Real Zorro

Mission - to challenge in East Devon. To hold elected representatives & their officials to account.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Hugo, Claire And Heinz 57 In Election Battle

Zorro was intrigued to see the full list of the candidates standing in this general election for the East Devon seat. It was a racing certainty that incumbent MP Hugo Swire (The Conservative Party) would throw his hat into the ring as after all the eat is his and his Party’s to lose, and therefore given his age, why would he voluntarily give this role up unless he had something more interesting and/or lucrative for he and Mrs Swire to do?


It became fairly clear from the moment that the Prime Minister stepped up to the lectern outside Number 10 on 18 April to call a snap general election that local high profile Independent, and a candidate in the 2015 general election, Claire Wright,  was taking soundings from friends and political supporters as to whether she should stand again. Loyal readers will recall that in the last general election Claire Wright came a very credible second polling a quarter of the votes. This was a truly credible performance, particularly for a candidate who had no political party machine or funding behind her.


And so Zorro and Mrs Zorro were unsurprised to see confirmation yesterday that Claire Wright’s name would be on the ballot paper alongside Hugo Swire.


At that point what was most intriguing was whether the Green Party, the Liberal Democrats and/or the Labour Party would accept and recognise that standing their own candidates would be foolhardy vanity politics as all they would be able to do, apart from raising their party’s profile in the Constituency, would be to take votes from Claire Wright, thus making Hugo Swire’s task easier. Through Zorro’s Twitter postings a challenge had been put to all three of these parties to stand aside to allow Claire Wright a clear run at Hugo.


It was with disappointment but in truth little surprise to formally find out yesterday that both the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party were fielding candidates. So much for any idea of a coalition of progressives, or a progressive alliance! To their credit the Green Party isn’t putting up a candidate.


The Labour Candidate, Janet Ross, polled badly in the recent Devon County Council elections failing to get elected in the Broadclyst Electoral Division. Although looking on the bright side she polled 5 more votes than he co-Labour Party candidate. So, she must have something, doesn’t she?


We have Alison Eden standing for the Liberal Democrats. Alison was elected for her party last September to Teignbridge Council. So, like Hugo Swire, she doesn’t live in East Devon. At least all of the other candidates do!


Oh what about UKIP I hear readers asking? This time around the dear old Kippers, who really do appear to be down on their luck, which must bring a smile to Hugo Swire’s face as their votes are most likely to come from his, are fielding Brigitte Graham.  Brigitte stood in the recent Devon County Council elections for UKIP in the Exmouth Electoral Division.


In the County Council election Brigitte explained what she stood for – I am married to Gavin Graham and I live in East Budleigh. I have run my own business, since 1985, so I understand the pressures on small enterprise. I care passionately about East Devon, and despair at the wonton destruction of our green spaces. Pot holes in the roads are dangerous and are a result of neglect; I would bring pressure to repair our infra-structure. Local housing for local people is vitally important to help people born in the area stay here. We need to ensure that so called affordable homes are genuinely affordable for our local people.


UKIP does not ask me to 'toe the party line' unlike the other parties. I will truly represent our local people. Despite what you might read in the Press, the grass roots membership of our Party continues to grow, with hundreds of councillors across the country representing local people. I am looking forward to the challenge! If you want to see democracy in action, please vote for me on 4th May”.


Unfortunately for Brigitte the electors in the Exmouth seats didn’t buy into her vision! And Zorro suspects that the electors across the whole of East Devon won’t either on 8 June! So, say goodbye to another £500 plus of UKIP’s millionaire backer’s money!


What was most surprising to Zorro when pursuing the list of candidates was the fact that in addition to Claire Wright there are two other independent candidates – Michael Val Davies and Peter Faithfull?


Peter Faithfull’s name was already known to Zorro as he is an East Devon County Councillor for Ottery St Mary. The thing that bemuses and concerns Zorro is the fact that Peter took his EDDC seat as an East Devon Alliance candidate! The EDA is the local home of independents!


