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Conspiracy

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On 8 Mar 2014 at 7:49am Heinz wrote:
Is it possible that Ruth paid Donna to bury the news that we are all going to be paying £60 odd quid more this year because she refused to vote for the blindingly obvious best candidate ?
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On 8 Mar 2014 at 8:07am Zzz... wrote:
If you are referring to Special Expenses, the measure was voted upon before the vote for leader so if you want someone to blame you'd best pick on the venerable ex-leader of Lewes District Council, James Page.
Next.
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On 8 Mar 2014 at 10:06am Heinz wrote:
Sorry Zzz are you saying if Ruth had voted for the Lib Dem in the Leader election Special Expenses would still be imposed apon us ? And was James Page ever elected to represent the good people of Lewes Town ?
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On 8 Mar 2014 at 10:35am Southover Queen wrote:
I think that's exactly what Zzz... is saying. The Special Expenses measure was voted through a few weeks ago, and Ruth made an excellent speech against it. It was passed in spite of there being significant opposition in the local community as demonstrated in LDC's own (virtually secret) "consultation".

Jimmy Page was elected leader by the majority party, which at the time happened to be the Tories. So in that sense I suppose you could say he was elected in a democratic fashion, because he was elected by our elected representatives. They were not elected to represent the "good people of Lewes Town" though, but instead by the Tory voters from elsewhere in the district who would probably elect a stuffed toy if it bore the Tory label.
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On 8 Mar 2014 at 10:55am John Stockdale wrote:
Special Expenses were voted through at the December LDC Council Meeting. Ruth voted with the Lib Dems against the proposal. At the February Council Meeting, the budget for 2014-15 (with all but one of the Lib Dem amendments) was voted through. The council tax demand people in Lewes will receive next week will include a £66 (at Band D) surcharge. Ruth's not responsible for that. The Tories are. But she is responsible for not punishing the Tories for introducing Special Expenses by booting them out of office when we voted for a new Leader.
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On 8 Mar 2014 at 11:19am Heinz wrote:
So even if the Tories were kicked out, special expenses couldnt be repealed ? And the Tories would of been kicked out if Ruth had voted for instead of sitting on the fence IMO for the by far better candidate who happened to be a Lib Dem ? Apologies for going on but just want to get this clear .
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On 8 Mar 2014 at 12:42pm John Stockdale wrote:
Heinz, you've got it right. Special Expenses was irreversible for 2014-15 and probably inevitable for 2015-16 because we wouldn't have the votes to overturn it for next year's budget. But we could have done other things if there'd been a Lib Dem Leader and Cabinet.
The basis on which Special Expenses are calculated is open to challenge, however. It's a real mess and we need to work on that.
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On 8 Mar 2014 at 2:11pm Zzz.. wrote:
Are you going to apologize Heinz?

As the the leadership vote Ruth was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Whatever she did would have got flack. But if she had voted for a Lib Dem or a Tory her veneer of independence would have been lost, and she'd have still have got flack. I think she did the only thing she could have.

Of course if Donna Edmunds had not been childishly trying to hold the Tories to ransom Ruth would not have been in that position.
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On 8 Mar 2014 at 4:12pm Disappointed wrote:
I do, but life, and certainly politics is about hard choices. In fact that is exactly what the job is. Someone was going to get the job, and it was Ruth's duty to represent people who voted for her to make tough decisions and chose the best option , even if it was not one she liked. Is she really claiming that they were identically bad?
By doing nothing, she simply handed over the choice of who is selected to a combination of Councillors whose judgment she thinks is so poor that she didn't want to vote for any of them.
That is perverse. Yes Ruth was in a lose, lose situation, and would have got stick from people, because that is what politics is about. You can't just chose to do the easy and heroic things. I do not envy her but doing nothing is exactly that, and what Ruth has actually done is resign from responsibility. One wonders if this is the only occasion? Anyone who has ever managed people or a business, will just be astonished by this strategy. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and do things that no one is going to like. being a Councillor is no different.
This is very disappointing. more so than if she had voted for either of the unimpressive candidates.
Cllr Edmunds is no better, the woman who thins we should all be allowed to discriminate, but can't discriminate herself between just two options.
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On 8 Mar 2014 at 5:10pm Clifford wrote:
Have to agree with you there Disappointed - not to make a choice is making a choice. Does Ruth abstain on every policy put forward by one party or the other on the basis that to support or vote against would annoy one group of people or another?
 
