Local Tories panic at last minute – and ask what you think (too little, too late!)

The Local Tories are asking the electorate at the 11th Hour! (A BIT TOO LATE!).

Why?

Because they know they have let us down, while Independent councillors have been fighting our battles, not them!

Whilst our Independent District Councillors have been listening and dealing with local people’s issues and concerns for years the “East Devon Conservative Association” may be waking up to the fact that rather than follow their Central Offices National Policies, they maybe should listen occasionally to what is happening in their local area!

A questionnaire is being distributed by the East Devon Branch of the Conservative Party, just 5 weeks before Local Parish Town and District Elections asking for local people’s thoughts!

There is however a “health warning” on the leaflet in very small print!

The types of information we may collect about you, will probably include your name, address, and contact information and information about your ethnic origin, political opinions, and religious, philosophical and other beliefs. The data you provide will be retained by the Conservative Party, its Candidates and its MPs”.

Nice to know the Tories want to collate a database on us!

The questionnaire first asks several questions about the ward and then asks
“Are there any local issues or concerns you would like to raise?

Then they ask which of 14 issues are the 3 issues that should be prioritised. Looking at the list most local people would hope that their Councillors were concentrating on ALL of them, but at least the local Conservatives MIGHT spend some time on 3 local issues which is a start!

On the second page it becomes even more amusing!

Q: What Conservative commitments are the most important to you?

Make a success of Brexit”
(guessing the leaflet was planned some time ago!)

First one on the list is Not really a local issue, but the you would not think that the turmoil in Parliament and Brussels was anything like a “success”!

Q: “Cut the Deficit and deal with our country’s debts.”

This could be translated as: Do you approve of austerity and the selling off of public assets.

Again, not much of a local concern, except for the closing of local hospital beds, reduction in funding for all local services, no spending on our local infrastructure but the Government spending billions on HS2 to connect London and Birmingham and Cross Rail connecting one part of London to the other!

Q:“Continue to increase housebuilding and support home ownership”.

East Devon is already building more than 950 new houses per year, but the Tories want more and more! What local people want is “the right houses, built to the right quality, in the right place, at the right time”. Not what we are getting which are large, expensive housing estates that look like “everywhere land!”.

Q: Cut income tax by raising personal allowances.

If you earn enough to pay tax that’s fine, but the less well off become even further left in crisis with the cutting of social services! And what about all those billionaire donors – some paying no tax in this country at all!

Q: Ensure that pensions continue to rise annually.

Anything to keep pensions in line with inflation is good but reducing public services for the elderly affects their quality of life! And “rising annually” is no good if increases are below the cost of living and savings earn nothing and then go to fund home or nursing home care.

Q: Ensure the welfare and benefit system is fair and rewards work.

Just one comment here “Universal Credit! It’s NOT working!

Q: Continue to increase NHS spending.

Local NHS spending has been and is being cut and all our services at breaking point! Nine hours for an ambulance to turn up for a pensioner with a broken hip in Exmouth! And a CCG that has said it will cut HALF A BILLION pounds more in the next few years.

Q: Control and reduce immigration.

They cannot control migration if they cannot sort out a Brexit deal! And SOME immigration (such as health care workers) is urgently needed. And they have already confessed that immigration will now come from India and the Phillipines rather than the EU!

Q: Protect spending on schools.

Only this week our largest secondary school in the district asked parents to contribute to the funding! And academy schools pay their heads and directors hundreds of thousands of pounds – and then often go bust!

Q: Invest our National Security and defence.

It is a known fact that we are spending less on our armed forces and the police. These cuts can be seen with less police on our streets, crime seemingly increasing and less arrests and weaker sentences for those that are apprehended!

This is Our governing Political Party and our governing East Devon councillors asking these ridiculous questions!

You are asked to tick which 2 are important to you! Again, most people would say they are all important!!

You are then asked what party you voted for last time and which party you may consider voting for this time around, and finally asking you if you want to help or even join the Conservative Party! Remember, all this data on you is kept for later use (or sale).

What’s the alternative?

This questionnaire graphically demonstrates how out of touch this national and local political party is!!

Don’t reply to add to their already large database on you but elect a local INDEPENDENT candidate, already in touch with the electorate and already fighting on your behalf!

Seaton Lib Dem Councillor ‘censors’ councillor publicising bus consultation

Astounding that something as neutral (and important) as a consultation on changes to major bus routes to and from Seaton should be censored. And even a pitiful and low-bar excuse of a ‘political post’ (assuming that is the reason) doesn’t hold water as Councillor Shaw is not up for re-election until 2022!

