Vote for me! Why?


A short while ago, we announced the names of the four candidates standing for Rye Town Council in the bye-election to be held next Thursday. We had wanted to interview them to find out where they stood on a number of subjects, some of which were suggested by our readers. As their phone numbers (apparently ex-directory) and email addresses were not available either publicly or to the Town Hall, three of them have been approached with a request for an interview either through the good offices of friends who know them or through the Town Hall emailing their proposers.

The fourth we knew personally and have conducted an interesting and informative interview. Tempting though it is to publish it, it would be invidious to do so without being able to compare it to answers given by the others.

Sadly we have to advise our readers that, despite our request, not one of the other three has shown any interest in giving us their views and so far only one of them seems to have circulated a leaflet outlining their stance (albeit in very vague terms with no details). So why are they standing? Only their friends and acquaintances will know who they are, nobody else knows what they stand for or whether they will have any more backbone than the current lot who couldn’t even vote to support our RDC councillors on discussing parking control last week, despite knowing that the town – as evidenced at the public PCC meeting – want to see just that.

One has to ask, why bother to vote at all? If most of them have such contempt for their electorate that they can’t be bothered to explain themselves, why should they expect us to vote for them? It would be a salutary lesson both to them and to the rest of the Town Council if the election was boycotted. It is also worth remembering that this election is costing the Town (and therefore us, the council tax payers) several thousands of pounds. The least we should expect is that the candidates would justify this expenditure.

Rye deserves better – a lot better – than this.


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  1. This is a ridiculous waste of time and money. How am I supposed to make an informed decision on who to vote for if I cannot find out any information about the 4 candidates.
    I have always voted in every election, but if I have nothing to guide my choice, how can I participate this time?

  2. Part of me approves of ‘independent’ candidates in local politics but a second descriptive word would be helpful- UKIP , conservative, LibDem, even Christian.
    Gerard Riley is the only candidate open as being a Labour member so would presumably work with the existing councillors with similar views in pursuing policies which help make life better for people living in Rye.

  3. If the prospective candidates cannot be bothered to make their aims and reasons for standing known to the electorate will they,if elected, actually be bothered to turn up for council meetings? Maybe they view Rye Town Council as a private club. I agree totally with Paul Oxley, a dreadful waste of our money. We have our postal vote but impossible to use. Who are these people????

  4. None of these names mean anything to me. I have asked all my friends and neighbours about the candidates, but they are equally in the dark. So I’m not going to vote for some unknown person, chosen at random.

  5. Hello
    I’m one of the culprits! Apologies – I answered a request from Rye Observer but only just had the one from Rye News passed on to me. I have emailed John Minter direct but so as to take a belt and braces approach I’ve pasted what I sent him below.
    Best wishes
    Matt Follett

    About me:
    I love living in Rye and want to make a contribution to my community. Rye is a great place to live and I want to keep it that way. Sadly, I don’t think Rye always gets a fair deal from Rother District Council based as it is in Bexhill. With my local government experience I can ask the difficult questions to ensure Rye gets its fair share of cash and attention.

    I’ve been elected to local government twice before. During that time I sat on planning committee, scrutiny committee and transport committee. All of which experience will be useful to Rye. I’m also familiar with policing and crime due to my job at the University of Brighton where I lecture in Criminology.

    My favourite activities are walking, going to the Rye Kino, and spending time with my partner, Tracy, who runs the Citizens Advice bureau in Hastings, and my lovely stepchildren.

    What my priorities are:
    I strongly back the Rye Neighbourhood Plan and believe the town needs all the help it can get in making sure Rother District Council recognises the voice of residents in this.
    I support Tilling Green Residents’ Association and the Community Centre CIC in wanting to make the best use of Tilling Green Community Centre for the local community.

    I’m a big believer in promoting activities which bring young and old together. Christmas in Rye is a great example of this (not just because I was caught in the public video that was released kissing my Tracy outside St Mary’s!)

    I’m not convinced that Rother District Council is always listening to the residents of Rye. It often looks like residents of Bexhill get a better deal than the residents of Rye. I’d like to ensure that the voice of Rye residents is heard in reaching a common sense solution to our transport and traffic issues for example.

    Finally I’m very glad to have from among those who encouraged me to stand former Rye Town Councillor and Chairwoman of The Tilling Green Community Centre CIC Heidi Foster who has very kindly sent the following quote for public use: put out the following message of support:

    The Tilling Green Community Centre CIC Board want a Town Councillor who will stand up for the local community and ensure more local people have a proper say in the running of our local centre. A vote for Matt is a vote for someone who will do just that and stand up for Rye. I urge you all to back him.”

  6. Good to see one of the candidates has made an effort. Once upon a time candidates in elections produced posters and fliers. These were distributed around the town, delivered by hand through letterboxes. We were made aware of their aims and aspirations for the town, their reasons for committing to serve the people of Rye. If an election is going to cost thousands of pounds surely the candidates should commit to making sure the electorate knows who they are and what they stand for rather than wasting our money which could be better spent on the care of this beleaguered town.

  7. While I feel I should be free to back anyone I chose re the Town Council Candidate without getting flack from Labour Friends, even though I am a labour voter, I would like to set the record straight as to the quote in Matt Follett’s leaflet.

    I was quoted as saying :”…. backing Matt who will…….” and people seemed to take that as my vote. What I agreed to quote was something like this: ” That I am sure Matt would work hard for Rye people including the Tilling Green Centre.”

    As I have a postal vote I decided a couple of weeks ago (nothing to do with the quote) as I knew at least three of the candidates and Mrs Breeds campaigned fairly early.

    Also, just to be clear, as far as I know, CFAIR at the moment is dormant and I resigned as chair at the last meeting. It was correct that I was a Rye Town Councillor.

    Heidi Foster, Rye


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