On the 2nd of May 2019 there will be district council elections. I am standing for District Councillor in the ward of West Dart, which covers the coloured area on the map (above). This is not something I have done before so I approach the task of getting elected with some trepidation! However, I do have a lot of experience of dealing with local government and know that there are many ways it could and should be improved. If I can gather the necessary support to get elected I would be very privileged to have the opportunity to represent the area and to work to achieve better local government and services. This post about SHDC goes into some of the issues.
My grandfather was a Labour MP for some 20 years (1945-64). He started out down the pits at the age of 13 but was eventually sent to Ruskin College in Oxford by the Miners Union and after the war was elected as an MP for Wallsend (Newcastle). So, probably unsurprisingly, for many years I was a Labour supporter. Sadly, I don’t think my grandfather would recognise the party now, which is why I have thrown my lot in with the Liberal Democrats.
In the end I don’t think local government should be too overtly political. What is more important is to have councillors that are capable of helping people with their problems and can guide our district council through the many complex legislative and financial challenges it faces, so that it can better serve its community.
I have lived in Devon for 25 years. My background is in IT and after several decades of being a company director I am now semi-retired, living in Harbertonford with my wife. I am very interested in the real social consequences of developments in areas like Artificial Intelligence, Block Chain and the biological sciences. There are many ethical, moral and social questions arising from these disciplines. We live in interesting, though often very worrying times.
As a result of my IT interests I have served on various Council steering-committees as a technology advisor and many years ago used to give talks in pubs to disbelieving farmers on how the internet was going to change the way they do things.
I spent a couple of years volunteering for the Samaritans and I am now a volunteer for South Hams Citizens Advice in Totnes. The work is very interesting but often quite challenging and it brings me into contact with the many problems that people are facing across the district.
I have campaigned for many years against pollution of the environment and have been relatively successful in challenging damaging decisions and in influencing policy. I now know more about the planning system than is probably healthy but I hope this means I will be more able to help people when problems arise.
Harbertonford recently lost its pub, so I am working, with the help of many others, to try and bring it back as a Community Pub ( http://maltsters-arms.org.uk ). We recently managed to get it registered as an Asset of Community Value.
As for hobbies; I used to do a lot of sailing and exploring. Crossed the Bay of Biscay a couple of times. Still nurture a dream of doing an Atlantic crossing one day. Play the guitar and go for long walks with my boxer.