Councillor Burrows, in the other hand, IS up for re-election on 2 May 2019 – even though he had to resign as Mayor, admitted that he had brought the town council into disrepute AND was censured by EDDC – if the Lib Dems can’t find a better candidate! If they can’t, it really doesn’t say much for the quality of their current membership in Seaton!

From the blog of Seaton and Colyton East Devon Alliance DCC Councillor Martin Shaw:

“Seaton EDDC and town councillor Peter Burrows (pictured in his Facebook logo with the late Liberal Democrat leader, Paddy Ashdown) resigned as mayor in January after self-confessedly ‘bringing the town council into disrepute’ after abusing a ‘Tourist Information Centre’ Twitter account to pursue a personal grudge.

Now, in the very week in which East Devon’s Monitoring Officer has formally censured him on four counts, Burrows and his co-administrator, Tony Antoniou, have abused their positions as admins on a community Facebook group to remove me from the group, as I found when I tried to post details of the Stagecoach bus consultation to the group, to which I’ve belonged for years. No warning was given and neither has responded to requests for an explanation.

This example of arbitrary censorship raises two fingers to Town Council recommendations – in response to Burrows’ January actions and expected to be adopted in two weeks’ time – that councillors should ‘behave responsibly, considerately and professionally’ on social media and should NOT be Facebook admins.

It is laughable for Burrows to call himself a Liberal Democrat. This self-appointed Town Censor has no respect for the idea that a community Facebook group – the group in question is called Positive Development for Everyone in Seaton and was set up after a community meeting – should be open to a County Councillor to post important local information, and indeed for members to express views different from the admins’.

There is a long history of Burrows arbitrarily removing people and posts from different Facebook groups. I have considerable respect for the Liberal Democrats – their members on the County Council are fine councillors and I work with them closely – but Burrows is bringing his party into disrepute. I am reporting him to their regional organisation for his latest antics.”

Seaton’s rogue councillor is at it again on Facebook. I’m reporting him to the Liberal Democrats, because this self-appointed Town Censor certainly isn’t a liberal. Paddy Ashdown must be turning in his grave.

Corruption ad poor police investigatillon of it in local elections

The 2014 election victory by Lutfur Rahman in the contest for Mayor of Tower of Hamlets was eventually over-turned for electoral corruption, but police investigations did not result in criminal convictions. The resulting controversy over the police’s actions resulted in Operation Lynemouth: an investigation into what the police did and why.

The final report from Operation Lynemouth is now out, and it is pretty damning:

The policing of the election and the subsequent investigation were deficient in too many areas. There was a lack of corporate responsibility, a lack of training and insufficient resources for the MPS’s special enquiry team’s investigation. We were also concerned that, when another MPS department investigated allegations other than electoral fraud, potential lines of enquiry were disregarded. Furthermore, there was an otherwise uncoordinated approach to all the investigations, with little oversight at a senior officer level for the first year, which meant that opportunities might have been missed.

Scope has also been identified for a new police investigation:

Operation Lynemouth’s investigators have identified avenues of enquiry that can still be explored, and City of London Police has agreed to undertake an independent criminal investigation.”

Operation Lynemouth: final report

Here is the full report”
https://3859gp38qzh51h504x6gvv0o-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/files/2019/03/Operation-Lynemouth-review-of-police-handling-of-electoral-corruption-allegations-in-Tower-Hamlets.pdf

https://www.markpack.org.uk/157907/operation-lynemouth-tower-hamlets/

Bojo says historic child abuse inquiries are a waste of money (he wasted at least £940m as London Mayor)

Maybe because several abusers appear to have been MPs or others (still) in power? And he’s the man whose failed Mayor of London projects cost an estimated £940 million!

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/aug/18/bridge-940m-bill-boris-johnsons-mayora-vanity-projects-garden-bridge-routemaster-bus

“Boris Johnson has declared money spent on non-recent child abuse investigations had been “spaffed up a wall”, prompting immediate criticism from Labour for making reckless and inappropriate comments.

The current favourite to succeed Theresa May as Conservative leader was arguing police time and resources were being wasted on crimes committed years ago as he was questioned on an LBC radio phone-in on Wednesday morning.

But he went on to complain: “And one comment I would make is I think an awful lot of money and an awful lot of police time now goes into these historic offences and all this malarkey.

