Tuesday, 10 February 2015

"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."

The Futures Forum and its parent the Vision Group for Sidmouth cannot be seen to be aligned with any political party - and local newspapers are keen to make their 'neutral' position clear too...

As the side-bar to this blog states:

The purpose of this blog is to explore the issues that are impacting on Sidmouth's present and future - and to give voice to the variety of opinions around those issues.
The Futures Forum does not endorse, support, represent or guarantee the fairness, completeness, truthfulness, accuracy, or reliability of the content given or opinions expressed in postings on this blog.

The most recent issue of Pulman's Weekly - also called 'View from Sidmouth' - comes after several months where the editor has been very clear that he does not wish to 'endorse, support or represent' any one political party - but has simply reported on the growing dissatisfaction with local politics - as this blog has in turn reported:

October 2014:
Futures Forum: East Devon councils "should be held to account"

February 2015:

Editor Column
From The Editor's Chair

Shake-up at the polls?

THIS week we exclusively reveal that the East Devon Alliance, the pressure group formed in 2013, jumping on any hint of maladministration at Knowle, has formed into an official political party and will be fighting at least two-thirds - probably more - of the district council seats at the next election. 

By doing so we will be accused of political bias but believe me those who sit on EDDC and want to retain their seats should sit up and take note. 

As we report on the front page of each of our editions this week (a rare occurrence), rather than just standing back and moaning from the touchline, they’ve decided to field their own team and fight their cause at the ballot box.
It could result in the biggest shake-up in local politics since local government was reorganised in 1974. 

When I had the temerity to write in this column a few weeks ago that in 50 years of reporting on councils I could not recall a time when there was more dissatisfaction with our elected representatives, I was castigated by one of the more arrogant members of the ruling party as “an out-of touch has-been who should have put away my notebook years ago”. 

Don’t you just love it when you’ve got them on the run! 

The EDA will be treated with equal distain - and that will encourage them even more. 

Philip Evans

Pulmans View from Sidmouth - 03/02/2015 digital edition

Editor Column
From The Editor's Chair

Party time at Knowle!

10 February 2015

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!

Philip Evans

Pulmans View from Sidmouth - 10/02/2015 digital edition
Pulman's View From... 10 Feb 2015 | East Devon Alliance
What is “news”? | East Devon Watch

See also:
Futures Forum: The rise and rise of independent candidates

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