Is the East Devon Alliance (EDA) “political”?


Is the East Devon Alliance (EDA) “political”?

Yesterday, while selling cakes in The Strand in Exmouth to boost EDA funds, I was approached by a gentleman who generously offered to donate £10 for a home- baked cake but who, after finding out what EDA stood for, withdrew his offer and promptly left, declaring that East Devon Alliance was “political”.

Presumably the same gentleman would accuse Sir Simon Jenkins and Dame Helen Ghosh of the National Trust of being “political” when in recent editions of the Daily Telegraph they criticised current planning policies which threaten to devastate our green and pleasant land. Presumably, too, he would brand the Campaign to Protect Rural England “political” because they dared to produce a highly critical report recently, saying basically the same thing. Griff Rhys¬Jones, Chairman of Civic Voice, would also be tarred with the “political” brush for suggesting that we should build on Brownfield, not Greenfield, sites.

So does the gentleman consider that any group that dares to challenge a ruling body, at local or national level, is “political” or is this a convenient knee- jerk reaction designed to stifle democratic debate? In this context, would he also justify the proposal of the cabinet group of East Devon District Council to restrict public questions at planning meetings?

Surely ALL groups that campaign for change are “political”, since they must engage with politicians and ruling bodies. Some groups are party-political: some are not, and EDA is in the latter category.

I should like to point out that EDA’s constitution clearly states that it is a “non-party-political” (note the two hyphens) organisation, concerned with protecting our precious environment and encouraging greater transparency in local government. I would also point out that before the local elections last May, many candidates and councillors from ALL of the political parties, as well as Independents, signed the EDA Charter, the first to do so being a Conservative councillor from Sidmouth.

May I invite the gentleman from Exmouth to do likewise before the elections in May 2015?

Most Read

Michael Temple

Knowle Drive, Sidmouth