EDA Independent Paul Hayward (Yarty candidate) speaks on what real independents stand for

“On Thursday May 2nd next week, everyone over the age of 18 who is registered to vote gets to make a choice. You get to choose who represents you for the next four years at the District Council (EDDC).

For the past 4 years, as for decades before, the District Council in East Devon has been run under a Conservative majority.

So, if you think that the following are a great idea, then feel free to vote a Conservative candidate back in to act in what they claim to be your best interests, and they can carry on their good work:

Hospital beds withdrawn.
Youth services withdrawn.
Increased crime and anti-social behaviour
Fewer affordable houses built
Plans to concrete over great swathes of green fields
Destruction of the natural environment
Council debt increasing
Loans agreed to bankroll commercial developers
Secrecy and obfuscation as a matter of policy.
Regeneration of the town centres not even started.

However, if you believe that there is another way; politics for the people, rather than politics for a party, then you have another choice. Across East Devon, and across the UK, independent candidates are standing for election.

In Seaton, Jack Rowland and Daniel Ledger.
In Colyton and Colyford, Paul Arnott
In Axminster, Sarah Jackson and
In Yarty (covering the parishes of All Saints, Chardstock, Hawkchurch and Membury) I am delighted to be standing as the Independent candidate.

Our aim is simple and singular. To provide better services for the residents of the district. To talk with you, to listen to you, to act for you. And no-one else.

We are not beholden to landowners, and housing developers, and corporations. We represent you, the public, and you alone.

I would urge everyone to think about one question. Is your town or village or parish a better place than it was 4 years ago. Are the employment prospects better? Are there more opportunities for all? Is housing being delivered for everyone, or just for the select few? Are your streets safer? Is access to healthcare and social care better than before…? Is there less pollution and litter and graffiti?

If the answer is no (and the evidence sadly proves that to be the case) then the time has come to vote for change. To vote for a different style of politics at the District Council. Where things get done for the greater good, not just because it suits a certain group of people. Where Councillors vote on issues because they believe in them, rather than being told how to vote according to a national party policy, regardless of the dire consequences to the local area.

But, this change can only happen if you, the voter, allow it to happen. If you stay in next Thursday, thinking your vote will count for nothing, that nothing will change, that all politicians are the same – you will be proved 100% right. The next morning you will wake up and nothing will have changed
and the decline will continue.

But, if you take 10 minutes to vote for candidates who will deliver that change, you will see a different Council emerge on May 3rd. A new, vibrant, energetic and dedicated Council.

One that exists simply to serve you. One that makes decisions to improve your lives, to deliver better services, to make you healthier, stronger and to ensure that your children, and grandchildren, have access to all the things you want them to have.

Doing nothing on May 2nd will result in nothing but the same faces making the same old decisions.

On May 2nd next week, please vote for change.

Please vote independent.
Please vote.

It could be your cross in the box that makes the difference.

Thank you. Paul”

Can you be TRULY independent if you agree with EVERYTHING the Tories are doing locally?

Ian Thomas has updated his website (though it still has a Tory blue background.

In his statement, he says:

“… My decision was in no way related to the excellent case being presented by East Devon District Council Conservatives in the pre-election period. Theirs is an outstanding presentation based on the performance delivered by a capable and experienced Conservative led team.

It rather reflects deep disappointment in the performance of the Party elsewhere. …”

Can he REALLY then call himself Independent?

The full statement:

“With a heavy heart, I confirm my resignation from the Conservative Party on 17th April 2019.

My decision was in no way related to the excellent case being presented by East Devon District Council Conservatives in the pre-election period. Theirs is an outstanding presentation based on the performance delivered by a capable and experienced Conservative led team.

It rather reflects deep disappointment in the performance of the Party elsewhere.

I have resigned the leadership of the East Devon District Council Conservative Group but, remain Leader of the Council until the Annual Meeting on 22nd May, if re-elected; otherwise I will step down on 3rd May.
I am arranging that all 2,192 electors in my home Trinity Ward receive a personal letter, hand delivered by my team and me. This explains that should I be honoured by re-election, I will sit as an Independent Councillor not aligned to any political party or group.

