There is some good news

Under the headline:

‘Fuming’ Tory members threaten to leave after being denied leader vote

The telegraph reports:

“Tens of thousands of Tory members will leave the party in anger at being denied a vote on the next leader, Rishi Sunak has been warned.

Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the Bow Group, the Conservative think tank, said the decision to bar members was a “terrible advert” for the Conservative Party.

And he warned that those members who remain will be less inclined to campaign for their local candidate at the next election – making a Labour victory more likely.”

Does Simon Jupp’s “door knocking” in Newton Poppleford signal the exodus has already started locally? – Owl

Planning applications validated by EDDC for week beginning 10 October

Hedges will sing for 100 miles across Hardy’s Dorset

The Great Big Dorset Hedge project aims to create a wildlife highway stretching nearly 100 miles from the border with Somerset in the west to the edge of Hampshire in the east.

Mario Ledwith

The rolling hills, wild unspoilt landscapes and bustling market squares of Dorset served as the centrepiece for much of Thomas Hardy’s work.

Describing the rural playground in Far from the Madding Crowd in 1874, the Victorian novelist and poet wrote of land divided by hedgerows that sang as the wind danced over the land.

Now, after a century of decline, a campaign group is hoping to restore the hedges that Hardy said made “a mean show as a fence” by planting a continuous line across the entirety of Dorset.

The Great Big Dorset Hedge project aims to create a wildlife highway stretching nearly 100 miles from the border with Somerset in the west to the edge of Hampshire in the east.

As well as offering food and shelter for wildlife, environmentalists say that the network will combat the effects of climate change and reinvigorate the landscape’s physical beauty.

The project has been instigated by the Dorset Climate Action Network, which said that thousands of miles of ancient hedgerows have been ripped out over the past century to accommodate agriculture and large machinery.

Volunteers are being sought to map the hedge network before planting honeysuckle, elm, hawthorn, dogwood, blackthorn and trees in the gaps. It may take a generation for the completion of a hedgerow to “stretch the length and breadth of the county”.

Jenny Morisetti, from the campaign, said: “What we are hoping to do is fill in the gaps in the existing hedgerows to create a footpath for the natural world. The idea is that insects and other wildlife will be able to move around more freely with cover without fear of predators and be more resilient to pesticides.

She added: “It’s a big project, ambitious and long-term, but we hope it will bring communities together.”

Although in its early stages, the project is being pitched as a future tool against climate change, with hedgerows protecting against flooding and soil erosion, providing shelter and helping to combat air pollution.

The charity Rewilding Britain has called for at least 5 per cent of Britain to be returned to the wild and for wildlife to be protected across another 25 per cent of land and sea to create corridors that plants and animals can move through in response to climate change.

The project is thought to be the most expensive hedgerow expansion being undertaken in the country. Similar projects are being carried out by volunteers in Devon and by the Hedgelinks organisation across the country.

Newton Pop. work begins on new £112,000 all-weather games area in a boost to team sports

Work has begun to build a new £112,000 all-weather games area in East Devon for a host of sporting and outdoor activities.

Construction work began on Monday (October 24) at the Newton Poppleford Playing Field, near Back Lane, and is expected to continue for the next eight weeks – if the weather allows.

The district council hopes the new area will encourage new sporting teams to set up, for all-year-round activities, such as netball, walking football and other games.

East Devon

Work begins on the new games area at Newton Poppleford Playing Field. Photo: EDDC.

The project, being led by Newton Poppleford and Harpford Parish Council, has been funded by East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) Section 106 money and Community Infrastructure Levy funds – cash paid to the authorities by developers to use on community projects.

Councillor Chris Burhop, Chair of Newton Poppleford and Harpford Parish Council, said: “This new multi-use games area is the result of several years of consulting with the local community, planning and hard work.

“The parish council is therefore delighted that this project can finally get underway.

“The new multi-use games area will be a step change in facilities in the parish and, having an all-weather surface, the area is bound to be well-used by a wide range of residents all year round.”

