Seaton’s ‘Hermione Grainger’ candidate responds

Response from EDDC hopeful councillor for Seaton below.

Owl’s comments:

Firstly, Owl is legion. There are many, many owls in East Devon!

1. Owl has no party – it has predispositions, but no party.
2. Someone formerly from Slough but well-established in this area ONLY for several years is NOT the same as a dual councillor having to make 340 mile round trips perhaps more than once a week to serve on two different councils at the same time. What happens when there is a clash if meetings? A little disingenuous to suggest it is a similar thing.
3. Owl has had no contact with any Monitoring Officer at any time and considers it a sloppy slur for Ms Russell to assume that it is the instigator (or connected with any instigator) of any such request.
4. She has not addressed her Facebook ‘like’ of a far-right splinter group of the BNP – what does she like about them?
5. See 2 above – East Devon doesn’t want only local-born people as councillors – it want councillors who aren’t skittering around the country trying to serve two masters at the same time.
6. Yes, the electorate will decide.

The comment in full:

“Dear ‘Owl’ (wouldn’t it be lovely if you actually revealed who YOU were and where YOU live?) Your article(s) to me portray the EDA as being pretty inward and parochial, a party where only ‘truly local’ people should be able to stand for Town, District and County Council, A party seemingly not open to ‘incomers’, fresh blood or new ideas – an approach which cannot possibly serve the people of East Devon as well as they could be served. I have watched with some amusement at being described as the ‘Hermione Grainger of local politics’ not to mention the laughable, desperate, notion that I have far right links.

I spent 35 years in East Grinstead and was elected to the local town council in 2015 and the County Council in 2017. No doubt as your spies (if you are not one and the same) have confirmed I am not re-standing at Parish level but I am mid-term as a County Councillor. You will also be very aware of your party’s concerted effort to try to find ways to discredit me through various FOIs but to no avail. Your latest request being for details of monitoring officers to complain about my ‘conduct’ – one wonders if you have any time left to talk to residents and do some campaigning of your own? Of course its not illegal to do any of this and I have nothing to hide, but one wonders why the need to go to such vast lengths – unless you felt I was some sort of threat? If East Devon residents really only want people who have been born and bred in the District, then why do they have a County Councillor who previously stood as a PPC in Yorkshire or an Axminster Parish Councillor who originates from Slough, is currently standing in Yarty but living in Axminster? – no doubt there are others in your network who do not originate from Seaton? Ironically your Yarty candidate has made it clear to me that he has ‘issues’ with Councillors representing two places at once. Well I have issues with Councillors who are also Parish Clerks. Either way it doesn’t matter – both are perfectly legitimate positions to be in at the present time. Overall lets agree for obvious reasons above that it doesn’t matter where we originate from, what matters is that we pledge and do our best to deliver for our community we live in. There is very clear evidence that I have achieved much in West Sussex and I will do the same in East Devon if I am privileged enough to be elected of course.

I appreciate you are keen to know my background so here goes. In actual fact my family moved to the West Country in 2016 due to my husband’s business. We have rented in Axminster since 2017 and have been renovating our house in Seaton. I have commuted to West Sussex since then (yes I really do drive the 170 miles) and reside in East Grinstead with my eldest daughter as and when I need to but spend most of my time in County Hall in Chichester – which is a 100 mile round trip from East Grinstead, so I am well used to driving lots of miles. If you dig a bit deeper you will find that out of the three East Grinstead County Councillors – I have by far and away the highest attendance rate at County Council with the most local results – this despite ‘being in two places at once’ (your phrase). At Parish level I have fulfilled my duties and as an aside taken no allowance for these duties. So I have a track record – and its a good one.

I must correct you though on your election literature content and the comments from the incumbent County Cllr, In actual fact I have a home in Seaton town centre and for clarity it is my only owned property. I shop regularly in the town, am a big fan of the Tramway (the whole family have loyalty cards). I drink and eat in the Malthouse pub. I am a big fan of the craft shop in Queen St where I bought my 20 year old daughter’s birthday presents not so long ago (she works in Colyford by the way). My youngest daughter goes to Axe Valley school where I am a governor. So to say I have no links to the area or do not live in the area is a blatant untruth and I would ask you respectfully to retract this and not waste any further time worrying about where I originate from and how in touch I am with the town – because the fact remains I am more in touch than you think and you probably are.

Ultimately the electorate will decide who they wish to vote in . Either way – elected or unelected, it will not change a thing. I shall finish my term in West Sussex and I shall remain committed to the town I have decided to settle in and support the local community as best I can.