Zorro hears that Peter Faithfull isn’t standing with the EDA’s blessing. Zorro leaves it to readers to decide upon Peter Faithfull’s motives in standing. He may find that politics is a pretty unforgiving vocation and that in 2020 his support in the District Council elections could tumble if voters decide that his actions in this election undermine those who have a better chance of taking the seat from the Conservatives.


The equally bizarre entrant into this race to represent the East Devon electorate is one Michael Val Davies. Who’s he Mrs Zorro asked.


Michael seems to hail from Exmouth, writes the odd letter on war heritage to the Guardian and stood as an independent candidate in the Barnsley Central 2011by-election. Even the Zorro children know that Barnsley is a bit up north from East Devon. Michael lost his £500 deposit in that election, as he is bound to do again in this one, and managed to poll a magnificent total of 60 votes or 0.2% of the votes cast! Well played Michael!


Perhaps it was no surprise that this was the case as the BBC's Political Editor for Yorkshire and the North Midlands, Len Tingle, tweeted at the time Finally caught up with 9th candidate for #BarnsleyCentral. Independent Mike Val Davies forgot to issue an address or phone number- bless”.


Readers may like to read the mini manifesto that the local BBC obtained from Michael in that election – “I would first of all use the humiliation I would have imposed on the entire London political class to press for more time for Barnsley to adjust to lower public spending. The fact is that if entrepreneurs have the ideas to create new jobs Barnsley people can fill them. The hotel I am staying at is a shining example of that.


One thing that has to be fixed though is the state of the roads I will demand that the first call on the £40bn motorists pay in taxes is road repairs. In a broader sense I am standing here because the party loyalties that have been with us for as long as we can remember are dying and I would like to help administer the last rites. If I came near the top in the ballot for private members legislation I would introduce a bill to control the companies who advertise loans at 4000%”


To complete Michael’s humiliation in that election in Barnsley he told the Barnsley Chronicle newspaper that he had 'no chance of winning' the by-election! How prophetic he was! He came a sad and lonely last! And people ask whether history repeats itself. We will find out on 9 June!


Zorro is genuinely intrigued that both Peter Faithfull and Michael Val Davies each have the £500 required to enter this race and which they must know in their heart of hearts they will lose. Equally, Zorro is amazed that if these two are to provide the electors with any idea of who they are and what they are standing for then they will have to produce some written publicity and run some sort of a campaign. To run an effective campaign costs a lot of money which is why Independent candidate Claire Wright is trying to raise £10,000 to support her campaign 


 Neither appears to be on Twitter, so bang goes free social media communication. Mind you, the Labour Party and UKIP candidates don’t seem to have Twitter accounts either, and the Liberal Democrat appears to run a protected Twitter account, so that makes a social media conversation with all of them difficult!


Indeed, Zorro will be intrigued to see who has proposed and seconded the nomination forms for both Peter Faithfull and Michael Val Davies, and who has added their names to the other eight electors are who signed, as is required to allow a candidate’s name to reach the ballot paper!


So, what do we know having now seen the list of candidates standing in East Devon? In Zorro’s opinion it will be a two horse race, as it was last time around. The big question will be whether the supporters of both the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats have the desire to unite behind Claire Wright rather than playing fantasy politics by voting for their partties’ tribal candidates. This is the only way to give Claire Wright a real chance at creating the political upset that East Devon needs.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Registering To Vote In The General Election

A Handy Guide To The General Election and Voter Registration


To vote in the General Election on 8 June 2017 you must be on the Electoral Register by 22 May 2017


You don’t need to register again if you’ve already registered, but you might wish to check that you are on the Register. To do this you need to contact your local Electoral Registration Office.  If you live in East Devon, contact – If you live elsewhere you can find contact details for it using the ‘postcode search facility’ on the front page of the Your Vote Matters website


You should register to vote if you are:

