I write in reply to the attempt by Tim Veneer (actually Tim Venner) to smear my name in last week’s Pulman’s View.

Of course, Mr Venner was the conservative candidate for Ottery Town in last year’s EDDC elections.

Oddly, he criticises me for trying to get West Hill Road reopened and for opposing school crossing patrol cuts. Then he objects to me not aligning myself to a “particular political philosophy or ideology” in last year’s general election. Presumably, he means not aligning myself to a PARTY. 

Perhaps after reading this letter Mr Venner might research the meaning of the word independent?

He then moves on to my demonstration against corporate tax avoidance in Sidmouth last month.  The main source of his distaste here relates to the people attending the protest. Apparently, I should have vetted everyone who attended and barred anyone who had left of centre political views. Unison comes in for special disapproval by Mr Venner. 

He also doesn’t like that I referred to the well respected tax expert, Richard Murphy’s figures to inform my calculations of Devon’s possible lost tax share.  Why?  Yes … yep you guessed it, Mr Murphy isn’t a conservative. 

Mr Venner saves what he thinks is his worst insult till the last paragraph. Apparently I “fraternise with trots, socialists and unions.” 

Well … yes I do Mr Venner, and I am happy to. In my work as Devon County Councillor for the residents of Ottery Rural I also “fraternise” with conservatives, Ukip, liberal democrats, labour, greens and other independents.  It helps to get things done.  It helps me be the most effective councillor I can be for Ottery Rural.