Taking a look at the implications of the census data

From a correspondent:

Thank you, Owl, for highlighting this census material.

 It is as many of us have suspected in East Devon. 

We have had this enormous increase in population of 18,343 in the period 2012-2021, our  population now 150,800 in 2021. 

To accommodate this increase we have also had 7342 dwelling completions in 8 years. It is an amazing accomplishment as we live in an area with 2/3rds designated as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty meaning only 1/3rd is available for large scale development, a large area of which is/was high-grade agricultural land. 

England has seen a 6.6% population growth from 2011- 2021 yet East Devon has seen growth of more than double – 13.8%.  

We are 13th in the national growth table.  

East Devon had population numbers of 132.457 in 2011. The highest of any of the Devon districts. West Devon in comparison had 53,553 and South Hams 83,140. Arguably East Devon did not need the highest population increase in the County. 

How come Exeter has had population growth of 11.1% and nearby Dorset with just AONB coverage of 40% has only 4%? Is it because Dorset County values its people and landscape? 

The Local Authority Health Profile predicted a 14% growth profile between 2011 and 2026 for East Devon. At this rate we will supersede this. I hope that Devon NHS are aware of these figures and cater accordingly. 

Tourism plays an important part in our economy, and we are rapidly losing our landscape drawing power with more and more large developments. 

We are rapidly losing Grade 1 agricultural land. 

As Owl asks- what are the benefits of all these new inhabitants and the dwellings to house them? 

The reason sold to us was that the country needed “social housing” and housing developments would provide them. In March 2021, 2618, households registered as being in need of social housing in East Devon. 

I looked at Exmouth. Estate after large estate has been / or is being built/ or will be built.  Goodmores Farm being the latest. It lies in a green wedge where Local Plan policies  require new developments to provide 49% or 88 affordable dwellings.

 What is being built? Just 5 % or 16 houses now agreed, due to the developer pleading non-viability. How many of Exmouth’s outstanding needs of 607 affordable homes have been provided? Will the 5 remaining sites provide these? 

(Non-viability is a worrying “increase developers’ profit” concept. If a developer has a plan accepted surely this has been costed and should be carried out. Perhaps the directors have excessive salaries?) 

We also were told that this increased population would produce economic growth in our area. We have not seen this but perhaps Exeter has been the recipient? 

Other benefits? Only to landowning farmers and developers. Why has the population not seen them?   

Disadvantages? I am sure I don’t need to list them. 

What has gone wrong with our housing in the district? Why can’t local people buy or rent houses? Does the number of second homes/holiday- lets play a part in this? The government admits it only has a limited picture of how many properties across England are second homes and holiday-lets, particularly given the growth of online marketplaces such as Airbnb and Vrbo.  

Are second homes the reason John Hart, the Leader of Devon County Council, said after all this increase in Devon population growth and dwellings 

“Hospitality businesses in coastal areas can’t get staff because they can’t find anywhere to live and that is stifling our strong economic recovery, 

But we’ve also heard from one Devon business which employs around 300 people which is considering re-locating some of its operations to Bristol because of the housing situation here.” 

Finally, does the Tory Party think we are an easy option? After all, East Devon has always had a Tory MP. Perhaps these figures and the gradual erosion of our way of life will drive the electorate to make a different choice. 

I hope Simon Jupp takes note of these figures and draws Michael Gove’s attention to them. Or better still I hope Michael reads East Devon Watch regularly and will release us from this growth tyranny. 

Boris Johnson says there will not be a snap election before 2024

According to iNews “MPs have been pencilling 27 October in their diaries amid chatter that a fast-tracked election would pre-empt both an expected winter recession and the Commons Privileges Committee investigation into Partygate. The Tories may be behind Labour in the polls, but some Johnson allies think Keir Starmer’s lead is soft and could be exposed in a tough campaign.

Staff have also “wargamed” an even quicker snap poll as part of preparations for how to react if Starmer is served with a fixed penalty notice for breaching Covid regulations in Durham, given that the Labour leader has promised to resign should he be fined. Senior aide David Canzini is said to have warned that “the clock is ticking” to the next election.”


Boris Johnson has played down claims of a snap general election, branding the idea ‘totally’ ridiculous.

Make of this what you will – Owl

Jasper King metro.co.uk

The prime minister previously refused to rule out an general election before 2024 at a Nato summit in Madrid.

Speaking on Nick Ferrari’s LBC show today, Mr Johnson was asked whether having a snap election is ‘ridiculous’.

He replied: ‘Totally, totally’.

