Report that Randall-Johnson was with Swire and Minister of Health at Ottery St Mary

“If you thought Health Secretary Matt Hancock was a safe pair of hands for the NHS after Jeremy Hunt think again. Comedy antics ensued when the Hancock turned up at Ottery hospital. First he hid, then he hurried.

Matt may well have been doing a favour for a rich mate, East Devon money-bags MP Hugo Swire, but at what price, making him appear a hapless lacky to East Devon’s Tory elite.

Hugo by-passed the Department of Health to take Matt hospital surfing. They went to Budleigh Salterton Hospital, before popping into in Ottery.

East Devon Councillor and Devon County Council Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee Councillor Claire Wright was on hand, along with some residents, to ask the Health Secretary some questions.

Unfortunately, he was holed up solely with a number of East Devon Tories, including Sara Randall Johnson, chair of the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee. East Devon MP, Mr Swire and his aides were also present.

Have a read of Claire’s account. It certainly seems weird, so does the behaviour of the communication people of the NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group.

‘Why was he so frightened about talking to a dozen residents, and the local county councillor?’ asks Claire.

‘I had been quite encouraged that he was visiting the hospital and wanted to hear from him that he will protect Ottery’s and other hospitals. After all, Mr Hancock commands the NHS and also NHS Property Services, which now owns many hospital buildings in the area.

‘They are all at risk of possible closure and sell-off due to the lack of funding available to pay the enormous rents NHS Property Services demands.

‘But his cowardly escape bid simply gave the impression of a man who does not wish to be even remotely accountable.’

But that’s not all. Here’s the response of an East Devon constituent, as posted by Channel 5 News Health Correspondent Catherine Jones (check out the picture).

[There follow many hilarious comments on Swire’s justification for his actions and a You Tube video of Hancock doing a karaoke version of “Can’t Stop Me Now]

http://www.theprsd.co.uk/2018/09/27/first-he-hides-then-he-hurries-health-secretary-hancock-hot-foots-it-on-east-devon-hospital-visit/

“The Tories Have Accidentally Revealed The Personal Mobile Numbers Of Hundreds Of MPs And Journalists On Their Conference App”

These are the people charged with our Brexit it negotiations and keeping the UK safe!!!

“The Conservative party has accidentally allowed the personal mobile phone numbers of hundreds of MPs, journalists, and party members to be revealed to the public on its conference app.

A security flaw allowed anyone who downloaded the app to log in as any attendee to the party conference, which begins in Birmingham tomorrow, using only their email address. No password was required to view any attendee’s personal details, including their mobile phone number.

BuzzFeed News was able to access the personal mobile phone numbers of cabinet ministers, MPs, journalists, and Tory party members within seconds.

Users of the app are also able to change the privacy settings of other attendees using only their email address, allowing anyone else using the app to search their name and then view their mobile number.

An MP who had their personal phone number tweeted out told BuzzFeed News: “CCHQ genuinely can’t be trusted to do anything. This is a serious security breach and no laughing matter. Whoever is responsible needs to go.”

Labour MP Jon Trickett said: “How can we trust this Tory Government with our country’s security when they can’t even build a conference app that keeps the data of their members, MPs and others attending safe and secure?”

Journalist Dawn Foster reported being able to log in as Boris Johnson and then view his personal mobile number.”

https://www.buzzfeed.com/alexwickham/the-tories-have-accidentally-revealed-the-personal-mobile

“The government’s voter ID plans are ‘rearranging the deckchairs’ in the face of new threats to our democracy”

“On May 3rd 2018, 350 people were denied a vote in their local council elections. Their crime? Not possessing the right ID. The minister hailed these trials of mandatory voter ID as a ‘success’. The government must have a strange definition of success.

The scheme disenfranchised far more ordinary voters than potential wrongdoers: in a single day across the five councils, twice as many people didn’t vote due to having incorrect ID as have been accused of personation in eight years across the whole of the UK.

Out of 45 million votes last year, there were just 28 allegations of ‘personation’ (only one was solid enough to result in conviction). And yet the government seems determined to pursue voter ID, a policy we now know could cost up to £20 million per general election. This change to how we vote is a marked departure from the trust-based British way of running elections, and with little evidence to justify it.

It’s claimed that mandatory voter ID could boost faith in the democratic process. Yet according to academic research, 99 percent of election staff do not think fraud has occurred in their polling stations. Eighty-eight percent (88%) of the public say they think our polling stations are safe. And studies show that more accessible elections have greater electoral integrity – not the other way round.

The policy of mandatory strict ID presents a significant risk to democratic access and equality. Millions of people lack the strictest forms of required documentation. Documentation that is costly to acquire. It’s one of the reasons why organisations from the Runnymede Trust to the Salvation Army and Stonewall are concerned about these plans. The Windrush scandal earlier this year highlighted exactly the difficulties some legitimate voters could have in accessing identity documents – through no fault of their own.

