There is a lot of interest in the up-coming local elections:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth Town and District council elections > HUSTINGS event > Tuesday 30th April > more details
And there has been a lot of interest in independent candidates in particular:
Futures Forum: Independent candidates standing for council seats across Devon say they are "fed-up of being ignored by ruling political parties"
The Herald features one independent District councillor who's retiring after almost 25 years on the job - including holding the chair of the important Scrutiny Committee:
Councillor to step down after more than two decades
PUBLISHED: 12:00 15 April 2019
A man who has dedicated more than two decades of his life to improving his community is about to step down as a councillor. Councillor Roger Giles has been on East Devon District Council (EDDC) since 1995.
This year he decided to step down after a run of 24 years in hopes to support younger blood getting on the council. He will however be continuing to run as a candidate for Ottery Town Council (OTC). He is a big ambassador of Ottery’s heritage, being eco-friendly and campaigning to save the town’s hospital.
Cllr Giles said: “It’s time to hand over to somebody else. It was in the back of my mind for some time because if I stood and got in, by the time I completed the four year term and I think it is important for people to commit to the four years, I would have been 75.”
Giles, who will still be running for a seat on the OTC, first became a councillor for Devon County Council (DCC) in 1993 before becoming an EDDC councillor in 1995.
Giles said the make-up of EDDC is not representative of the people living there and that the age and sex profile is ‘wrong’. He added: “We need some older councillors of course but there are too many older ones and not enough younger ones. We need a mix of older councillors for experience and you need a mix of younger people to be more energetic.”
Giles stressed that it was important to have younger councillors as a way of engaging with the younger demographic.
He said: “Younger people tend to be the ones who don’t vote. I’m not criticising them for that, that’s not their fault. It’s our problem. We’ve got to make local government interesting and engage with them. As far as I’m aware, of the 59 councillors at East Devon, there is nobody below 40 and the vast majority are much older than that. You need councillors that are in their 20s, that are more in touch with younger people. It’s a problem to be addressed. If councils are to be relevant and engage with all the people that live in the council area then they need to engage with younger people.”
The candidates contesting the three Ottery St Mary seats on EDDC are Paul Carter, Anne Edwards, Peter Faithfull, Luke Gray, Vicky Johns, Margaret Piper, Geoff Pratt and Harv Sethi.
East Devon councillor to step down after more than two decades | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald
The East Devon Watch blog has a couple of follow-up pieces:
14 days to local elections – today’s picture | East Devon Watch
WHY VOTE INDEPENDENT IN LOCAL ELECTIONS?
17 APR 2019
A response to today’s post on retiring EDDC Councillor Roger Giles:
“When I first moved to OSM and had a leaflet from Roger through the letterbox, I could tell immediately that he was the best councillor you needed no money to buy. I voted for him without any hesitation, and I have never been disappointed in the decision.
(Ditto for Claire Wright but that is another story.)
More importantly it was also the beginning of a journey for me, to understand what genuinely Independent councillors do that makes them so different from the Party clones, and to understand the depths of the dodgy behaviour perpetrated by EDDC’s Conservative / Liberal Democrat regime.
Unfortunately I have now moved away, but I do hope that Roger’s shoes are filled by a new crop of fiercely independent-minded Independent councillors who will fight for the rights and needs of local residents against the elite powers-that-be and who will continue Roger’s fight to shine a spotlight and hold the council leadership to account on both the decisions made by them and the process by which those decisions are reached.
To anyone considering standing as a genuine Independent in any of the roles Roger has until now held, I urge you to take the plunge – the last thing East Devon / Devon needs is yet another Conservative / Liberal Democrat clone who will vote as directed in a totally non-critical brain-dead manner.
To anyone voting, equally I urge you to AVOID candidates from the national parties (or indeed any candidates who until recently were associated with national parties and who have decided to stand as Independents even though we can see through this ploy) and to support your genuinely INDEPENDENT candidate.”
Why vote Independent in local elections? | East Devon Watch