Short memories

PUBLISHED: 09:55 03 June 2011

The Lib Dems’ ‘power’ problem is interesting and memories somewhat short.

As an independent councillor at the beginning of Exmouth Town Council, in 1996, it was true that Sybil Cardy, also an independent, was graciously made deputy mayor in recognition of the work she did to achieve town council status for Exmouth.

The planning chairman was a Lib Dem, Paul Humphries. I did not take over from Paul until after he decided not to be re-elected in 1999. I was the only councillor then to have planning/surveyor experience.

Of course, the Lib Dems had been smarting - and quite rightly so - in the previous years of a town committee, which had had a Conservative majority, as they had not able to chair anything. East Devon District Council was also Conservative controlled and there were no chair positions for Lib Dems.

The formation of our town council - to be party politically controlled by anyone - is not to the benefit of the town.

Exmouth, in 1996, I understand, was the first town council/parish council to be politically controlled in Devon.

The four independents and two Labour councillors were overwhelmed by 19 Lib Dems.

Following the next mayor making, two years later, Sybil was soon ousted as to have a mayor, who was anything other than Lib Dem, would be unthinkable. The deputy mayor position did not give the right to automatically become mayor, so we were told.

However, the Conservative Party generally did not contest town council/parish councils. They stood as independents or on behalf of residents’ association, etc.

In 2003, at the Exmouth election, they were well fed up with the dominance of the Lib Dems so party members joined the council. As an independent, I was not re-elected as it was now to be ‘free-for-all-politics’.

Then, of course, at the next election, in 2007, the Conservatives took control. The Lib Dems had enjoyed 11 years, but really must remember their attitude at that time.

In the earlier days, as an independent, I did not have to keep to party control and got on with creating the Exmouth Town Crier, The Mayor’s Ball, the Skate Park and arranging the Millennium Celebrations in the town (interestingly, I was not even invited by the mayor to the opening of the skate park - only Lib Dems were invited That’s the way it was.

I am afraid that very little is done - or seen to be done- with party politics around. Well, Exmouth, you voted for them and once again ‘you made your bed’.

Graham Kirby

(via email).

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