To ensure that East Devon District Council delivers the services Axmouth, Combpyne-Rousdon and Uplyme residents want and value, in a caring, open and transparent environment.

Please note; as my resignation dates from after the closure of nominations, your ballot paper on May 2nd will still identify me as representing the Conservative Party. It is not possible to change how this is displayed, however I confirm that, should I be re-elected to serve Trinity I will immediately do so as an Independent Councillor, not aligned to any political party or group.


Trinity Ward Member resigns from Conservative Party

“Independent lite” or Independent – a question

Local people who registered as truly Independent candidates on 5 April or well before can generally be judged by prior actions, sometimes over many years. Involvement in, and fighting for, local issues and supporting no party and therefore no party whip or party line. They have never (or perhaps only a very long, long time ago) been in a mainstream party. They deliberately eschewed party politics to focus only on local issues.

“Independent Lites” on the other hand have had long track records of supporting mainstream parties up to now.

This raises the question – if you were, up to now, Tory, Labour or Lib Dem councillor or candidate but you are now “Independent Lite” what are your political beliefs NOW?

What are you “Independent Lite” of and what do you still support in your former party? You went into politics under their banner and their policies by choice – not wanting to be an Independent – what has changed?

If you were a Tory and changed your mind are you now to the left or right of your former party? Are you, for example, leaning more towards UKIP or even further right but not yet ready to join them?

If you were Labour – are you similarly now further to the left or right of your party and on which issues? What effect do you think they had locally to change your stance now.

If you have left Lib Dems or Greens what parts of their policies did you disagree with that made you leave?

It strikes Owl that “Independent Lites” need to provide us with a lot more information about WHY they have changed allegiance before we can decide if they truly are Independent.

It will be SO interesting to see where some of these “Independent Lites” place themselves on the political spectrum and on local issues after 2 May!

Some of them are so used to being whipped they may feel an overwhelming need to continue it!

Swire’s pal takes ‘leave of absence’ from Lords to pursue his Russian ties and so avoids register of interests

Swire and Lord Barker went into business together asper his entry in his register of interests:

“From 12 December 2016, partner in Eaglesham Investments (not yet trading) which was set up to focus on renewable energy projects. (Registered 22 May 2018)”


Note that for 17 months Swire did not put this (still dormant) company on his register of interests and Owl wonders what exactly this company is for.

Sunday Times:

“… Lord Barker is the independent chairman of En+ Group, a Russian aluminium and power company part-owned by the oligarch Oleg Deripaska, an ally of Putin.

In February, Barker took a leave of absence from the Lords, meaning he no longer has to register his interests. He is still allowed to use his title, however.

Barker was involved in discussions with the US government over sanctions imposed on the company in April 2018, a process that led to them being lifted in January after Deripaska reduced his shareholding and independent directors and trustees were appointed. …”

Source: Sunday Times (pay wall)

Tory EDDC Leader defection goes national (on a pro-Lib Dem website)

“Very odd timing for this news about the now former Conservative leader of East Devon Council, Ian Thomas:

The leader of East Devon District Council has quit the Conservative Party…

Cllr Thomas blamed the performance of the Party nationally for his departure and emphasised it had nothing to do with local issues.

He also added that if re-elected, he will sit as an Independent. [Devon Live].

What makes the timing so odd is that this has come after his nomination papers went in… with the Conservative Party name and logo.

Ian Thomas is therefore still appearing on ballot papers as the Conservative Party candidate.”

Conservative council leader leaves it oddly late to quit his party

“On Thursday 2 May, voters will head to polling stations across England for local elections.

There are 8,425 seats up for grabs in a total of 248 councils, including metropolitan, district and unitary authorities.

What happened last time?

In many cases, these seats were last contested in 2015, on the same day as that year’s general election, in which the Conservatives won a majority in Parliament. A lot has changed since then, of course.