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On 9 Mar 2014 at 10:25am Heinz wrote:
"But if she had voted for a Lib Dem or a Tory her veneer of independence would have been lost, and she'd have still have got flack. I think she did the only thing she could have " Well she could have voted for the best person for the job and put the interests of her electorate ahead of her possible loss of "veneer" ! And as neither a Lib Dem or Tory supporter I and many others (including some Tories) can tell you that it was the Lib Dem candidate !
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On 9 Mar 2014 at 1:41pm Sylvia wrote:
This reveals the underlying problem being an Independent. It also explains much of their success and appeal, because they can be all things to all people. Frankly, you generally have no idea what they think on major issues, whereas a party has a manifesto. An independent will not have a manifesto, because they cannot deliver a single thing without cooperation or compromise. They can lobby for things and write endless letters on behalf of people, which frankly the people of Lewes can well do for themselves. They have little respect from council officers, because of this lack of clarity. In short, whether you like it or not, they are a waste of space and for all the defects of a party system at least you know what you are getting and it jolly well matters that ALL councillors vote on the main issues eg setting the budget and choosing a leader and don't "bottle it".
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On 9 Mar 2014 at 7:45pm Ed Can Do wrote:
That's a touch disingenuous Sylvia. For starters, party affiliation means very little in reality. Conservative central office are constantly sending out press statements saying that parking schemes are terrible and kill town centres but our local Tories on ESCC are desperate to extend ours wherever they can, for example.

You're right in that the people of Lewes can write letters to get things done but if those things need doing at LDC level then the letters would be written to our local councillor. If she then abstains from every important vote for fear of appearing to lose her independence then what exactly is the point of her? Being independent means you are not expected to vote following a certain party line, you listen to both sides of the debate and choose an opinion based on what you think the people who voted for you would want you to do. If you do nothing, you are 100% failing in your duty to your constituents and Ruth does this again and again.

The people of Lewes will continually get dumped on with rubbish like special expenses until we have a full set of councillors who will stand up for us and Ruth is shirking that responsibility badly by being too scared to have an opinion when she's the casting vote. She's nice enough and has in the past done good things for the town but I fear she's jumped the shark now and it's time for her to either grow some opinions or step down.
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On 10 Mar 2014 at 9:53am Ruth wrote:
As far as Special Expenses goes I wanted action taken before they were imposed, and spoke and voted against this which is on the record. Not all of the Libs voted against this, one of them voted for it, whether by accident or design... I will post on Facebook and twitter after each Council meeting about votes I have cast. Usually NOT an abstention. In addition District and County council meetings are recorded via webcam so you could go and look if you wanted. It is interesting that over time the rubbishing just changes. Can't get elected, can't get elected to District, can't get elected to County, can't get elected again.. I did think once upon a time that continued work, which is a lot more than just letter writing of course, (and my invitation of some years ago for someone who feels they know what I do to come and find out for real still stands, un taken up ) might mean less rubbishing but of course winning an election only changes the nature of the rubbishing! The hard part about really being an Independent is not convincing people that electing such a candidate is worth doing, it is the party political attack which some party members then deal out no matter whether the candidate votes for against or abstains because the tribal nature of party politics leads to a kind of bullying being seen as tribal defence. Get at the opposition rather than work for people.. My philosophy such as it is continues to be to work in a nonparty aligned way for the people who live in the town I live in, finding funding, campaigning over issues, helping individuals, yes, writing but usually emails rather than letters now, contributing positively to meetings (perhaps I should post my meeting attendance as well? It is better than other Councillors who are never criticised!) and getting people to work together rather than combat each other (the emptiness of mutual condemnation rather than getting anything done is something that could valuably be rubbished!). If people don't want me to do that anymore then they won't elect me. I am not special, I am not espousing any creed or theory to prop up what I do. I just like trying to solve problems etc and people seem to like me doing that. Quite right that Lewes people can often write letters or take action themselves but it is often very helpful to have a bit of signposting and also support in doing that, and a Councillor can be a very effective bridge between residents and the Council if this is needed, and of course there is a lot more to it all than just a bit of letter writing. I am not scared by either the responsibility of a casting vote nor the bullying to vote one way or the other. I will always think very carefully about any vote and have been a casting vote on a number of occasions including as the Chair of a meeting.
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On 10 Mar 2014 at 11:05am Heinz wrote:
Typical politicians answer praising themselves but not answering the question. Why did you not vote for the good of Lewes Town. the Lib Dem was obviously the best candidate unless you thought she wasnt of course !
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On 10 Mar 2014 at 11:30am Ed Can Do wrote:
Like I said, I think you've done a lot of good for the town in the past, Ruth, but my personal anger and I suspect that of a lot of other people on this issue is that you had a real opportunity here to do something very positive for Lewes and, on the face of it, you ducked that responsibility.

