No Tories in new EDDC Cabinet? Depends what you mean by Tory

Ian Thomas, former Leader of East Devon Tories, said when he resigned from the party after nominations had closed. This is what he had to say by way of explanation:

… Cllr Thomas said: “With a heavy heart, I confirm my resignation from the Conservative Party on April 17, 2019.

“My decision was in no way related to the excellent case being presented by East Devon District Council Conservatives in the pre-election period. Theirs is an outstanding presentation based on the performance delivered by a capable and experienced Conservative led team.

“It rather reflects deep disappointment in the performance of the Party elsewhere. …”

https://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/ian-thomas-resigns-from-conservative-group-1-6017272

So, is he or is he not a LOCAL Tory?

East Devon District Council: will the Tory bodies ever be exhumed?

One of the reasons so many Independent councillors were elected was because they were not Tories! People had become sick of the way the district had been run for the last 45 years and demanded change. Part of that change was to see exactly what Tories had been up to in those 45 years when transparency was in short supply.

So, on 3 May, we were presented with:

31 Independents (20 mostly eastern-based/central-based Independents, 11 mostly western-based Independent East Devon Alliance)
19 Tories
8 Lib Dems
2 Greens

An alliance of Independents, Lib Dems and Greens would have produced 41 non-Tories – easily outnumbering 19 Tories.

What we now know happened is that eastern-based Independents (Leader Ben Ingham, Exmouth) refused to work with East Devon Alliance. We assume that Lib Dems (who agreed to work with an Independent majority, but not form a coalition with them), were similarly excluded by Mr Ingham from working with his group.

Instead, Mr Ingham chose to work with the 19 Tories, an ex-Tory (former Tory Leader Ian Thomas) and several so-called Independent councillors whose late-onset Independent roots had never been obvious or put to the test. He gave the job of Chairman of the Council to Stuart Hughes, a Cabinet post to Ian Thomas, one of the jobs representing EDDC at Greater Exeter Strategic Plan meetings to Tory Philip Skinner and several other posts to other Tory councillors. Owl has no idea what the two Green (Exmouth-based) councillors think of this arrangement.

Despite this, CEO Mark Williams presumably decided that there were NOT 31 Independents, but two kinds of totally different Independents (Independent Group, EDA) and declared Tories as the “official opposition” – in spite of them holding Cabinet and other posts. Is this constitutionally correct? How does one decide? One asks the CEO – dead end there, then!

This has led to a Tory (“official opposition”) Alan Dent, being the head of the Scrutiny Committee – the only committee that now has wide investigative powers. The Chair of this committee can say Yes or No to requests for scrutiny of any subject – his word is the only word on what goes on an agenda (as long as the CEO agrees, of course).

So, is there any chance of the Scrutiny Committee holding the previous Tory administration to account? No, zero, zilch, nada in Owl’s view.

So those Tory bodies – lying quietly tucked away for the last 45 years are almost certain to continue enjoying their slumbers.

And all because some Independents can’t or won’t work with other Independents and local Lib Dems are keeping themselves well apart where, in other areas, coalitions of Independents, Greens and Lib Dems is promising real change in formerly true-blue districts.

What is so ironic about this whole story is that, in his political career, Ben Ingham has been a Tory councillor, an Independent Councillor and Leader of the East Devon Alliance!!!

Pitiful and shameful.

Is nationalisation now a Conservative Party policy?

Perhaps THIS is why EDDC ex-Tory Leader Ian Thomas left the party (though Owl is STILL waiting to hear his explanation).

Imagine the debates at EDDC as Twiss and Skinner have to argue for it!

“The British government will renationalise the management of probation services in England and Wales five years after a heavily criticised programme of privatisation was deemed to have put members of the public at risk.

The supervision of about 200,000 low and medium-risk offenders will be removed from part-private companies and taken over by the government when the current contracts end in December 2020, said Justice Minister David Gauke.The existing model was intended to drive down re-offending levels when it was introduced but the chief inspector of probation, described the system last month as being “irredeemably flawed”.

The probation watchdog had previously found thousands of offenders were being managed by a brief phone call once every six weeks. Some prisoners were being given tents on their release from jails, an inquiry into homelessness published in March found.

“Delivering a stronger probation system, which commands the confidence of the courts and better protects the public, is a pillar of our reforms to focus on rehabilitation and cut reoffending,” Gauke said.

The U-turn marks a fresh embarrassment for Transport Minister Chris Grayling, who introduced the shake-up when he was justice secretary and has been dubbed “Failing Grayling” by the British press.

In his current job, Grayling awarded a 14 million pound contract for companies to ferry in essential supplies to Britain in the event of a no-deal Brexit to a company that owned no boats.

The decision to partially privatise the probation service was heavily criticised at the time.

Companies including France’s Sodexo, the United States’ MTCnovo and British firms Working Links and Interserve have been given contracts to oversee probation services.

