Young Tory activists caught discussing ‘gassing chavs’ and ‘shooting peasants’ in leaked WhatsApp group

“Young Conservative activists joked about “gassing chavs” and “shooting peasants” in a string of disturbing WhatsApp messages.

The conversation, which has now been leaked, took place in a group chat described as a “professional discussion board” for activists communicating about how to help the Tories win the next election.

The revelation comes as a new Tory-supporting youth group, called Activate, was launched to try to engage young people in politics in a similar way to Momentum, the left-wing Labour campaign organisation. However, the group’s social media launch was widely ridiculed for its overuse of hashtags and memes.

Guido Fawkes, which published the leaked messages, said the WhatsApp group was used as a “precursor” to the Activate group.

During the conversation, one member refers to an event as a “fine opportunity to observe the spice homo chav”.

Another immediately replies: “And gas them all.”

The first activist then jokes that he or she is “gonna run some medical experiments on them” before the second adds: “We could use them as substitutes for animals when testing.”

As the conversation continues, the pair make a string of further offensive comments about poor people.

The first suggests “experiments” could be conducted “to see why they are so good at producing despite living rough”.

Realising the direction the chat has taken, he adds: “Okay we gotta be careful otherwise this is turning [in]to a Nazi chat.”

Undeterred, the second person continues: “Vermin often populate at high rates…But seriously, chavs are an actual problem”.

As other young Tory activists join in the troubling conversation, talk turns to “solutions” for dealing with “chavs”.

Suggestions include “chavocide”, “turn the Isle of Wight into a super prison”, “shooting peasants” and “compulsory birth control on chavs”.

The back-and-forth is only stopped when one member tells his allies: “We don’t take the mickey out of the poor.” Another threatens to kick people out of the group “if this continues”.

A third then adds: “This is supposed to be a professional discussion board about how we coordinate for the next election. It is not a place to gossip or make rather silly jokes.”

With impressive foresight, he or she then suggests the “dodgy chatter in here” could end up on the Guido Fawkes blog, damaging the group and its objectives. …”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tories-gassing-chavs-whatsapp-messages-group-chat-activate-members-leaked-a7921086.html

Owl was right! The tiniest, infinitesimaly small tap on Randall-Johnson’s wrist!

From the blog of East Devon Alliance Devon County Councillor Martin Shaw:

“Sara Randall Johnson exonerated of breach of rules but reminded of ‘the need to be seen to be even handed and scrupulously fair, recognising that failure to do so may be perceived as a deliberate act’

I’m posting extracts from the minutes of Devon County Council’s Standards Committee yesterday, concerning the allegations about Cllr Sara Randall Johnson’s Chairmanship of the Health Scrutiny Committee’s special meeting about the Seaton, Honiton and Okehampton hospital beds – mostly without comment, because I haven’t yet had time to fully absorb them or to decide with colleagues how to respond. One brief comment at the end, though …

The resolution, unanimously agreed, states

(a) that the Investigating Officer’s Report be acknowledged and endorsed as an exhaustive and thorough piece of work;

(b) that the Committee finds that the allegations are not proven and that there has not been any breach of the Code of Conduct or that they disclose any sufficiently serious potential breach that might warrant punitive action or sanction or that the subject member failed to apply one or more of the Principles of Public Life;

(c) that there is no evidence to support any allegation that the subject member failed to adhere to the Code of Conduct or had failed to treat others with respect or had failed to act in the public interest or had acted improperly or did not have regard to the relevant facts before taking part in any decision making process as alleged, specifically, in relation to paragraphs 4 and 5(a), (c), (d), (g) and (h) of the Code and that that complaints cannot therefore be upheld;

(d) that, notwithstanding the above, the Committee accepts that the events of the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee meeting on 25 July 2017 may not reflect well on individual Members or upon the Council as a whole, and further recognises that the perception gained by persons present at the meeting or subsequently viewing the webcast is not that which would have been desired: Group Leaders should therefore be asked to remind Members of the need to conduct themselves appropriately and respectfully at all times;

(e) that, additionally, the subject member be strongly reminded of the importance of the work of scrutiny committees – reinforcing the value of neutrality in scrutiny both generally and in calling the ‘health service’ to account – and the need to be seen to be even handed and scrupulously fair, recognising that failure to do so may be perceived as a deliberate act; the difference between perception and reality being not easily countered;