He added: “As a parish council we are committed to continue to expand the facilities of this parish, especially for sport and exercise and we will be looking at what we can do next.

“I hope we can see new teams being formed from the parish to make use of this facility, such as netball, five-a-side football and futsal.

“Many years ago, we had a netball team based in the village which had to disband when their court was resurfaced, and netball lines were not replaced. It would be great to see netball back.”

East Devon

Photo shows (L-R) Michael Carter – project officer, Councillor Nick Hookway – EDDC’s portfolio holder for culture, sport, leisure and tourism, Councillor Chris Burhop – Chair of Newton Poppleford and Harpford Parish Council, Parish Councillor Susan Tribble and Jacqui Baldwin – Clerk to Newton Poppleford and Harpford Parish Council. Photo: EDDC.

EDDC said the playing field was already home to well-used tennis courts, football and cricket pitches, plus a children’s playground.

Councillor Nick Hookway, EDDC portfolio holder for culture, sport, leisure and tourism, said the district council was ‘delighted’ to help fund additional sporting opportunities in East Devon.

Cllr Hookway said: “East Devon District Council is delighted to provide funds to support Newton Poppleford and Harpford Parish Council in extending sports facilities for its residents.

“This new games area will have a big impact on improving the health and wellbeing of the local community – as regular exercise is key to good all-round health for all age groups across the community.

“As football and netball are such popular sports, let’s hope that these new facilities will help to develop local talent to meet national standards.”

A mid-life obituary: how it is looking for the Tories

“A mid-life obituary can be a gift, a course corrector, and in recent days the Conservativ Party has also had a foretaste of how it might go down in history. With the polls dipping as low as 14 points, obituaries are being written, and they are ugly: incompetence, ineptitude, lying, loafing, recklessness, selfishness, squabbling, careerism-before-country.”

Comment, Clare Foges, The Times 24 Oct 22

Simon Jupp MP prioritises saving party vote over helping people in crisis

Simon Jupp says on facebook that he has been “knocking on doors” in Newton Poppleford ahead of the District Council by-election to fill the vacancy caused by the sad death of Val Ranger.

This prompted the following comment: “Could you please start responding to your emails, rather than galavanting round East Devon! People are still in crisis and are still needing help, even though your party is in pieces at the moment, your job still stands!”

In the 2019 election the Conservative candidate got only 114 votes, and Val romped home.

The best memorial for Val is for the people of Newton Pop to discard any apathy, overcome inertia and to get out there and vote for who will best represent the interests of their community. The candidate list can be found here 

This government doesn’t seem keen on giving people a vote these days so this might also be an opportunity to send them a message from Newton Poppleford as strong as the message sent from Tiverton and Honiton. A few letters to the press wouldn’t go amiss either.

The local Tories must be very worried if they have to send out their MP to canvass in a local election. Maybe he is the only activist left.

Jupp’s photo op follows his pet theme of supporting the hospitality sector. In this he is pretty much a lone wolf in the party as Jeremy Hunt ignored any lobbying and reimposed the increases in alcohol duty as part of Austerity 2.0 and the sector is really struggling. It faces a deadly combination of rising prices, rocketing food and energy costs and the prospect of recession, as the vital Christmas trading period looms.


See: UK hospitality warns of ‘tidal wave’ of closures as crises loom.

Voting Tory isn’t going to help the hospitality sector.

PS Anyone answered a knock on the door to find themselves facing SJ in person or does he only visit the faithful few?

Tory incompetence has crushed the hope of any anti-austerity fixes

Austerity 2.0 will be harsher than it needs to be, argues Larry Elliot in this extract from his column written on Monday before the new PM was announced.

