“Millions Of Voters Forced To Choose Between Just Two Parties In Local Elections”

Fortunately, many (real) Independents standing in East Devon.

“Millions of voters will be forced to choose between just two political parties in next week’s local elections despite plummeting support for the Conservatives and Labour, new analysis shows.

More than 2.6m potential voters in 816 council seats across England will face a choice between just two candidates despite nearly half (40%) of the public supporting parties that are not the “big two”, up from 20% in December, according to YouGov polls.

Nearly half of the two-way contests – 56% – will see the Tories and Labour battle it out without any challenge, while a further 20% are Tory-Liberal Democrat battles. …”

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/millions-forced-to-choose-between-just-two-parties-in-local-elections_uk_5cc2f784e4b0817069682138

Meet your Independent candidate in Honiton tomorrow

Tony McCollum 100% Independent candidate for EDDC will be holding his surgery at the back room of Lace makers cafe tomorrow 10am to 2pm for anyone who would like to speak to him with any of their concerns regarding local issues.

This is because due to bad weather coming in tomorrow the market wont be available to him. Tony is hoping to see you tomorrow as he promised he wanted to give residents the chance to chat with him

THAT question, part 2 …

Comment from retiring Independent councillor Roger Giles on the fact that Councillor Ian Thomas resigned from the Conservative Party on 17 April 2019 but neither he nor the local Conservative Party made this known to the public until yesterday:

“There was, of course, a meeting of the Conservative-run East Devon District Council on 24 April.

The meeting was chaired by Ian Thomas, although he was apparently no longer a member of the Conservative Party.

Nothing was said at the meeting about his changed situation.

I imagine many people at the meeting were unaware of the very strange situation.

I imagine the meeting might have taken a different course had it been generally known.”

Questions about “THAT” resignation … the missing 12 days

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

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

Owl is puzzled.

Why did Councillor Thomas wait until yesterday (a week later) to make this information public?

Was Councillor Thomas aware before 5 April 2019 that he was so disaffected by his party that he might feel the need to resign from it?

If so, why did he not resign before 5 April?

If not, what new information did Councillor Thomas receive between 5 April (when nomination papers had to be officially in for local elections) and 17 April 2019 when he resigned?

What national policies of his former party did Councillor Thomas disagree with that caused him to believe he could not continue in it at local level – what issues was it influencing locally that he disagreed with?

Councillor Thomas is now “Independent” so free from party whipping and completely free to discuss his views on this important topic so that voters in his ward understand what he will do differently in future – and why.

Independents and “Independents ” – Owl’s view

Well, first of all, what a turn up for the books! Esteemed Leader steps down one week before local elections and, with it being too late to change ballot papers, will be described as “Conservative ” while calling himself “Independent”!

One (Well, Owl) has to wonder – why now? If he blames Tory NATIONAL policy for his decision – what is so different about this week compared to last week, or last month or last year? Nothing – it’s been an omnishambles for what seems like forever!

First, let’s tackle him becoming “Independent”.

Owl has already had a LOT to say about Tories opportunistically becoming “Independent” when the going gets tough, it looks like they might lose to REAL Independents but they want to remain comfy councillors. In reality, if on the very unlikely off-chance they win, they then go on to vote EVERY time with Tories. (And, in the case of “Independent” Geoff Pook, even get a Cabinet position or plum Chairmanship. Beer does like to think it is a bit different, but not TOO different!

No, many of these so-called “Independents” are nothing but panicking Tories either (a) wanting to distance themselves from a bloodbath (b) wanting to distance themselves from the former party in case they are not in the majority and EDDC’s books get opened to the former opposition or (c) Both.

Of course, Councillor Thomas may be telling it as he sees it. But surely, in that case, if you are disaffected with your party at national level, but you are deep-down a Conservative, the right and proper thing to do is to stay in it and effect change from the bottom up.

It hardly seems a ‘Damascene Conversion’ at this point. It seems more like someone seeing a ship sinking and seeing no alternative way of getting off it.

