Hunt says EU must change its rules to suit us so we can stay!

“… Mr Hunt says: “The people have spoken – and Parliament must listen. Britain must and will leave the EU. But we did not vote on the terms of our departure.” He says that the referendum shows that “that the country has rejected the free movement of people as it currently operates”.

“So our plan must be to encourage them to reform those rules, thereby opening up a space for a ‘Norway plus’ option for us – full access to the single market with a sensible compromise on free movement rules,” Mr Hunt adds. “As their biggest non-EU trading partner, it is in the European interest to do this deal with them as much as it is in our interests to secure it.”

He says by negotiating an exit deal and putting it to the British people in a vote, it will “concentrate minds across the Channel: if they want to conclude this amicably and quickly, which is in their interests as much as ours, they need to put a ‘Norway plus’ deal on the table”. …

Did he learn nothing from his handling of NHS doctors’ contracts? Silly question – slapped talons, Owl!

Minutes of the meeting which discussed the future of the Police and Crime Commissioner

…The Chair reminded members of the Panel at this stage that they will not be discussing the allegations against the Commissioner. They are both beyond the remit of this Panel and any discussion of specific allegations could prejudice ongoing investigations.

The Chair will interrupt and close down debate if he considers that members are creeping beyond the Panel’s remit.

He reminded members that this meeting is being webcast. The discussion will be available for up to a year following this meeting.

… Regarding alleged matters of conduct, the Panel has delegated the handling of complaints to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC). [So the office of the officer being investigated investigates] …


Discharge of the functions of the Police and Crime Commissioner

The Panel will be asked to consider the discharge of the function of the Police and Crime Commissioner under Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Panel Rules of Procedure 2.1(7). …

… Minutes:

The Chair gave the four members of the Panel who requested this meeting the opportunity to ask their questions –

‘The code of conduct under which we all operate is based on the Nolan Principles of Public Life. It stresses the fact that public perception of our behaviour is all important. Do you therefore think it would have been better for you to have waited until you had been cleared by the investigation before taking up office?’

(Councillor Watson)

‘In hindsight would it have been prudent to discuss this issue with the Police and Crime Panel prior to the public referral to enable us to best support you in your role?’

(Councillor Brown)

‘Does this mean that any member of the Devon and Cornwall Force and your office, any of them who may be the subject of future investigations, will be allowed the same leniency as you have exhibited here, and not be required to be removed from duty or suspended during their period of investigation, and also what your comments might be in relation to recent comments made by the Police Federation on behalf of the Police?’

(Councillor Batters)

‘Your predecessor in the role of Police and Crime Commissioner, Tony Hogg, I think it’s fair to say took up the role at a time when there was very little public appetite for the role – election turnout in the order of 15% I seem to remember – and certainly very little knowledge of it. During the course of his term of office he worked very hard and in his own words he says he believes that he built up the trust and confidence of the public in the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and I would add to that he did that largely in a non-political way. He has recently said in an interview that he believes that your recent action have pretty much destroyed in 24 hours all that good work over the previous 4 years. Would you agree with his statement?’

(Councillor Sutton)

Alison Hernandez (Police and Crime Commissioner) and Andrew White (OPCC Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer) were available to answer the Panel’s questions and address their concerns.

Members were advised that –


the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) –

· was aware of, and followed, the Nolan Principles of Public Life;

· was not aware of any negative feedback from members of the public;

· had gained a lot of public support since being elected;

· had met with the previous PCC, Tony Hogg, and had his full support;


the OPCC Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer had made the referral to the IPCC. It was standard practice to refer any allegations against a PCC to the IPCC and this decision had been taken after consultation with the Chair. (members were reminded that responsibility for non-criminal complaints had been delegated to the OPPC Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer). Arrangements had been made for an investigation to be conducted by another police force;



The Panel re-convened at 12 noon.

