(Tory) Council leaders, don’t you just love ’em – not!

Current leader of EDDC, Paul Diviani, and his Tory friends on the council voted against hospital bed cuts at EDDC (which is toothless on this matter) but he then voted FOR the same cuts at Devon County Council, which has just a few gnashers, but where former EDDC Leader and DCC councillor for Whimple, Sarah Randall Johnson, silenced a legitimate opposition debate on closures using very dubious tactics against her arch-enemy (campaigner and ouster from her EDDC seat) Claire Wright:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/08/12/conduct-of-health-committee-members-investigated-by-devon-council-diviani-and-randall-johnson-heavily-criticised-for-behaviour/

Now the former Leader of Grenfell Tower Council joins the merry band:

The council leader who presided over the Grenfell Tower disaster offered paid “advice” on public sector cutbacks – and tried to “whitewash” his CV in the process.

Nick Paget-Brown resigned as leader of Kensington and Chelsea council after the authority’s woeful response to the deadly inferno drew widespread criticism.

He has remained a councillor but has attracted fresh ire from survivors and rival politicians after advertising his own company – NPB Consulting – on his new Linkedin profile.

The firm, of which he is managing director, offers specialist advice on “financial planning in an age of austerity” to other councils.

Paget-Brown is also accused of hurling a “final insult” to victims as he has omitted his experience as council leader from his CV’s career history, leaving a space between the end of his time as deputy leader in 2013 and founding NPB in 2017. His appointment as leader was mentioned elsewhere. …

Paget-Brown used the networking site to advertise his skills, including “policy analysis, seminars, briefings and drafting assistance for organisations working with local authorities”.

Emma Dent Coad, the Labour MP for Kensington, said: “Paget-Brown’s attempt to whitewash his career by becoming a cost-cutting consultant is the final insult.”

Moyra Samuels, co-founder of the Justice 4 Grenfell campaign, said: “To effectively say, ‘I’m moving on swiftly to my next project’ shows complete disdain for this community.”

At the time of his resignation, Paget-Brown said he shared responsibility for the “perceived failings” of the council. “

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/grenfell-paget-brown_uk_599a96bbe4b0e8cc855e707e

Only “perceived” note …

Electoral reform needed; system not strong OR stable!

“… In the end, we have a system that only recognises the geographical location of a voter and nothing else. It is where voters are – rather than how many are backing whom – that matters. This must change if we are to restore legitimacy to our political institutions.

But the real question for our politicians is this: if the two main parties can gain over 80% of the vote for the first time in decades, in a system designed for two parties, and yet both still lose – when will they show the leadership the country so desperately needs and fix our voting system?

Doing so would send a message that far from being in it for themselves, parties can make brave and bold decisions to revitalise our democracy. If there’s anything this last few years have shown, it’s that people feel alienated from politics and are struggling to be heard. Let’s find positive ways of making that happen.”

Read the full report here:

https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/the-myth-that-westminsters-voting-system-is-strong-and-stable-has-been-bust-for-good/

Sidmouth Port Royal: “Retain, reuse, reburbish” meeting Wednesday 23 August 7.30 pm

The meeting, on

Wednesday 23rd August
starts at 7pm at
All Saints Church Hall, All Saints Road, Sidmouth.

“More than a thousand people have now signed the petition “an alternative plan for Sidmouth’s Port Royal—the 3 Rs.

If you, too, feel strongly about appropriate development at the eastern end of the seafront, but haven’t yet added your name, it is urgent to do so as a decision is imminent.

Signatures for the ‘Retain-Refurbish-Reuse’ option are being collected online at

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/alternative-plan-for-sidmouth-s-port-royal-the-3r-s

or alternatively on paper – for example at this week’s 3Rs Public Meeting, organised by EDDC Councillors Matt Booth, Cathy Gardner, Dawn Manley and Marianne Rixson, and Chaired by Di Fuller – see header above”

The “hold your nose” General Election – 20 million votes “wasted”

“Twenty-two million votes were “wasted” in June’s election and had no impact on the result, a study reveals today.

Nearly seven out of 10 ballots made no different to the outcome, which stripped Theresa May of a Commons majority, the Electoral Reform Society report claims.

It brands the 2017 poll the ‘hold your nose’ election, estimating 6.5 million people voted tactically because they knew ticking the box for their favourite party or candidate would have no influence.

Other findings include that if just 0.0016% of voters chose differently, the Conservatives would have won a majority; the rise of very marginal seats, with 11 seats won by fewer than 100 votes; and the second highest voting volatility since 1931, with people switching sides at “astonishing” levels.

The ERS also blasts Britain’s first-past-the-post system, which is designed to avoid hung parliaments – but, for the second time in three general elections, left no party with a majority.

Chief executive Darren Hughes said: “The vast majority of votes are going to waste, with millions still stuck in the electoral black hole of winner-takes-all – a diverse and shifting public having to work around a broken two-party system.

“The result is volatile voting and random results in the different parts of the UK.