(f) that in light also of the evident lack of awareness of some Members of the procedures to be followed at meetings, further training be offered (i) to Members on the rules of debate including procedures relating to the moving of motions and amendments and voting at committee meetings and to remind them that assistance was available through the Council’s Democratic Services & Scrutiny Secretariat to help them in ensuring consideration of any matter by a Committee and in drafting motions or amendments and (ii) to Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of Scrutiny Committees, generally, relating to the management of those procedures at meetings;

(g) that Members be also reminded of the need to ensure microphones are switched on and used particularly when meetings are webcast and that Officers examine the potential within the current audio system to ensure that Members’ microphones are switched on remotely, if necessary, to ensure that their contributions are heard and recorded on the webcast; [This would appear to relate to the fact that Paul Diviani’s comments cannot be heard on the webcast]

(h) that, additionally, the Procedures Committee be asked at its next meeting to ensure the wording of the Council’s Constitution in relation to the appointment and membership of Scrutiny Committees is accurate and consistent throughout and reflects the provisions of the law and that the presentation of information about such appointments at the Annual Meeting of the Council is similarly made clearer in future; and

(i) that complainants be advised that any complaint over the conduct of the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee’s Co-opted Member cannot be dealt with by the County Council and that as that Member was currently an East Devon District Councillor any such complaints should be referred to East Devon District Council’s Monitoring Officer.

Additional comments from the Investigating Officer about the Committee’s ‘scrutiny’ of the CCG’s proposal:

‘In relation to concerns that the subject member did not guide or direct Committee Members sufficiently robustly to discuss the relevant issues set out in the papers before that Committee or upon which representations had been made direct to Members, the Investigating Officer recognised that the subject member had been at pains to allow all parties present and able to speak with the Clinical Commissioning Group’s representatives, public speakers and local Members attending under Standing Orders addressing the Committee first and speaking on any aspect of the situation as they saw fit. Thereafter Members of the Scrutiny Committee were invited to speak – without restriction as to subject or time – to enable them to raise any issues they may have wished so to do and enable an informed discussion/debate: only then coming to a view, having first heard all the arguments.

‘It was felt to be entirely reasonable to have assumed that Members of the Committee had read and digested the information before and that it was for Members themselves to refer or raise in debate and discussion any specific issues they felt were necessary or worthy of so doing. The Investigating Officer was of the view that it would be wrong for anyone to assume that there had been no consideration of the issues highlighted in the Report CS/17/23 circulated at the 25 July meeting simply because Members had chosen not to speak specifically to any of those points.’

COUNCILLOR SHAW’S COMMENT:

My comment – no one said ‘there had been no consideration of the issues highlighted in the Report CS/17/23 circulated at the 25 July meeting simply because Members had chosen not to speak specifically to any of those points.’ What we said, and I still say very strongly, is that there was not proper consideration, let alone scrutiny.

The full minutes, which will be posted on the DCC website shortly, are here: Standards Committee 29 August 2017 “

Sara Randall Johnson exonerated of breach of rules but reminded of ‘the need to be seen to be even handed and scrupulously fair, recognising that failure to do so may be perceived as a deliberate act’

The “great and the good” should speak up for our NHS – but remember those who speak and vote against it

From Letters page, Guardian: remember it was Paul Diviani and Sarah Randall Johnson that took Honiton and Seaton hospitals from us.

• “I was thrilled to read Professor Stephen Hawking’s glowing tribute to our “finest public service”. At 75 years of age and a world-class scientist known by everyone in the country, Professor Hawking is in a perfect position to state his case for the prosecution of the Tories and Jeremy Hunt in particular, for their mendacity over what they say they are doing for the NHS, while undermining it by cuts, underfunding and demoralisation of staff, as well as introducing privatisation for years without proclaiming their real aim, which is to destroy the NHS and replace it with a US-style insurance system controlled by multinational companies.

Many ordinary patients like me have protested to our local MPs over the years about the political decisions the Tories have made to ultimately scrap the NHS, and their relentless pursuit of the drip-drip methods of convincing people that we cannot afford the NHS any more. This is a total lie, and I would like other well-known people who value and cherish the NHS to come out and say so before it’s too late.

Nye Bevan said the NHS would exist only as long as people were willing to fight for it. Let’s hear it from the great and the good in support of the treasure in our midst.

Lynda Mannix
East Grinstead, West Sussex”

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/30/labour-ought-to-speak-out-about-the-nhs-as-strongly-as-stephen-hawking

Can you imagine THIS happening in Devon?

