Fake News: “I have the support of my Cabinet”

This phrase is fake news at any level – let’s take it at national and local level as an example

1. As with the national government where May chose her Cabinet, so does the Leader of EDDC. They choose people closest to them and the ones most inclined to do their bidding – it would be foolish to do anything else.

2. Cabinets are not chosen for quality – they are chosen for obedience. It’s no use May saying she tolerates Boris for not being a “yes man” as it is precisely that which has endangered her. A foolish “strategy” to follow if, like her or any other Leader, you want to cling to power. See Trump and Kim Jong-Un. You upset Trump, he fires you; you upset Kim … let’s not go there.

3. It pays to choose weak and feeble Cabinet members if you are their Leader. It strengthens your position. The downside is that you then have to forge VERY close relationships with your civil servants and officers as they are the route to getting your agenda fulfilled (or, in the case of the current government, a very close relationship with the DUP forged with a £1 billion bribe).

4. As soon as anyone hits a Cabinet, they get a vastly increased taste for power – it’s like a drug. They spend days and nights thinking about how THEY could make a better job of things. There is no such thing as loyalty to a Leader in a Cabinet.

So, when any leader says they have the full support of their cabinet – FAKE NEWS!

DCC Tories torpedo Devon NHS

Yesterday the Conservative Party machine defeated my final attempt to get Devon County Council to take action over the closure of community hospitals beds. My motion, seconded by Claire Wright, asked the Health Scrutiny Committee to look again at the issues it failed to scrutinise properly in July, and asked the Council to write to the Secretary of State for Health to alert him to our concern about hospital beds. I highlighted widespread NHS concern that there will be too few beds if there is a flu epidemic this winter. My speech is available here and you can watch it and the debate in the webcast (beginning at 2.18).

The Tory response was an amendment, moved by the leader, John Hart, which took the guts out of the motion. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, it said that Health Scrutiny had ‘extensively considered the issues and concerns from members of the public, elected members and others, including medical professionals, all matters relating to the closure of some community hospital beds in Honiton, Okehampton, Seaton and Whipton.’

Instead of my proposal to write to the Secretary about the beds closures, the amendment proposed to write ‘seeking reassurance that appropriate funding is provided by government to deliver the necessary health and social care services in Devon’. Not a dicky bird to the minister about community hospital beds, the whole point of the debate.

In reply I told the Council (at 3.10) that if they passed this amendment, they would be ignoring East Devon opinion just like Kensington & Chelsea Council ignored the residents of Grenfell Tower; and the Conservative Group as a whole would have made itself responsible for the failure to properly scrutinise the hospital bed closures.

The result

Although they were not formally whipped, 40 Tories fell dutifully in line to support the amendment. There were 16 votes against (these were Liberal Democrat, Labour, Independent and Green members, together with only one Conservative, Ian Hall of Axminster).

Claire made a valiant attempt to put some guts back into the motion, with another amendment – but the Tory machine squashed that too.

Martin Shaw
Independent East Devon Alliance County Councillor for Seaton & Colyton

Don’t punish the bully, punish the victim, says Tory donors

This is extraordinary. In any other walk of life a bully would be punished and his or her victim given support. In this increasingly mad party, it is the other way round. In this case the bully is being joined by other bullies to force the victim out of a job.

And as for raising more money from “ordinary” voters – do people not realise that these donors are now desperately squirreling away their cash to cushion them against Brexit problems. With lots of it probably going to those tax havens they love so much.

As an employer – for that is what Tory donors are – these rich donors who are calling the tune – it should be ashamed of themselves. But alas, shame is something rich Tory donors have never and will never experience.

And every member of the Conservative Party shares in this – including our MPs Swire and Parish if they stay silent and join in bearing in mind Swire tweeted his support of bully-boy Johnson very recently, after his attack on May.

Tory party members – you are all complicit with the behaviour of these bullies. Pay your subs and be one of the rabble they will call up on their behalf – that’s your role. And take over paying for their share while they still pull your strings.

“Conservative donors have called for Theresa May to stand down because she is being “bullied” by colleagues including Boris Johnson.

Following an ill-fated conference speech and rumours of a backbench plot against the prime minister, two wealthy supporters said the party must act quickly and install another leader.

In a further development, the party is discussing plans to emulate Labour and widen its financial support away from large donations from a select group of wealthy donors to smaller donations from its ordinary members.

Charlie Mullins, the founder of London-based Pimlico Plumbers, said May must leave because she was being bullied and undermined by Johnson.