But when pushed further on the issue, Mr Johnson refused to comment, saying: ‘What my job is, is to talk about the government’s agenda, to talk about policy, to talk about the UK, to talk about how we’re fixing the cost-of-living problems, the cost-of-living crisis, talk about everything we’re doing to strengthen the UK economy, our plan for a stronger economy, which is what I believe in.

‘Talk about levelling up, the agenda for taking this country forward. That’s what I want. That’s what I’m actually meant to talk about.’

When quizzed on how much longer he will last as prime minister, he refused to directly address the issue.

He said: ‘I’m going to deliver on our programme.’

Instead, Mr Johnson believes he has a fresh mandate at Westminster, despite 41% of his MPs not having confidence in his leadership.

Earlier this week it emerged Tories had been told to ‘prepare’ for a snap election if Sir Keir Starmer stepped down as Labour leader over ‘Beergate’.

But the party was hit with another blow after Tory whip Chris Pincher quit after it was reported he ‘admitted to drunkenly assaulting two men’, according to The Sun.

Mr Johnson is facing pressure to remove Mr Pincher from the party, which would trigger a by-election in his seat of Tamworth.

This could spell political disaster for the PM if he was suffer another defeat after the devastating results in both Wakefield and Honiton & Tiverton.

Chris Pincher raises chilling questions about Tories’ ability to tackle sexual harassment

Today, I spent a lot of time thinking about a man named Alex Story. A former Olympic rower, he once looked like a rising star in the Tory Party. Then in November 2017, Story gave an account of an encounter he’d had with Tory MP Chris Pincher when he was 26 years old.

Any echos come to mind? – Owl

Kuba.Shand-Baptiste inews.co.uk (Extract)

Story alleged that after an afternoon of political canvassing – a common way MPs spend time with young activists – Pincher had suggested the two grab dinner. Pincher then directed a taxi to take them both to his home, instead of – as Story had expected – a restaurant. “The deceit employed to get me to his flat went beyond misreading the signs”, Story later claimed.

Pincher allegedly poured him a whisky, upon which Story “suddenly felt a bit woozy”, only to find Pincher untucking the back of his shirt, massaging his neck, and whispering: “You’ll go far in the Conservative Party.” Despite Story’s refusals, Pincher then changed into a bathrobe “like a poundshop Harvey Weinstein”, before Story escaped.

When he went public with this claim in 2017, Pincher insisted that “I do not recognise either the events or the interpretation placed on them.” He continues to deny them. He resigned as Assistant Whip and later referred himself to the Conservative Party’s own complaints procedure and to the police, neither of which found enough evidence to pursue the case. The Conservative Party later found that he had not broken their Code of Conduct.

Pincher rose back up the party, later becoming Deputy Chief Whip as a reward for loyalty to Boris Johnson. Alex Story left politics. His career had already been damaged when he was mysteriously blocked from an expected nomination for a European Parliament seat in 2016; friends allege this was because he’d already complained about Pincher.

Naturally, Pincher continues to deny this old story. But in the 24 hours since he was witnessed drunkenly groping two different men in the Conservative-affiliated Carlton Club, numerous MPs and Tory staffers have spoken to journalists (including me) about rumours that have circulated about Pincher’s pattern of behaviour. When asked directly, the Prime Minister’s spokesman could not deny that the PM was aware of “unsubstantiated” allegations about this behaviour before appointing him Deputy Chief Whip – he simply denied knowing of specific allegations. Against that background, the rest of us can make up our own minds about whether Story was telling the truth.

What breaks my own heart is that he went public on 4 November 2017, just as the #MeToo movement was spreading across the world. Inspired by the women who spoke out against Harvey Weinstein, a number of young women and men working in politics came forward to tell our own stories about sexual harassment in Westminster – myself included.

In that giddy week, with the sheer number of us speaking out, it seemed Westminster might finally face up to the endemic problem of sexual predation amongst its power brokers. The problem was widespread across all parties, but the Tories had a particular problem because they had been in power for a long time, where executive power breeds entitlement and enables cover-ups. That was nearly five years ago…..

‘Who will respect him after this anyway?’: Voters in Tamworth call on MP Chris Pincher to resign amid scandal

Residents in the Staffordshire town of Tamworth say MP Chris Pincher should quit his seat after being accused of groping two men on a night out.

Colin Drury www.independent.co.uk

Overnight, Mr Pincher – a Conservative first elected here in 2010 – had quit as the government’s deputy chief whip after admitting he got drunk on a night out in London. Further allegations suggest he also groped two male members of parliamentary staff. “I drank far too much,” he wrote in his resignation letter. “I’ve embarrassed myself.”

In the smoking area of the Phoenix pub on Tamworth high street, Dave Markole was happy to admit that he too, like the local MP, had occasionally drunk too much and embarrassed himself. “We’ve all done that, mate,” he said between drags. “Me as much as anyone.

