Tuesday, 10 February 2015
Party time at Knowle!
I CAN’T recall a story that has stimulated such a reaction than the one we broke last week about the East Devon Alliance forming into an official political party and fielding at least 40 candidates to take on the Tory domination at East Devon District Council at the May elections.
Such was the importance of the story that I took the unusual decision of making it the front page lead on each of our six editions across East Devon.
Pulman’s View had hardly hit the streets when my mobile started to ring. I must have fielded at least 15 calls before 11am on my way by train to London, and it soon became clear that my fellow first class passengers were getting a bit annoyed, prompting me to put the phone on silent before dealing with the calls at Waterloo.
Predictably we were accused of political bias. There was only one reason why we decided to give the story such prominence in all editions - news value. At no time since local government was reformed and East Devon came into power had any group mustered 40 or more candidates to fight a local election under one umbrella. I don’t live in East Devon so I can’t be accused of voting for the East Devon Alliance. But I admire their determination to provide the electorate of East Devon with an alternative and their view that rather than moaning on the sidelines they decided to do something about it. That can only be good for local democracy.
This column is not anti-Tory (I have some very good true-Blue friends). But it is anti-arrogance - and I believe that’s one of the major reasons why so many people are disillusioned with the current set-up.
Such stories, of course, fuel the rumour mill which has been working overtime with suggestions that some Tory councillors want to defect and others have been deselected.
We don’t know whether they are true or not - but we are on the case.
And I was tickled that the East Devon Alliance members decided to throw a party last Saturday night - at Knowle!