Swire – many, many feathers ruffled!

Oh dear, Hugo really does have his tighty-whities in a twist with this (very long, very pompous, very verbose) rant on his website about independents (i.e. what he REALLY means is how much he is rattled by Claire Wright).

It’s just too rambling, too illogical and too vituperative to quote, but read it if you must here:


Poor old Hugo, times are changing and he just can’t keep up with it.

Hugo: an Independent has one BIG, BIG, BIG advantage over you – he or she can actually SPEAK out for East Devon in Parliament and elsewhere, whereas you refuse to do so, citing you ministerial foreign office post as an excuse ( not a reason, an excuse).

It will be very interesting to see, if Brexit wins, just what you will then do.

Oh, and an independent is likely to actually LIVE in the constituency, unlike you!

Rome favouring Independent for Mayor

“Italy’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement (5SM) took a large lead in the first round of voting for the mayor of Rome, according to exit polls published on Sunday, in a possible blow to prime minister Matteo Renzi.

Some 13 million people, or a quarter of the adult population, were eligible to vote for mayors in around 1,300 towns and cities, with attention focused firmly on a handful of major centres, including the capital.

Victory in Rome would be a huge breakthrough for anti-establishment 5SM, which was founded in 2009 by comedian Beppe Grillo and has grown to be Italy’s second largest party.

A victory by the populist party in the capital’s mayoral election is considered to be a key marker of whether the 5SM could eventually challenge Mr Renzi for leadership of the whole country.”


Exmouth Splash developer facing problems in Swindon

“THE COMPANY behind the North Star multi-million pound development has moved to allay fears about its accounts.

Moirai Capital has a lease for the Oasis and the surrounding land with plans to convert the site onto one of the country’s leading leisure destinations.

However, the organisation missed an April deadline to file its accounts and has been contacted by Company House over the issue.

Should Moirai fail to respond to the letter, winding up procedures could be started later on in the summer.

But the company’s directors say the issue is being dealt with and the missed deadline was due to circumstances outside of their control.

Bobby Rach, of Moirai, said: “This is something which will be sorted within a few weeks. We are aware of everything and the letter is perfectly normal business procedure.

“We are a fully functioning business so there is no chance of the company being wound up.”

Moirai first took control of the lease in 2012, with the promise of refurbishing the Oasis and transforming the surrounding land.

The new leisure destination will have an indoor ski-slope, an arena, sport-related shops and a hotel as well as restaurants and a cinema.

An outline application was submitted last year and while there has been frustration at the length of time it is taking, Bobby says progress is being made.

He said: “When this is completed it is going to be a draw for the entire region. Getting these things right does take time but we should be able to reveal who has been signed up in the coming weeks.

“A lot of negotiation takes place as we have got everything right but when we have the details that should push the planning application forward.

“It could be that we are on site by next year. When we reveal everything this is something the people of Swindon will be able to get really excited about.”

The two areas which have held the application up is the signing up of partners to run the various parts of the development and the traffic management plan.

Highways England had initially said more work needed to be done to examine the impact the development would have on the town’s roads, most notably junctions 16 and 15 of the M4.

This has now been dealt with and the organisation have said the planning application can be accepted with conditions.”


“Ben Ingham was born in East Devon. A chartered engineer by profession he has also worked as a district councillor for twenty years dedicating much of hie free time to issues that affect East Devon.

In recent times he has become increasingly concerned about the activities of the East Devon Conservative Group. So much so that last year he was motivated to mount an independent challenge to take over the control of the council. It was this that led to him becoming the leader of the East Devon Alliance of independent candidates.

Amongst his key motivations his top priority is to make sure that the East Devon Local Plan is adopted as soon as possible in order to protect the district from uncontrolled development.

He is also working to create a Development Strategy Committee to ensure that development can be managed in a sustainable and intelligent way.

He is also keen to abolish the cabinet system at East Devon District Council in favour of a committee system where all councillors become involved in making decisions on their constituents behalf.

The following interview was filmed when he visited a meeting of like minded people in Totnes on the 25th May of this year in order to discuss independent councillors in local democracy.”


