EDDC: political power … could be radically rejigged …

Currently:

Conservatives: 19
Green Party: 2
Independent Group: 19
Independent 1
Independent East Devon Alliance: 11
Liberal Democrats: 8

IF East Devon Alliance, Independent, Green and Lib Dems
formed a coalition they would number 22.

It would then be:
Conservatives 19
The Independent Group 19
Coalition Group 22

The coalition would be the biggest group ……….. and could, if they so wished, bring in a committee system …….

Wright v Swire – this must be a straight contest

In the light of the by-election last night, which saw the strongest pro-Remain candidate win against the incumbent Conservative, Lib Dems and Greens shoyld surely ensure that Claire Wright, who embodies all their policies, must be allowed a straight run against the risible Hugo Swire.

It would probably be too much to expect Labour to do the same, although they should, since their chances of gaining the seat are zero.

Let’s hope common sense prevails so that we can oust the barely seen multi-job London and Middle-East based Tory to the ever-present, ever fighting, ever-local Independent.

New Lib Dem leader voting record – not what you might expect

Presumably, this information in a Guardian comment comes from the theyworkforyou website which tracks all parliamentary votes by MPs. She has already bedn dubbed “Yellow Tory” – oh dear!

On The Environment

Consistently voted for selling England’s state owned forests

Generally voted against financial incentives for low carbon emission electricity generation methods

Generally voted against greater regulation of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract shale gas

On Education

Voted for raising England’s undergraduate tuition fee cap to £9,000 per year

Almost always voted for academy schools

Consistently voted for ending financial support for some 16-19 year olds in training and further education

Consistently voted for university tuition fees

Generally voted for reducing central government funding of local government

Economic Policies

Almost always voted for increasing the rate of VAT

Consistently voted against increasing the tax rate applied to income over £150,000

Generally voted against a banker’s bonus tax

Almost always voted against an annual tax on the value of expensive homes (popularly known as a mansion tax)

Almost always voted for reducing the rate of corporation tax

Almost always voted against restricting the provision of services to private patients by the NHS

On Austerity

Almost always voted for reducing housing benefit for social tenants deemed to have excess bedrooms (which Labour describe as the “bedroom tax”)

Consistently voted against raising welfare benefits at least in line with prices

Consistently voted against paying higher benefits over longer periods for those unable to work due to illness or disability

Consistently voted for making local councils responsible for helping those in financial need afford their council tax and reducing the amount spent on such support

Almost always voted for a reduction in spending on welfare benefits

Almost always voted against spending public money to create guaranteed jobs for young people who have spent a long time unemployed

Democratic Policies

Generally voted against a more proportional system for electing MPs

Generally voted for fixed periods between parliamentary elections

Generally voted for requiring the mass retention of information about communications

Others

Consistently voted against slowing the rise in rail fares

Generally voted against greater regulation of gambling

Generally voted for the privatisation of Royal Mail

Generally voted for restricting the scope of legal aid

Generally voted for use of UK military forces in combat operations overseas”

EDDC Lib Dem councillor asks: “When is an Independent really independent?”

Opinion piece from EDDC Lib Dem Councillor Eileen Wragg. Though Owl feels obliged to add that she was flexible enough herself as a Lib Dem to be a member of the overwhelmingly Tory council cabinet last time around!

“We are living in uncertain times, with politics in turmoil, unrest at home and abroad. We seem to have lost direction and are desperately in need of leadership.

For some years now, I have believed that the party political system has been failing, the public despairing that they are not being listened to by those in positions of power.

Recent local elections gave voters the opportunity to express their frustrations and disquiet, which resulted in the Conservatives being ousted from power at East Devon District Council (EDDC), after 45 years, and at Exmouth Town Council after twelve years.

Having attended the first full council meeting at EDDC, I found the situation bizarre.

The Independents now form the largest group on that council.

I cannot get my head around how an Independent can become part of a group.

To me it is a contradiction; either you are an Independent or you’re not.

I tried to reason this view with the chief executive there, and he told me that it was due to political balance.

My beliefs became further compounded when, at that first meeting, the Independents, who sat together at the front of the council chamber, appeared to vote in unison in making appointments to the various committees.

The electorate who voted in May’s elections were mostly disillusioned with how local government had been operating, and there was definitely a strong protest made.

But what do we have now?

An intake of new councillors, who, unless they are known to voters, many of us don’t know what they stand for.

The next four years will be interesting, during which time the new councils will be able to prove their worth.”

https://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/east-devon-wragg-independent-council-opinion-1-6127634

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.

Lib Dems and Indies unite against Tories – in Torbay, not East Devon

Here in East Devon it seems the larger group of Independents is working with Tories and very recently ex-Tories (called TiggerTories by Owl), leaving the smaller Lib Dem and East Devon Alliance Independents groups out in the cold. Not what most non-Tory voters were expecting. … or wanting.

“The new political leadership of Torbay Council has announced plans to invest £100m in the local economy.

The authority’s Liberal Democrat leader Steve Darling revealed the initiative to drive economic growth in a video posted on social media.

He said they had told council officers to develop business plans for £100m worth of investments.

The strategy was a key election pledge by the Liberal Democrats, who saw a big rise in support at the election in May.

The party’s councillors have joined with the Independents in a formal alliance to take control of the authority, leaving the Tories in opposition. …”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/new-council-leaders-announce-100m-2949176

New “Lead Members” (aka Champions) for new council includes 8 Conservatives

More Tories get posts:

Ian Hall
Andrew Moulding
Tom Wright
Mike Allen
Chris Pepper
Maddy Chapman
Bruce de Saram
Helen Parr

One East Devon Alliance – Dan Ledger
One Kib Dem: Steve Gazzard
Two Greens – Olly Davey, Tony Woodward