Council Accounts

We are approaching that time of year when the public have unlimited rights to examine the councils accounts for the previous twelve months. The exact dates that a twenty working day period starts is unknown, it is dependent upon when the accounts are ready.

If there are any lingering questions about what the council has spent, and with whom, etc, in the last twelve months then now is the time to prepare to go looking

A guide as to the rights we have in this matter may be found through a link at The rights under this act are considerable- NO COMMERCIAL CONFIDENTIALITY applies and the limited opportunity should not be missed.

Roger Giles (Ind) polls highest vote in District Council elections

We’ve had further feedback from today’s election of East Devon District Councillors, when Independents gained considerable ground. Here are some highlights:

– The voters’ favourite was Roger Giles, the seasoned Independent Councillor for Ottery St Mary Town Ward, with 2087 votes.
– Paul Diviani, Leader of the Council) retained his seat at Yarty. He received 776 votes. But votes against him totalled 795.
– Cabinet member, Ray Bloxham (525 votes) lost in Raleigh Ward to IEDA candidate, Geoff Jung (950 votes).
– IEDA Leader, Ben Ingham successfully held Woodbury & Lympstone, where he and IEDA colleague, Rob Longhurst, defeated David Atkins (Con).
– The most significant cull of Tory Councillors was in Sidmouth, with Independents now in control:
There was a surprise defeat for Graham Troman, who ironically has often stood up alone for Sidmouth, without the backing of the other local councillors.
Stuart Hughes is the sole remaining Conservative, sharing Sidmouth-Sidford with Dawn Manley and Marianne Rixson, both IEDA.
Sidmouth Town Ward is in the hands of Cathy Gardner (IEDA), Matt Booth(IEDA) and John Dyson (Independent).

The Sidmouth Herald reporters were quick to pick this up:

For complete election result information, go to

If only …..

“Yesterday Sid Valley was represented at EDDC by 7 Conservative couoncillors. Today by just one, with six Independents! The three Sidmouth Town Independents gathered 71% of the votes cast in the ward. The former Vice Chairman of the Council was ousted from Sidford Rural.

If only the incumbents had taken the opportunity last December to vote for delay until after the election before pressing on with relocation and been seen to be speaking up for their electors.”

And now for some good news … or not …

Bloxham (Conservative, Raleigh) out, Jung (Independent) IN

Drew (Conservative, Sidmouth Rural) OUT, Barratt (Independent) IN

oh yes, good news indeed!

3 Conservatives elected in Budleigh – sorry Ms Mantell!  Not good news.

Steve Gazzard re-elected in Exmouth (Lib Dem) – well done Steve!

A sad day for East Devon

Hugo Swire (Con) has today been re-elected to represent East Devon in Parliament……so we’ll see how well he does that.

Claire Wright, his closest rival, made an impressive bid to replace him as our MP, and is widely praised for her well run campaign. Claire was elected to Devon County Council in May 2013, with 2970 votes (a 74 per cent share)…….and yesterday her vote soared to 13,000. Not enough to beat Hugo this time, but given the national mood right now, a very solid support base to build on.  Read Claire’s own take on election night, and on the outcome, on her blog

Calm down, Hugo – Denmark has had coalition government for 35 years!

And the Danes seem quite OK with it!

You see, Denmark has not experienced single-party government in almost 35 years. During the past century we have had 29 governments – and hardly any composed of a single party. Coalitions are not only the order of the day in Denmark; they are a way of life.”


The media start reporting that the country is now living under a dictatorship. The Queen is dragged in, asked to withhold royal assent to measures that break up the Union. Next: Constitutional lawyers’ start to struggle to work out how Parliament can be dissolved. The financial markets collapse. Britain becomes ungovernable.

“Granted, this is a worst case scenario, but is it so far-fetched? In this election there is a clear choice: The competence of a strong Conservative team Or any other. Any other, risks chaos. And chaos always filters down to the regions, even to us here in East Devon. Vote Conservative on May 7th.”