It's not even about party politics. That James Page brought LDC into disrepute and did nothing whatsoever to benefit the people of Lewes cannot reasonably be doubted. He ran the council as a one-man body and every Tory councillor who meekly approved every decision he made is culpable. They may have turned on him now but they sat back and allowed him to sell off development land in Newhaven for a fraction of it's value, they said nothing when he suggested promoting his (Alleged) mistress to chief exec of both Lewes District and Brighton, they did nothing to appose ESCC's rampant expansion plans for the parking scheme and they were silent when it came to special expenses. Having lost his numerical superiority and apparently the support of the party faithful, he stepped down and triggered leadership election. Whether he'd been a Tory, Libdem, Labour or MonsterRavingUKIP it wouldn't have made a difference to the fact he abused his power and his party buddies allowed him to do that.

Given the choice of a party who've not won a Lewes seat in a long time with a track record of dubious decisions with regards to Lewes and who have been collectively complicit in one of the least democratic councils in the country for a couple of years or a party well supported in the town who have, granted, been guilty of some serious mismanagement in the past but who now at least include in their ranks actually useful councillors like Stockdale and Milner and who could finally be forced to come up with a different excuse than "We can't do anything, the Tories have all the power", you abstained with alphabetical order determining you knew exactly the effect this would have on the result, i.e. you were effectively voting for the Tory candidate. Surely you can see that the negativity generated by this decision and then not really explaining your reasoning afterwards will far exceed any negativity you might have generated with siding with the LibDems and eing seen as somehow less independent as a result?
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On 10 Mar 2014 at 12:44pm Heinz wrote:
It was a simple choice between two people irrespective of their party allegiances, and everyone I have spoken to even some Tories thought the Lib Dem was the outstanding candidate certain to look after the interests of the people of Lewes Town better than the Tory !
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On 10 Mar 2014 at 6:11pm Bitter little man wrote:
Ed, what's with all the vitriol? Are you one of the lazy members of staff that have been holding back the district for ever and are now having to actually do some work? Then again you can't be because you are so ill informed. The district is the district not a special little club for Lewes town. Lucky they don't have an IQ test to get on here, where would you go then?
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On 10 Mar 2014 at 7:59pm Ed Can Do wrote:
Nope, I don't work for the council and I am one of the first in line when it comes to accusing the public sector of being lazy. I am however upset that one guy who thought he knew best was allowed to dictate policy for the whole of Lewes District Council for so long with no opposition and in the process, dumped some terrible ideas on Lewes.

The district is indeed the district but the reason we have local ward elections rather than a single, district-wide vote is that we elect people we think will be of the greatest benefit to our area. Ruth was elected in Lewes so her remit, surely, is to do what she can to improve the lot of the people of Lewes. Despite what idiots like Donna Edmunds or work-shy self-publicists like Roz StPierre seem to believe, councillors are supposed to make life better for us, the electorate, or at least not make it worse. They are civil servants, the clue is in the name.

I think that by failing to oust the Tory party as de facto leaders of LDC, Ruth has acted as an enabler for their continued disregard of the people of Lewes, contrary to her mandate. She is not serving the people who live in her ward, she has failed in her duty as a civil servant.

If you can't understand something as simple as that there is no hope for any further discussion.

