Report on Sidmouth hustings

[Mr Venner – Conservative candidate – appears to say in a comment on a previous post that he was not invited. He might want to take this up with his agent or constituency office as there may be some crossed wires there somewhere]

“The hustings in Sidmouth went well last night:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth Town and District council elections > HUSTINGS event > political speed dating

To quote a commentator:

“I thought it was a good convivial event which achieved its purpose for voters who attended. It was good to see the candidates being engaged and convivial with each other, and all in all I think the event was worthwhile, contributing to an awareness of the upcoming elections and the importance of voting.”

There is further lively comment happening on the East Devon Watch blog:
Tories no-show at Sidmouth hustings last night | East Devon Watch

The organisers of the event were at pains to contact all the candidates.

  • All current Councillors who are standing in contested wards were contacted.
  • However some of the other candidates did not have email addresses readily available.
  • The following agents, political parties and representative groups were contacted with the request that the invitation to the hustings be passed on:
    • Devon UKIP: local agent
    • East Devon Conservative Party:
    • East Devon Labour Party: local agent
    • East Devon Liberal Democrats:
    • Independent East Devon Alliance:
    • Sid Valley Democracy:
  • Otherwise, letters of invitation were sent to those with no such contact address or party/group affiliation.
  • The following candidates sent in their apologies:
    • Stuart Hughes (District Conservative; Town Independent)
    • Ian McKenzie Edwards (Town)
    • Louise Thompson (Town Independent)
    • Jenny Ware (District Conservative; Town Independent)
  • Otherwise, several candidates did not attend or send in apologies, despite their agents, political parties and representative groups being contacted.

Here is more information about the candidates:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth Town and District council elections > HUSTINGS event > Tuesday 30th April > candidates’ manifestos

Finally, it was noted that several members of the public popped into the Hall to ‘have a look’ but did not want to venture in – feeling either that ‘there was no point in voting’ or that ‘all politicians are corrupt/useless/a waste of time’…

Let’s hope that voters do nevertheless turn up tomorrow on voting day.”

Independent Councillor Susie Bond (Feniton) on her canvassing experiences

“FURY against Conservatives and Labour … and I mean FURY! One man said today that he would never ever vote Tory again! One bloke said we were all corrupt on EDDC given the huge cars we drive. Asked him if he lived in the village and he said No, so bid him farewell! Otherwise, lots of support from very many kind people.

Kathy McLauchlan ( is working really hard in Whimple & Rockbeare and getting lots of positive comments on the doorstep.

Jess Bailey is a force to be reckoned with in West Hill & Aylesbeare … it’s a joy to watch her in action! She is a West Hill parish councillor and I worked with her when she was the independent representative for the town council on EDDC’s Standards Committee a couple of years ago. Utterly brilliant. She performed fantastically at the Hustings. There are so many great Independents waiting to start working hard for East Devon, but sadly not Cllr Roger Giles …”

Source: Claire Wright Facebook page comment

Claire Wright explains why she believes people should not vote Conservative in tomorrow’s local election

” … As a former East Devon District Councillor who stood down in 2015, I left because I could not bear the continued nastiness of the ruling group anymore. It was a hard, challenging and ultimately game-changing time, where I exposed underhand practices, culminating in a police investigation, worked tirelessly on planning issues and did my best to make the council more transparent.

Things changed massively on EDDC as a result of my time there and I’m glad I did it, but I view it as a period of my life where I was battling the forces of darkness. That may sound melodramatic but I can tell you that is how it felt. Fortunately, I had massive support from members of the public during that time, who came to meetings, spoke at them and generally provided me with amazing support.

To think that this group might now be on the verge of falling and allowing a new progressive, representative group to take its place makes me very happy indeed. …

Polling day tomorrow. Please go out there and vote!”

Bats in East Budleigh: “licence to kill” say ecological campaigners

“A “licence to kill” has been granted, it was claimed, after plans to knock down a barn known to be home to rare and protected bats were approved.