The Conservatives are defending the largest number of seats, with 4,906 Tory councillors up for re-election, compared with 2,113 for Labour.

The Liberal Democrats have 647 seats to defend, UKIP 176 and the Green Party 71. There are also 512 seats held by independents being fought.

Which are the councils to watch?

30 unitary authorities will be contested in their entirety – including Bedford, Brighton, Stoke, Redcar and York
There are no elections in London this year, but voters will be going to polls almost everywhere else.

There are 30 unitary councils, including Bedford, Stoke-on-Trent, Redcar and Cleveland and York, which will be re-elected in their entirety.

There will be a battle royal in Brighton where, after a series of defections and by-elections, the Conservatives are now the largest party, having overtaken Labour.

All of the 54 seats are up for grabs and the Green Party – which used to run the council between 2011 and 2015 – is also looking to boost its presence.

In Cheshire West and Chester, with all seats to be voted on, the council is on a knife-edge with both Labour and the Conservatives fighting to be the largest party.

Milton Keynes, Bolton, Calderdale and Blackpool may also switch hands, or the ruling party could lose its majority and surrender overall control.

A third of the council seats are up for grabs in Peterborough.

With a parliamentary by-election potentially on the horizon – a recall petition having been launched against sitting MP Fiona Onasanya – the local polls will give a good indication of the town’s mood.

What impact will Brexit have?

The Conservatives did relatively well in 2015 and the pressure will be on Theresa May this time.

Many voters will be motivated by purely local issues or what the political parties call “pavement politics”, whether it is bin collections, parking or housing.

But Brexit is hard to ignore right now.

The polls will be a big test for Theresa May, who is under growing pressure from her own MPs and local activists angered by delays to the UK’s departure from the EU.

Labour’s performance will also be closely watched, and the extent to which it is able to appeal simultaneously to Remain and Leave voters in different parts of the country.

UKIP is fielding about 1,400 candidates, while the newly launched Brexit Party are focusing their attention on the European elections.

On the other side of the Brexit argument, the new centrist party Change UK did not register in time to put up candidates for the local elections.

This means that pro-Remain support, if it is an issue for local election voters, could work its way to Green Party and Liberal Democrat candidates.

What about mayoral contests?

There are six mayoral contests taking place, in Bedford, Copeland, Leicester, Mansfield, Middlesbrough and a Metro Mayor for North of Tyne.

Voter ID trials continuing

The government is continuing with its voter ID trials, which it says is part of an effort to reduce voter fraud and ensure vote security.

Some councils will ask for photo ID, such as a driving licence. Some will ask for a mix of photo and non-photo ID, while some will accept polling cards.

In Broxtowe, Craven, Derby, North Kesteven and Braintree, voters will have to show either one piece of photo ID or two forms of non-photo ID. In Mid Sussex, Watford and North West Leicestershire, people will have to bring their polling cards or photo ID.

Voters in Pendle and Woking will only be able to show photo ID at the polling station to be given a ballot paper. East Staffordshire and Ribble Valley councils pulled out of the trial.

What about the rest of the UK?

Voters will be going to the polls in Northern Ireland to elect 462 councillors across 11 council areas. You can read more about the elections in this guide.

There are no local elections this year in Wales or Scotland.”


4 days to local elections – today’s pictures

Our theme today is privatisation. SO many national privatisations of services have gone wrong – utilities such railways, water, electricity, with bills getting higher and higher and with directors taking obscene bonuses. Failing Grayling and his privatisation of prisons and the probation services (and railways!). NHS privatisation accelerating to hyperspeed so that any future non-Tory government will be unable to unpick complicated contracts. Companies such as Carillion bidding low, paying themselves high, going bankrupt – us picking up the bills.

At local level: refuse collection, some planning services, leisure facilities, libraries, some “public” spaces now in private hands – used to belong to us, now belong to them.

EDDC Tories MUST support privatisation – it is, and always has been, a top priority of their party.

“Bloody privatisation, have you got 50p?”