Sadly Mrs Zorro and I are having to relocate due to work. Whilst moving away from glorious East Devon will be a wrench for us both, we are looking forward to some positive new challenges!
The one thing that won't be missed is the cynical politics that the ruling cliche at East Devon District Council peddle in. One day the full nasty story of what goes on in our name will be exposed. That day cannot come too soon for Zorro .
Meanwhile, all that remains is to be bade a fond adieu and a hope that next year's District Council elections brings some welcomed change. Local voters deserve better than who is currently running the Knowle.
And you never know, there may be a general election sometime soon and the blessed Hugo's, not so robust majority, may disappear and real change locally may happen!
So, farewell and good luck!
Friday, 16 June 2017
Zorro was interested to read the piece in the Guardian the other day in which an argument was made, particularly in light of the outcome of the general election, for progressive political alliances to be forged -
It is clear that a regressive alliance is being cobbled together between the wholly damaged Prime Minister Theresa May and her fractured Conservative party and the sectarian and reactionary Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland. It is expected that the 10 DUP MPs will provide political cover and support to allow the Conservatives to govern. To miss-apply the claim made by the Conservatives in the 2015 of “Vote Labour, get the SNP” Zorro says that this latest general election has shown “Vote Conservative, get DUP”.
This all shows how desperate Theresa May is to retain the levers of power and how fragile her hold on her party is and how politically damaged she and the Conservatives are. It surely must only be a question of time until the Conservatives put her (and the country) out of her misery and topple her to provide her party and the country with a new leader. Indeed, so precarious is the Conservatives’ hold on the country that Zorro is prepared for a further general election before the year is out. So too must those who aspire to hold seats in the House of Commons.
Zorro’s prime focus is within East Devon. Zorro argued immediately after the general election for the Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Green parties to put their political weight behind Claire Wright http://www.claire-wright.org/.
Zorro has argued for several years now that in East Devon the creation of a local political progressive alliance would allow a determined and real challenge to be mounted to the Conservative party’s dominance of politics in East Devon and across the wider Devon County landscape.
Given Claire Wright’s very credible polling in this latest election she has shown that she has the qualities that many in East Devon want to see in their MP. As we know Claire mounted a strong campaign, raised the funding to support it and galvanised many hundreds of supporters behind her from a standing start in only the few weeks that the election was fought over.
As we know the Green party decided not to stand a candidate in the election. But both the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties did stand candidates. Collectively the total votes cast for both Claire Wright and these two parties’ candidates would have placed her within spitting distance of causing a political earthquake in East Devon.
If there is to be a further election this year then it is imperative that there is only one candidate that provides a progressive agenda that can pull in voters who would naturally not want to have a Conservative representing them. Claire Wright is in poll position to be that candidate. But it needs the Green, Labour and Liberal Democrats to recognise that fighting for their own individual votes can only lead to one result – the further return to Parliament as East Devon’s MP, a conservative candidate.
The challenge to these three parties, as well as to Claire Wright is can a progressive alliance be formed? Because if it is to happen, it has to be decided now in order that pre-election planning and preparation can take place.
Zorro recognises that it is incredibly difficult for any political party, and indeed for members of political parties, to stand aside and allow someone who is not of their immediate tribe a freer hand to fight an election. Therefore if a progressive alliance is going to be formed and indeed be put into practice then it will involve bold debates and acceptance within the local Green, Labour and Liberal Democrats memberships.
That debate cannot be left until another day. It has to happen now based upon a clear objective – fielding a single progressive candidate in the next general election in East Devon.
As Zorro has said before – it’s time for change! And now is the time. Let’s not waste this opportunity.
Thursday, 15 June 2017
Having posted the previous blog article entitled “MP’s In Glass Houses Etc” Zorro was intrigued to have his attention drawn to his MP, Hugo Swire’s tweet today in which he sets out his personal view of the recent general election.
Zorro has to suppress a wry smile when he read the article. This was for a couple of reasons. Firstly in the third paragraph (Zorro’s highlighting in red) Hugo, as he did towards the end of the campaign, complains of the political bias of a couple of local media outlets. One of those he attacks is the local Express & Echo newspaper.
But Hugo, as Zorro’s previous posting points out this is the same newspaper that your party, the Conservatives paid to have on the front page a full page article headlined “Theresa May for Britain” alongside a large photograph of her! This deliberate product placement was designed to give the reader the impression that the newspaper was supporting Theresa May, the Conservative party and its candidates such as you. Talk about having your cake and eating it, MP’s in glass houses etc!
Secondly, in the fourth paragraph (again Zorro has highlighted the point in red)
A personal View on the 2017 General Election Hugo says that it effect an MP will always be accused of absenteeism. Why so? Many, many other MPs have constituencies that are three to three and a half hours away from Westminster. They seem to manage balancing their time in Westminster with time in their constituency. I suppose it might be a bit easier Hugo if you were to return to actually living in East Devon then we couldn’t help but see you!
So, Zorro’s advice to Sir Hugo is stop whining about the recent general election campaign and face up to it many in East Devon have seen right through you and have sought to call you to account. If you can’t stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen.
A personal view on the 2017 general election (by Hugo Swire aged 13 3/4)
I have never known my country quite so polarised and angry and this election only exacerbated the divisions brought on by the referendum even further. But it also had an inter-generational aspect to it and Jeremy Corbyn successfully tapped into that. Wishing for a better world is not to be scoffed at, and the young do have a legitimate gripe: Qualifications that don’t match jobs, work that is tenuous, homes impossible to afford and of course student debt. But in the same token there is no such thing as a free lunch and we have to challenge this youthful dreaming and confront some of the myths that underpin it.
Locally, let me try and put the results into perspective. Claire Wright fought an energetic campaign and managed to persuade Liberal Democrats voters to vote for her tactically to get the Tory out. That was me! But for her to win the seat of East Devon she needs to persuade traditional Conservatives to come over to her and that will be more problematic because of her loathing of anything Tory. Also, it’s no accident that there are no independents at Westminster, large amounts of spin and PR might say otherwise, but independents are all but powerless when they have no machine or party behind them.
On a personal level the election was probably the most unpleasant I have ever fought as a candidate. Twitter changed from a place where one could receive civilised views to a place dominated by unpleasantness and vitriol. Our posters were all either pulled up, vandalised or stolen. The Express and Echo and Devon Live lost any sense of balance between the candidates pushing Claire Wright as its chosen candidate thereby driving forward its left leaning agenda. (A quick Google search against my name will confirm this). Then there was the You Gov poll saying Claire Wright was going to win, which was given extensive media coverage, and thereby hope to those who supported her, when in fact You Gov only sampled 75 people and states itself that the said sample was way too small to produce reliable estimates!
Of course all’s fair in love and war and politics and a sitting MP can expect a tough ride because of incumbency; he will always be accused by his opponents of complacency and absenteeism, even though his role is to represent constituents interests in Westminster not Westminster in his constituency. And with a hung parliament that will be even more the case.
No, this election went terribly wrong in my view, not only because of a disastrous campaign by the Conservatives but because it seemed more interested in personality than policy, both locally and nationally. For me it side stepped the great issue of our time which is how Brexit will define us as a nation and how we can best make a success of it.
Zorro meant to remind our local East Devon MP Hugo Swire (absolute congratulations on being re-elected Sir) that when he complained at the end of the general election about bias from some local media that it was ok for his party to buy front pages of local print media so that it looked as if they were voluntarily supporting the Conservatives.
As an example Zorro gives you the Express & Echo –