Councillors voted by eight votes to five on Tuesday morning to give the go-ahead to demolish a barn in East Budleigh, known as The Pound, and for it to be replaced with a house.

A new bat barn will be built in the garden as mitigation and Clinton Devon Estates have said the new building will provide conditions “more suitable” for bats, including a dedicated loft area and ground floor with free flight access for the animals.

But concerns have been raised by ecological campaigners about the risk it would pose to the rare bats, saying the demolition of the barn could see them lose their homes and die.”

Tories no-show at Sidmouth hustings last night

Last night’s hustings organised by Vision Group for Sidmouth ( VgS) gave the traditional chance for voters to quiz those standing for the Town and for District Council seats…. provided the candidates turn up, of course.

All the Independents, and a UKIP-er did. Very noticeably, not one local Conservative candidate for the District was there. Only Stuart Hughes bothered to send apologies, but was therefore not available to answer the obvious question of why he declares himself variously as Conservative, and as Independent, depending on which council he’s representing. (Is he simply more flexible than for example his Exmouth colleagues?)

Members of the public waited patiently at the empty tables set out for Tories Chris Wale, Sheila Kerridge and Tim Venner, but left disappointed. Wonder who’ll get their vote?

Conservative Party funded by loads of Russian money

And Hugo Swire stays silent about his business partnership with the British Russian “big cheese” Lord Barker …..

“Given Theresa May’s strong stance on Russia (not least on the Salisbury poisoning), it’s baffling that she has allowed any whiff of links between Putin and Tory donations to occur. But thanks to Liz Truss’s energetic Instagram account, hacks have been able to pounce on a grainy photo of the PM and six female Cabinet ministers at a lavish fundraising dinner with the wife of one of Putin’s former ministers. Lubov Chernukhin’s latest £135,000 charity bid (for the event on Monday) takes her donations to the Tories over the past seven years past the £1million mark.

The Daily Mail has led the sleuthing, pointing out that at last year’s Black and White Ball Mrs Chernukhin won two more auctions – £20,000 to dine with Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson and £30,000 to dine with Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson. Earlier this year, she donated £9,500 to the war chest of Tory chairman Brandon Lewis. Five years ago, David Cameron faced questions after Chernukhin successfully bid £160,000 at a party fundraising dinner to play tennis against him and Boris Johnson.

As the Mail reports, it was not known whether the match involving Cameron and Johnson ever went ahead, but last March – following the spy poisoning – Johnson finally admitted it had. He said: ‘It’s very important that we do not allow a miasma of suspicion about all Russians in London – and indeed all rich Russians in London – to be created.’ Hmmm.”

Source: The Waugh Zone, Huffington Post

“Government ferry contracts for no-deal Brexit to be cancelled costing £50 million”

The party of efficiency and business?

And Swire thinks they are the best party to sort out a climate emergency by leaving it to “the market”!

Auditor KPMG [EDDC’s Auditors] fined £6m for a botched audit

“Tainted beancounter KPMG has been fined £6million for a botched audit of a car and motorbike insurer.

It failed to spot serious problems at Equity Red Star and should not have given it a clean bill of health, regulators said.

Equity Red Star, part of a conglomerate which insures one in four British motorcycles, lost £194million in 2010 after failing to set aside enough cash to cover payouts for claims.

KPMG should have spotted the problems and raised the alarm, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) said.

The auditor’s partner Mark Taylor and former partner Anthony Hulse have been fined £100,000 each for their involvement.

And Douglas Morgan, a former director of Equity Red Star, has been banned from the accounting industry for two years.

Although the fines sound large they are dwarfed by KPMG’s UK revenues, which stood at £2.3billion in the last financial year.

Partners earned an average of £601,000 each.

It has been claimed that the penalties for bad behaviour are not big enough to make a difference to how the companies behave.

The FRC is being scrapped and replaced with a new authority following a damning review which found that it was failing to hold auditors to account properly.”