  • 16 or over in England, (but you cannot vote until you are 18)
  • A UK citizen
  • A qualifying Commonwealth citizen; qualifying Commonwealth citizens are those who have ‘leave’ to enter or remain in the UK, or do not require such ‘leave’
  • A citizen of a European Union country living in the UK should register, but most cannot vote in UK Parliamentary elections.
  • A citizen of the Republic of Ireland, Cyprus, or Malta, who is resident in the UK, can vote in UK Parliamentary elections.
  • The definition of ‘resident’ is complex and it is largely at the discretion of the person responsible for the local Electoral Registration Office. If you think you might be eligible to register and to vote in UK Parliamentary elections, attempt to register and then the local Electoral Registration Office will make a decision

  • A citizen of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or a British Overseas Territory living in the UK. Gibraltarians resident in the UK may not vote in UK Parliamentary elections
  • You may register if you are a student or a British citizen living overseas, you are one of the above and serving in the UK armed forces
  • You may register even if you have no fixed address
A non-UK citizen who is resident in the UK and is married to a UK citizen, is not automatically eligible to vote in UK Parliamentary elections. And not all people born in the UK are automatically UK citizens, children born in the UK after 1 January 1983 are only British citizens if either their father or their mother is also British or, and if both parents are foreign nationals, they are legally ‘settled’ in the UK.


More details about who is eligible to register and vote in different UK based elections is available at:


·       register to vote

·       update your details; change of name or address etc

·       apply for a postal vote

·       ask for your name to be removed from the open register, if you are worried about your personal security


To register to vote using the online facility should only take 5 minutes. You will need your National Insurance Number and perhaps your Passport Number, if you have one.


 There are strong personal and political reasons for joining the Register. If your name is on the Register you can choose to vote, or indeed, choose not to vote, but if your name is not on the Register, you lose that choice.


Voting in elections is a central part of our democracy. And it is not glib to say that men, and especially women, campaigned, fought and died to win the right to vote. In some parts of the world people are still fighting for democratic elections, so we should not take the right to vote lightly, or take it for granted.


Elections are your opportunity to determine the path of politics in your community and in the UK.


And if that is not enough to convince you, your local Electoral Registration Office could fine you £80 if you fail to join the register.


If you are resident in more than one place, you can register in multiple locations, but you may only vote in one at each election.


Everything you need to know about voting in the UK can be found at the Your Vote Matters website including the address and contact information of your local Electoral Registration Office.


The contact details for the East Devon Electoral Services office, which is open Monday to Friday 8.30am until 5,00pm, are –

Useful websites:

Your Vote Matters:        

Electoral Commission:  

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Claire Wright challenging Hugo Swire again in East Devon

Yesterday evening Claire Wright announced that she was again standing as a Parliamentary candidate for East Devon in the forthcoming general election where she will be the incumbent’s main challenger. In the previous general election Claire stood for the first time against Hugo Swire and polled about 25% of the vote, which for a first time and Independent candidate was a terrific achievement!


Claire Wright is a Devon County Councillor and in last week’s County Council elections she romped to victory winning the Otter Valley ward seat by polling an amazing 74.6% of the votes. This great result for Claire sees her returning to the County Council chamber. Until 2015 Claire had also been a Councillor on East Devon District Council but graciously she stood aside to allow an East Devon Alliance candidate a clear run at the seat.


Over the forthcoming weeks Zorro will publish further postings in support of Claire Wright the Independent candidate for East Devon.


However, in the meantime Zorro felt it would be more helpful to reproduce Claire’s public declaration about her decision to stand in the general election. This can be downloaded -


If you want to give Claire support in her challenge to Hugo Swire, she needs your assistance in –


Funding her campaign: donate at Remember, none of Claire’s campaign funding will come from a political party. She will have to raise every penny that she spends. So, please dig deep and give what you can afford!

Delivering leaflets: there is a need over the next few weeks for tens of thousands of leaflets to be delivered across East Devon. If you can help in any way contact

Putting up posters: you must have a window, door, fence or an outside space that allows you to promote and show your public support for her candidature. To receive a poster contact

Helping her campaign: we all have different ways that we can help Claire’s campaign. Whether it’s knocking on elector’s doors and promoting Claire, stuffing envelopes or making refreshments in her campaign office. If you have time and energy to spare please volunteer to help her campaign by contacting


Vote Claire Wright! Free to speak. Free to act.






