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Why me?This election is different from the ones I have entered before. This time, there is no big local issue that I want to beat the drum about on your behalf. This time, there is just me and my record as a Councillor since 1987. As you know, Iím not one to keep my head down if I think things arenít right. Thatís why I shall never top any poll in a multi-seat ward - Iím too controversial - but you all know that I donít keep quiet, I donít let go and I donít give up.
I like to think that Iím an honest and open politician that you can trust to say what he thinks, rather than toeing a party line; and stick to his guns once he has declared his position. You can check this out on my website: my my 1999 election address and my 1995 one are a click away for anyone to see and judge me against. If you don't have a computer at home, try the library's.
For the last four years, I have been Chairman of West Devonís Planning Committee. This guarantees that I can never please everyone, but I have tried hard to see that planning decisions are made fairly, consistently and clearly. Whilst there is no guarantee that a new Council would re-appoint me, I want to have a chance to continue this work. I believe I have made a difference and there is more to be done. I can only do this if you re-elect me.
If you want me to continue this work, vote MATHEW
for West Devon Borough Council
on 1st May.
Published as an Internet document by R W Mathew, Willowby, Down Road, Tavistock, Devon
Why Independent?I have been under some pressure to stand on a political party ticket this time. The Liberal Democrats want me to stand as a Conservative, because they think it would make it easier for them to defeat me and the Conservatives want me to, because I am a party member and they would like another candidate with a strong track record. I remain Independent. There isnít room here to explain fully why, but you can click here for a fuller explanation. The basic reason is that my experience of West Devon Borough Council tells me that it works best without a political party majority. I should not be true to what I believe if I took party colours. I once contested a County Council seat as a Conservative, because, unlike West Devon Borough Council, the County is so firmly party-politically controlled that an Independent is almost useless to you there but West Devon isn't ... and I don't think it ought to be.
If you doubt the merits of an Independent council, look at the breakdown of your Council Tax. Countyís part of it has risen 18% this year, while West Devonís has risen by inflation only (2.6%). Need I say more?
I am standing down from the Town Council this time. After 16 years,
I think it is time to make way for new and I hope younger blood. I
also want to have more time to concentrate on the work of the Planning
Committee at West Devon. I am immodest enough to think I have made
a sound and workmanlike job of that and should appreciate the opportunity
to build on the achievements of the last four years. During the last
reporting year, despite having refused slightly more than the average
proportion of planning applications, we have lost none on appeal.
I donít claim personal credit for that but itís a fact and I see
no reason not to tell you.
To see what else I have been up to since 1999, click here.
"Cabinet" style councils are modelled on Parliament. A small group, all of one party, make all the important decisions. The rest of the councillors can only "scrutinise" or "call in" decisions. A few small councils, including West Devon, have been allowed to keep our traditional committee system, but we are under pressure (mostly from Liberal Democrats, who see councils as a power base) to change. The claim is that cabinets make decisions more quickly than committees. That may be true, but it makes a nonsense of the concept of local democracy.
Regional Assemblies are a move towards "big" government. The proposed South West Region would extend from Tewkesbury to Lands End. West Devon would be lucky to get a single seat. In Tavistock, you will have seven seats on West Devon Council, but would have none on the South West Regional Assembly. Our rural interests would be swamped by the big cities, which would take most of the seats.
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What happened on 1 May 2003