Hernandez “explains” why she continues as Police and Crime Commissioner

Owl says: if she were a police officer she would have been suspended on full pay pending the outcome of proceedings – so that he or she could not be accused of influencing decisions on the case and the employer could also be seen as doing the same thing. Suspension is NOT an admission of guilt, it is a responsible action to protect both sides from charges of exerting undue influence.

“… The parliamentary statute is very clear on when a PCC may be suspended. Any suspension decision is taken by the Police and Crime Panel but they can only consider suspension if a criminal charge has been made and that the maximum offence for that charge carries a two year prison sentence. Neither of those requirements apply in my case.

I know that some readers may still feel that I should stand down because I am under investigation, but we live in a system where you are innocent until proven guilty. I was elected to serve as your Commissioner and that is what I have done, and will continue to do.

I maintain that I have done nothing wrong and I acted honestly and properly throughout the election campaign 2 years ago. I have co-operated fully with the police investigation and I look forward to getting a decision on whether this will go any further in the next few weeks. ”

http://www.devonlive.com/alison-hernandez-why-i-am-continuing-as-your-crime-chief-during-the-election-expenses-investigation/story-30290000-detail/story.html

What can US and French elections tell us about East Devon?

The voters of the US and France have each sent out strong signals that people are not just tired of party politics but that they will seek actively to stop them by favouring candidates who promise that they will make independent decisions rather than follow party dogma.

Trump is decried by his own party – the Republicans – for not toeing their party line. The Democrats really wanted Bernie Sanders to stand – a man whose policies were a far cry from those of Clinton – but party grandees went for what they saw as the “safe” party choice. The choice that lost them the election.

The old “left” and “right” no longer speak to an electorate that sees that, in fact, they are the same side of the coin, both standing for the status quo.

The constituency electorate wants people who can think for themselves and do what they need locally, even more than nationally and internationally. They want people who will fight THEIR corner and only their corner. That means sometimes choosing “right wing” decisions and sometimes “left wing” because that is how they themselves see the world.

They see that parties are too hidebound and stuck in their ways, too rigid to think on their feet and support the correct course rather than the party course.

This will spread to the UK – maybe not in time for this election – but certainly for the next one.

In the Netherlands many parties have to work together in coalition. This means that each of them gets something but no party gets everything – horse trading goes on to ensure that each group in the coalition is prepared to work with others. They still choose a Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, etc but based on a wide variety of choices available, not just a party leader. Just one way that a wider political spectrum works.

Interesting times.

“Why a snap election? Ask the 30 tories facing criminal charges…” says Daily Mail article

If the Daily Mail says this, then it seems things are much worse than they appear with the election fraud scandL

“This is a flap election, not a snap election. It has been called to get the Government out of what might be serious legal trouble. I am amazed this has not attracted more attention.

It is this simple. The Crown Prosecution Service is now looking at the cases of 30, yes 30, Tory MPs and agents, who have been investigated for breaking spending rules at the last General Election.

The allegations have been probed by 14 police forces after claims that the Conservatives’ ‘battlebus’ campaign broke legal spending limits in several key marginal seats.

The Tories have already been in deep trouble over their new election techniques, where busloads of outsiders flood into winnable seats to round up crucial extra votes. This was a way of making up for the Tory party’s severe loss of active members, who used to do this donkey work. But it is sailing very close to the legal wind.

Last month they were hit by the Electoral Commission with a record £70,000 fine – the maximum – for failing to declare their spending. The forces involved are Avon & Somerset, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon & Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, West Mercia, West Midlands, West Yorkshire and the Met.

These cases are likely to result in some charges (I have no idea how many) in the next few weeks, probably just before polling day. Trials, assuming these go ahead, will be much later in the year and might not reach verdicts until well into 2018.

If there had been no election, any convictions could have meant MPs found guilty being forced to stand down, and elections being rerun. A General Election makes this much less of a threat, especially if Mrs May manages to increase her meagre majority.

This menace has been worrying the Cabinet for some months, as it has become clear it will not go away. And it is a far better explanation of the Prime Minister’s change of heart than her rather weird and incoherent speech in Downing Street. I happen to think she is a naturally truthful person and meant what she said when she previously declared several times that she was going to stay on till 2020.

But the expenses allegations, which started as a cloud on the horizon no bigger than a man’s hand, have grown and grown. I suspect her advisers have been telling her she cannot risk them coming into the open late in a Parliament when, perhaps, the economy is not doing well, or EU negotiations are going badly or Labour has a new leader.

As a result of this semi-secret crisis, the Tory campaign this time will have to be a good deal more cautious about such things, which may weaken it, especially if the campaign goes wrong – and this is not impossible.

Even now the affair could be highly damaging – but early in a new Parliament, with a secure majority, the Government should be able to weather it far better than if Mrs May had soldiered on. But all elections are risks. It is amazing how often governments lose control of them.

Politics in this country are a good deal less solid and stable than they seem.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-4436518/PETER-HITCHENS-snap-election.html

Many young people registering to vote – more needed!

Almost 350,000 people have registered to vote since Tuesday’s surprise announcement that there would be a general election on 8 June.

The highest number of registrations was on the day itself, with 147,000 people registering online after Theresa May fired the election starting gun, along with 3,364 paper forms being submitted.

This was the biggest total recorded for a single day since the EU referendum campaign in 2016.

And the number of young people registering is the highest of any age group.” …
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-39678859

Everything you need to know about voting

Searchable by postcode. If you find any mistakes in the EDDC information, let Owl know: eastdevonwatch@gmail.com

Includes:

FAQS
How do I change my details on the electoral register?
Do I need to re-register to vote if I move home?
How do I check the electoral register?
Can I search the electoral register online?

https://www.yourvotematters.co.uk/

Find your polling station – maybe

Is Mark Williams ready for this?

“Very welcome news from the latest Electoral Commission bulletin:

In Bulletin 173 we advised that we would again be supporting Democracy Club in their work to provide an online polling station finder and encouraged all councils to provide the necessary polling station data to Democracy Club. This work will allow voters to find their polling station online by entering their postcode. We will soon be adding polling station information to our Your Vote Matters website so that visitors to the site can find out where their polling station is.

We will also be making available a list of candidates standing for election on our Your Vote Matters website. This information is being compiled from the statements of persons nominated published on local authority websites. To find this information, users will need to enter their postcode on the main landing page of the site, and candidates standing for elections in their area will then be listed.”

Having one central website where you can enter your address and find out where your polling station is might sound like a simple, obvious step. Which it is – but also one that was elusive for many years because polling station data is split between all the different local councils, and moreover not stored in systems designed to make it simple to export and share such data for combined use.

http://www.markpack.org.uk/149349/online-polling-station-finder-2017-general-election/