East Devon: Vote Lib Dem, get Tory – the LiDems don’t seem to care

Local Lib Dems have attempted to explain why they are standing against Claire Wright. Owl is not publishing the link as Owl considers the article to be very “economical with the truth” to say the least and will not give them the further oxygen of publicity for their excuses.

They are attempting to say that Claire Wright has not been explicit enough about being anti-Brexit. They also say she hadn’t asked them to stand down!

Claire Wright has always been totally consistent in her support for remain – much more explicit than Lib Dems whose policies on Remain have wobbled precariously.

Indeed pro-Remain groups supported her for her Remain stance at the last election in 2017:


and Googling her provides HUNDREDS of links to her support for Remain.

True she is too highly principled to interfere in their internal debates. However, even the Lib Dems national Leader can’t influence them.

Owl suspects vastly over-estimated ego has trumped common sense and doing what is best for East Devon.

Claire Wright manifesto launch news

“Claire Wright, Independent Parliamentary Candidate for East Devon, launches manifesto

Independent Parliamentary Candidate for East Devon Claire Wright is to formally launch her election manifesto at The Institute, Yonder St, Ottery St Mary, EX11 1HH on Wednesday 13th November from 7.30 – 9pm.

This is a public event open to all, including media.

The venue is in the middle of town, next door to the Rusty Pig. Disabled access is at the side of the building. It is best to park in Sainsbury’s car park.

The General Election 2019 manifesto is now live on the website – to view it click here.

After a campaign announcement in Exmouth with BBC reporter and former independent MP Martin Bell, 80,0000 of the manifestos are currently winging their way across the constituency, thanks to hundreds of generous spirited volunteers.

The county councillor has pledged to campaign for the issues her constituents tell her are important to them.

My manifesto is based on the issues the people of East Devon have told me matter most,” said Wright.

“The past few years have demonstrated that the party system is broken. It is time for change. As an Independent, I would have exactly the same rights as other MPs and would work cross-party to achieve my manifesto pledges.

“I am different. I have no party whip to tell me how to vote. I am free to speak and free to act. And free to fight for the issues that the people of East Devon care about the most.

“This election is very unpredictable and presents a rare opportunity for residents to elect an MP who truly cares and puts them first.”

East Devon Green Party candidate who is selling farm land to BIG developers says climate change is his priority!


Honestly, you couldn’t make it up.

The East Devon Green Party has chosen “farmer” Henry Gent to stand against Claire Wright!

Gent has featured in this blog before:

He’s a councillor (with Rylance – the Lib Dem candidate) on the now notorious Broadclyst Parish Council:


Here is his declaration of interest, showing he has a large area of land optioned to Persimmon:

Click to access roi-henry-gent.pdf

Here is a 2014 planning application for his land – now the Tithebarn Lane housing development:

“14/2761/MOUT Demolition of the existing buildings and development of the site to provide up to 900 dwellings and a primary school with car and cycle parking, public and private open space together with landscaping and associated servicing (all matters reserved). Mosshayne Land North Of Tithebarn Lane Clyst Honiton 17/1019/MOUT Demolition of existing buildings and development […]”

Green? A very, very funny shade of blue-green perhaps!

and further info on the same area:

Click to access 14%201090%2002%20Tithebarn%20Green%20land%20at%20Monkerton.pdf


Spot the Tory clone!

Our East Devon Tory candidate is chanelling his master! One of the books on HIS shelf is “Gift to the Nation”! Though he didn’t make the Raab mistake of placing them in front of closed shutters!

And remember, Raab – Jupp’s hero – was Swire’s choice for PM – the one who didn’t realise how important Dover was for cross-channel trade!

Looking forward to the hustings!

“Let’s welcome the death of the political tribe”

“There were some things you used to be able to count on. The double-barrelled, privately educated, pink-cheeked, Waitrose-shopping, Verbier-frequenting, gilet-wearing southerners voted Conservative. Those who preferred brown sauce to ketchup, football to rugby, Oasis to Blur; the teachers, doctors and public administrators were likely to vote Labour. Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats claimed academics, naturists and the wearers of vegan shoes.

Now, in the wake of Brexit and Corbyn, those old certainties are being smashed. Tribal voters are floating voters. Die-hard Tories and Labour loyalists are mulling over the prospect of playing away in the polling booth. These might seem like moves born of desperation; these times might cause many to despair, but take heart! In the long term, this disbanding of the tribes will have a powerful and positive effect on our democracy.

The notion of belonging to one political tribe or another goes back a long way. In Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe of 1881 it is observed “How Nature always does contrive . . ./ That every boy and every gal/ That’s born into the world alive/ Is either a little Liberal/ Or else a little Conservative!” In truth our political leaning is most often down to nurture more than nature; parents and postcodes decree whether a little Liberal or a little Conservative a child shall be. One friend in his seventies was asked to promise his late mother that he would never, ever vote Tory — a promise he has kept for 50 years.

For most of the 20th century the Conservative-Labour duopoly claimed the allegiance of a vast majority; in the 1960s eight in ten identified strongly with a political party. The great unravelling of these loyalties has accelerated in the past ten years, with only half the electorate voting the same way in 2010, 2015 and 2017. Half! Fifty per cent of us were prepared to shrug off our allegiance to a party in that short space of time.

At the last election there was no greater symbol of voter volatility than the swapping of Canterbury and Mansfield between Labour and the Tories. Canterbury had been Conservative since 1918; Mansfield, the former mining town in Nottinghamshire, elected its first Tory since the constituency was created in 1885. So unthinkable was this that the returning officer called a Labour victory by mistake.