The government has already announced it would abolish the use of handing out of new contracts to private companies to run government projects after reviews revealed little evidence of financial benefits.

It has also moved to strip some companies of their contracts because of poor performance or due to financial trouble.

Last month, the government announced it was taking over the running of a Birmingham prison from private operator after inmate violence made it unmanageable.

Last year the collapse of Carillion, one of the biggest beneficiaries of such privatisation contracts, forced the government to step in to guarantee services ranging from school meals to roadworks that the company had previously provided.

A few months later, it renationalised the rail route between London and Edinburgh, taking back the line from a private company after it over-estimated profits.”

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-justice/britain-to-renationalise-probation-services-after-failed-privatisation-idUKKCN1SM0KC?

Diviani blames Tory “vendetta” for de-selection in Yarty …

This communication from ex-Leader and now also ex-councillor Paul Diviani really deserves a far wider audience than former Yarty voters:

“Dear All

As there is not a lot of substance to report other than repetition and the ghastly shenanigans afoot nationally, regionally and within the Conservative Party, I feel I should draw a line under my 20 years representing Yarty.

I have appreciated the many friendships I have made in that time and will always have your best interests in mind.

For the sake of clarity, I was deselected by the Conservative Executive as a result of a personal vendetta from standing in Yarty and had to find another ward away from Tiverton and Honiton with a disastrous personal result.

Wishing you all the best for the future and if I can help in any way (without interfering!) I am at the end of a call.”

No, Paul, everything really is fine in Yarty, the voters have spoken, so its time to hang up your Tory council boots … no-one appreciates old Grandpa insisting he’s the only one who knows how things should be done! And those disastrous results would almost certainly have been just as bad in Yarty.

Though, for the sake of even more clarity, Owl thinks you might name a few names before you hang them up!

And it certainly shows that there is definitely “something VERY nasty in the woodpile” if the current and ex-Leader complain about the party that served them so well until recently.

Owl is STILL waiting for Ian Thomas to explain exactly which of the national Tory policies he disagreed with (since he is on record as saying all was fine among East Devon Tories when it so obviously wasn’t).

Former EDDC Tory leader writes to explain his defection – well, sort of … not quite!

Minimally enlightening, unfortunately. Hard to explain why you defected when you agree with everything your former party did/is doing/will do!

Sorry, for Owl he’s still “Not-quite Independent LiteTory”! And Owl is STILL waiting for him to explain which NATIONAL policies caused him to resign.

Come on, Mr Thomas – no whip now – you could speak your mind if you wanted to.

Or is it too close to 2 May to speak freely …

Post 2 May actions will speak louder than these vague words.

 

 

Can you be TRULY independent if you agree with EVERYTHING the Tories are doing locally?

Ian Thomas has updated his website (though it still has a Tory blue background.

In his statement, he says:

“… My decision was in no way related to the excellent case being presented by East Devon District Council Conservatives in the pre-election period. Theirs is an outstanding presentation based on the performance delivered by a capable and experienced Conservative led team.

It rather reflects deep disappointment in the performance of the Party elsewhere. …”

Can he REALLY then call himself Independent?

The full statement:

“With a heavy heart, I confirm my resignation from the Conservative Party on 17th April 2019.

My decision was in no way related to the excellent case being presented by East Devon District Council Conservatives in the pre-election period. Theirs is an outstanding presentation based on the performance delivered by a capable and experienced Conservative led team.

It rather reflects deep disappointment in the performance of the Party elsewhere.

I have resigned the leadership of the East Devon District Council Conservative Group but, remain Leader of the Council until the Annual Meeting on 22nd May, if re-elected; otherwise I will step down on 3rd May.
I am arranging that all 2,192 electors in my home Trinity Ward receive a personal letter, hand delivered by my team and me. This explains that should I be honoured by re-election, I will sit as an Independent Councillor not aligned to any political party or group.

To ensure that East Devon District Council delivers the services Axmouth, Combpyne-Rousdon and Uplyme residents want and value, in a caring, open and transparent environment.

Please note; as my resignation dates from after the closure of nominations, your ballot paper on May 2nd will still identify me as representing the Conservative Party. It is not possible to change how this is displayed, however I confirm that, should I be re-elected to serve Trinity I will immediately do so as an Independent Councillor, not aligned to any political party or group.

Ian”

Trinity Ward Member resigns from Conservative Party

Tory EDDC Leader defection goes national (on a pro-Lib Dem website)

“Very odd timing for this news about the now former Conservative leader of East Devon Council, Ian Thomas:

The leader of East Devon District Council has quit the Conservative Party…

Cllr Thomas blamed the performance of the Party nationally for his departure and emphasised it had nothing to do with local issues.

He also added that if re-elected, he will sit as an Independent. [Devon Live].

What makes the timing so odd is that this has come after his nomination papers went in… with the Conservative Party name and logo.

Ian Thomas is therefore still appearing on ballot papers as the Conservative Party candidate.”

Conservative council leader leaves it oddly late to quit his party