If mandatory ID were to be rolled out nationally, it could potentially result in tens of thousands of voters being denied a say. And it would hit the already marginalised hardest: poorer C2DE social grade voters were half as likely to say they were aware of the ID requirements before the trials this May. And despite the costly publicity campaign this time, after election day, an average of around a quarter of residents were not aware of the pilots in four of the council areas – around four in 10 were not aware in Watford.

Imposing ID could have a significant impact on election outcomes, too. Thirteen seats were won at the 2017 Parliamentary election with a majority less than the number of people denied a vote in Bromley alone this May.

Yet still the government insists on running more trials of mandatory ID despite a broader commitment to improve democratic engagement and access. It is clear that much work needs to be done to remove barriers to voting, not to construct new ones. The most widespread problem poll staff have highlighted is voters turning up and not being on the register. Access for voters with disabilities is also a frequently cited problem.

We’ve learnt a lot this year, with our election and information regulators and parliamentarians highlighting the shocking state of the unregulated ‘wild west’ that is online campaigning. From the spread of disinformation, to secret political donations and ‘dark ads’, the real threats to our democracy are becoming clear.

In the face of these challenges, imposing voter ID is like rearranging the deckchairs of our democracy while we head towards an iceberg. The crucial task for government now is to focus on the real problems – we need to get to work solving them.”

Full report here:
https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/latest-news-and-research/publications/a-sledgehammer-to-crack-a-nut-the-2018-voter-id-trials/

https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/the-governments-voter-id-plans-are-rearranging-the-deckchairs-in-the-face-of-new-threats-to-our-democracy/

“Citizens’ Juries could become the core of a revived local democracy”

Owl says: a bit too radical for EDDC which is predicated on NOT listening to its citizens! It surely would have to be forced on the district with its current majority party!

“The Department of Digital, Culture Media and Sport has also now decided to pilot participatory democratic approaches in local authorities around England. Scotland and Wales are having their own discussions.

As with many innovations, the devil will be in the detail.

They will need to be representative of the area they are discussing. If half the residents are over 50, half the jury members should be too. They mustn’t be self-selecting: they can’t be yet another platform for the already engaged.

Both the Democracy Matters assembly on city regions and the Citizens’ Assembly on Brexit paid participants a token amount to reach ordinary citizens who wouldn’t normally volunteer.

In order for them to be Citizens’ Juries in more than just name, they need to have three equally important phases.

The first phase is learning about the options and how the process will work. Participants are guided through the current state of affairs and presented with the options for change.

Traditionally this has meant impartial experts preparing papers and delivering short lectures, which Ed Hammond correctly points out can get quite expensive. To combat this, we ran an experimental deliberative programme in the run-up to the EU referendum with recorded videos from academics from the ESRC’s UK in a Changing Europe project.

Following their briefing, participants then hear from campaigners, presenting their case for why the assembly should side with them. Members can question them armed with the knowledge they gained in the previous phase, and – if the assemblies I’ve attended are any measure – will rigorously scrutinise them.

The last phase is the deliberation itself. Breaking up into small groups and facilitated to ensure no one person dominates, they discuss amongst themselves everything they’ve heard, feeding back into the full assembly and eventually voting.

Citizens’ Juries are nothing like the fractious social media debate that tends to pass for political discussion today. All sides have a common pool of knowledge to draw from, and by discussing issues face-to-face, are far more likely to compromise.

They are also, in many ways, at the opposite end from the local councils they will be advising. Due to the voting system, local government in England is not representative of local political opinions, let alone local demographics.

It would be a shame if Citizens’ Juries became just another institution bolted on to deal with the unrepresentative nature of our local electoral system, rather than deal with the problem at the source. …”

https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/citizens-juries-could-become-the-core-of-a-revived-local-democracy/

Labour councillor cautioned for voting twice in election

“Faisal Rana, a Labour councillor in Rochdale, has been cautioned by the police after admitting voting twice in May’s elections for the location council.

Cllr Rana has properties in two different wards and joined the electoral register at both addresses. The wards are in different Parliamentary constituencies but both within Rochdale council. Faisal Rana cast votes in both wards at the Rochdale council elections earlier this year.

It is legal to be registered in more than one place, such as students who can register both at home and at university if they have gone away for university. But it is illegal to vote more than once for the same body. One of those example students could, for example, vote in both places at council elections if they are for different local councils. They could only vote once in a general election.

Faisal Rana said:

I have accepted a police caution for an electoral offence, which relates to me casting separate votes for two different wards in two different Constituencies (Spotland and Falinge, and Norden Ward) in the local elections earlier this year.

I legally registered my votes by providing my genuine national insurance number, date of birth and addresses and when I received these through the post I thought it would have been OK and that is why they issued me two ballots for two constituencies.

I did not realise this was an offence and misinterpreted the rule that says it is possible to vote in two different electoral areas.

Cllr Rana had held the assistant finance portfolio in the ruling Labour group. He is now reported to have “stepped away” from the role.”

https://www.markpack.org.uk/155712/faisal-rana-rochdale-voting-twice/?goal=0_8f22492d8e-8327d54ac1-312639877