“Northamptonshire’s police and crime commissioner has asked the Home Office to allow him to take over the county’s Fire and Rescue Service.
The service is at present run by Northamptonshire County Council, which has supported the proposal. Commissioner Stephen Mold said a public consultation had shown 60.8% of the 1,212 responses received supported his plan. Fire service employees favoured the change with 92% in agreement.
The Policing and Crime Act 2017 allows commissioners to mount a business case for taking over fire services, though does not require them to do so.””

http://localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/index.php

Our notorious and unpopular PCC (Alison Hernandez) made our Chief Fire Officer pause his leadership of the Royal Clarence Hotel fire so she could take a selfie with him!

Millionare praises Brexit: he can make people work longer hours in his shops

A multi-millionaire Tory peer has been mocked after suggesting Brexit will be good for young people as they will be able to work longer hours in shops.

Lord Harris, estimated to be worth more than £100million, claimed retailers could currently only employ young people for 35 hours a week because of EU law.

In fact, the European Working Time Directive means employees cannot be forced to work longer than 48 hours a week – and even then, they can opt-out of the restriction.

Brexit-backing Lord Harris, who made his fortune through interior store Carpetright, also set up the Harris Federation – which runs 44 primary and secondary in and around London.

He was challenged on the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme to explain how leaving the EU would help young people.

Harris: “It will give us more opportunity. It will give younger people more opportunity in this country and we won’t be controlled…”

Presenter: “Why?”

Harris: “Because we’ll have more freedom of laws.”

Presenter: “What’s wrong with the laws we have at the moment?”

Harris: “If you take a retailer, we can only keep our staff on for 35 hours a week, I think it is now.”

Presenter: “You’ve done alright out of it.”

Harris: “We haven’t done too badly.”

https://t.co/wrDL6iA9Du

More on that Diviani “No Confidence” vote

http://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/calls-made-east-devon-council-399289

REMEMBER:

A vote AGAINST means the councillor involved supports the decision to close community hospital beds and agrees that the EDDC vote to keep them open counted for nothing – party before people.

An ABSTENTION is as good as a vote AGAINST but means that the councillor involved wants to pretend it doesn’t – still party before people.

A councillor ducking the meeting without a very good reason is AGAINST the motion AND a coward and a disgrace to his or her community.

And remember too their votes in subsequent elections when YOU vote for what is important in East Devon.

“Most Tory MPs have no link to constituency”

No link here is taken as not having been born or educated within 20 km of the constituency.

Think-tank Demos reveals that 64% of Labour MPs at the last election had strong ties to their areas but only 32% of Tory MPs could make the same claim.

And their research suggests that “voters are becoming less forgiving of political ‘blow-ins’, rejecting them in favour of more local candidates’.

… In all, in 60 of the 70 seats that changed hands, 86% were won by local candidates – 35% higher than the UK average as a whole.”

Source: Times (pay wall)

Well, 100% of OUR MPs (Swire and Parish) have no ties to the area and 100% of our MPs choose not to LIVE in their constituencies – Swire preferring Mid-Devon and Parish the Somerset/North Devon border.

Perhaps this is why local-born candidate Independent Claire Wright came so close to winning the last election in East Devon and why Caroline Kolek, who lives in Honiton, made a creditable and credible runner-up to Neil Parish in Tiverton and Honiton.

Our “sitting” MPs might not be so lucky next time and might find themselves sitting in their far away homes permanently!

All you have to do is vote Local! AND as a bonus you would get MPs PASSIONATE to save our local NHS, local education, and local environment.

Knowle development – a Premier Inn adjacent to a Travelodge next to a Holiday Inn!

A new photo-montage reveals the size and scale of the proposed PegasusLife luxury retirement complex planned for the Knowle site when EDDC decamps to Honiton.

Owl thinks it looks rather like a Premier Inn adjacent to a Travelodge next to a Holiday Inn! With maybe a soupcon of Cranbrook thrown in for good measure!

Oh unlucky Sidmouth to have such a building foisted on it.

http://futuresforumvgs.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/knowle-relocation-project-shocked-to.html

Anyone taking bets on Diviani and/or Randall-Johnson’s future plans?

Could our two most notorious local councillors Paul Diviani (Leader, EDDC but sitting as a co-optee on the controversial Devon County Council Health Scrutiny Committee) and/or its chairman, Sarah Randall-Johnson (see article below on secret DCC Standards Committee meeting on her conduct) perhaps be lining themselves up for lucrative and/or powerful jobs with our local Clinical Commissioning Group (or whatever its next incarnation will be)?

After all, they have ably demonstrated where their sympathy lies and there will no doubt be many opportunities over the coming months to put their sympathies into action.