He said: “She has got to go for her own sake. It is getting embarrassing. If this was a boxing match, the fight would have been stopped. She has been put in a position where she is being bullied, she is being intimidated, they are making her life hell. These are Conservative people who are destroying this woman and it needs to stop.”

Mullins, who has donated £50,000 and spent £30,000 on a stall at this year’s conference, said the foreign secretary had been successfully undermining the prime minister.

“She is a broken woman. They are setting her up,” he said. “Boris is not a fool. He knows what he is doing. Boris is knocking her at every opportunity he gets because he wants to be prime minister. Boris has been a big part of destroying this woman. …

A second donor said May appeared to be too weak to fight the business community’s corner and should leave by Christmas if the party wants to retain financial support from entrepreneurs.

The businessman, who has given more than £300,000 in total, said: “[The party] is losing support in the City. People worry that the Tories are taking us over a Brexit cliff edge and May looks too weak to control her ministers.

“We need to act now. Whether she is replaced by an old guard member like Michael Fallon or new blood, I am not sure.”

The Conservatives have grown increasingly concerned about the party’s failing support from big donors in the business community.

While the Tories generated £1.5m in membership fees last year, Labour raised £14.4m, according to figures published in August by the Electoral Commission.

John Griffin, the founder of taxi firm Addison Lee who has given more than £4m to the Conservatives, told the Guardian that he has had preliminary talks with party officials about helping to widen financial support from a select few individuals to other less wealthy donors.

“I think the party has performed very poorly in that particular area, so I have a cunning plan and we will be having meetings about that this month. They have underperformed in the area of collecting money,” he said.

“We don’t really want donors to give large sums. We want lots of people to give smaller sums. That is the plan. The Labour party are making a better fist of it. We need to consider that and emulate them.”

Griffin declined to go into further details but said he raised the idea with May at a fundraising dinner at the Dorchester hotel in central London last month. “She supports the idea in principle,” he said.

Griffin, who gave £1m to the party before this year’s election, said he wantedMay to remain as prime minister and called for Johnson to be given a “smacked bum” for undermining her.

“Boris has been a naughty boy and needs a smacked bum. That’s where I stand. He is a nice bloke, but there is a time for everything and he needs a bit more dignity,” he said. “I have encouraged the prime minister to make sure that these people in the cabinet stand in line and she must exercise her power.”


Which came first: national Tory policy or East Devon Tory policy?

“Jacob Rees-Mogg has compared this year’s Conservative conference to a North Korea-style rally, saying the party will face a crisis unless members are given more stake.

Rees-Mogg said ordinary party members had no power to debate policy compared to when he first entered politics. He told a Policy Exchange fringe meeting:

It has now become like an American presidential convention where we just expect them to turn up and cheer the great and the good. It isn’t even American, it’s Kim Jong Un style. If it stays like that for long enough we’re going to be in real trouble.

Asked about whether the party needed to give more power to its members, Rees-Mogg said:

We treat them appallingly. We expect them to do all the work, deliver all the leaflets, go out in the rain and then the CPF [the members’ policy-making forum] sends in its reports and it gets ignored. We used to have system that took the policy ideas from our members seriously.”


Conservative party severs links with all its university groups, tells you gsters to join with oldies

“The Conservatives are set to sever links with every Tory university group in the country in a bid to detoxify their brand.

A confidential internal Tory report seen by HuffPost UK calls for “risky student politics” to be moved completely out the party structures.

The recommendation comes after a series of embarrassing incidents involving student groups, including a member of the Cambridge University Conservative Association burning a £20 note in front of a homeless person and Tories at St Andrews setting fire to an effigy of Barack Obama.”…


EDDC’s strategy for dealing with budget deficit: bleed residents dry?

“There is a significant shortfall projected in 2020/21 (£1.412m) which is as a result of an assumed rebasing of business rate income thereby reducing our income by £1.2m. It is proposed in the Finance Plan that work is started now in bridging this gap and driving self- sufficiency of the Council. Members have indicated that the strategic theme within the Transformation Strategy “Maximise the value of our assets through commercial thinking with a focus on income generation, sustainability and developing local economies” is one they believe has significant potential. The Financial Plan considers how this might be progressed with the use of a Member Group (possibly the Budget Working Party) to consider business cases and suggests that a fund is created to unlock barriers to the Council progressing this aim. Detailed recommendations will be presented within the 2018/19 Budget approval process.”

page 60