Month: October 2021
John Timperley, the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Tiverton and Honiton constituency (which includes Seaton) in the last general election, has announced that he’s joined the Green Party, commenting: ‘Almost identical policies, better vocalised and on steroids! Unforgivable that @LibDems gloss over need for #ElectoralReform at national level. #makeVotesMatter‘.
The idea that Green and Lib Dem policies are ‘almost identical’ is striking – but it’s also largely true for Labour. Certainly, the policy differences between all three parties are far smaller than the gulf between them and the Tories.
That’s why many of us will vote for whichever of these – or a strong Independent or East Devon Alliance candidate – can defeat the Tories in a particular ward or constituency. In my case, while mainly voting for Independent/EDA candidates at a local level, I’ve voted Labour, Lib Dem and Green at different national elections over the last decade, depending on the context.
Each of us should support the party or group that we think closest to our ideas, but remember that none of us can change Britain without the others. We need a Progressive Alliance so that our choices have a decent chance of defeating the Tories.
I’ve joined Compass, the national campaign group for a Progressive Alliance, and am on their steering group for the South West, trying to make sure that we get the best possible cooperation to keep EDDC in the control of the current progressive administration (EDA, Lib Dems, Greens and Labour) and to take seats from the Tories in the next General Election.
NB. John may be right that the Greens are more strongly advocating electoral reform, but PR has always been one of the Lib Dems’ key policies, and it’s Labour that really needs to shift on this.
After Neil Parish, Simon Jupp and other Tory MPs voted to block a key amendment to the Environment Bill that would have required water companies not to pump waste into rivers, the full extent of local sewage dumping is revealed in the interactive map here.
Remember that what is dumped into our waterways ends up on our beaches …
I’ve picked out the worst examples in the Seaton and Colyton area:
Seaton South (pumping station at southern end of the Wetlands): In 2020 this sewer storm overflow spilled 59 times for a total of 877 hours (‘the performance of this storm overflow will be investigated in 2022’).
Colyton: In 2020 this sewer storm overflow spilled 63 times for a total of 700 hours.
Axmouth: In 2020 this sewer storm overflow spilled 29 times for a total of 198 hours.
Beer, Sea Hill: In 2020 this sewer storm overflow spilled 32 times for a total of 48 hours.
Seaton Hole and Seaton North (north end of Wetlands): SW Water have permits to discharge sewage but these outlets are not monitored.
Enough is enough!
I am informed that the Colyton Grammar School has issued new advice that students should wear masks, in response to the high level of Covid infections. Latest official data also show that the Colyton-Kilmington-Uplyme area has the highest rate in East Devon.
It gives me no pleasure to say ‘I told you so’, but I did, over two months ago. It almost beggars belief that Devon had one of the lowest rates in the country for over a year, and then had one of the highest rates of vaccinations, but we have thrown away these advantages.
The main blame for this rests squarely with the Government, which foolishly removed the requirement to wear masks in indoor spaces (including schools), failed to launch a drive for improved ventilation, and allowed mass gatherings – pressing ahead regardless of the hugely more infectious Delta variant which they had allowed in from India.
However some of the blame also lies with the backbench Tory MPs who irresponsibly pressed the government for this, and the deceitful anti-vaccine campaigners who have been so loud on Facebook.
The damage this has caused is huge: tens of thousands unwell in Devon alone (some of whom will suffer long-term harm), hundreds in hospital, dozens of deaths, our hospitals desperate to discharge patients, pleading with relatives to pick them up, huge delays in ambulance services, people waiting for operations waiting even longer, etc. etc. Not to mention the disruption to schools, isolation of vulnerable people, and cautious people staying away from local businesses.
It was largely avoidable. We had big advantages, both nationally and locally, a few months ago, and now we are the only major Western European country still with a large pandemic.
Time for Plan B? The time was two months ago – but as soon as possible.
Devon County Council have told me today that the last objection to the Compulsory Purchase Order has been withdrawn, and the Department of Transport have confirmed to me that the inquiry which was due on Friday has now been cancelled. This means that the missing link in the Stop Line Way in the Wetlands will now be completed! Funds for both the purchase and the completion of the route are in the County’s budget.
Congratulations are due to all those in Seaton, Colyford and beyond who have campaigned for this over the whole of the last decade, to County Council officers for their tireless work, and to the Council’s leadership for pursuing this (although we’d like them to back the rest of the route, to Axminster, too). This was one of the subjects on which I got most correspondence during my term as county councillor and it is a great satisfaction to see it coming to fruition.