“Get out the blunderbuss and the tinned Spam, Muriel”,

It’s my Party and I’ll cry if I want to …

Hugo had a “pre-election day meeting” in Exmouth last night, though for some reason he didn’t put the information on his website but he did put it on Twitter. Unfortunately, it didn’t get the response he may have hoped for:


Whatever happens next, Hugo, let’s hope your next Party is better!

Oh, and, if you ever want people to vote for you again in the numbers they did in the past, let’s hope you have learned some lessons from this campaign:  more interest in your constituency who put you in Parliament in 2010 (perhaps even live here), less arrogance, more humility and  just a tiny bit of compassion for those less well- off than you in EVERY sense.

Though we do look forward to your party offering free cookery lessons (with free ingredients, of course) to people who go to food banks.

Oh, sorry, of course the cookery courses will be privatised, run by a major supermarket and the cost of ingredients taken from benefits!



Keep calm, Hugo – it won’t be Armaggedon!

“So we end up in the same place as when we started. Unless the polls have been consistently wrong or there is a late unexpected swing, there will be another hung parliament. That may be inconvenient for the main parties, but it’s not a constitutional crisis of any description. It’s a legitimate democratic decision. Like it or not, some horse-trading will need to be done and a government will have to be formed. Because if there’s one thing that will make people even more sceptical about politics, it’s the thought of having to go through the whole process of another general election within even a year. Come to think of it, that might also be enough to put some politicians off politics.”

Compare that with Hugo’s panic-stricken vision of the Apocalypse if he isn’t a Very Important Person in the next government:

And here’s a story that says the public wants parties to work together instead of squabbling:

Perfect environment for Independent MPs!

Tribunal’s decision, on Knowle ‘secret’ papers, featured on Radio Devon News.

An interview with Jeremy Woodward ,whose Freedom of Information (FOI)  request set in motion a chain of events which has led to the Tribunal’s decision yesterday against EDDC, can be heard here: at 3mins 30secs. It was broadcast again an hour later, at about 1hour 3mins.

Immediately following the Tribunal’s report, another FOI request on the subject of EDDC’s office relocation was sent,this time by Chair of Save Our Sidmouth, Richard Thurlow. Details at this link:



“Is the Deputy Chief Executive fit for purpose?”, some are now asking

EDDC’s press release today (see our previous post) speaks of ‘lessons to be learned’ from the Tribunal’s scathing report, though it overlooks the fact that the criticism was “unanimous”, and not solely from the judge. There is no reference to the reportedly “discourteous” manner exhibited by EDDC , though the Council regrets  that the Tribunal found it at times “unhelpful”.

To compare this press release with the one posted earlier today from Save Our Sidmouth (which contains the the Tribunal’s devastating comments), go to these links:

Hugo foresees Armaggedon on Friday if he and his mates aren’t the winners

A most extraordinary letter from Hugo Swire on today’s Express and Echo website:

Really we have just one observation:  should someone who gets this hysterical about democracy at work really be allowed to be in Parliament?

It’s time for cool heads and measured actions – seems to us we will get that from Claire Wright but NOT from Hugo Swire!

Hugo doesn’t get Hilary’s vote

Sent by a correspondent:

Couple of good pieces in the online Echo today which hopefully will transfer to the print version tomorrow.

First a report on the Telegraph blog:

And second a report on the News Statesman Hilary Mantel support:



A “discourteous” and “unhelpful” Council….Leader sets the tone

See this exchange between Cllr Susie Bond (Ind) and EDDC Leader Paul Diviani (Con).

EDW footnote: The Council had agreed to conduct an independent inquiry once the police investigation into ex-Councillor Graham Brown (following the Telegraph’s ‘Councillor for Hire’ sting, March 2013) had ended.  Cllr Bond (who took the Feniton and Buckerell seat with 87% of the vote, after Graham Brown’s resignation from it), asks if the Council will conduct its own investigation, as decided.

The Leader’s response (with backup from Chair Graham Godbeer (Con) , heard in the background saying Cllr Bond was not asking a question ) is fairly typical of what has been regularly observed by the public at Council meetings.