Watch this Space”
[Jacquie Russell – candidate – Seaton]

2 thoughts on “Seaton’s ‘Hermione Grainger’ candidate responds

  1. Pingback: A final comment on the 2 May election in Seaton – from an East Grinstead voter | East Devon Watch
  2. Just like the Owl, it seems to me that Jacquie Russell hasn’t quite grasped the key points. This is nothing to do with candidates who grew up elsewhere and everything to do with candidates who:

    1. Genuinely live locally and who now consider East Devon their home rather than somewhere they visit – and who have demonstrated this by severing their ties with where they used to live because they are 100% committed to their new home area – whilst Jacquie Russell continues to be a councillor several hundred miles away, she has clearly NOT made the commitment to her new home area;

    2. Understand local issues and will represent voters’ needs and concerns properly, and who have the time to spend on doing this. So far we have yet to see any evidence that Jacquie Russell has any understanding of local issues (other than the biased briefings she will receive from local Tory grandees like Phil Twiss), any understanding of how local people feel on issues (how many locals has she really got to know and has she spent any real time discussing local issues with them?)? Has she stated her views on these local issues so that people know what she personally stands for? Or is she simply standing as yet another Tory clone who will vote as the party requires of her? If so, we deserve better candidates than this.

    3. Do not have vested interests in development – Jacquie’s views as stated on her Linked-In profile is that development is “easy money” – do you really want someone with this greedy attitude and sympathy with developers on the Council deciding planning policy and planning applications?

    4. Will put needs of local voters before both local and central party. The reality is that Tories hardly ever vote against their party leadership regardless of the secrets, inconsistencies with other decisions, lack of transparency etc. We want councillors who will hold the leadership to account not kowtow to them. The reality is that the only councillors who will put residents first are those who do not have a Party they are expected to be loyal to first.

    5. Demonstrates some discrimination about the types of people she “likes” on Facebook, particularly if she is going to use the “not born here card”. Jacquie’s Facebook profile shows that she has liked “British Voice” – which is apparently an offshoot of the BNP which believes that only the interests of native-born English,Scots,Welsh and Irish should count. How ironic that Jacquie supports a group that expressly wants to deny rights to anyone not native to the UK whilst at the same time making up fake news that the Owl is against her because she is not locally native. WHAT HYPOCRISY!! Do you really someone who “likes” far-right groups like British Voice as a councillor? Really?

    If Jacquie Russell was to make commitments to the above – commitments that would be believable – then no one would have a problem. The issue is that she doesn’t appear to meet any of the above criteria, and hasn’t been prepared to stand up and declare her position.

    However, what is MOST interesting to me in Jacquie’s comments above is her singling out of EDA as a target. Leaving aside her complete mis-understanding of the nature of EDA as a “Party” (if I remember correctly, they are officially a party only to be able to have a branded logo, but are absolutely not a party in the sense of telling their councillors how to vote or what to think), and her misunderstanding that East Devon Watch is the same as East Devon Alliance – they parted ways several years ago, demonstrating that Jacquie doesn’t really know or understand about the locality and is simply parroting the briefing given to her by local Tory grandees like Phil Twiss), it appears that the Conservative Party leadership is running scared of EDA (and possibly other Independents) by singling them out for attention? Why is this? Perhaps because when you look at the record of which Councillors have done the most to fight for the rights and needs of local people, and the most to fight to hold the EDDC Leadership to account, it is consistently the EDA Independent Councillors who have been the ones to do this. I have sat in several council meetings and listened to them fight for us (whilst have also been disrespected and abused by Tory councillors on several occasions when asking questions during public speaking for simply wanting them to explain their actions). I can speak from personal knowledge that Roger Giles, Cathy Gardner, Marianne Rixson and Val Ranger (and in her time on EDDC Claire Wright) have done more as Councillors to try to keep democracy alive and to hold the council leaders to account that the rest of the council put together, and my experience is that one EDA Independent is worth 10 Tory councillors any day.

    So, I challenge Jacquie to stake her colours to the mast, to resign from West Sussex County Council right now to demonstrate her commitment to East Devon (regardless of whether she wins or not), to publicly distance herself from British Voice, to explain her crass comments about development being “easy money”, to show beyond any doubt that she genuinely understands the various issues facing East Devon, to state publicly that she will fight for local residents needs even if they are not the party line, and to demonstrate beyond doubt that this is what she has done on the other Council’s she has been a member of.

    If she can do all of these, then maybe, just maybe, she will deserve people’s votes.


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