Sidford: controversy gets an airing on BBC Radio Devon

Sidford Employment site result of “heroic calculation” on a “speculative basis” , SOS Chair tells Radio Devon

BBC’s Simon Bates’ interview with Richard Thurlow last Friday (3rd June), can be heard on the Radio Devon website. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03vh95v

Go to Simon Bates o3/o6/2016, from 00.45-01.02, and 49.50 to 57.14.

The interview was followed up by a phone-in from Independent East Devon Alliance (IEDA) Cllr Marianne Rixson, EDDC Ward Member for Sidmouth-Sidford since May 2015. You can listen to what she said, from 01.41.05 to 01.47.25 in the recording.

Simon Bates suggests he wants to pursue the Sidford business park planning application issues, on his breakfast show later on.

And don’t forget there are just a few days’ left to comment to EDDC DEADLINE is 8th June:

See https://saveoursidmouth.com/2016/05/26/urgent-sidford-business-park-planning-application-now-in-the-more-people-who-write-in-the-better-deadline-for-comments-weds-8th-june/

Sidford Employment site result of “heroic calculation” on a “speculative basis” , SOS Chair tells Radio Devon

The democratic deficit – from the top down

Replace Parliament with EDDC and Executive with Cabinet [and backbenchers with Independents] and you have a dead-ringer for local politics too!

“Scrutiny of the executive

The prime minister’s active participation in parliamentary proceedings is a key mechanism for ensuring the accountability of the executive, but they have been less and less present in the Commons since the time of Thatcher and Blair. David Cameron’s attendances are limited to a 30 minute question time (PMQs) once a week when Parliament is sitting, occasional speeches in major debates, and periodic public meetings with the chairs of Select Committees in the new Liaison Committee.

More encouraging is recent research is showing that backbenchers used PMQs in 1997-2008 as a key public venue, with backbenchers often leading the agenda and breaking new issues that later grew to prominence. The current Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, has also routinely been using PMQs to ask questions sent in on email by the public, somewhat changing the tone of the session.

The ‘payroll vote’

Parliament’s independence vis-a-vis the executive has long been qualified by strong partisan loyalties amongst almost all MPs, who (after all) have spent many years working within parties before becoming MPs. The members of the government’s frontbench are expected to always vote with the executive, as are Parliamentary Private Secretaries (who are pseudo-ministers) The last official data in 2010 showed approximately 140 MPs affected. Unofficial estimates of the size of the payroll vote suggest that it was equivalent to well over a third of government MPs, by 2013. Given the smallish number of Conservative MPs in the 2015 Parliament the ratio will still be high. When Commons seats fall to 600, the prominence of the payroll vote will increase, unless government roles for MPs are cut back.

Dissent by backbench MPs

The coalition period marked not just a period of record dissenting votes by backbenchers against their party line, but also the extension of this behaviour to larger and more consequential issues. The cleavages inside the Conservative party between pro and anti-EU MPs are exceptionally deep. During the summer of 2016 the Cameron government backed off several controversial legislative proposals, and proposed an exceptionally anodyne set of bills in the Queen’s Speech, apparently to avoid straining party loyalties further in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum. The rise of serial backbench dissenter Jeremy Corbyn to be Labour leader has also created a serious gulf between his team and many of the Parliamentary Labour Party, which may reduce the cohesion of the main opposition party’s voting.


Public confidence in Parliament was very badly damaged by the expenses scandals of 2009, and trust in the House of Commons remains at a low ebb, despite some worthwhile but modest reforms in the interim, especially making Select Committees more effective in scrutinizing government. The Commons remains a potent focus for national debate, but that would be true of any legislature in most mature liberal democracies. There is no evidence that the UK legislature is especially effective or well-regarded, as its advocates often claim.

Five years of Coalition government 2010-15 (almost automatically) somewhat reduced executive predominance over Parliament. But it did not break traditions of strong executive control over the Commons. Tory divisions over the EU (plus the artificial exclusion of UKIP from Commons representation) have perpetuated backbench unrest after 2015. But these ameliorations of party discipline may still be termpoary. Structural reforms to make the Commons a more effective legislature, and to modernise ritualistic behaviours and processes, are still urgently needed.”