Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Ruffling Tory feathers...

EAST Devon’s ebullient leader Paul Diviani, my spies at Knowle informed me this week, has been boasting about how the “bias” local press got it wrong in the local elections.

For “bias local press” read Pulman’s View for none of the other local papers rarely if ever offer an opinion on local government affairs in East Devon.

That being the case, Cllr Diviani is wide of the mark. At no time did we predict the result of the election; all we did was to draw attention to   increasing dissatisfaction with local government among the electorate which I firmly put down to the arrogance of some of the council’s senior members.

And whilst the Tories were returned with a comfortable majority, as expected and indeed stated in this column, a total of 16 seats went to independents, the biggest number since local government was reorganised in 1974.

I have been labelled by some of the ruling Conservatives as a left wing agitator because I had the temerity to welcome a challenge to the Tories. Well, it may interest them to know that I have voted Tory all my life (no one who reads this column will be too shocked to read that) - but I live across the border in West Dorset.

All the Tory big hitters were returned in East Devon but they will find it less comfortable to rule supreme with more independents sitting alongside them.

We’ve also taken some stick from East Devon constituent Conservatives who remain with a healthy majority because we were allegedly rooting for Independent Claire Wright. 

At no time did we advise our readers to vote for Claire but we did hail her success in polling 13,000-plus votes with no party machinery behind her as a terrific result. And we stand by that. It was, of course, the best performance by far in the country by a true independent.

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