Mrs Russell (Tory candidate Seaton) responds again

PLEASE NOTE THIS WILL BE THE LAST RESPONSE TO MS RUSSELL BEFORE THE ELECTION AS SHE HAS ALREADY HAD ENOUGH COLUMN INCHES TO PROPOUND HER VIEWS

Mrs Russell responds again – however some points in her response have never been brought up by Owl, only by commentators on her original response. Much is repeated. And once again she confuses East Devon Watch with East Devon Alliance – two totally different entities (though EDW DOES have a predisposition to the aims of EDA and independents it is NOT a mouthpiece of that group). Owl reports what it wants and takes no direction from any party or person. Should another party or group take control of EDDC rest assured it will be scrutinised as closely as the current ruling party.

Her comments on the closure of the local community hospitals is particularly interesting.

“Thanks for your comments – despite what is continually misreported – I do live locally – my only owned property is in Seaton which I have just finished doing up. My daughter is at school in Axminster where I am a local school governor, another daughter works in Colyford, one about to go to university (admittedly up north) and I still have children (grown up ) who live in Sussex. If you are aware of the electoral system you will know that County elections do not run concurrently with Town and District – I am therefore mid term as a County Councillor and you are correct I have no intention of abandoning the electorate who voted me in midway through a term – that would demonstrate that I was more a fair weather councillor than a committed one – what’s more I have made no secret of that with the electorate on the doorstep. I am not hundreds of miles away – it is precisely 170 miles to my division – most certainly a long journey. But from my division it is 100 mile round trip to County Hall in West Sussex anyway- so I am used to driving lots and lots of miles. My attendance is the high and meetings clash on occasion when you are busy but rest assured if elected I will ensure I fulfil both my local and strategic role at EDDC.

With regards ‘no understanding of local issues’ – firstly I have not received any biased briefings from the local Tory party. I am an experienced Councillor and I can see the issues you face – the challenges of local economic development and the impact in one part of the town (upper end of Queen St particularly which is roughly 5 minutes from my home) as an example – we are facing them too in the south east and the same problems if not already here are headed this way. I know the focal point of the entire EDA campaign is the hospital -yet surprisingly the conversations I have had on the doorstep with voters have not included any mention of the hospital by them. Secondly, it is disingenuous to say that EDDC refused to obtain the hospital as a community asset – when actually a hospital does not meet legislative criteria i.e. for the social wellbeing of the community. The ACV law relates to buildings such as village pubs and shops – not hospitals. Finally if the NHS do not want to sell it, how can the District Council ever hope to acquire it?

Re a Linked in Profile? I do not use Linked in – only Twitter and Facebook. But my life has been in Construction but I am not known for being a greedy person – being the only councillor who did not take her entitlement to the small allowance for East Grinstead Town Council and a regular donator to community initiative funding applications via the Crowdfunding mechanism we have in West Sussex (similar to the one in Devon) and other charities may give some indicator to the contrary here.7

Re my ‘singling out’ of the EDA – in actual fact the EDA have gone to great lengths to try to smeer and dish up dirt on me not to mention the reference on this blog to myself being the ‘Hermione Grainger of local politics with far right links’. One EDA member has gone to the extreme lengths of contacting my local parish council and the County Council – to ensure that I am compliant in attendance and claims of expenses which of course has been clarified. With regards the East Devon Watch as it appears to solely promote positively the EDA candidates and is negative towards others, you will have to forgive me if I tend to think there is a strong connection there.

To suggest I have far right links because a logo has appeared on the ‘likes’ of my Facebook page is a joke. If you could find I had real links to the far right (i.e. membership to a far right organisation) that would be a different matter – but of course you won’t. The simple fact is – like a lot of people in Seaton and in the country – I voted to leave the EU and that’s all there is to it, but for the record I am also of Cornish and Irish descent, grew up in London, lived in Sussex and now live in the West Country.

In terms of my commitment as a Councillor – if one were to really get into the fabric of where I am still currently representing, they would see the results I get for the community – including most recently saving an elderly day care centre from closure – hailed as the deal of the century by many as not only did it save the day care from closure, it enabled other community groups to remain in situ, found a new home for the local Age UK and freed up a delapidated old building for the District Council to turn into social housing.

In terms of challenging me to do the things mentioned in the final paragraph – most of it I have already answered. I have had discussions on the doorstep with residents who quite understand my need to fulfil my final commitments for the remainder of the term in West Sussex – as I would do in East Devon if the situation was reversed. Councillors should not ‘distance’ themselves from a commitment just because their lives have changed. If I was not intending to cut links with West Sussex I would have re-stood as a Parish Cllr in Sussex – but as you will note I did not. I have already stated publicly that if I get elected I will work hard to deliver the towns ambitions and needs so there is little else I can add to this discussion. The proof of the pudding is in the eating and if elected the town will not be disappointed.

