recently been brought before a Parliamentary Committee and hauled over the coals for doing little or nothing to register votes over the last few years! What’s that noise? Spinning, spinning!

“National Voter Registration Day is about spreading the word and encouraging people to take action by registering. However, it’s not only young people that we’re keen to register, we want all our residents that are eligible to vote to register, and we hope this day will focus attention on this aim.

Registering to vote is easy, just visit”

EDDC’s “Strategic Management Team” decided what questions to ask staff and public

No, we didn’t know what or who the “Strategic Management Team” is either – they don’t seem to be mentioned anywhere but we are told it is the head honchos here

Click to access eddc_smt_structure_chart_sept_2014_with_salaries.pdf

Below is a question on survey design on the Whatdotheyknow website that mentions them and where EDDCs replies are “Sir Humphrey Appleton” masterpieces of using lots of words to give almost no information!

So basically the six very highest paid officers devise all questionnaires – presumably including the one that didn’t include staying at Knowle as an option – a very odd decision!

So when you read that just about everyone in East Devon is satisfied witheverything EDDC does, you know who designed the questions to give the most positive answers.

Are you: ecstatic, over the moon or very happy with their creations?

Cameron … Devon … Science Park … no Diviani

Promises … maybes … looking into … might … eventually … possibly … PM here twice in a week … panic … yabber, yabber, yabber, yabber … same old … .

… but no Diviani or other EDDC Tory councillors in the pictures – has Hugo had a quiet word with Dave? And did the words “Claire Wright … threat to my majority” figure?

South Somerset District Councillor lives in America, claims allowances

And there is nothing anyone can do about it as the rules say a councillor only has to attend one full council meeting every six months. And even if you never attend a meeting, as long as the Chairman accepts apologies they don’t actually need to do anything at all.

Some councils publish statistics about how many meetings their councillors attend – but not South Somerset or East Devon.

Tesco “culls” Head Office staff – should Councillor Twiss report them to Hertfordshire police?

See story re Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition below and recall that Tory Councillor and maybe-or-maybe-not Tory awhip Twiss reported Independent Councillor Claire Wright to Devon and Cornwall Police when a commentator on her blog suggested that Tory councillors should be culled. He went on to say that Councillor Wright was “beneath contempt” for allowing use of the phrase on her blog.

The Daily Mail online has now used the phrase in its headline about Tesco reducing the number of staff at its head office.

It appears Councillor Wright has been much more mature and has made no comment on Councillor Twiss’s actions.