• I ENDORSE JESS BAILEY AS I STAND DOWN IN COUNTY COUNCIL ELECTIONS

    The press release below has just been issued ...  Jess Bailey, Independent EDDC councillor for West Hill and Aylesbeare, has been endorsed by Claire Wright for the Otter Valley Ward in the forthcoming Devon County Council elections. Claire has decided not seek re-election to the Otter Valley Ward, to pursue new career opportunities. Claire said: “My decision to stand aside may come as a [...]

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    A glimmer of hope for Tipton St John Primary School funding?

    I received the email below from a representative of Education minister, Baroness Berridge. I have emboldened the last paragraph which contains a glimmer of hope for future funding. It's the first time since 2015 that there is a possibility that Tipton St John School may receive government funding.  Now is the time to increase our campaigning and I am talking to Tipton St John parents on [...]

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    Education Secretary stonewalls Devon County Council on anti-racist motion

    The Education Secretary has stonewalled Devon County Council for four months, following my anti-racist motion and Diversity in Devon campaign with four King's School Students, last year. Following the full council meeting on 1 October, when there was agreement to lobby the Secretary of State for Education urging him to address diversity issues more fully in the national curriculum, [...]

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    Motion: Lobbying the government on bee killing pesticide u-turn

    I was appalled to see that the government has u-turned on the use of the notorious bee killing pestcides, neonicitonoids. My motion before full council today is as follows: This council regrets the government's u-turn on using neonicitinoids banned under EU law, and which have proved to be damaging to our vital bee population, other insects and birds and water courses. This council calls on the[...]

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    It's budget day at Devon County Council... Here's my speech...

    This is the eleventh year of austerity. And the second year of no government funding cuts. That’s not because austerity is over it’s because there is nothing left to cut. Because central government ministers have now removed the revenue support grant in its entirety. Total reductions to budgets since 2010, is over £280million. Core funding to DCC has reduced by 72% in real terms. So [...]

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    Ministers ignore Tipton School's plight and announce funding for 50 school rebuilds

    I have just issued this update on my petition for the government to fund the relocation of Tipton St John Primary School, within the village.......................... Dear all, thank you so much for taking the time to sign and share this petition. The government has unexpectedly announced the 50 schools that will be funded for a rebuild. We weren't expecting this news for a few weeks yet. [...]

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    How Independents are being disadvantaged by the local election leafleting ban

    Here's a piece I wrote for Westcountry Bylines earlier this month on how Independent candidates are being significantly disadvantaged in the forthcoming elections, which will take place on 6 May. https://westcountrybylines.co.uk/may-local-elections-level-playing-field-doesnt-look-that-way/

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    How the pandemic is causing a Devon explosion in unpaid carers and distress

    I have always taken an interest in difficulties facing unpaid carers. Having heard from many unpaid carers during my role as a councillor, my heart goes out to them in what is often a hard and lonely job, often fraught with struggles to access the financial help they are entitled to. I proposed a Health Scrutiny review into this issue several times during 2018/19 before it was eventually [...]

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    Report on dentistry services across Devon to be scrutinised at March meeting

    Given the grim news below I have asked officers for a full report on dentistry in Devon at the next Health and Adult Care Scrutiny meeting in March. I am told that representatives from NHS England and NHS Improvement have been invited. I asked for a report last year following local complaints about long waiting times and concerns from dentists themselves on similar issues. The report we [...]

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    Education minister urged to include Tipton St John School for rebuild in latest programme

    I sent the letter below to Education minister, Baroness Berridge, this afternoon...   Dear Baroness Berridge   I am writing to you asking that you consider the above much loved school, for your current rebuilding programme.   I would have written to you earlier but was advised against it because a planning application for a new school build was in progress (along with 150 houses to[...]

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    Who is (still) trying to hack into my website?

    While I was experiencing email problems yesterday morning he had a call from the data centre who look after his server. They informed him that one website (mine) was being "bombarded" and that they would have to suspend it or it would bring down all 733 websites. Apparently the attacker was simulating thousands of hits to my website in order to take it offline. It worked. For a while. My[...]

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    Is this the worst week ever of the Conservative government's rule? Our MP should explain himself

    In the blizzard of appalling decisions voted through this week by Conservative MPs, it's hard to know which was worse. The Tories' approach appears to be parcel it up for one or two days, presumably in order to bamboozle the media and make the rest of us feel as though it is hopeless to oppose, keep up to date with, or get chance to ask our Conservative MPs to oppose the next atrocity they're [...]

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    Devon County Council agreed to talks with local MPs amid £2m projected overspend

    Devon County Council’s cabinet has agreed to initiate talks with local MPs, following my recommendation agreed at the November Adult Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee. Adult social care has been in a hugely precarious financial position, following what is now a decade of government funding cuts. As a result far fewer people are in receipt of personal care and unpaid carers are more [...]

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    People power saves Redbridge at Harpford!

    Huge thanks to over 2,000 local people who signed a petition myself and Newton Poppleford EDDC councillor, Val Ranger organised for Redbridge, at Harpford. The bridge, an important part of the East Devon Way was set to be permanently closed on safety grounds last autumn. Thanks to the strong support from local people, Devon County Council has funded rock armouring which has protected the [...]

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    Pro Trump violent mob actions are supported by almost half of Republican voters

    If you think that last night's violent storming of The Capitol Building by a lawless delusional mob were the actions of a crazy fringe group, you couldn't be more wrong. The YouGov Poll below appears to indicate that almost half of Republican voters ACTUALLY support the attempted coup, by thugs waving the Confederate flag, long used by the Ku Klux Klan as a symbol of white supremacy. [...]

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    EDDC planning committee refuses 150 houses and relocation of Tipton school

    East Devon District Council's planning committee has just refused a "tough" application for a relocation of Tipton St John Primary School, accompanied by 150 houses, on the edge of Ottery St Mary. The application was refused by 11 votes, with two votes in favour and two abstentions. The application, submitted by Devon County Council, was triggered to try and protect school places in the [...]

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    A shambolic response to the pandemic... plus a link to help from Devon County Council

    Well here we are again in a national lockdown. In some ways worse than last March and in other ways better! First I must get some stuff off my chest! I am totally speechless over the shambolic planning by the government, or perhaps lack of it during this pandemic... and the impact that this has had on our health and care staff, teachers, parents, business owners, children and students, as [...]

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    Quarry company submits planning application for livestock crossing over B3174 Exeter Road

    Aggregate Industries has submitted a cynical planning application for a livestock crossing over the B3174 (the road from Ottery St Mary to the Daisymout roundabout). The application, which is for land next to and opposite Straitgate Farm, claims to be improving an existing situation where a few times a year local farmers must cross cattle and sheep. However, the real reason behind the [...]

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    Long-awaited safety works to Four Elms Hill to take place in the new year...!

    Long-campaigned for safety works to Four Elms Hill are now diaried for the new year, Devon County Council has confirmed. A reduction to the national speed limit to 4omph and a doubling of the central white lines has been deemed necessary by local people for many years to reduce the number of accidents, including at least one fatality. I have supported campaigners from Newton Poppleford Parish [...]

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    DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL TO WRITE TO SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EDUCATION ON DIVERSITY

    So today was Anti-racism motion D Day at the County Council! It was slightly complicated by a last minute amendment by the Leader, one aspect improved it and another aspect slightly watered it down... BUT.. A group of King's School Sixth form politics students have actually influenced Devon County Council's ruling Conservative group to write to the Secretary of State for Education [...]

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