Now it could be that Ruth knows something we don't, in fact it's highly likely she knows a lot of stuff about the workings of the council we don't but her answer in this thread was a politico answer and she didn't say why she didn't vote. For her to want to swerve that question suggests to me she's not got a good answer.
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On 10 Mar 2014 at 11:03pm Clifford wrote:
Ed Can Do wrote: '... her answer in this thread was a politico answer...' Unfortunately her answer amounted to 'people vote for me so whatever I do must be okay', which, as you imply, misses the point entirely. I'm sure Ruth has helped a lot of individuals, one by one. But we're talking about the community of Lewes, not settling individual problems one by one. That's the difference between politics and advice work.
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On 11 Mar 2014 at 1:13am yes wrote:
that is exactly right.
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On 11 Mar 2014 at 1:22am Local Person wrote:
Ruth, you should have voted for something. I am sorry but one choice must have been better than the other, however bad you thought both were. (and neither party is appealing) If you were a proper politician, would you abstain from other difficult choices like having to withdraw funding from a Cancer Ward, or A Heart Clinic? Unsavoury choices have to be made, and you were chosen to make them. That is one of the downsides of our 'contract' with you But you didn't. you left it to every one else, putting yourself in a category with Cllr Edmunds. Surely it was worth voting just to avoid that! :-)
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On 11 Mar 2014 at 3:00am Innocent Bystander wrote:
Much as I hate to intrude on this private grief-fest I have to say I think Ruth has fulfilled her brief as an elected representative perfectly reasonably. Clifford, you're distorting Ruth's answer to suit your own purposes, you naughty boy. It's not that she's using her electoral base to justify her actions regardless, but she is affirming that she's accountable to the voters. Her decisions will be judged by them and if found wanting they won't re-elect her. There's far, far more voters than forum contributors so I'll go with Ruth on this one and wait to see what the public make of it all.
I can't really get my head around why there's so much bile around here. Why should Ruth vote for one party or another? If the DumLibs had wanted her vote couldn't or shouldn't they have been a teeny bit more supportive of her in the past? The composition of the Council is set and the vote your on about was simply to elect a leader - it's not going to change the balance of power, the SumLibs are still the minority party. How can she be accused of casting the town to the dogs when this was just a procedural matter, having absolutely nothing to do with any policy?
All the moaners on here are just sore that she didn't vote for them. There is no earthly reason why she should. She made her decision, voted in the way she felt best (yes, contrary to popular belief an abstention is a vote and does convey a point of view), and it's up to the electorate to say whether they think she's still worth voting for at the next election.
Finally, district councils are a real pain. Too often they lack focus as they comprise a bunch of people from vastly different communities, incompatible interests, opposing beliefs. This of course is true of all politics but district councillors are too parochial to share any kind of strategic vision. This is reflected in the views expressed on this blog. Politics is the art of the possible which demands compromise. It's a shame we can't have everything our own way, but there it is.
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On 11 Mar 2014 at 8:43am Voter wrote:
What is the job of a Councillor if it isn't to vote when a difficult decision needs to be made. The calibre of the candidates (however low) is immaterial. Avoiding making decisions now, based on a gamble about voter behaviour in the future is a very weak argument for not making decisions. It simply endorses a belief that it is Ruth's future and political game playing that motivated a choice, not the merits, or lack of them, of the two candidates.
Not Ruth's finest hour as an elected representative .
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On 11 Mar 2014 at 9:21am Innocent Bystander wrote:
Easy for party members - all they have to do is to vote as they're told. Why is the concept of independence so difficult for some people to understand? Interesting observation, though, that our democratic system boils down to taking "a gamble about voter behaviour in the future" - you're depressingly right!
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On 11 Mar 2014 at 10:20am Dave 2 wrote:
Actually Innocent Bystander, on a matter of fact, Ruth only got to be Mayor because the Lib Dems support(ed) her. They did support her, she needs votes from politicians to achieve anything like that, so it's a bit rich to benefit in that way and play the political game for personal gain, but when it comes to a hard choice she coudn't make one
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On 11 Mar 2014 at 11:09am Voter wrote:
As someone not involved in local politics, but who has to make difficult decisions every day that make me unpopular, I am afraid that Ruth should perhaps remember that this is also what her job is, and that is why many people who can't just abstain from responsibility are not impressed. She should also remember that her definition of what an independent is, is not necessarily what her voter's interpretation was when they voted for her. My own simple view was that she would make each decision based on the merits, not party politics. As a non-elected person I don't get to influence any decisions, I don't need Ruth to replicate my lack of influence.
 