The Chair’s proposal that –


the Panel noted that whilst the Commissioner is subject to allegations she has not been charged with a criminal offence;


it is the opinion of the Panel that the functions of the Police and Crime Commissioner as laid out in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, are able to be discharged by the elected Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner;


Panel members and the public have concerns that the Police and Crime Commissioner has made public comments which could be deemed political in nature. It is the opinion of the Panel that this is not commensurate with the independent role of a Police and Crime Commissioner and the Commissioner should refrain from making any such statements in the future;


the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, as delegated by the Police and Crime Panel has referred a complaint regarding conduct to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. As such the Panel has fulfilled its statutory obligations;


the Panel will continue to scrutinise the decisions made by the Police and Crime Commissioner in connection with the discharge of the functions of that role, until such time that the outcomes of ongoing investigations are known.

seconded by Councillor Wright, was agreed unanimously (16 members present out of 20).

“Cranbrook Farm” – a pub!

“Cranbrook’s first pub is on the horizon.

Pub chain Hall & Woodhouse, who operate Topsham’s The Lighter Inn, has handed a licensing request for it to East Devon District Council.

The upcoming pub, currently named Cranbrook Farm, will be situated at the heart of the new community – opposite the Taylor Wimpy site.

Well, that’s just about the only farm you will be seeing in Cranbrook! And it will be very handy for the Taylor Wimpey builders.

And it DOES sound good “Delayed a bit, dear, still down at the farm …”.

Back to work you over 65’s – Work (free?) for Brexit!

“Devon business leaders have urged Brexit-supporting pensioners to cancel their retirement and help Britain’s post EU economy.

The Devon and Cornwall Business Council (DCBC) has called on the over 65s – 60% of whom are thought to have voted to leave the EU – to “bear responsibility” for the outcome.

Retired Brexiters in the region have reacted with anger to suggestions that they should go back to work, insisting many have contributed since they were teenagers.

However, Steve Crowther, the Devon-based chairman of UKIP, said the age group had much to offer the “bright economic future” many hope will arrive.

Steve Crowther said the wisdom and experience of the older generation was required. …

… Mr Jones [DCBC chair, LEP member, nuclear-involved nd multi-company director] said elderly “contributions could be big or small” and suggested the elderly might start a new business.

“Huge benefits could come from just half a day a week helping with a local school or community project,” he added.

“Greater responsibility for personal health and wellbeing could make massive differences to our over stretched health service. Using the accumulated wisdom gathered over many years could be valuable in mentoring local start-up businesses.

“The challenge has been made and is it now up to everyone to respond.”

Owl is thinking that its parents should get off their fluffy bottoms and start a business counselling elderly people forced to go back to work for England!

Hinkley C: “very different this week to last week”


27th June 2016

EDF’s plans to build an £18bn nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset will be subject to a fresh wave of uncertainty following Brexit.

EDF reiterated its commitment to the project, which has already suffered repeated delays, after Brits voted to leave the EU on Friday.

But asked whether Brexit could lead to Hinkley being scrapped, Angus Brendan MacNeil, chair of the energy and climate select committee, said: “Anything could happen … Hinkley is in a very different position this week than it was last week.” “At the very least the final investment decision (FID) will again be kicked down the road … you can’t see the French committing billions to a country they thought was in the European Union and is no longer.”

Peter Atherton, utilities analyst at Jefferies, said: “It’s yet another added complication in what’s already a very complicated process.” He added that if chancellor George Osborne, who is a strong supporter of the project, leaves the Treasury his replacement “might take a somewhat different view”. …


Conflict of interest? Of course not!

LEP member SC Innovations Ltd (Supacat, M D Nick Amey) is making it clear exactly what it is expecting from its nuclear activities:

“… SC Innovation is Fit for Nuclear (F4N) accredited by The Nuclear Advance Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC) and is also the first South West England based engineering business to open an office in the Somerset Energy Innovation Centre (SEIC). The centre has been established to create collaborative opportunities for prospective Hinkley Point C contractors to engage with local and regional companies.

