There are lies, damn lies, and tory election leaflets

They must think we are all so stupid.

The latest East Devon Conservative leaflets are doing the rounds and the amount of misinformation is shocking. I don’t really understand all this – I don’t get why it is legal to print whatever you want with no thought about proving it, without costing alternatives, without any kind of being held to account.

I’m going to take each section separately and just use this page to counter the nonsense to make myself feel better. Please do get in touch if you would like to argue any of the points I have made! I like a good discussion. What I don’t like is the use of money from anonymous sources to a national party, used to discredit the work that some of us in this area do without the levels of finance they have, those of us who do this role because we want to make great changes and help EDDC continue to improve after the years of mismanagement at the hands of these charlatans.

Just today we have a tweet from the MP for East Devon, slamming our leader:

“The current leader of @EastDevon takes only 3 of his “independent” group with him to the Lib Dems. By any measure, this is a total failure of leadership. The mask slips for a few, with the majority refusing to follow their leader. Hardly surprising after the last 3 years!”


I mean this from a man who is meant to be working with his local government partners? Has he got nothing better to do in a cost of living crisis, an environment emergency, a time of humanitarian crossroads? Just to put the record straight, I would walk through fire for Paul Arnott. He has been nothing but truthful, encouraging and so positive for me personally, and is a man of integrity and huge courage. He has headed our alliance and confronted extremely contentious issues within the council that are legacy items from the previous two administrations, whilst forging a strong alliance with East Devon Alliance, Lib Dems and Greens, as well as independents. He has been truthful about his decision to join the Lib Dems for months with us, and given us free reign to think how best we wasn’t to represent our own wards should we be re-elected. I would have no hesitation in nominating him to continue being Leader if we are lucky enough of be in that position come May 5th.

So, back to the other leaflets that have winged their way from the printers to our doormats. Here they are for you to peruse:

Honestly I need to go through this line by line.

  1. A Conservative lead council will build the right type of houses in the right place, protect public toilets, reduce car parking charges and save our seas and rivers from sewage. [They’ve actually used our words – right house in the right place; protect public toilets? We inherited their policy of cutting toilets and improved it so that we categorised toilets to protect and modernise, and toilet blocks that could be incorporated into a new business or community venture (but protected), and some that may need to be closed. The very vast majority of councils are CLOSING toilets so we are bucking that trend; Philip Skinner himself admitted at a meeting only a month ago that his group should have addressed the issue of car parking charges because they hadn’t raised them for years – not even in line with inflation or to compensate for the VAT change. He admitted this! We have been brave and acted in a way that we have protected lower fees for local residents with a great permit scheme (£10/month), and making the most of our fantastic beaches that are a draw to tourists and we are now in line with the majority of southwest tourist towns. We’ve seen an increase in revenue and the car parks still seem full so it seems to us that we did the right thing. What we really need is our County Council and Central Government to improve our public transport links and sort out Park and Rides for our town, particularly Sidmouth!]
  2. In just a few weeks, we will all face a choice about our area’s future. The local elections in May will decide who’s in charge of your local services – and how much council tax we pay for those services. [Please remember that we really don’t have much control over your council tax. EDDC collects the tax but it is dictated by Central Government, with DCC, town and parish councils and the police adding their bit – remember that EDDC only gets 7.18% of the total.]
  3. We have seen five years of mismanagement by the current council lead [sic] by independents, Liberal Democrats and the East Devon Alliance. They have failed residents and have not listen [ sic] to what matters to you. [Well firstly it’s been 3 years since we took over. Not long enough to get everything we want to change changed, but we have done a lot. And how exactly have we failed residents? What a glib statement!]
  4. These local elections matter and the votes of residents like you will be critical to the outcome. Your vote will decide whether the Conservatives can deliver on saving your public toilets, cutting the cost of parking and delivering the right homes, in the right places. [Saving public toilets? The ones that had NO investment for 10 years? Cutting the cost of parking – if you factor in inflation and VAT, we have raised it by 45p an hour, whilst introducing the £10/month permit for residents. And we are working on getting the right homes/right places and trying to improve the houses we have got – and trying to improve the service of the housing contractors we inherited too.]
  5. That’s why I’m asking you to sign up for a postal vote. With a postal vote, you can guarantee your say at the local elections. And that’s never been more important. [Fair enough – we do need you to vote – just not for the Tories!]
  6. During the last five years the current independents, Liberal Democrats and East Devon Alliance lead [sic] coalition have been in power they have been wasteful with your money, increasingly council tax significantly whilst doubling car parking charges and looking to close public toilets. [Again it’s 3 years; wasteful with your money? Seriously? We have balanced our budget whilst not losing any services! Increased council tax significantly? Our portion has gone up by 3.2% to £143.80 (Band C – £2.76 a week) – within the maximum allowed and remember that we receive xxx less than we did because of Central Government funding changes.]
  7. We have set out our six point plan and with your help we can change this council and deliver your priorities. [will deal with this below]
  8. With your support, we can deliver change and start focusing on our shared priorities, reducing wastage and costs, improving the environment, protecting our seas and rivers, building the right type of house in the right location. [Reducing waste and costs? what waste? Which costs will they reduce? Which services? Protecting our seas and rivers – the party that voted to dump more sewage in the sea? Don’t be deceived by Mr Jupp claiming he is doing everything to get SWW to change their ways – this is being led by EDDC, and in Sidmouth our Town Council and our wonderful partners the Sid Valley Biodiversity Group!]
  9. If you vote in person this May you will need ID, so why not sign up for a postal vote? With a postal vote, your ballot will be sent to your home a couple of weeks before the election. That means you can vote on a day and time that suits you. [True!]
  10. We’ve included a postal vote application with this letter. It takes just a moment to fill in. You can then return it to the local council at Blackdown House, Heathpark Industrial Estate, Honiton. Or you can send it back to us free of charge using the envelope provided. We’ll make sure it’s sent on to the electoral office within two working days. [I wonder why this gives me a very uneasy feeling.]
  11. These elections are a chance to make a positive difference for our community. So sign up for a postal vote and together we’ll make it happen. [Really? Don’t we think they’ve done enough damage to our country and for the 45 years they ran EDDC?]
  12. signed Philip Skinner, Conservative Group Leader for East Devon. [!]