“You know, £60m I saw was being spaffed up a wall on some investigation into historic child abuse and all this kind of thing. What on earth is that going to do to protect the public now?”

Louise Haigh, the shadow policing minister, said Johnson’s remarks were insulting to victims of abuse.

“Could you look the victims in the eye and tell them investigating and bringing to justice those who abused them, as children, is a waste of money?” she asked. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/mar/13/boris-johnson-under-fire-over-remarks-about-child-abuse-inquiries

Local elections: Many independents throw their hats into ring in Sid Valley

“Sid Valley Democracy is calling for residents to stand as councillors in May for the 19 seats available.

The initiative says it wishes to ensure enough candidates for the seats to be contested after previous elections where there were not enough people, resulting in automatic appointment.

The informal group says 17 people have expressed an interest so far and have hosted meetings for prospective candidates to meet and find out more about the role.

On its Facebook page, the group said: “In most recent elections, so few candidates came forward, they were all automatically appointed – this has been the same for many town councils.

“The people behind this initiative believe that this is wrong.

“So without passing any judgement on the effectiveness of Sidmouth’s current town council, or indeed how democratically it operates, we have started the initiative to see if more people are interested in standing for election, giving Sid Valley residents a real choice come May 2.

“As well as candidates we’re also keen to get more people to vote, turnout at local elections is usually very low.”

The page has announced Charissa Evans, Peter Blackmore, Deidre Hounsom, John Loudoun, Denise Bickley, Cathy Gardner and Marianne Rixson plan to stand for seats.

Nomination packs are now available from the district council for those wishing to stand in district, town and parish elections.

Candidates must complete the forms and send them to the returning officer of East Devon District Council by 4pm on Wednesday, April 3.

The electorate will head to the polls to vote in district and town and parish elections on May 2.

The counting of the votes will take place in two locations at EDDC’s headquarters at Blackdown House, Honiton, and at Exmouth Town Hall.

District council votes will be counted and the results declared on Friday May 3, with contested town and parish elections, counted and announced on Saturday May 4.

If you would like a nomination pack, please contact the electoral services team on 01395 517402.”

https://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/sid-valley-democracy-launches-to-find-candidates-for-town-council-election-1-5925851

EDDC Monitoring Officer censures Seaton Lib Dem Councillor Peter Burrows

Recall that Owl broke the original story about Seaton Town Council and EDDC Lib Dem councillor Peter Burrows here:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/01/07/breaking-news-seaton-mayor-peter-burrows-resigns-after-bringing-the-office-into-disrepute/

and the updated story here:
https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/01/11/seaton-disgraced-ex-mayor-peter-burrows-town-council-responds-names-names/

Although Councillor Burrows resigned as Mayor of Seaton Town Council he did NOT resign as a town or district councillor. It remains to be seen if local Lib Dems select him again to stand for district council elections in May 2019.

Now EDDC’s Monitoring Officer has also given a statement.

On or around the 1st January 2019, Councillor Peter Burrows posted a tweet on the SeatonTIC Twitter account [which was not an official Seaton Town Council website or an official Seaton TIC but a personal account of Mr Burrows, now closed] which alleged that a local business had bad-mouthed “the Mayor of Seaton” and [he] asked people to avoid [using] that business.

The tweet was a direct response to comments made by an individual who Councillor Burrows believed worked at the business concerned. This was not the case and neither the business nor its owner had any involvement in the making of the comments in relation to Councillor Burrows.

The tweet was inappropriate and breached Seaton Town Council’s Code of Conduct in that;

It failed to promote and support high standards of conduct,

It failed to treat others with respect,

It could not be justified to the public.

Councillor Burrows conducted himself in a manner that brought his office and Seaton Town Council into disrepute.

Councillor Burrows is hereby formally censured for the breaches that have been found in relation to his entirely inappropriate tweet.”

Why all the good news? Because on 26 March “purdah” starts before local elections!

Expect a lot of good news from the majority party at EDDC for the rest of this month. Why? Because all political new from EDDC (not its individual councillors) has to STOP on 26 March 2019.

Why?

As local elections take place on 2 May 2019, a period of weeks before the election is called “purdah” and councils must stop pushing politicised events and publications to avoid charges of unduly influencing electors to vote for them.

A good explanation of purdah (and what to look out for if officers or councillors break these rules) can be found here:

https://www.local.gov.uk/about/our-meetings-and-leadership/political-composition/local-government-elections