“Have a skinful by all means, but behave,” the 52-year-old truck driver declared.

Such opinions were not uncommon in this Staffordshire market town yesterday morning.

The fact that the incident took place in Piccadilly’s £1,700-a-year Carlton Club added an extra frisson to the whole episode for voters – and drinkers – in Tamworth, a town currently being savaged by the cost of living crisis. Nevertheless, noted Mr Markole philosophically, it was perhaps “a good job it was there [and not in the Phoenix]”.

Politics hadn’t been talked about so much in the place, one bar member said, since… well, since partygate.

What were people saying? “Well, I don’t think he’s won himself any new voters,” she replied.


Outside on the high street itself, retired lecturer Ray Williams was adamant that Mr Pincher – who has also had the party whip removed – should now stand down as the town’s MP.

“He should resign immediately, simple as that,” the 71-year-old said. “The groping might just be an allegation at this point, but someone in his position of seniority should not be putting himself in a position – on a night out – where these kind of things can happen.”

Sleaze, he feared, was becoming “normalised” by a serious of Conservative scandals.

“We have a right to expect better from our politicians and certainly from the party of government,” said Mr Williams, who voted Tory in 2019. “He should resign. Who will respect him after this anyway?”

By Friday afternoon, there was no suggestion Mr Pincher would be handing in his parliamentary notice, with Boris Johnson saying he now considered the matter closed. Which – in purely political terms – might not be altogether unsurprising.

Why? Because, if Mr Pincher did quit as an MP, the resulting by-election could well sound the death knell for the prime minister.

Strictly speaking, Tamworth is something of a bellwether constituency: since its creation in 1997 it has voted for the winning party at every general election. Yet since 2010 the Tories have built up a 19,000 majority here, and the party also holds 25 of the 30 borough council seats.

Were this constituency to become the latest blue patch lost mid-term, Mr Johnson – still scarred by only just scraping through a confidence vote earlier this month – would find himself with even fewer friends. One suspects a trip to Kyiv would be planned for results day.

How, though, did the local Conservatives feel about the thought of such a contest? They were not for talking, it seemed. A message had apparently gone out to senior councillors to keep it buttoned.

Did silence not effectively condone the local MP going out and getting plastered? “No comment,” said Alex Farrell, a cabinet member here.

Would he personally be comfortable voting for a man accused of groping? “That’s a good question,” came the reply. “But I’m afraid I’m about to go on holiday.”

If the local blues wouldn’t answer, Margaret and Stacy Anderson – a mother and daughter sat outside the landmark St Editha’s parish church – certainly would.

“I wouldn’t have voted [for the Conservatives] again anyway because of how they’re dealing with the cost of living,” said Stacy, who did go blue in 2019. “But now this too. They’re playing us for fools – out drinking and getting up to no good while the rest of us scrape by.”

The 43-year-old mother of three had just been to Farmfoods to help her mum Margaret pay for her weekly shop because prices had gone up so much in recent weeks. “Fair enough, they’re giving out a payment later this year,” she said. “But just dishing out money isn’t a proper fix. What happens when that runs out? Where are the ideas to solve this in the long term?”

The trainee ecologist thought about it and answered her own question: “They’re not coming up with them,” she said, “because they’re too busy misbehaving.”

No, this isn’t just Tory sleaze. This looks like a crime wave

Letting an alleged sex pest resign from one of his two overpaid jobs isn’t punishment enough, says Fleet Street Fox

Fleet Street Fox www.mirror.co.uk (extract – click on link for full article)

You have to wonder what, exactly, the Tories expected to happen when they gave the job of ‘whip’ to a man called ‘Pincher’.

But considering Boris Johnson’s propensity for doubling, ahem, down, we can presumably expect that a Mr Groper will be named as next incumbent of the Woolsack, and auditions for the role of ‘Black Rod’ will be held in the 1922 Committee’s Red Room of Pain.

The sound of knicker elastic being twanged by Tories has caused many – mostly those who remember the 1990s fondly – to talk about sleaze and the final days of John Major. Which is to say, it’s caused many people to talk more b*llocks than an MP being teabagged….

…….What the Tories have on their hands at the moment, however, is allegations of sexual assault, investigations of suspected rape, multiple accusations of sexual harassment, and drunken indecent assaults. That’s not ‘sleaze’ – that’s a crime wave.

If a similar tsunami of criminality were to be alleged in any other organisation – a school, for instance, a hospital, or a charity – it wouldn’t be dismissed as simple pervery. The heads of those organisations wouldn’t shrug it off as an embarrassing incident, and if they did, the head would be squeezed out by lunchtime…….