Comment on local independent politicians

Owl has upgraded Mark Hawkins’ comment on East Devon leader attacks Tories’ Russian links to this full post below:

Before commenting on this piece it’s important to say that plenty of conservatives are decent, honourable, public spirited intelligent people.

Others, as we see here are touched by rather less warmth and fewer brain cells. It can be very difficult when one has had a sense of entitlement and a taste of certainty to realise the public chose to wake up and smell the gravy. It can provoke unreasoned, childish unpleasantness.

Most independent politicians in my experience have less personal ambition than those who choose the party route. I can name two very good local ones who have stood as Independents but were persuaded to join the conservative group because that group’s unchallenged dominance offered the chance to achieve more of their priorities. They both achieved within a relatively short time the previously unsought office of mayor.

Some of the current Independents have significant achievements in their principal careers. The majority were motivated to stand for local government because of a distaste for aspects of how things were, a consequence of a lack of electoral balance and of democratic accountability.

It took three electoral cycles for this movement to achieve success and a further year to overcome the mischief of careerists. These won’t be seen as achievements, more as establishing the opportunity to achieve.

I don’t know any of them well, but have never detected any sense of the politics of envy. No jealousy of legitimately gained success, financial or otherwise. Though I recognise a commonly shared distaste for illegitimately gained wealth, home and abroad, through plundering of the public purse and significantly flawed procurement processes which apparently benefit a targeted few.

It is surely legitimate comment to question the advertisement, for a significant salary, for a campaigns director. If I were a local conservative voter on the minimum wage or universal credit I would want to know why a group which believed itself to possess the collective talent to manage our community’s affairs felt it necessary to employ someone for three times my family’s income to make the case they should surely be capable of themselves.

In the incumbents I have recognised a desire to put the community first and on occasion right wrongs. The presumably anonymous author of the spiteful assassination belittles their achievements, so I will note a few, in a couple of cases noting the shaming distortions of their critic. Coming out of the first lockdown and working remotely they worked to resolve problems with the licensing issues in the Strand, Exmouth, whilst sustaining the appropriate duty of care to the officers on the ground. The tories on the three councils had the opportunity to resolve this over 10 years ago but left the area a hotch potch of ownership and licensing. Stuart Hughes should remember this, he was the lead councillor on the project. Now they seek to exploit it.

The new regime have also resolved recent mistakes in this area caused by the excessive corporate zeal of an outsourcing company, inappropriately tasked by the old guard, who are once again seeking to exploit their own mess.

The new regime have also worked with honourable members from all groups to resolve one of the more distasteful wrongs of the last administration and return Warren View sports ground to it’s rightful place as the home of a community football club. Many residents of Exmouth are well aware now of what really went on in 2016/17 so no need to dwell unless pressed.

Another success achieved in harmony with other groups is to address the functioning of the complaints procedure, which had been used to bully opponents of the dominant group and fallen into disrepute with them and the public. It is still not fully transparent, but I understand Cllr Twiss was a participant in the improved process, which must be a positive.

One endeavour of Cllr Arnott with limited success so far but which has apparently enraged one or two conservatives is his compassionate desire to achieve for the victims of John Humphreys some understanding of how the cesspit of that man’s past remained hidden for over thirty years from the first known offence and still remains substantially concealed. To achieve this requires the active participation of a number of organisations.

This was not mentioned in the conservatives’ anonymous character assassination.