In recent weeks we have seen party swapping on steroids. MPs defecting to the Lib Dems. The former Labour MP Ian Austin telling us not to vote Labour. The former Conservative cabinet ministers Ken Clarke and Justine Greening teasing that they may not vote for their own party. Tories having in their sights places such as Ashfield and Bolsover, seats that have long been red. No doubt we’ll have colliery bands playing at Boris Johnson’s rallies soon.

Together, two things that may be undesirable in the short term — national divisions over Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn’s disastrous leadership — are achieving something highly desirable in the long term. They are eroding the idea that your background, income, profession or age should mean you belong to a party for life. Thanks to Brexit’s furies and Labour’s fantasy economics, the bonds of political tribe are finally wearing away. How refreshing this is, and how long overdue, for when political parties feel they “own” blocs of voters, unhealthy things happen.

First, the party feels it must cater to its own tribe to keep them sweet, regardless of whether these bungs or policies are in the national interest. We see this in Labour’s obsession with identity politics, mimicking the outrage of some of its supporters on the latest trivial battle in the culture war, or (when they were in government) in their pork-barrel bungs to parts of the north and Scotland. We see it too in the Conservatives’ endless courting of older voters, and in their refusal to confront nimbys in the battle to build new homes for the younger generation.

Perhaps more damagingly, when parties feel there is a section of the electorate who will always put an X in their box (the above rule having been observed), policy innovation is put on the back burner. If a town contained only a Waitrose and a Tesco, and its inhabitants had taken a blood oath only to shop at one or the other, there would be no burning incentive for either to improve its products, cut prices, offer free coffees and parking. Tribal politics kills the fierce, genuine competition that is the mother of invention.

So the dwindling of tribal allegiance should mean, in time, the flourishing of new ideas. Once less bound by what their core vote might feel, parties will be able to think with the safety catch off, prioritising what works rather than whether it will play well with their base. We might describe the process we are undergoing as the move from “contract voters” to “consumer voters”. In the old, tribal politics, loyal voters had a contract with their party of choice: you scratch my back with the policies and tax cuts I expect, I’ll scratch yours by dutifully heading down to the polling booth come election day.

In the new, party-swapping politics, elections will become a vibrant buyers’ market, with many more completely unaffiliated voters free to shop around for the policies they like best. Manifestos might even get read.

Consumer voters will have a powerful effect not only on the ideas being offered but the people, too. Many would agree that the quality of MPs in parliament today is not uniformly brilliant — but the end of tribal politics should help change that. With fewer people automatically voting for a party they have inherited from their parents, there will be fewer safe seats in which the proverbial donkey in the red or blue rosette wins. Parties will have to up their game on getting truly outstanding candidates to stand for election, because when the colour of the rosette matters less, the calibre of the candidate will matter more. They will be scrutinised not only as a member of the red, blue or yellow team but as an individual — so we can expect the quality of MPs to improve, too.

Better MPs, braver policies, leadership unbound by the demands of the old “core vote”: as the tribes dissolve, a more interesting politics will emerge. The choice on offer at this election may feel fairly grim for many of us. But in the stony ground of today’s political landscape, the seeds of something better are growing.”

Source: Times, pay wall

“Unite to Remain supports independent Parliamentary candidate Claire Wright for East Devon despite parties not standing down”


“Unite to Remain supports independent Parliamentary candidate Claire Wright for East Devon despite parties not standing down

The organisation behind a Remain alliance has backed independent candidate Claire Wright as its preferred general election candidate in East Devon despite rival parties failing to agree a truce in the seat.

Unite to Remain last week identified 60 seats where a deal had been struck between the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party, in a move to defeat Conservative candidates.

The non-party campaign group has revealed that it also proposed Claire Wright – and whose 21,000 votes in 2017 make her the clear challenger to the Tories – but were unable to persuade the Lib Dems or Greens to stand aside.

Unite to Remain director Peter Dunphy said the organisation had not included East Devon in the list of candidates but urged Remain voters to back Claire Wright as the best chance to wrest the seat from Tory control.

“It was not possible to gain cross-party agreement for a single candidate in every key constituency that we considered,” added Dunphy.

“Ultimately it has been up to the political parties in consultation with local members to make these tough choices.

“Sadly, we were unable to gain Unite to Remain all-party agreement in East Devon where we had proposed Claire Wright as the clear challenger to the Conservatives.

“Our suggestion therefore is to follow the excellent tactical voting advice of Best for Britain and Gina Miller’s Remainunited to support the Remain candidate with the best chance of victory, which in the case of East Devon is the Independent Claire Wright.”

Wright, who won 35 per cent of the vote compared to the Lib Dems’ 2 per cent, said she had never approached any of her rivals or asked them to give her a free run.

However, she welcomed the Unite to Remain endorsement and insisted voters could make their own decisions about whether to vote tactically based on past results.

“I have never asked for any favours from my rivals and I respect their decision to stand and fight for the seat,” she added.

“Of course, running as a sole candidate against the Conservatives would appear to give me a better chance but I am not asking anyone for an easy ride.

“I have fought a fair and positive campaign twice, without assistance, increasing my share of the vote without resorting to personal attacks and I don’t intend to start now.

“I would now urge my supporters to concentrate all of their energy on getting this people-powered campaign over the line.

“And, of course, we must avoid the danger presented by Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement – which could condemn us to years of trade negotiations and threaten the NHS – by offering the public a democratic vote which includes the option of Remain.”