Swire’s other jobs – which includes advice to a company that owns “Jolly Roger (Amusement Rides) Ltd”!

Job 1 – Deputy Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC)

For this job Swire has declared a salary of £2,000 per month which is said to be for 2 days work a month as cited below:

“You asked for the Committee’s advice [Office of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments] OFFICE OF THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON BUSINESS APPOINTMENTS] about accepting a new role as Deputy Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC).

CWEIC is an international organisation representing governments and business from across the Commonwealth. It promotes trade between Commonwealth countries and their work includes bringing together Commonwealth Trade Ministers and leaders to discuss trade and investment cooperation.

The Committee noted that as Deputy Chairman, the role would be part­time, paid, and involve around two days’ work per month. This would include attending four Board meetings a year, conferences and other meetings related to CWEIC in order to promote their activities.”


Job 2: Advisor to KIS (France)

For his other job of advising Photo Me he has declared an income of £3,000 per month for approximately 8 hours work per month = £375 per hour:

“Sir Hugo sought the Committee’s advice about taking up a paid, part-time appointment as an advisor to KIS (France), a manufacturer of photo booths and mini labs.

When considering this application the Committee noted that KIS (France) is a subsidiary of Photo-Me plc, which Sir Hugo was previously associated with when the Conservative Party was in opposition, as non-executive Chairman.

The Committee took into account that Sir Hugo’s role with KIS is not likely to include any contact with Government and his former department raised no concerns about it.”


KIS is run by Serge Crasnianski and the company has diversified into the laundry business, with a division called ‘Revolution’. Revolution is a 24/7 outdoor self-service launderette:


Mr Crasnianski, also an alumni of the Sunday Times’ 1,000 Richest People in Britain, now owns 22.5 per cent of the company’s shares.”


It’s doing well:

Investors piled into photo booths operator Photo-Me after its chief executive bought another big chunk of shares.

Serge Crasnianski spent £4.6 million on shares, taking his stake to above 22%, just four days after he splashed out £3 million on the AIM-listed company’s shares.”


“During the year, the Group paid dividends totalling £18.2m in respect of the interim and final dividend for the year ended 30 April 2015.
The interim dividend for the year ended 30 April 2016 (2.575p per share) declared in December 2015 was paid in May 2016 and amounted
to £9.7m.”

Click to access Photo-Me%202016_AR_Spreads.pdf

And one rather surprising subsidiary company owned by this company!

“Children’s rides manufactured by Jolly Roger (Amusement Rides) Limited, a subsidiary company in the UK, are produced in accordance with the industry guidance issued by BACTA (British Amusement and Catering Trades Association). “

Click to access Photo-Me%202016_AR_Spreads.pdf


Well, he won’t starve if he loses his other part-time job!

Those “missing” 6,000 voters – electors jump from 96,000 to 113,000-plus!

Owl broke the original story in July 2014 that EDDC was in the worst 6% of councils for voter registration and had “lost” 6,000 voters from the previous years – 102,000 down to 96,000. Owl was shocked and so a was Parliamentary Committee which summoned Electoral Officer Mark Williams to (not very satisfactorily) explain himself;




As of March 2017, the number of electors in East Devon stood at 113,079 – an increase of more than 20,000. And this doesn’t include a recent surge for the upcoming general election who registered after that date. An increase of more than 22%! In THREE years! That’s only registered voters – imagine the total population increase!


Food (bank) for thought

Copied from Facebook:

Here’s a thought experiment:

Say Jeremy Corbyn had been the Home Secretary for six years, during which time he slashed some 20,000 police jobs taking us back to 1970s levels of per capita policing.

Let’s say he also slashed the UK Border Agency budget so that over a million people per month were coming and going through UK airports without being properly checked.

Let’s say by virtue of an extremely self-serving EU referendum non-campaign he managed to get into 10 Downing Street, where he kept up his agenda of cutting the UK security services and border agency.

Then there’s a home-grown terrorist attack by a known Islamist fanatic in a city where Corbyn had cut the police budget by £157 million.

Let’s say Jeremy Corbyn “lost” files on an internal pedophile ring.
Let’s say he wanted to take the homes from the elderly.
Let’s say he cut 30% of your disabled benefit.
Let’s say he signed an arms deal with the (ISIS-funding) Saudis worth millions.
Let’s say he wanted to take away your child’s free school meal.
Let’s say he forced NHS staff to use food banks.
Let’s say he made so many cuts to the NHS that people are suffering waiting for ambulances and A&E doctors.
Let’s say he went against doctors, nurses, teachers, fire fighters, the armed forces…
Let’s say he took away funding for University for upcoming doctors and nurses.
Let’s say after all these cuts there’s still a deficit and he’d missed every target he’d set himself for reducing it.

What would you have to say about Jeremy Corbyn under these circumstances?
And why are they not saying those things about Theresa May and the Tories right now?

Please copy, paste, and share if you found this interesting!

How do we fund the NHS? Well, maybe we could start here

The High Speed 2 rail link is running billions over budget and likely to be delayed, MPs have warned. They say ministers must set out a realistic timetable for delivering the project, currently expected to cost more than £55bn.

Members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said they were “not convinced” by the current schedule, describing it as “overly ambitious”.

The first phase of HS2, between London and the West Midlands, is due to open in December 2026. But minister and bosses at HS2 Ltd, the company behind the project, are now looking at extending this by a year, MPs said.”


iF HS2 were economically viable private companies would be falling over themselves to fund it and make money from it.

And now with Brexit we really won’t need that cross-Channel connection to those durned foreigners and potential immigrants will we!

