Putting the Figures Right

I’ve taken these snippets from our MP’s (the Conservative Peter Heaton-Jones) website:

” We had a lot of seats to defend, because the last council elections were held on the same day as the 2015 general election.”

The fact that the last council elections were held on the same day as the general election wouldn’t have made the slightest bit of difference in terms of the number of seats that had to be defended!

“But despite all that, the LibDems have failed to take overall control of North Devon, unlike councils elsewhere.”

Not true until the result of the Chittlehampton election, which is being held on 13 June, is known. At the moment the LibDems have 21 seats with the others having 20.

 “They lost a seat in South Molton, where we elected our first Conservative councillor for more than twenty years.”

The LibDems did NOT lose a seat in South Molton.  Before the boundary changes there were two seats in South Molton – one held by the LibDems and one by an Independent. Following the boundary change, the ward of South Molton is slightly bigger as it now incorporates Mill-on-the-Mole. It also has three seats. The LibDems won two of those seats and the Conservatives won one.

“And they also lost in their heartland of Barnstaple Central as well.”

The ward is an entirely new one and has only one seat – won by the Green Party. It’s predecessor Central Town (Barnstaple)  had two seats, both of which were LibDem.

Following a review by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) the number of district councillors in North Devon was cut by one – from 43 to 42 – and a number of the ward boundaries were also changed.

” independent candidates and ward boundaries skew the figures too.”

They do skew the figures, but there fewer Independent candidates in this election than in the previous one – nine as opposed 20 previously. When all is said and done the Conservatives had 36% of the votes in 2015 and only 26% this year. Contrast this with the figures for the LibDems – 25% in 2015 and 38% this year.




How did the Parties do?

This a table of how the parties fared in the local elections.

Party Councillors Seats
Conservative 3,564 -1,330
Labour 2,021 -84
Liberal Democrat 1,351 +704
Green 265 +194
UKIP 31 -145
Others 1,178 +661

It seems pretty clear to me that the big losers were the Conservatives and UKIP. Labour not so much. On the other hand I am not a  psephologist, so what do I know.

The winners were the Lib Dems, Greens and Independents.

Possibly I’m interpreting the figures in a very biased way. But they don’t strike me as being as what one would expect if there were a pro-Brexit vote. After all, the two big winners – the Lib-Dems and the Greens – are anti Brexit. Of course, it’s impossible to determine the views of the many successful independents.

Having said that, national politics shouldn’t rear its ugly head at the local level , but it does.

The things that I heard most complaints about whilst campaigning (e.g. parking, inappropriate over-development, the state of the roads) can be laid squarely at the door of central government. Planning policies set by central government have largely determined parking spaces that new builds have to provide. Changes to parking restrictions (yellow lines for example) are, to a very large extent, determined by available funding. Of course, there is also no money to maintain roads.

According to the Local Government Association local councils would have lost almost 60% of their central government funding between 2010 and 2020.

The other big issue was (as ever) dog poo. Apparently it’s a big problem in South Molton. Has it always been a big issue? Are dogs starting to poo more ? Fewer owners picking up? Or, as I rather suspect, are there a few more owners who don’t give a damn!

Beggars Belief

This is what Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State said at the Arctic Council accord in Finland:

“Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passageways and new opportunities for trade,” he said. “This could potentially slash the  time it takes to travel between Asia and the West by as much as 20 days.”

He’s quite right of course. But forgets to mention the many downsides: the flooding of much of the East coast of the States (and many other coastal cites around the world), the disappearance of many Pacific Island nations.

On the plus side Mar-a-Lago would disappear under water. Unfortunately Trump with his Yuuuuuuge brain would probably survive.



Town Council Results

South Molton – Twelve Seats 

Surname First Names Description Number of Votes
BUSHELL Matthew Thomas Liberal Democrats 783 ELECTED
CORNELIUS Marc Peter Independent 627 ELECTED
CRAIGIE James Andrew Labour Party 217
FOOTMAN Jacqui Liberal Democrats 677 ELECTED
HENDERSON Paul John Independent Candidate 815 ELECTED
HERNIMAN Ron Independent 559 ELECTED
HINCHLIFFE Steven Labour Party 354
HULLAND Mark Terence Independent 977 ELECTED
KING Terry Independent 551 ELECTED
KINGDON Martin James Independent 706 ELECTED
LOCK Christine Elizabeth   516 ELECTED
LOCK Stephen William Independent 599 ELECTED
NICHOLAS Sarah Jane Labour Party 270
WAY Mervyn Fredrick   961 ELECTED
WORDEN David John Liberal Democrats 907 ELECTED
Spoilt papers: 14 Percent Turnout 41.53%


District Results

South Molton – Three Seats

Surname First Names Description Number of Votes
BUSHELL Matthew Thomas Liberal Democrats 657 ELECTED
CORNELIUS Marc Peter Independent 402
CROFT Emily Jane Conservative Party Candidate 468
FOOTMAN Jacqui Liberal Democrats 489
HENDERSON Paul John Conservative Party Candidate 637 ELECTED
HINCHLIFFE Steven Labour Party 236
KING Terry Conservative Party Candidate 413
NICHOLAS Sarah Jane Labour Party 143
SAUNDERS Gill Green Party 202
WORDEN David John Liberal Democrats 807 ELECTED
Spoilt papers: 17 Percent Turnout: 41.43%


E-mail Scam


I received the above email this morning.

It had me worried for a moment, but then I realised it must be some form of scam.

It purports to ben e-mail from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). But if you look at the e-mail address it came from (circled in red at the top) it becomes clear that the e-mail certainly didn’t come from the CPS. Their e-mail addresses would be in the form xxxx@cps.gsi.gov.uk  and they don’t send e-mails to the general public.

Further clues to the fact that this is not a genuine e-mail can be seen in the other outlined areas.

Something is either mandatory or it isn’t. No native English speaker would use the expression “extremely mandatory”.

The CPS would also almost certainly talk about a “witness summons” rather than a subpoena. Particularly given that the use of Latin phrases in the English (and Welsh) legal systems has been phased out.

County Courts generally only deal with civil matters which wouldn’t involve the CPS.

Both the domain of the sender’s e-mail address and the link that the “Start Time and Case Details” button refers to are registered to an individual who lives in Belarus. This person uses a Gmail address for their contact details.

Hardly likely to be an e-mail from a government department.

I’ve reported it to both the police and the CPS.

One of the advantages of using a laptop rather a smartphone for reading e-mail is that it’s easier to spot such scams.

For example, the dodgy e-mail address doesn’t appear on an iPhone. However it can easily be seen when using a mainstream e-mail programme (e.g. Outlook) on a laptop. Similarly the dodgy link can’t be seen on the smartphone but can be seen when using Outlook on a laptop. Just ‘hovering’ the cursor over the link shows what the web link actually is.

The Truly Independent Councillor

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