Desperate Tories turn Nasty

Spreading misinformation and downright lies about what they term the “Coalition of Chaos”.

Currently, we have in East Devon an almost proportional representation council with those who are prepared to work together doing so, and those who put politics first (Tories and pseudo-Independent Tories) refusing to do what is best for the district. 

The Tories, and the minority but powerful vested interests they represent, hate it.

The latest Tory leaflet shows just how much.

Denise Bickley tears it apart. – Owl

More Lies – Denise Bickley – Independent

Denise Bickley is Assistant Portfolio Holder Climate Action and Emergency Response and represents Sidmouth Town.

The two Conservative candidates in her ward: Sophie Richards and John Zarczynski are two of the “semi-detached” Tories Owl has already drawn attention to, illustrating how hypocritical their claims are

I’ve been looking into what I can do about lies in political leaflets and there doesn’t seem to be much, so no wonder the local tories are just printing whatever they like. I hope some people are asking them to back up what they are saying. It would have been great to be able to do that at hustings but unfortunately none of them agreed to do it and so it was cancelled. I did ask the VGS who were organising it to do it anyway so that we had a chance to be heard and answer questions publicly but unfortunately it was not to be.

So I will deal with the lies one at a time, and also ask you to read a similar story about another council (Saffron Walden) and the defamatory lies printed about candidates by their Tory propaganda machine –

This is the back of all the latest East Devon tory leaflets…kindly provided by one of their Twitter pages which make fun reading. Unfortunately when Elon Musk took over I deleted my Twitter account and have no intention of signing up again but I do like to lurk…

Claim 1
A coalition of chaos – Independents, Liberal Democrats and Greens aren’t working for you.

Oh really? Who are we working for then? Are you saying we are in it for ourselves? In what way? We do work together, in a friendly coalition which does not ‘whip’, does not bully, listens, encourages and supports. None of us take bribes, have been found guilty of anything like bullying, fraud, sexual assault, indecent assault, rape… how is this a coalition of chaos?

My question – what are you trying to say with this statement? In what way is it chaos? And what is wrong with a healthy democratic coalition? Do we all really have to belong to the same party or have we moved on from this archaic view?

Claim 2:
A lack of leadership will result in the wrong homes, in the wrong places.

We have leadership. The democratic Alliance voted in Paul Arnott (was iEDA, now standing as LibDem) as our Leader, and Eileen Wragg (LibDem) as Deputy Leader, We have been led by Paul Arnott, Paul Hayward (Deputy Leader of the Council, and the cabinet, a mixture of IEDA, Lib Dems and Greens, who have worked tirelessly alongside officers in the last 3 years. As to the houses, which houses are they talking about? They have literally taken what we have said: “right houses in the right place”, blatantly stolen it and then accused us of something they’ve made up or been responsible for! Remember they were in charge for 45 years before we took control – when Cranbrook was agreed, when the Knowle was sold off, when Newton Poppleford’s estate were built with no space to turn around and no GP surgery etc. (

What a bunch of hypocrites.

My question – which houses are we planning in the wrong places – that you didn’t organise and we have had to try to sort out (remember the Sidford Business Park fiasco – the reason why several of our councillors got involved in the council? And it still isn’t sorted out? Don’t let them blame us, please, let’s not rewrite history!)

Claim 3:
They’ve closed public toilets despite concerns from communities

This one is a classic. They must think the public are so stupid! We all realise that budgets are ridiculously tight, and councils are going bankrupt – eg Devon County Council (Conservative run) and we need strong leadership to take brave decisions in most equitable way to save services.

This is taken from my answer to Simon Jupp MP in one of his ridiculous Facebook posts extolling the virtues of his wonderful candidates…

This is the report to Cabinet:

I really think your time should be being spent being a useful MP, in (unbelievably) the party ‘running’ this country, and work on securing adequate funding for local councils to maintain and protect services. Look at Conservative Devon County Council, who are failing in all areas – highways, health, social services, libraries, etc etc. Why is that? Ah, funding cuts from central government.

I find your comments during this election to be disingenuous, inflammatory, time-wasting and blatantly wrong. I hope voters agree.”

So – my questions to the tories – which toilets have actually been closed during the last 3 years (covid time aside?) Which, in the 10 years leading up to us being in charge, were invested in and improved? Ah, none. And did you or did you not pass a load off to to parish and town councils because you could no longer afford to keep them open? And was it actually your idea to try to partner up with businesses to encourage toilets to be kept in some form?

Claim 4:
Doubled the price of parking and increased your council tax

Wow I am getting RSI repeating the same fact – parking charges had not increased for 10 years, even despite VAT being added to off street parking.

Even the ‘leader’ of the tories on EDDC, the delightful Cllr Phillip Skinner, acknowledged that they should have increased charges at the February Full Council meeting. They were just not brave enough and were scared to make harder decisions. We have of course made it cheaper for residents to park – by introducing and marketing the permits for only £10/month to residents.

We should have faith that our seaside towns are beautiful and can withstand a long overdue price rise, for the tourists who wish to come here. It is normal in any town of beauty like ours that anyone would expect to pay. If you go out for a day, you factor in parking. When a restaurant’s rent, rates and cost of sales increases, of course prices increase. You wouldn’t expect them to absorb the cost. So why should the council when we need to provide many other services too and have lost app £50m of our funding in the last 10 years? And when the government promise to reimburse us for costs such as leisure revenue lost during covid, AND THEN RENEGE? Do we want to see cuts to essential services like waste management?

As to council tax increases, EDDC’s share has gone up 3.19% (£5 for Band D) see here – EDDC Councillors agree increase. Devon County Council – oh yes, Conservative run – has gone up by 4.99%. Please remember that EDDC collects council taxes for all levels of government and the police.

My question to the tories over this one – where is the magic money tree that you are growing? And why aren’t you using it for Devon County Council?

At the bottom of the flyer it says “Which will you vote for on Thursday 4th May?” and I hope your answer is “Whoever has the best chance of getting you lot out!”

Thanks for reading, and, if you do vote for me, thank you so much for your time and trust


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