• Is it

    The public gets what the public wants?


    The public wants what the public gets?

    At last night’s full council meeting, members discussed the forthcoming referendum on the mayoral system. Following a rushed-through and ill-thought out public consultation earlier this year (a decision taken by the majority of the Tories, with the Lib Dems and the Brixham ‘independents’) it turned out that the public wanted the alternative to the mayoral system to be a committee system on the referendum vote. No matter. Does the public ever get what the public wants? Not here, that’s for sure. The motion to put something else on the referendum ballot papers was passed by just one vote.

    Here are the names of those councillors who voted against the public’s wishes: Barnby, Bent, Bye, Cunningham, Ellery, Kingscote, Lewis, Morey, O'Dwyer, Robson, D Thomas, J Thomas, Hill, Tyerman, Winfield, Stockman, Sykes.

    And those who voted to uphold the public’s wishes: Oliver, Amil, Excell, Haddock, King, Lang, Manning, Mills, Morris, Parrott, Stocks, Stubley, Carter, M Darling, S Darling, Doggett.

    This made it 17 votes all, so the Chairman got a casting vote to decide the matter. Cllr Hill used this to vote against the public.

    Here’s the text of the speech I gave in favour of upholding the wishes of the public, as stated in the consultation. Of course, it was a small number of the electorate who responded, but that is democracy: everyone had a choice whether to participate, and many chose not to.


    Of course, I never play politics!

    By way of clearing the undergrowth from around this item, some home truths about the mayoral system in the Bay. In reminding Council of these truths, I am doing so as one of only two councillors I know of who are outspoken in their support for the system, Councillor Lewis being the other. Kudos to Cllr Lewis for remaining such through thick and thin. Indeed, despite my support for the system, I was fully expecting four more years on the backbenches until Mayor Oliver showed such confidence in my passionate concern for the adults and children of our Bay. So…

    Truth no 1 about the Bay’s mayoral system:

    It was made possible by Labour government legislation; one of the few times that government did anything for real democracy. Such a good idea was it that the new Conservative government is developing the model further.

    Truth no 2.

    It came into being on the back of some of the most outrageous general mismanagement of local public affairs ever seen - under the Liberal Democrats and their absentee leader, Chris Harris I will not go into the full list of outrages again. A simple Google search will reveal all.

    And, Truth no 3.

    Only Conservative candidates ever win Mayoral elections here. As a candidate who did rather well in the May election, even I can see that the public, however much it may annoy some, wanted Mayor Oliver to lead the Bay until 2019 for a second term.

    So where have the calls for change really come from? Certainly not from anything like a majority of the people of the Bay! Consider the response to the August consultation:

    • Less than one one percent of the population eligible to vote responded;

    • Even of that less than one per cent, 22% wanted to keep the current system without holding a referendum!

    So where is the groundswell against the mayoralty? I suggest that there is none. This not a great democratic debate, rather it is a confection whipped up by disgruntled ‘lefties’ on social media who are given disproportionate coverage by other local media.

    It's from comments like these that the local paper picks up it's stories, so it's not hard to see why they often get it so wrong.

    I suggest to members that it is they too, and not the public that are so opposed to the system and are seeking to cloak their machinations in a fabricated public outcry.

    Why else would members, having been handed the inconvenient truth only in May that the public chose Mayor Oliver, rush into a consultation that Cllr King suggested needed more thought?

    Of course, Mr Chairman, we are where we are now. The Lib Dems are calling for the return of the ‘no one responsible’ anonymity of the soviet style committee system because this is the best way of exorcising the ghost of Chris Harris. And the rest of the anti-mayoral gang are apparently for the Leader and Cabinet system. Unfortunately, for both sides, there are major problems.

    On the one hand, there is support from the August consultation for the soviet style committee; 53% of the respondents support this. However, it is nearly twice as expensive to run as the mayoral system. In a full and open referendum, people will easily see that the mayoral system is far preferable in terms of cost, and in terms of public accountability.

    On the other hand, the cheaper Leader and Cabinet system is less democratic than the mayoral system; remember Cllr Harris again, and the public knows this, which is probably the reason that it was so roundly rejected by the tiny sample of the electorate that responded to the August consultation.

    I recognise that Mayor Oliver made an election promise to hold this wretched referendum, so please, let’s get on with it. The question has to be between the continuation of the mayoralty or – as chosen by the public in the consultation - a move to the soviet style committee system, or democracy will have been flouted by members. Why ask our residents for their opinion if we are just going to flagrantly ignore them?

    I am delighted there will be a recorded vote so that any enemies of democracy there may be among us will be highlighted for posterity. Let us reject this motion and get on with a referendum in the terms that the public have asked for.


    Here’s an example of the misinformation that is peddled on social media sites.



Julien Parrott, UKIP

Councillor for Ellacombe Ward, 2007 to date
Executive Lead for Adults and Children
Torbay Borough Council Unitary Authority

julien campaign

11 November 2017

A brief update ...

I realise that I keep apologising for not maintaining this website! I really hope that I will be able to do something with it in the near future, but I know that my fellow Ellacombe residents understand that my priority is with my ward work and with my work for children and adults across the Bay as Executive Lead councillor.

In the meantime, an update for my fellow Ellacombe residents: please note that my contact details have changed. If you want to discuss a local issue with me, please see below for my new contact arrangements.

Email me:

Write to me:
Cllr Julien Parrott, Torbay Council, Town Hall, Torquay TQ1 3DR

Telephone me:
01803 389624 (Mon-Fri, daytime)

Come and see me:
I am also generally available each Monday between 12 noon and 1pm at the Office of William Dartmouth MEP, at 49 Market Street, Torquay TQ1 3AW

Julien in Regalia

During the Civic Year

2013-2014, I had the honour of being elected Chairman of Torbay Council.

Click on the logo to go to the UKIP.org website

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Where I have used photos not taken by me or given to me to use for my material, I have credited both the source of the picture and the photographer, where I can. If a photo is yours, and you would like a credit or would prefer me to remove it, then please let me know via the ‘Contact me' page on this site and I will do that.

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