Devon’s Conservative leader blocks pro-Europe rally being held in County Hall grounds – Tory councillor says protest is not the way to do things

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Whether or not you agree with Devon for Europe (D4E) it is worrying that Devon County Council leader, Cllr John Hart, refused a request for the campaign group to hold a rally in the County Hall grounds because he didn’t think it was appropriate for a political rally to be held there.

County officers had told the D4E there were all sorts of practical reasons why the rally would cause difficulties for the Council. D4E had approached me to help and I was surprised that the Council hadn’t discussed the reasons with them – I thought the issues should be possible to negotiate.

However at yesterday’s Council, after I put the decision on the agenda, Cllr Hart gave the game away, and fellow-Conservative Cllr Christine Channon backed him up by saying protest wasn’t the way do things. Cllr Channon – who voted Remain but thinks now that we should let the Government get on with its negotiations without making our views known to them – may not want to protest, but many do and it is their right to do so. WATCH THE DEBATE – FORWARD TO 2:45 FOR THIS EXCHANGE.

Councils control most of the public space where a fairly large number of people could assemble. So they should go out of their way to facilitate peaceful protest even at the cost of a bit of inconvenience. It is essential for democracy that peaceful protest and assembly – including by people we disagree with – should be able to take place!

2 thoughts on “Devon’s Conservative leader blocks pro-Europe rally being held in County Hall grounds – Tory councillor says protest is not the way to do things said:
    February 23, 2018 at 2:28 am

    Hi Martin,
    Thank you for everything that you do for us, I am so angry and frustrated at the refusals, the voting down, the manipulation and the sheer arrogance that is so evident in almost every debate.

    I have joined “Fighting for Our NHS” a very proactive closed Group. It is full of new information, idea exchanges and passion. We are able to share quite a few posts beyond the Group, there is a growing feeling that time in running out, and the

    There is a terrifying lack of knowledge, interest and belief regarding the looming privatisation of the NHS. Just asking the people I know, who are NOT on Facebook, they know absolutely nothing of the real threat to themselves and their families. Biased, toxic media is slowly being “outed” but you are so right, local & National Conservatives really are playing a nasty game.

    I feel that Neil Parish is just one of the many self serving MPs who vote for or against the things that serve them best, not the country. He votes against climate control measures, against laws to promote equality and human rights, against the right to remain for EU Nationals already living in the UK, against increasing the tax rate over £150k, against Mansion Tax, against proportional representation …. voted for fracking, etc etc.
    He has done NOTHING for Seaton. He needs to go.

    I have also joined RENEW, they already have 250 candidates, and are well on their way to 650, one for every Constituency. I have total faith and trust in you as a Councillor, that’s why I, and many others voted for you, but I have none in the big parties any more.

    Also, has any more been investigated, or a FOI instigated, as to whether the original £10 per year, per household for Youth is still being collected from the residents of Seaton? If it is still being collected, the fund would have been over £250k (PLUS interest) by now. If so … who has had it?

    Thank you very much for reading this Pick & Mix!

    Jackie O’Connell


      Martin Shaw responded:
      February 23, 2018 at 7:12 am

      Thanks for your comments, Jackie. I didn’t know about the ‘Fighting for our NHS’ group. The extra levy was brought up at a Town Council a few months ago, and Jack Rowland looked into it. It wasn’t sustained, I’m afraid, and much of the money originally raised went to Seaton’s Voice who tried a youth cafe in the Town Hall.


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