Comments on some issues raised by others

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During the campaign, I shall become aware of what other candidates or their supporting parties are saying about issues. This is where I'll try to comment on them.
The object of this is to try to expand on simplistic propaganda. There's usually a lot of that. Its intention is to sway your vote in favour of the writer or a party ticket or against an opponent or another party ticket.

My intention is to give you more information, if I can. I'll put in some links, which should open in a separate window so that you can then read my comments alongside what others say.

Some would say that I'm taking a risk by giving out links to my opponents' propaganda. I take the view that you can make your own comparisons. I'll live with what you decide.

The local Liberal Democrats

have put together a very neat website. It reads very well, but glosses over some inconvenient details. For example, on Council Tax, they criticise the council for paying "up front" for assets, but don't point out that the alternative is to borrow, which has its own downside. Click here for more on this issue.
They also accuse the council of salting away money. I'm not sure what they mean by this, but assume that it is a reference to reserves. Well, you all know that the County Council's tax has risen by 18% this year, compared with West Devon's 2.6%. Could this be because DCC's reserves were run down to a fraction of their former level when LDs took control in 1993? Click here for more about reserves. Finally, they accuse the council of favouring "particular areas and groups", but provide no evidence. If their webmaster wants to email me for the record, I'll copy the correspondence to my feedback page.

They also claim credit for things that they certainly haven't done alone. That's a favourite political trick. For example, the impression is given that Lib Dems were the prime movers behind establishing West Devon Homes (WDH). Click here to see the whole truth.
There's also a commitment in their Manifesto section to what I think is creating a single-party "Cabinet" at West Devon. Click here for why that bothers me.

Finally, I note that they are playing an electoral game with the issue of Genetically Modified foods. Click here for a comment on this.

The local Conservatives'

site is much more locally-focussed than the Lib Dem one. It deals specifically with Tavistock issues, rather than with West Devon as a whole and is heavy on what local people think. One does not have the sense of a party leader dictating policy on a "take it or leave it" basis.

They report on a recent survey of local opinion and say that local Conservatives have established themselves as a true 'community first' council group. The thrust of their campaign site's argument is that they will listen to residents' views and make "fair and reasonable judgements on issues facing the community".

There isn't a lot to argue with, as it is clearly based on local, rather than national policy issues. I note from the candidate's leaflet that she is opposed to Regional Government, which clearly distinguishes her position from that of the Lib Dem group. I am also strongly opposed to lumbering us with yet another layer of urban-focussed local government: click here to see why.

Other Election Web Sites

If I come across other election websites for West Devon and if I have time (I have to do nearly 2000 leaflet deliveries almost entirely on my own), I'll add more comments between now and 1st May 03.

Independent Councillor Margaret Garton (Buckland Monachorum) has a new website (10 April) at . Her views on independent candidates are worth reading.

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Updated 12 April 2003

Published as an Internet document by R W Mathew, Willowby, Down Road, Tavistock, Devon