“There are a wide range of systems where votes are not thrown on the electoral scrapheap.

“We need to move towards a means of electing our MPs where all voices are heard and where people don’t feel forced to hold their nose at the ballot box.”

The ERS’ ‘Volatile Voting – Random Results’ report says while Labour secured 29% of votes in the South East it got just 10% of seats.

In the North East, the Tories netted 34% of votes but scooped just 9% of seats.

Meanwhile, the SNP continued to be over-represented in Scotland, as was Labour in Wales, while Northern Ireland voters were “forced into two camps”, according to the report.

Researchers discovered the Conservatives benefited most from the mismatch between votes and seats, winning 46% of English votes but 56% of seats.

Mr Hughes said: “June’s election has shown first-past-the-post is unable to cope with people’s changing voting habits – forcing citizens and parties to try and game the system.

“With an estimated 6.5 million people ‘holding their nose’ at the ballot box, voters have been denied real choice and representation.

“This surge in tactical voting – double the rate of 2015 – meant voters shifted their party allegiances at unprecedented rates, with the second highest level of voter volatility since the inter-war years.”

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/tens-million-votes-wasted-general-11020317

“Daily Mash” nails the Stephen Hawkings/Jeremy Hunt NHS row

“PROFESSOR Stephen Hawking has discovered the densest thing in the known universe.

The world’s most famous theoretical physicist said the super-dense black hole was located in the centre of London and looks like a six foot tall weasel.

Unveiling his discovery, Hawking said: “It sucks in facts and then crushes them instantaneously to the point where they may as well never have existed.

“I still don’t how it could possibly have got there. No-one does. There’s no reason for it to exist in its current position.

“It’s as if the universe is just being spiteful.”

He added: “It’s also the first black hole that appears to be wholly owned by private health care providers.“

http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/science-technology/hawking-discovers-new-super-dense-black-hole-20170819134289

The spat is here:
http://evolvepolitics.com/jeremy-hunt-literally-just-said-stephen-hawking-wrong-scientific-basis-nhs-reform/

Foul dealings in East Budleigh goes national!

Village footballers unable to play for level of fouling

Police have been called in over a dispute between the council and dog-walkers in an east Devon village.

The dispute started after East Budleigh parish council decided to fence off a football pitch on the recreation ground because games were being halted by the presence of dog mess.

Councillors have been subject to such abuse that they are no longer able to drink in the village pub, and the council refuses to engage with the dogwalkers collectively as they consider them a “hate group”.

The council said: “East Budleigh has been particularly bad for dog mess and . . . last season several football games had to be stopped to clear up the dog mess. The idea is to make it a safe area and free from dog mess for everyone — not just the football club.

However, Ray Marrs, from the Friends of East Budleigh Recreation Ground, said: “Lots of people use the field to walk their dogs on and none of us has ever noticed a problem with dog poo on the pitch. How was it possible for councillors to have reached a decision to fence off our recreation ground . . . based upon somebody’s notion of dog fouling without any consultation or knowledge of the village?”

He added that he knew of the abuse and did not condone it. The police are investigating allegations of abusive behaviour and harassment.”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/east-budleigh-footballers-unable-to-play-for-level-of-dog-fouling-xgwljqfr8

(Some) council leaders brand single-option consultation a sham

“The leaders of Adur and Worthing councils have called for a ‘sham’ A27 improvements consultation to be halted and re-run with further options.

Highways England has put forward just one £69million proposal to tweak six key junctions between Worthing and Lancing. But councillor Neil Parkin and councillor Dan Humphreys have joined forces to campaign for a rethink. Mr Parkin, Adur District Council leader, said: “Highways England say they want to consult with us but we say this is a sham.”

“By not allowing the public to weigh up options and see full costings how are we to make any kind of decision? “All I do know is the current scheme on the table is barely worth the disruption and certainly not worth spending £69million on.” Modest improvements to six junctions between Durrington Hill and the Lancing Manor roundabout are proposed which would cut three minutes from journey times but, according to Highways England’s own scoring system, would deliver no ‘significant benefits’.

In its consultation document the agency alludes to more expensive and radical solutions, such as underpasses and flyovers but dismisses them as too expensive without further explanation.

Mr Humphreys, Worthing Borough Council leader, said: “The more I listened to officials explaining the scheme at the launch of the consultation the more angry I became. “Highways England do not seem to be taking us seriously. Our questions were met with an ‘experts know best’ response while there was no explanation about why other options hadn’t been explored,” said.

“The current consultation should be halted and a proper one, involving other options and explanations started afresh. The agency must have those plans and calculations so let’s seem them.” The leaders insisted it is not for the councils to submit plans but for Highways England to give local residents, businesses and politicians real choice and real consultation.

Consultation ends on September 12 with two years of construction expected to start in 2020 if the scheme is approved.

Article originally appeared on Worthing Herald”

https://www.consultationinstitute.org/consultation-news/council-leaders-brand-single-option-consultation-a-sham/