HTML version of my Council Election leaflet for 6th May 1999
Click here for page 2 - "About the Councils" and "About the Election".
Some Political Facts and Independent?


 Councillor Roger Mathew

About the Candidate

Roger Mathew is 53 and was born and educated in Tavistock. He has a degree in biochemistry from Birmingham University, and taught science for two years before spending a year in educational administration in Canada. He served a six-year commission in the Royal Air Force before coming home to Tavistock.

He is now an independent computer consultant, working from home and devotes most of his time to serving as a Town and Borough Councillor.

He was elected to the Tavistock Town Council in 1987, and re-elected in 1991 and 1995. He has chaired both the main committees: Properties 1990-92 and Finance 1994-96. Elected to West Devon Borough Council in 1991 and 1995, he has chaired the IT Management Group since 1995 and became vice-chairman of Policy & Resources Committee in 1998. He sits on the Devon County/West Devon Partnership Committee, the Borough Council's Housing Committee and is a council-appointed Trustee of West Devon Homes. He represents the councils on organisations including Police Liaison, Post Office and Telecom Advisory, Age Concern and CAB. He is a Governor of St Rumon's School and a Trustee of the Crowndale Recreational Association and Tavistock College Endowment Fund.

To help you decide whether you want me on the council for another term, here are some of the things I have done since you re-elected me in 1995. I have:
  • Fought well past the last ditch to stop the County Council turning Bedford Square Bedford Square & Bedford Hotel into a vastly expensive skateboard park. With Judith Williams and Marjorie Corner, I organised and partly paid for the Referendum last December, which showed that 73% of you dislike the scheme and thought you were conned by the official "consultation" last May. Click here for the full story, or here for pictures of the Rape of Bedford Square.
  • Served on the Borough Council's Appeals Panel, which helps some of the most needy people in West Devon to get the right Housing and Council Tax Benefits and helps struggling businesses by awarding discretionary Rate Reliefs.
  • Strongly supported outsourcing of Revenues & Benefits administration (opposed by most of the LibDem Group), providing a better service for claimants and taxpayers alike as well as saving about 400,000 of taxpayers' money.
  • Chaired the Borough Council's Information Technology Management Group, a key element in the council's ability to deliver outstanding value for money in providing effective services for the people of West Devon. One tiny, but visible, innovation is that you can now use the Borough Council's telephone number for County as well as Borough Council services.
  • Strongly supported the transfer of Council Housing to West Devon Homes Ltd, a company set up to provide new social housing in West Devon. Did you know that we have fewer than 1500 council houses in the Borough? This is not enough. West Devon Homes is a new and imaginitive way to address this shortage and I am pleased to be one of the (unpaid) Trustee Directors of the new company.

I can only continue this work if you vote MATHEW
for Tavistock Town and West Devon Borough
Councils on 6th May.

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

Click here to return to top of page 1.

About the Councils

Tavistock Town Council is a Parish Council with 16 members, all from Tavistock. It has limited powers, but can influence decisions made by the more powerful Borough and County Councils. Unusually (for a parish council), it owns a lot of property, including the Meadows, Town Hall, prime-site shops, the Pannier Market and Whitchurch Down.

West Devon Borough Council is a District Council responsible for planning, car parks, refuse collection, housing, environmental health and collecting local taxes. It has 30 members, of whom six sit for Tavistock.

About the Election

There are two elections on 6th May. If the seats are contested, you will be given two ballot papers, of different colours.

You can vote for up to NINE of the candidates on the Town Council and up to THREE of those on the Borough Council ballot paper.

Some Political Facts

In 1995, I warned of the dangers of increasing party politicisation of your local councils. (Click here to see my 1995 blurb.) In 1995, Liberal Democrats took 15 of the 30 seats in West Devon on a tide of anti-government feeling. Independents were decimated and the 4 sitting Conservatives wiped out. Since then:

This year, West Devon's Council Tax will rise by only 2.75%. It is possible that a certain political party will make sure you hear about this: but ask them why it rose last year by a whopping 13.37%. Do you suppose that this year's very modest 2.75% could be connected with the elections in May? Am I just being cynical? Click to see the full table of Council Tax for 1995 to 1999. Some of these appointments were so obviously disastrous that the Independents succeeded in replacing their Housing Chairman with its former, Independent councillor, who had years of experience, skill and commitment to the post. Last year, when the LibDem Group fell out amongst themselves and threw their own Chairman off the Policy Committee, I became the vice-chairman: at least one LibDem members must have voted for this, against the LibDem Group's nominee. I don't know why, but you might ask them.

What is an Independent?

It depends who you talk to. I say that an Independent is one who thinks for himself and votes for his electorate, not a party line. LibDems are likely to tell you that most Independents are secret Conservatives. Here is the whole truth: two currently-sitting Independent Borough Councillors are paid-up members of the Liberal Democrat party; the same number are paid-up members of the Conservative party. I am one of them. I have been an Independent Councillor for 12 years and a party member for 6. I joined when County Councillor Roy Cook defected to the LibDems in 1993. I dislike defections, and gave him a good fight for his seat. If I had won, I doubt if the diggers would even now be dismembering Bedford Square. Click here for more about Independents.

Vote Independent - Vote MATHEW
on 6 May 1999

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

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