Perhaps we could prioritise – first fix the NHS and then, when that’s sorted and working properly for all of us, we can possibly think of funding a 20 minute time-saving on the time between London and Birmingham – more than offset by the 20 minute-plus extra time taken to get to the stations by road due to increasing traffic congestion!

Not to mention that, in the south-west, we will see no benefit whatsover from HS2 – quite the opposite.

Our Election omnishambles – and the Returning Officer’s pay

In addition to the omnishambles about postal vote mistakes (twice) we should not forget this, too:

East Devon’s returning officer has defended the delays at the count for the General Election in Sidmouth.

In a statement given to the press Mark Williams said: “This the first time since 1979 that we have had three elections in one night. The reasons why the government stopped this was that in rural areas like East Devon means the sheer volume of ballot papers that are prepared for counting causes a huge volume of work.”

Earlier Mr Williams said his team was ready and said the count would conclude at 2.30am. …


Question: How come other rural areas didn’t have this problem?

AND remember Mr Williams is paid EXTRA for his election duties. Wonder how much extra and whether cock-ups mean a pay cut? We will never know, because the job is not covered by the Freedom off Information Act and EDDC refuses to tell us. AND the Returning Officer has a big budget but because of that Freedom of Information block, we are not allowed to know what it is and, crucially, what happens to any underspend.

However, we do know that the Sheffield returning officer refused his fee of £20,000 in 2015 and here is a list of what other election staff are paid:


Election officials’ fees vary widely from constituency to constituency but might typically be:
Presiding officer: £250-£300;
Poll clerk: £115-£190;
Postal vote issuer: £8 per hour;
Postal vote opener: £9 per hour;
Count supervisor: £150 night shift;
Counting assistant: £12.50 per hour (plus £10 training fee).”


Oh no! East Devon’s General Election postal voting screwed up AGAIN

It happened in the 2015 election when the wrong voting instructions were sent out with postal votes:


and now it’s happening again this year – but worse and affecting many more people.

And in an election where a handful of votes might decide a winner between Swire and Claire Wright.

If Claire Wright is within 9,000 votes of Swire could she demand a rerun?

Our Returning Officer was called to Parliament to explain why he “lost” 6,000 voters too – saying he preferred to telephone them rather than sending canvassers into deepest, darkest East Devon:


In 2015 he blamed his postal vote fiasco on “inexperienced staff”:


What will it be this year?

Is it perhaps time for Mr Williams (EDDC CEO and Election Officer) to consider his position(s)?


A total of 9,000 postal voters in East Devon have been reassured after a mistake meant their slips did not have the correct security mark.

A statement has been issued today by the Acting Returning Officer for the East Devon Constituency (Mark Williams) to reassure postal voters who have not yet returned their postal votes.

He said: “It has come to my attention that the postal vote packs we issued on 25th May contained voting slips that did not have an official security mark visible on the front of the ballot paper. This has affected a total of 9,000 postal voters.

“I want to reassure those postal voters affected that if they have not yet returned their postal votes they should still do so. We have taken all the necessary steps to ensure the postal votes are valid and will be counted. I apologise for the error but want to reassure postal voters that they should still complete their postal voting statements and return their postal voting envelopes back to me for validating as part of the normal postal voting process.

“To be valid, a postal vote has to be accompanied by a valid postal voting statement containing the voters date of birth and signature. After these are checked, the envelope containing the postal voting slip is opened and the slip is put into a sealed ballot box where it is kept safe until the formal count. My postal vote opening teams will ensure that all validly completed postal votes are double checked so that they will go forward to the count along with all the other votes that will be cast on polling day itself.”

There is a second issue of postal votes tomorrow (31st May) and all the postal voting slips will have the appropriate security mark. Similarly all ballot papers issued at the polling stations will have the necessary security mark.

The news comes after it was revealed East Devon was chosen as one of eight UK constituencies to be monitored as part of an international mission to ensure elections are fair.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) has announced that the constituency will be one of its target seats for the general election.

An Election Assessment Mission (EAM) will be conducted in the area from June 4 to 9 by Phillip Paulwell, an MP from Jamaica who will lead a team of Observers from the Commonwealth.

The Mission, which is being arranged by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK Branch (CPA UK) as it did in the 2015 and 2010 general elections, will also observe elections in seven other UK constituencies to oversee:

post-election complaints or appeals

The team will compromise of three parliamentarians and one election official from Tonga who will monitor Election Day procedures at polling stations, meet with candidates, returning officers, local officials, community groups and other relevant stakeholders in order to assess the conduct of the election.”


Essex council switches to ‘more democratic’ committee system

“Councillors at Basildon last week (25 May) voted to switch to a committee system to run the council in place of the Leader and Cabinet.

Following a vote at the council’s annual general meeting, councillors were appointed to various committees and other positions.

The committees include: policy and resources; housing and community; regeneration and environment; infrastructure, growth and development; planning; licensing; and audit and risk.

Cllr Gavin Callaghan, Policy and Resources Committee Chairman, said: “We have taken a very important step to change the way that decisions are made because we believe it will make the council more democratic and more effective. It is now down to us to prove it.

“All of us need to commit ourselves to listening to what our constituents and our communities are saying and to making sound decisions based on good evidence and careful consideration. We will need to work together and listen to each other too.”

The council has resolved that no one should use the title of Leader of the Council but that the chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee shall assume the responsibilities of a Leader of the Council in a committee system.

Basildon councillors had resolved on 15 December 2016 to cease operating the Leader and Cabinet form of governance and start operating a committee system from the earliest permitted time, which was the AGM in 2017.

The authority cannot resolve to make another change to its governance arrangements, including a return to the Leader and Cabinet form of governance, for five years, except if approved in a referendum.”