Claire to stand for East Devon seat 

Since the snap election was announced I have been inspired by hundreds of emails and calls urging me to stand and offering help. Following my decisive win in the county council elections, I have decided to say YES to my army of supporters by once again challenging the sitting Conservative MP.

In the 2015 parliamentary election I came second, with a 24 per cent share of the vote - more than Labour and the Lib Dems combined.

People are telling me that they are angry and frustrated with the current government’s policies. East Devon residents are looking for someone different, someone who will work solely for them, without being tied to a political party.

As a direct result of this government’s policies local NHS provision is under threat, education budgets face massive shortfalls, local businesses will suffer hikes in business rates, local council services have diminished under massive government cuts - and national debt has actually increased.

As well as this there are real fears of a damaging hard Brexit if the Conservative government is re-elected with a substantial majority, as is predicted.

In 2015, although a long-standing and hard-working local councillor, I was a parliamentary newcomer.

Now I have a track record that shows how local people are prepared to back me. I am the
only candidate who can win this seat from the Conservative MP.

I am calling on everyone in this constituency from the youngest to the oldest voter to join in a campaign based on progressive values and to return me as their MP.

As an Independent MP I would be free from the party whip and I would campaign on the issues that local people tell me are important to them. I would be free to speak and free to act.

If every resident who would like to see change in East Devon votes for me, history can be made in East Devon.

Best wishes

Claire Wright



We need your help

We want to get Claire's message out to as many people as possible over the next five weeks and we can't do that without your help. Claire is the only person who can beat the Conservative candidate. What she didn't say above is that she just won a 75 per cent of the vote in the County Council elections. If we want someone to fight for the NHS, education, local businesses and against over-development in East Devon and the East of Exeter, then we need to do our best to help her win!!

As an independent, Claire doesn't have a party machine paying for
four page advertising wrap arounds on the Express and Echo  and other local papers. Instead we need good old fashioned legwork (and some nifty up-to-the-minute social media too). There are plenty of different ways you can help to make a difference. You could:

  • Display a large poster board 
  • Deliver leaflets 
  • Help with door knocking
  • Donate as much as you can afford
  • Write a letter supporting Claire to your local paper.

Read on for details of how to take any of these actions.


Poster boards

We need a rash of new posters/boards to go up to demonstrate the strength of Claire's campaign and catch the eyes of those who don't know her. Please tell us if you have, or know of, a suitable site and are willing to display a board.

NB: If you still have one of the large A1 poster boards from the Devon County Council election please let us know, so that we know where the gaps are.


Delivering leaflets / doorknocking


Getting leaflets to everyone in the constituency is a vital part of the campaign - and one that gets easier the more people who do it. We know that many of you may be feeling a bit weary after the council elections, but if you would like to support Claire please make the effort and push leaflets through some more letterboxes. The more volunteers, the smaller the rounds!

The same is true for door-knockers. If you're happy to speak to people about Claire's manifesto on the doorstep, we'd like to hear from you.

let Louise know if you can help. Remember to tell us where you can help and whether it's delivering leaflets or knocking on doors.


Give what you can

Every penny counts in a general election campaign, and without a national party to fundraise we're at a disadvantage compared to other candidates, so please dig in your pockets and give what you can at Crowdpac  And please forward this on to friends or family who you think might be able to help too. All the work of the campaign is done by volunteers, but we still have the costs of printing leaflets, posters and display boards and other publicity material to cover.


Write a letter

During the 2015 General Election many of Claire's supporters were kind enough to write letters to their local paper mentioning why they were supporting Claire. This was a valuable tactic for getting stories of her achievements as a councillor, and details of her manifesto pledges, to a wider audience. Please do put pen to paper; or fingers to keyboard and write to your local editor.

Here's how to contact some of the main papers:
Sidmouth Herald:
Pulmans View From News -
Express & Echo -