Always happy to meet in person to discuss concerns and views irrespective of the outcome next week.”

5 thoughts on “Mrs Russell (Tory candidate Seaton) responds again

  1. Mrs Russell, I do not live in Seaton so my vote would not affect you anyway. But I have read your letter, people do care about the hospital- our local hospital, which was half paid for by the local community, it had been supported and maintained by local people all thought many years. We do care about losing our hospitals beds, making sick people and relatives have to travel to Exeter or Tiverton- with no available public transport. The untruths that we were told about the future of local hospitals by Tories- right through from local councillors to MPs, the manipulation of council meetings to obtain the results that they wanted, shocked us. I vowed then never to vote Conservative again.
    There were some Tory councillors who made half hearted efforts to support the fight to keep our hospitals, but in the end they would rather support the misguided policies of Westminster and the CCGs than the local people they were supposed to represent.
    Add to that the loss of police numbers, not fit for purpose public transport. Education underfunded. Housing – letting developers get away with not building affordable homes they had promised. The sale of Knowle at a loss to the east Devon residents. Conservative – no not again!

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  2. When Jacquie submits her comments to the Owl she includes a web-site address that may not be visible to ordinary readers, but can be seen by those hackers clever enough to find out. And the web site address is: https://theboxingrunner.wordpress.com/

    What I am entirely unclear about is why she would have a blog written in Indonesian but without any personal content, and why she would include it as her web address (rather than, say, her Twitter or Facebook pages). Is this yet another web site that has either been created by someone else that she just happens to publicise, or is it yet another web site she has forgotten she created?

    Come on Jacquie!! Get a grip!!

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  3. Jacquie – What a one-sided set of excuses.

    I think a lot of people would expect you to stand down from West Sussex County Council now that you no longer live anywhere near there. Just because you are mid-term does not mean that there cannot be a by-election so that someone who does live locally can take your place. I do not think you are a fair-weather councillor – because this is not about how easy or difficult it is to travel to meetings. This is about the democratic legitimacy of you continuing when you are no longer a resident. Even though it is not a legal requirement for you to resign, it most certainly is a moral and democracy issue. It is a pity that you cannot see the DEMOCRATIC issue here and instead decide to remain a WSCC apparently either for your own personal gratification or so that your party does not face a by-election whilst approval ratings are so low. You have also said you didn’t stand for Parish councillor in Sussex because you were planning to move – tell us again when you moved from Sussex, when you started planning that move, and then be clear with us about whether you had plans to move at the time you were elected to WSCC?

    If you have not received a briefing from Phil Twiss or similar, just where are you getting your misinformation from? Your comments continue to contain material falsehoods and misunderstandings that you could not possibly have gained from e.g. internet research but which we have seen previously in quotes made by Phil Twiss or similar. It is VERY difficult to see how you could possibly have come up with similar misinformation through independent research when e.g. search engines could not provide you with it.

    Linked in – in a comment to a different post I quoted directly from your LinkedIn Page and provided a link to it. Are you suggesting that there is another completely different Jacquie Russell also in the East Grinstead area also a councillor and whose lived at the same address as you (according to the two Register of Interests)? Or are you alternatively suggesting that someone else has created a LinkedIn profile in your name and using your details in order to cast you in a particularly bad light? Or perhaps you have simply forgotten that you created such a page (what a terrible memory you must have)? But when it was that “development … is easy money”, just exactly how are we supposed to interpret that?

    Facebook – Facebook “likes” do not just appear on your page by magic or at random – they appear there because you make a choice to click the “like” button on their page. There is only one person responsible for which Facebook Groups you have “liked” – and that person is you. You cannot blame anyone else for it appearing on your profile – at some point in the past you clicked the Like button on their Facebook Page to show that you agreed with what they were saying. If this was a mistake, then there was nothing stopping you from immediately clicking to “unlike” them. But you didn’t. They were (and I haven’t checked but may still be) on your Facebook Page. As they say, you can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends. And apparently far-right groups were one of your choices.

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    • P.S. If you had any real clue about what the EDA stands for, you would know that one key aspect is the need for transparency. What we are doing here is drawing attention to publicly available information, most of which you have written yourself, in the interests of transparency so that voters know just what they are voting for if they cast a vote for you. If you don’t like the information that you have created yourself, then perhaps you shouldn’t have created it.

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