Vote for (Tory) me and the kid gets it!

… Which well-known, long-serving Tory councillor was overheard suggesting to children at a youth club that a vote for him would be a vote for a skate park?

Presumably meaning votes by their parents – not even an EDDC Tory would be that thick? Er ….. moving on …

Naughty, naughty councillor – your card is marked …!

Guess which council is very picky where it (sort of) recruits new councillors?

Teignbridge District Council is actively promoting new councillor candidates via numerous events throughout the district.

When challenged, EDDC it seems is not – choosing instead to send CEO (and supposedly neutral civil servant) Mark Williams to selected events, only upon invitation. Like trueblue Budleigh Salterton.

It’s almost like they don’t want any new candidates signing up – thus allow the incumbents to romp back home without a contest thus maintaining (their trueblue) status quo…

Odd that …..

And maybe time to check that electoral roll again.

We don’t want to find ourselves with 6,000+ too few voters again do we, Mr Williams.

As Private Eye might say: Shom mistake shurely …

Party discipline? Not in our party’s backyard!

A little bird tells Owl that an East Devon resident is having trouble making a complaint about a local councillor who represents a mainstream political party in East Devon.

The councillor’s party seems to want to wash its hands of any involvement by saying that, as it has no whip (smirk) at a local level, so its hands are tied, and suggests waiting out a Monitoring Officer complaint before even thinking about action within its own party at a higher regional or national level.

But, as we all know, Monitoring Officers can take months and months to investigate complaints.

How convenient then that waiting several months for a Monitoring Officer report would allow any councillor who is the subject of a serious complaint to stand for their party in the next district election in May 2019 – with voters unaware that a such complaint is being investigated …

Electoral Commission – unfit due to modern loopholes

“Craig Mackinlay, the Conservative MP who was cleared while a senior Conservative official was convicted over election expenses, has some very critical things to say about the Electoral Commission.

Writing for PoliticsHome after his acquittal, the Conservative MP said:

“It is their responsibility to interpret the law into understandable guidance for candidates and agents and have extra-statutory authority to produce guidance and rules to assist the electoral process. During the trial, the prosecution spent days considering the status of personalised and party generic Correx boards. Conservative Party guidance recommends a 4x potential use. If such plastic posters survive defacement or vandalism that characterises many election campaigns, they could last for many years. The Prosecution and Electoral Commission disputed that view, long held by the party. The Electoral Commission publishes not one word of guidance as to how to account for such boards, how to deal with criminal damage and replacements, relying on the vacuous phrase ‘honest assessment’. To face potential criminal conviction with life-changing consequences on the back of scant guidance cannot be right.”

That is but one of a range of details over which the Electoral Commission’s guidance is indeed unhelpful. Sometimes the Electoral Commission has played with being weirdly prescriptive. (I still remember the discussion I had with them about depreciation rules for party rosettes.) Often however it has also – as the above example illustrates – super-cautiously vague.

Part of the problem, I suspect, is that lack of detailed knowledge in the Electoral Commission, an absence of knowledge bizarrely illustrated by its mistakes over pencils:

https://www.markpack.org.uk/143476/indelible-pencils/

A much bigger problem, however, is one that MPs such as Craig Mackinlay share with the Electoral Commission. Even if no-one breaks the law, the rules limiting constituency expenditure have collapsed because so much can now be done that is charged against the much more generous national limit.

What used to be a tight limit on constituency expenditure set by the law is now in effect a massively generous limit set by the size of your bank account. See the full details here:

https://www.markpack.org.uk/130283/internet-speeds-up-the-killing-off-of-expense-controls-in-marginal-seats/

Neither MPs nor regulators have done anything so far other than sit on the sidelines, often apparently oblivious and always unresponsive to this collapse.”

https://www.markpack.org.uk/157315/craig-mackinlay-electoral-commission/

Want to change things in East Devon – become an independent councillor

You don’t have to do it alone – East Devon Alliance is happy to help those who want to help their communities, who have that necessary independent streak, and who are happy to adhere to the Nolan Principles of Public Life:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-7-principles-of-public-life/the-7-principles-of-public-life–2

Elections take place on 2 May 2019.

Young people, women, minorities and people with disabilities are particularly unrepresented on councils – there is a government fund for helping disabled people to become councillors:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cash-grants-to-help-disabled-people-in-standing-for-election-extended-for-another-year

If you are interested, you can attend the EDA AGM on Saturday 23 February 2019 at 11 am (Dissenters Hall, Sidmouth) where you can meet current councillors or you can contact EDA at:

secretaryeastdevonalliance@gmail.com

The more independent councillors there are, the sooner East Devon can be changed for the better. No following party lines, no party whip, no instructions from people who know nothing about your area and care only about party policies … what’s stopping you!

Will we ever be sure how some Tory MPs voted on May?

Take, say, Hugo Swire. He has not said how he would vote. Say Mrs May wins – he can say he voted for her but could have voted against her as the ballot is secret.

Or, if she loses he can say he voted against her to be in with a chance with a new Leader.

Although Parish says he voted for her, he can’t prove that either – he might have secretly voted against her!

Doesn’t matter what those declared and undeclared voters voted for – it can never be proved.

Transparent? Of course not!