 
On 11 Mar 2014 at 1:52pm Innocent Bystander wrote:
Hi Dave 2...when did Lewes District Council elect a mayor?
 
 
On 11 Mar 2014 at 6:32pm Dave 2 wrote:
I mean Lewes Town Council, obviously. Many councillors, not just Ruth serve on both authorities, so the same Lib Dems that sit on as on LDC (and others) voted her in as mayor.
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On 12 Mar 2014 at 2:13am Innocent Bystander wrote:
Hmm, sounds a rather contrived argument to me. So you're saying that Ruth owes her position as Mayor of Lewes on the town council to a number of people who are members of the district council which is a completely different statutory entity, but despite this you believe that they should wield such influence and/or power that they should be able to call in favours from members of the separate and autonomous town council. Strange view of democracy that, and illustrates very well why the involvement of political parties in local affairs should be banned.
Such tribal behaviour, spilling over from one organisation to another, attempting to bring pressure to bear in perverse and non-transparent ways, is simply undemocratic and against the public interest. And before you say that Ruth is a member of both councils (plus ESCC of course), she's not a member of any tribe so she's not really in a position to bully. If you think "bullying" is too strong a term for the LibDems' behaviour just take a look at Norm's website in the days leading up to that leadership vote.
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On 12 Mar 2014 at 2:22am Innocent Bystander wrote:
Oh, and by the way, I doubt that Ruth conducted the same kind of campaign against the FibLums prior to and following the town's mayoral vote as they have waged against her regarding the district's leadership vote! Amen.
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On 12 Mar 2014 at 7:58am Voter wrote:
This innocent bystander thinks that no one comes out of this smelling of roses, and that if these people spent as much time on actual issues raised by residents as they did on this undignified spectacle they would get the votes they needed not to worry about who had a casting vote.
Just like Ruth I don't want to support any of this low calibre selection, unlike Ruth I don't shirk my responsibility and I vote for the best available. My vote was fought for, and I think it is an insult to the people who gave me that right, to not use it.
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On 12 Mar 2014 at 11:23am Innocent Bystander wrote:
I've never failed to vote in any election for which I've been eligible since I got the vote at 18, unless I've been out of the country. I even voted in the charade that was the Police Commissioner election, for once spoiling my ballot paper in protest about the inappropriateness and futility of it all. What surer way is there to politicise the police service than to politicise its management? What other way do we have to register our protest? I think the quantity of spoiled papers did send a message back to Theresa May that many people fundamentally disapproved of this "election", and this in itself was a political statement.

When you say that we must use our vote because it was hard fought for I couldn't agree more strongly. We must, though, distinguish between different voting scenarios. Kim Jong-un has just secured a 100% victory in his general election but I doubt that many would believe it worth dying for a vote in North Korea. In our democracy we do, I believe, have a responsibility to vote for our representatives in determining how we are governed. However, you cannot sensibly regard internal votes for organisational council leaders, mayors, party activists, trade union officials and sales people of the month as being valuable expressions of our society's democratic values. Such votes are limited in scope and subject to all the closed pressures and vested interests that we have read about above. There can be no obligation to vote in any particular way, or even at all, in such processes which are of significance to a relatively small minority. By contrast, national and local government elections are relevant to the life of each and every citizen and member of our society.
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On 13 Mar 2014 at 12:10pm Voter wrote:
I don't think wanting a Lewes District Councillor to vote on my behalf, having voted for them myself to do that job, even if i don't agree with their choice has much to do with North Korea
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On 13 Mar 2014 at 12:32pm Innocent Bystander wrote:
Hi Voter - looks like the audience poll outvotes you by 4:1. Sorry! Thanks for the chat. Looks like this is the end of the thread. Unless you know different, of course.


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