Diviani already has form, being a councillor member of our Local Enterprise Partnership responsible for extra housing throughout Devon and Somerset and the many, many other pies in which he has his fingers. Including a leading role in “Greater Exeter” plans.

Randall-Johnson was Diviani’s predecessor as Leader of EDDC (until being ignominiously trounced by Claire Wright in local elections) but has failed to rise to such a dizzy height again at DCC (and may – or may not – have scuppered her chances of ever doing so with her recent behaviour).

Until her recent appointment as Chairman of the Health Scrutiny Committee she had to content herself with appointments to the DCC Pensions Board, East Devon Highways and Traffic Orders Committee, East Devon Locality (County) Committee and the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority.

And few of us can forget that she was the unsuccessful “Cameron’s Cuties” competitor for the Tory Totnes seat won by Sarah Wollaston?

Where better for both of them to spread their wings than our CCG?

Or, is Owl hooting up the wrong tree? Is Randall-Johnson’s behaviour designed to show her Tory councillor colleagues what a “strong and stable” leader she might make for DCC?

Or, and here Owl’s eyes widen to bulging, might she be gearing up for yet another bid to become an MP and flexing her muscles for such a bid?

RandallJohnson scrutiny behaviour – whitewash or justice today?

Owl’s prediction: a tiny, tiny tap on the wrist – barely contacting – then back to business as usual for her and her party.

“A standards committee is today meeting behind closed doors to consider whether a senior Tory broke the county council code of conduct, Devon Live understands.

Conservative county councillor Sara Randall Johnson, chair of the authority’s health scrutiny committee as well as the Devon and Somerset fire authority, angered campaigners at a public meeting last month.

The former leader of East Devon District Council was jeered by the public gallery when she ignored a tabled motion by independent councillor Claire Wright designed to halt hospital bed closure plans by making a referral to the Secretary of State.

Instead, she allowed party colleagues to seize the momentum by kick starting the debate and swiftly proposing the exact opposite, a motion which narrowly won the day by just one vote.

Ms Wright protested at the meeting and after the meeting, which attracted around 80 members of the public, a dozen people are thought to have complained.

The council’s cross-party Standards Committee met on Tuesday, August 29 to debate the issue but invoked a so-called Part 2 exemption which allows proceedings to be held in secret.

A formal report is expected to be published by the group, which also includes former councillors, after the meeting revealing, explaining the decision.

Ms Wright said she did not complain formally but submitted a statement of her concerns and has been interviewed by the committee chairman.

Ms Randall Johnson and Ms Wright clashed at the bad-tempered and at times rowdy Health and Wellbeing committee meeting in July.

Randall Johnson used her new power of chairmanship to thwart her long-time opponent, whose first electoral success at district level in 2011 cost Randall Johnson her seat and leadership of the council.

Some observers claimed the move was a settling of old scores.

In the months prior to the meeting, protestors had been opposing plans by the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group to axe 71 beds across four cottage hospitals in the Eastern locality.

Campaigners, angry that the case had not been made for the Your Future Care model of home visits, labelled the consultation a sham and turned to the Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Group for help.

Under the previous chairmanship of veteran Labour councillor Richard Westlake, the scrutiny group was poised to refer the plans to the Secretary of State if 14 documented points were not addressed.

But he stepped down at the election and Ms Randall Johnson took up control.

At the first meeting of the newly constituted committee in June, it became clear that she did not support the move.

She refused to put Ms Wright’s proposal to the last vote at the June meeting and eventually members were persuaded to defer a decision to get more information.

Ms Wright again proposed that the plans be sent back to the Health Secretary, submitting a written motion before the meeting began.

She cried foul when her tabled motion was ignored, claiming she had never seen it happen in six years of committee meetings.

Unfortunately for her, the legal advice from the council backed Randall Johnson, stating that motions needed to be proposed and seconded in the meeting.

She then dismissed Ms Wright’s protest by telling her the power to choose was entirely at her discretion as chair, before moving to a vote against referring the proposals, which was won by a majority of one, with one abstention.

Former Lib Dem county council leader and respected political veteran Brian Greenslade remarked after the meeting that the move had been highly unusual.

He considered that not mentioning or circulating a table motion – one submitted before the meeting begins – was rare: not against procedure but definitely a departure from protocol.

The committee is now expected to rule on whether this departure from protocol breached the members’ Code of Conduct.

A council spokesman said the minutes will be published within the next few days.

“It’s too early to say whether this is a subject that will be discussed or raised by elected members at a future full council meeting,” he added.”

http://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/tory-chairman-faces-standards-inquiry-396146