Twissgate: London’s Victoria and Albert Museum makes Claire Wright famous and Councillor Twiss infamous!

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has a current exhibition (soon to close) called “Disobedient Objects” which the museum describes as:

“From a Suffragette tea service to protest robots, this exhibition is the first to examine the powerful role of objects in movements for social change. It demonstrates how political activism drives a wealth of design ingenuity and collective creativity that defy standard definitions of art and design. Disobedient Objects focuses on the period from the late 1970s to now, a time that has brought new technologies and political challenges. On display are arts of rebellion from around the world that illuminate the role of making in grassroots movements for social change: finely woven banners; defaced currency; changing designs for barricades and blockades; political video games; an inflatable general assembly to facilitate consensus decision-making; experimental activist-bicycles; and textiles bearing witness to political murders.”

A major exhibit is a wall of recent sayings associated with civil disobedience:


Look very carefully at the slogan between “Badger Watch Area” and”London’s Burning” and you will see the slogan

“Cull the Tories”

This exhibit wall was curated by the V and A and, as far as we know, the museum has not been reported to the Metropolitan Police.


Problems with East Devon District Council On line Planning

From Gaeron Kayley of Save Clyst St Mary campaign group:
‘Please be aware that a number of people are having difficulties logging their comments onto the EDDC website. The website suggests your comments have been successfully submitted, yet they never appear. If this has happened to you too, please notify: will help if you can include the application on which you were commenting, along with the approximate time and date you submitted your comments.’

Claire Wright (Ind) Manifesto launch press release

The Independent Parliamentary candidate for East Devon, Claire Wright, launched her general election manifesto in Exmouth on 27th January.

Speaking to 80 enthusiastic supporters, she explained that her manifesto was unique because it was based on the local voters’ concerns. It took into account hundreds of responses to a survey, comments from street events in all the constituency towns and many villages, conversations with thousands of local people and hundreds of town centre traders, “the life blood of our local economy”.

bnSome 40,000 leaflets had been distributed, which prompted more ideas and offers of help. Claire Wright also mentioned her experience on the East Devon District and Devon County councils and looked forward to a series of public meetings.

Now, with less than 100 days before the general election, she outlined some of her policies. The subject of greatest concern to local people, and to the rest of the country, was the future of the National Health Service. “East Devon’s community hospitals…have never been more at risk than they are now. We hear every day of the postponement of operations and of casualty departments not being able to cope.” She warned that in five years’ time, as demand grows, the NHS in Devon will be over £400 million in deficit and vowed to fight to protect local health services and argue for more funds for this area which has been historically under-funded.

Claire Wright condemned the East Devon District council for failing to agree a local plan which had allowed “rapacious developers” so “we are at a high risk of speculative and large-scale development”. This could not continue: the infrastructure was creaking. The environment also concerned local people and “human beings cannot exist without a successful natural world and this would also be a priority area for me”.

The possibility that the ground occupied by the Exmouth Rugby Club might be used for a new supermarket would damage local traders and was not consistent with current supermarket policy. The area should remain a sports field. Claire Wright condemned EDDC who had taken at least two years to decide on the future of “the unique” Exmouth Sea front, thus causing planning problems for local businesses. The council had behaved “quite badly”.

The council-imposed cuts and the proposed Devon County Council reduction of another £30 million next year were criticised. There were closures or the threat of closures, for youth centres, libraries, care homes, day centres, children’s homes, minor injuries units and inpatient beds. The use of food banks, even in East Devon, “had shot through the roof”. The House of Commons would soon be voting on funding for local authorities. “We shall see whether our current MP, yet again, votes in favour of the monumental cuts meted out to local authorities.”

How could some of the essential services could be funded? Claire Wright cited the “dubious HS2 project whilst local lines are denied funding”. It should be scrapped and the money spent on what people want. The plan to create elected police and crime commissioners had cost £70 million, equal to £14 per vote recorded. “We don’t need the commissioner: we need more police constables”. £3 billion had been spent on “yet another confusing and totally misguided re-organisation of the NHS… Government priorities on spending are wrong” and the cynical phrase “we’re all in it together, has never had such a hollow ring”.

