Real Zorro

Mission - to challenge in East Devon. To hold elected representatives & their officials to account.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

More Twiss & Shout Again! Compare East Devon Alliance debate offer to response from Conservatives

Zorro is following up an earlier posting “Twiss & Shout again! This time he's likely to use needles & pins!” which reported on East Devon majority Conservative group’s whip and Councillor for Honiton St Michael’s Ward Phil Twiss’ attack on a political opponent from East Devon Alliance (EDA).

In that Zorro reported that as part of Councillor Twiss’ response to the invitation from EDA for him and East Devon District Council Leader Paul Diviani to debate with leading representatives from the EDA, that he reportedly said he would rather “stick white hot pins and needles in his eyes” than be in the same room as a particular EDA candidate.

Clr Phil Twiss. East Devon Conservative Whip.
Zorro has reproduced below the reports of the EDA’s pleasant and warm invitation to the East Devon Conservatives to meet them in public debate and the reaction from the Conservatives’ Whip Councillor Phil Twiss as reported in the latest edition of Pulmans View

Zorro invites readers to consider how well Councillor Twiss as the representative of the East Devon Conservatives comes out of all of this, particularly when you read the related extract from Pulmans View’s editor - I have seen the email correspondence that has been toing and froing between Councillor Twiss and EDA chairman Paul Arnott, some of which I believe verges on the actionable.

It’s time for change! It’s time for challenge!


EDA. Willing to debate East Devon Conservatives in public.

6 March 2015

EDA invite Tories to debate
An Invitation to Paul Diviani & Phil Twiss
to debate with Ben Ingham & Paul Arnott
and benefit local charities

Attention: Cllr P Diviani and Cllr P Twiss, East Devon Conservatives

Dear Paul and Phil

I haven’t met either of you so please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Paul Arnott, the chairman of the East Devon Alliance.

Independent candidates will be contesting more than two-thirds of ward seats in the district on May 7th. This unprecedented effort from Independents for the people of East Devon makes this group your principal fellow contestants, as Phil seems to recognise, up and at ‘em already with a scare story based on an Independent candidate’s Facebook page.

You and we all know that the British people have had enough of below-the-belt tactics from those seeking political office, and indeed to counter this, our very first move on announcing our organisation was to launch a website clearly setting out our Aims for East Devon

So why don’t we agree to keep it all policy and issue based from now on, and leave the ad hominem attacks to one side?

In that spirit, the East Devon Alliance would like to invite you – Paul Diviani and Phil Twiss, representing the Conservative Party – to meet and debate with Ben Ingham and me, Paul Arnott, as Leader and Chairman of the EDA. We believe we have identified an excellent venue in Honiton, and are delighted to say that the Group Editor of the Pulmans View From newspapers, Mr Philip Evans, has said that he would be pleased to act as Chairman for the event.

As a hugely respected journalist of 40 years standing both nationally and regionally, Philip is the ideal chairman, having unrivalled knowledge and experience of East Devon, while being wholly independent himself as a nearby resident of West Dorset.

It is suggested that Philip and his team decide all questions, and choose how he receives questions from the audience. None of us to have knowledge of any questions in advance. We suggest that one third of tickets be allocated to you, a third to us, and a third to the Chairman to allocate to the public by an agreed means.

We suggest that a date be set for as soon as is mutually convenient after Nominations are announced, so during the fortnight after April 10th.

We are hopeful that your supporters and ours will find this a compelling occasion, and would like to suggest a ticket price of £5 per person (£2 concessions), and that costs be kept to a minimum so that a substantial donation may be made to two charities.

We would like to suggest that these be local charities, and would be grateful if it were agreeable to you that our portion be donated to Elf (the Exeter Leukaemia Fund), which supports the outstanding work of the Yarty Ward Haematology Unit at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, where thousands of people from East Devon receive treatment each year.

I look forward to meeting you both. With all best wishes,


Paul Arnott
East Devon Alliance

Pulmans View. Editor willing to act as impartial chairman.

10 March 2015
Pulman’s View From: Public debate looks doubtful
From the editor’s chair

In a little less than nine weeks time we shall be going to the polls and it is generally accepted that this General Election will be the dirtiest fought for some time.

With the East Devon Alliance entering the fray in the local elections on May 7th, challenging the Tory controlled council by fielding candidates in most seats, it looks as though the fight for EDDC seats will be just as robust.

Following a spat between local Tory whip Phil Twiss and EDA Sidmouth candidate Matt Booth over alleged inappropriate emails, the EDA challenged Councillor Twiss to a public debate and asked me if I would chair such a meeting.

I agreed in the hope that if it happened we could have an adult debate on the issues facing East Devon during these difficult days for local government.

I have already been accused of showing undue favouritism to the EDA and being ultra-critical of the current Tory regime. So I doubt that me taking the chair will be very popular in certain quarters. But I am prepared to give it a go.

However, it seems that such a debate is unlikely to take place with Councillor Twiss rejecting the offer, saying he would rather “stick white hot pins and needles in his eyes than share a room with Matt Booth!” That’ll be a no then.

I understand that the EDA are passing on their invitation to other high ranking Tories, including leader Paul Diviani.

One high profile East Devon Conservative told me he did not think there was much to be gained from the Tories entering the fray in this manner.

He pointed out that they enjoyed a huge majority (42 seats out of 58) on East Devon District Council and whilst they should take the EDA seriously, they did not feel they would make much of an impact on May 7th.

I have seen the email correspondence that has been toing and froing between Councillor Twiss and EDA chairman Paul Arnott, some of which I believe verges on the actionable.

If the top Tories say ‘yes’ to a debate, the chances of it being a constructive debate are slim indeed.

Editor, Pulmans View

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