Just remember – REAL Independents have:

A TRACK RECORD OF REAL INDEPENDENCE

STANDING ON A PLATFORM OF DEMOCRACY, ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY IN COUNCIL BUSINESS

EMBEDDED IN THEIR COMMUNITIES AS INDEPENDENTS AND BEING KNOWN FOR FIGHTING THEIR COMMUNITY’S CORNER

POLICIES THAT ARE DIFFERENT – REALLY DIFFERENT – TO THE MAINSTREAM PARTIES BECAUSE THEY ARE DIFFERENT!

FIGHTING CONSTANTLY ON LOCAL ISSUES – COMMUNITY HOSPITALS, NHS, OVER-DEVELOPMENT, REAL AFFORDABLE HOUSING, EDUCATION, ANTI-ASSET STRIPPING, PRESERVATION OF PUBLIC OPEN SPACES, NOT PUTTING BUSINESS PARKS IN THE WRONG PLACES, OR ROADS IN WRONG PLACES (WITH THE WRONG DEVELOPERS), FINANCIAL PROBITY …. PEOPLE BEFORE POLITICS

AND – ASKING THE AWKWARD QUESTIONS AND NOT BEING FOBBED OFF BY NON-ANSWERS

No, Councillor Thomas is an “Independent” not an INDEPENDENT!

Finally, Owl leaves you with its recent musings:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/04/21/beware-far-right-candidates-posing-as-independents-in-local-elections-or-even-as-tories/

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/04/18/some-tories-dont-appear-to-know-where-they-live/

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/03/24/local-tories-panic-at-last-minute-and-ask-what-you-think-too-little-too-late/

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/04/08/tory-council-candidates-list-their-party-as-local-conservatives-in-an-attempt-to-separate-themselves-from-theresa-mays-leadership/

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/03/30/councillors-discovering-a-new-sense-of-purpose-just-before-elections/

EDDC Leader deserts sinking ship one week before elections to become “Independent”!

For Owl’s reaction, see the post coming shortly above this one!

“Shock as leader of East Devon District Council quits the Conservative Party
Cllr Ian Thomas, who represents the Trinity ward, became leader of the council last May

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

Cllr Ian Thomas, who represents the Trinity ward, became leader of the council last May. But just days before the whole of the council is up for election, Cllr Thomas has confirmed he is no longer a member of the Conservative Party.

He has resigned as leader of the East Devon District Council Conservative Group, but he remains as the leader of the council, until either the Annual Meeting on May 22, if he is re-elected to the council, and not elected as the leader. If not re-elected on May 2, Cllr Thomas has said he will step down on May 3.

In his resignation statement sent exclusively to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, 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 and work as hard as he can to ensure delivers the services Axmouth, Combpyne-Rousdon and Uplyme residents want and value, in a caring, open and transparent environment.

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.

“I have resigned the leadership of the East Devon District Council Conservative Group but, remain Leader of the Council until the Annual Meeting on May 22, if re-elected; otherwise I will step down on May 3.

“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 confirms that should I be honoured by re-election, I will sit as an Independent Councillor not aligned to any political party or group, with this simple aim. 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.”

Cllr Thomas was first elected to the council in 2009 and has represented the Trinity ward ever since. He became leader of the council last May after Cllr Paul Diviani stepped down following seven years in the role.

Also standing In the Trinity ward in the elections is Labour candidate Sarah Birnie. Although Cllr Thomas has resigned from the Conservative Party and will sit as an Independent if elected, he will be listed as a Conservative on ballot papers as they have already been printed and sent out to those who have requested a postal vote.

At present, the Conservatives have control of the council, with 32 seats, following Cllr Thomas’s resignation from the Group. The Independent Group are the official opposition, with 14 councillors, while the Liberal Democrats hold seven seats with five further Independents, including Cllr Thomas, making up the 58 councillors.

Due to ward boundary changes, there will be 60 councillors elected on May 2, although three councillors have already been elected.

Mike Howe, as the only candidate in the Clyst Valley ward, and Steve Gazzard and Brenda Taylor as the only two candidates in the Exmouth Withycombe Raleigh ward, will be elected unopposed on May 2.”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/shock-leader-east-devon-district-2798046