  1. Running an efficient council and delivering great services. Improving efficiency with better management, reducing wastage, whilst delivering high quality services that you deserve. [Costings for this? Information? Better management – not going to happen based on the 45 years where they had plenty of chances to improve things!]
  2. Protecting the vulnerable and those in need. Supporting the vulnerable and elderly so they can live safety and independently; improving their quality of life and receiving the benefits they need. [This is all entirely laudable – of course we want to protect the vulnerable – but it seems like they are talking about something that is entirely within the emit of the Conservative run Devon County Council. We of course help with housing and of course support the vulnerable of all types with housing and advice.Adult social care though – DCC and woefully underfunded and poorly managed.]
  3. Standing up for our environment. Protecting green spaces and our natural environment is vital. We will also protect our seas and rivers from sewage. Environment will make be [sic] a priority for the Council. [Well, firstly, I am glad to report that we in the Democratic Alliance have out the environment first for quite some time! And which council have just cut down 100 mature trees? Oh yes, tory led Plymouth City Council. And who voted to allow more sewage to be dumped in the sea? Our local Tory MP!]
  4. Delivering the right homes in the right places. A Conservative council will ensure that there are sufficient affordable homes that our community requires, built in the right places and in the right way. [Well why didn’t they do that when they were in power? Look at Newton Poppleford! The only reason our lovely Val Ranger was a councillor was to fight the ridiculous housing estates going up around her area that promised affordable housing – oh and a GP surgery – but the developers screamed ‘it isn’t viable’ and were allowed to build 4 bedroom houses instead (as well as a load of very crowded houses with no pavements). Oh and that slogan is ours by the way – it’s what our administration [Dan Ledger leading the fight] have been trying to do for the last 3 years within the new plan, whilst fighting the government’s housing allocation numbers!]
  5. Reducing car parking charges. Reducing car parking costs is vital to support residents and businesses, we will cut costs and consult on the appropriate level of charges throughout East Devon. [If the tories had raised prices with inflation we wouldn’t have been out in the position where we had to make a brave decision. We have said time and time again that there is a residents’ parking permit available for £10/month which is a bargain! And our car parks have been full during the summer months, and mainly full during the winter months where we have the £2/day charges! Honestly this is a non-starter of an idea to reduce them again. If our towns were empty then we wouldn’t have done this but we know our towns and beaches are a huge draw to tourists, and £8/day is a standard rate comparable with all other beach/town car parks in the country! What we really need is better public transport and a park and ride in Sidmouth to enable visitors to come in without relying on private cars – but that is down to DCC and Central Government to sort out.]
  6. Protecting your public toilets. Public toilets will be safe with a Conservative council. We will also conduct a resident consultation and work towards a refurbishment programme. [Well why didn’t you? When was the last time that our toilets had money spent on them? And the plan we have for selling off some of the properties to ensure that they are repurposed – whilst still guaranteeing public access to the toilets – was started BEFORE we took over! We just vamped it up and improved it and actually did it! Oh and a few bits of context:
    http://Public toilets ‘wiped out in parts of UK’ and yes that’s Conservative controlled South Hams]