There was widespread anger with East Devon District Council and its “arrogant bulldozer attitude to local people’s views”. It will “go its own way, even if it harms local people’s livelihoods” and the formation of many campaign groups, such as the East Devon Alliance, “should have sounded alarm bells to our MP and the local council but they appear to be deaf and blind to the threat posed by the public’s fury”. “Because the council and our MP are members of the same political club, challenges to either are few and far between. This damages democracy, the credibility of local government and its parliamentary representatives.”

Claire Wright promised to continue to challenge the councils and to condemn unnecessary expenditure. She would back the campaign for votes for young people who tended to be ignored. “People of 16 can get married, join the armed forces and pay taxes. Youth unemployment rose by 30,000 to 764,000 in the three months to last November. They should be represented.”

Speaking with conviction, she explained why a vote for an independent was a very positive vote and, that, as an independent, she would never have to choose between her conscience and a party line.

Task and Finish Forum Budget Scrutiny – suspicion about inadequate resources and Local Plan


(4) that there should be greater transparency in the Council financial information (including the Budget and Outturn report) in detailing the use and costs in obtaining external legal services and external consultancy services;

(5) that consideration be given to increasing the resources, possibly in conjunction with neighbouring authorities, for the further development of a coherent strategy and plan for the maintenance and improvement of the economic well-being of the district. (There was a suspicion that inadequate resources devoted to this activity had, amongst other things actually contributed to extra costs and delay in the production of a convincing local plan)

(7) That an annual audit review of the cost and effectiveness of external consultants is undertaken.

…As regards the wider matters of economic development, the budget has clearly been reduced considerably over the years, particularly on tourism promotion, which is now confined purely to the premises costs of some tourist information centres.

Click to access bstafff-scnd-rpt-jan-2015.pdf


The value of trees was a major theme at last night’s Sidmouth Arboretum AGM (held in the Annie Leigh Browne Room, Old Unitarian Church).
Guest speaker AONB Manager Chris Woodruff, gave an informal but very informative presentation on the aesthetic, social, environmental, and economic benefits of trees.. He spoke of the value to the local economy of modifying the woodland environment ((for example, the profitable provision of family attractions at Haldon Hills). Wood for fuel is in increasing demand, and local woodburning stove company, Stovax, saw sales rise by 50% last year. But England has a surprisingly low percentage of sustainably managed woodland, (barely half) compared with the other UK countries. Another surprise Chris Woodruff mentioned, is that hedges, i.e. “vertical woodland”, are not included in such surveys.

Meanwhile, Sidmouth Arboretum now has a Transatlantic link! It is working in partnership with the American organisation, Treeconomics, on a tree survey being specifically adapted for our local environment. Following Sidmouth’s lead, two other towns (Crawley,and Lewis, in Sussex) are currently establishing a civic arboretum.

The value of trees is increasingly being recognised….!
More info here

National Audit Office report on conflicts of interest

Particularly recommended reading to all those majority party councillors at EDDC who think that there is no such thing as a conflict of interest just meddling Independent councillors making a mountain out of a molehill. And the Standards Committee which continues to drag its heels on this issue.

Well, the National Audit Office appears to side with the Independents – surprise, surprise.

Click to access Conflicts-of-interest.pdf

Betting odds shorten on Wright (Ind) and lengthen on Swire (Con)

Claire Wright started at 66/1 and is today 10/1, just behind UKIP at 8/1. Odds on Hugo Swire have dropped to 1/7.

Should you fancy a bet (but, of course, bet responsibly and be over 18) Ladbrokes Online do not make it easy to place one!

First you need to go to the A-Z of betting headings and choose Politics, then General Election and then General Election Constituencies. At this point they make it even harder: in the A-Z of constituencies our district comes under D for Devon East and not E for East Devon!