Not that it will impact either Rishi Sunak (est worth £730M) or even Jeremy Hunt (est worth £17M) particularly. – Owl

“The incompetence and chaos of Truss’s brief period in office means that any hope, for now at least, of an alternative to deflationary policies has been extinguished. Both the Bank and the Treasury now feel obliged to pursue what they see as market-friendly rather than people-friendly policies. In tough times, the state can act as a shock absorber by spending and borrowing more, but Hunt thinks he has no choice but to make the public absorb more of the shock itself.”

Larry Elliott (extract)

Make no mistake, a Sunak premiership would be a victory for the financial markets and for the status quo more generally. And not just in Britain, either. After Truss’s humiliation during her 44 days in office, any country contemplating challenging the orthodoxy will now be having second thoughts.

This is a disaster, but one that Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng brought on themselves. As the Guardian revealed, the prime minister and her first chancellor were warned last month by economists sympathetic to their project of the need to square off the markets before revealing the contents of the mini-budget.

There was – and still is – a respectable case for the government borrowing more at a time when the economy is weak but the reasons for pursuing a more active fiscal policy needed to be spelled out. Truss and Kwarteng were told this by Gerard Lyons and Julian Jessop at a meeting in early September but chose not to listen.

The way forward was obvious. First, the Truss government should have announced details of a six-month energy price cap, an appropriate response to the hit to real incomes caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Other European countries had already announced price controls in response to higher gas prices and there was no reason why the markets would have been alarmed by a similar UK plan.

Second, Kwarteng should have announced a date for a later fiscal event at which he would make good on Truss’s leadership promises: the cut in NICs and the scrapping of the corporation tax increase, with the moves costed by the Office for Budget Responsibility. Any further changes should have been parked until a full budget in the spring of next year, again with an OBR assessment.

Instead of this step-by-step approach, Truss and Kwarteng committed blunder after blunder. All three stages were telescoped into one, the OBR was sidelined and the story became less about protecting the public from the side-effects of Putin’s war than about borrowing for tax cuts for the rich. The prime minister and the chancellor seemed surprised by the hostile market reaction but they really should not have been.

Now a hard rain is gonna fall. Kwarteng’s replacement as chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, is preparing a package of swingeing spending cuts and tax increases that will suck demand out of an economy already in the early stages of recession. In this he is being egged on by the International Monetary Fund, which thinks it is a good idea for both monetary policy – what the Bank of England does – and fiscal policy to be tightened at the same time.

But the idea should be to use a combination of monetary and fiscal policy to bring inflation down with the minimum amount of collateral damage. At a time when the Bank is in danger of being spooked into over-aggressive increases, it would make sense for the chancellor to be pushing in the opposite direction. The upshot of having monetary and fiscal policy pushing in the same direction will be an increase in company failures, higher unemployment and weaker consumer demand. The recession will be deeper and longer, making it harder for the government to meet its targets for borrowing and debt.

When Truss was running to be prime minister, she pushed back against the idea that there was a quantifiable “black hole” in the public finances that could be filled only by tax increases or spending cuts, and she was right to do so. Estimates of the public finances in the future rely on assumptions about how fast the economy will grow, because faster growth means a higher tax take, lower spending and smaller deficits.

The incompetence and chaos of Truss’s brief period in office means that any hope, for now at least, of an alternative to deflationary policies has been extinguished. Both the Bank and the Treasury now feel obliged to pursue what they see as market-friendly rather than people-friendly policies. In tough times, the state can act as a shock absorber by spending and borrowing more, but Hunt thinks he has no choice but to make the public absorb more of the shock itself.

In those circumstances, people act rationally. They spend less and save more; businesses find they have fewer customers and respond by cutting back on investment. Unemployment rises and companies go bust.

The fact that there are people on the left as well as the right who insist that Hunt has no choice other than to usher in a new age of austerity is evidence of the harm that Truss has caused. Governments always have choices, and this one has decided that a period of fiscal discipline is now necessary.

Hunt will get the full backing of whoever becomes PM for policies that will lead to more people relying on food banks and shivering in their homes this winter, fearful of turning the central heating on because of the cost. Desolation Row is about to become more desolate.