“SC Innovation can offer a flexible range of attractive opportunities to potential partners. We can offer workshop facilities and capabilities including subassembly, testing, verification and validation acceptance testing as well as documentation management. We can also project manage the local supply chain where they can benefit from our access to over 2000 suppliers in the south west region”, said Joe Wilcox, Head of SC Innovation. “One of our core competencies is delivering engineering projects in sectors which demand a high level of compliance with strict regulatory and technical standards, as evidenced by our F4N status”, said Joe Wilcox, Head of SC Innovation.” …

No conflict of interest there then!

Google ” most-searched-for words locally pre-Referendum

Exeter, Cornwall, Plymouth and North Devon – immigration (unsurprising)

Torridge and the South Hams – expats (obviously second-homers on both sides of the channel!)

Mid Devon, West Devon and Teignbridge – NHS (they are about to lose several local hospitals)

And East Devon? The economy. The only area that searched first on the economy.

Owl thinks it’s because lots of East Devon developers (particularly those at the Growth Point and Cranbrook) farmers who might become developers ( you know who you are) and councillors worried about paying for their new HQ hogged the search engine!

Wonder what our LEP members searched for? Still waiting for that upbeat press release, guys.

Update: the nearest other county that searched for the economy near us was North Somerset – so close to Hinkley C!

Devolution Dead Duck?

“… Thursday’s referendum delivered a 52% vote in favour of leaving the EU, causing David Cameron to resign as prime minister and £120bn to be wiped off the FTSE 100.

Alexandra Jones said: “Now that the result of the referendum is clear, we need to focus on what happens next. It’s too early to understand the full implications of Brexit for places across the country, but the political and economic uncertainty ahead will clearly have a huge impact on the future of UK city economies.”

She added that there are “big questions” about how Brexit will affect cities which have historically relied on EU funding to strengthen their economies, as well as places which have been able to attract international jobs and investment partly due to the UK’s membership of the Single Market.

“There is also a serious risk that the government’s devolution agenda will come to a standstill, with the political focus likely to shift to moving powers from Brussels to Westminster, rather than empowering UK cities to grow their economies,” said Jones.

“In the weeks ahead, it’s vital that political leaders seek to provide as much clarity and certainty on these issues as possible, and demonstrate that UK cities remain open for trade, talent and investment.” …

Dear Next Prime Minister

OK next PM, let’s make it simple. You now have three choices:

1. Invoke Article 50 the day you become PM
2. Invoke Article 50 soon after you become PM
3. Find an excuse not to invoke Article 50

If you settle for (1) or (2) it is probably not a good idea for you to go for the Norwegian model – they pay to be in the EU but they don’t get any voting rights AND they have to accept free movement. Either (1) or (2) means LOTS of negotiating (by lots of extra civil servants you need to recruit NOW, by the way) as, if it takes more than 2 years, you walk away with nothing or whatever scraps the EU chooses to throw at you on the way out. And if it is (1) or (2) why wait? Just do it.

If you settle for (3) you pee off A LOT of the English and Welsh, but you make a lot of people in Northern Ireland and Scotland (and the EU) very happy. And you can blame LOTS of people for having had to take the decision, though your career might be rather short-lived. Good to have a Plan B with this one – maybe a job with an EU bank in Frankfurt.

So, if you still really haven’t decided what to do by this point, sit down with the people you trust, lock the door and don’t come out until you have made a decision. If you are still there after 24 continuous hours, it is an automatic (3).

Owl is glad to have helped.

EDDC, DCC, LEP – tell us how Brexit will ( or will not ) affect us

Owl eagerly awaits the pronouncements of:

Paul Diviani – EDDC
John Hart – Devon County Council
Chris Garcia – Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership

on how leaving the EU will affect our locality, their plans and their budgets.

You did all have a Plan B for this eventuality didn’t you?