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.”


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.” …

Register to vote by 22 May in General Election

Anyone planning to vote in June’s general election who isn’t yet on the electoral roll has only until Monday 22 May to register.

You’re eligible to vote in the 8 June general election if:

You’re a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen aged 18 or over who is currently living in the UK.

You’re a British citizen aged 18 or over who’s been registered to vote in the UK in the past 15 years.

However, simply being eligible to vote doesn’t mean you’re actualnly able to you have to register by 11.59pm on Monday 22 May, otherwise you won’t be able to vote in the general election.

In addition to giving you a vote, registering boosts your chances of getting credit, as lenders can use the electoral roll to check out potential borrowers. See our Credit Scores guide for more on this and other tips on how to boost your score.

How to register

Check if you’re registered to vote by getting in touch with your local authority. Enter your postcode on Gov.uk to find your local electoral registration office and contact it directly.

If you were registered for last June’s Brexit referendum or are for the local elections on Thursday 4 May this year, AND you still live at the same address, you should already be registered to vote but if not, you need to register by Monday 22 May.

If you’re not on the electoral roll, visit Gov.uk to register to vote in England, Scotland and Wales. Registering online takes about five minutes.

Or you can download a form to register by post, which you’ll need to send to your local electoral registration office, but make sure it arrives by 22 May.

To register in Northern Ireland, visit the Your Vote Matters website to download the form and return it to your local area electoral office.

Postal and proxy votes

If you’re already registered to vote in person and you wish to switch to a postal vote or a proxy vote (where a voter nominates a trusted person to cast a vote on their behalf) in time for the general election, there are separate deadlines for changing your voting method.

To switch to a postal vote, you’ll need to register by 5pm on Tuesday 23 May. If you’re opting for a proxy vote, the deadline is 5pm on Wednesday 31 May.

If you’re in England, Scotland or Wales, you can change your voting preferences by downloading a postal vote or proxy vote form from Gov.uk. To do this in Northern Ireland, different forms are required.


General election purdah begins today

The Local Government Association (LGA) has clarified its position on the commencement of Purdah ahead of the general election in June, following the publication of its guidance


The LGA has confirmed that Purdah begins tomorrow for the civil service, but does not come into effect for all of local government. Instead, it said, that those authorities that do not have local elections this year (mostly councils in London) should commence a period of “heightened sensitivity” as set out in the local government code governing publicity.

The LGA advised that extra care should be taken when undertaking anything which could directly, or be perceived to, affect support for a party or candidate and urge officers to seek advice from their MO at all times. The LGA also stressed that pre-election activity can also include such things as use of council facilities, resources, codes of conduct, developing new or controversial policies and holding events (including some meetings) featuring candidates.

The full recommended code of practice can be downloaded at the following link:


Twiss and shout in Feniton

Phil Twiss is hoping to follow in the footsteps of disgraced fellow Tory Graham Brown, and latterly independent councillor Claire Wright to represent the ward of Feniton and Honiton in the forthcoming County Council elections.

Leaflets currently adding to EDDC’s recycling efforts include a testimonial from MP Neil Parish that “Phil will be an asset in a number of matters, such as helping positively to continue with the work put together, to make Feniton more secure from flooding”.

Strangely there seems to be no room to acknowledge Graham Brown’s inability to get a flood scheme going for Feniton, Claire Wright’s dogged success in ensuring that the scheme was not forgotten, and independent District Councillor Susie Bond’s determination and success in getting the £1.6m programme implemented. Not to mention Susie Bond’s tireless work as a flood warden and information broadcaster each time danger has struck the village.

Any “continuation” is totally down to the efforts of these two ladies.

Whether Mr Twiss is willing to acknowledge their contribution on the stump remains to be seen.

Readers will recall it was Mr Twiss who, in 2014, took offence at a metaphor on Ms Wright’s blog about the need to “cull” Conservatives in East Devon.

Police subsequently declined to investigate. Hardly surprising since Conservative Leader David Cameron used the word in exactly the same sense in 2012:


Truth or post-truth in Feniton’s election?