About us

We are a group of people who all live in Northern Devon. We come from across the political spectrum but what unites us is our conviction that our democracy is broken and no longer serves the needs of a modern, diverse society. In fact, our current electoral system is holding us back so changing that is a priority.

Our Steering Group

Chair: John Patrinos
I’ve lived in North Devon for over 40 years and spent much of that time working for local government, which meant that politically I had to be entirely impartial. That habit of impartiality stuck, so when I retired and successfully stood for election to the District Council it was as an Independent. However, I am increasing alarmed at the increasing extreme policies of our national government, something not seen before in the UK. At the same time it has become clear that these extreme policies don’t represent the views of the majority of people, something a democracy should do. So my conviction is that the UK needs Proportional Representation so that most people are represented, rather than a minority being able to seize control of a political party and do as they wish.

Coordinator: Teresa Tinsley
Why did I joined Compass? I’ve been a Labour party member and have campaigned for them but since moving back to Devon I have joined the Lib Dems. I am not at all a party-political person. In the 2019 election I campaigned for the Lib Dems in Torridge and West Devon, and I was present at the count. When I saw ballot paper after ballot paper coming in for Geoffrey Cox, I knew things had to change.

My whole professional life has been about achieving closer relations between the UK and other European countries, so you can imagine I was not happy about Brexit.  What upsets me most is hatred and ignorance masquerading as patriotism. The lies, and the manipulation of public opinion. Since this government came into power things have gone from bad to worse. We see cronyism and corruption in place of measured and thoughtful public service. Compass is drawing people together to make a stand against all this and that’s why I’m here.

But. As an opposition we are very fragmented. Our resources are very limited. We spend more time squabbling about who is in second place than we do about thinking about how we can overcome the real enemy. We need to work together. To share resources, to bring in people as activists who have sunk into apathy or cynicism. We need to start locally and model the collaboration that has to happen across the country.

Looking at the number of people we have reached since setting up Compass ND, I am hopeful that we can take forward what Compass stands for, here in Northern Devon: equality, sustainability, and democracy. A fairer politics for a fairer society.

Ian Gee
I spent most of my working career, in the UK and overseas as an Organisation Development consultant.  I am committed to Compass Northern Devon as I see it as a chance to bring about the changes we so desperately need in our politics, as well as a way of opening people’s eyes to the fact that another type of politics is possible.  One that is fairer, where all votes count and trust and honesty are a real possibility within our political system.  I am pro-EU and when the time is right will do all I can to ensure that at a minimum we join the EU Single Market and Customs Union and eventually get our star back and return to our rightful place at the heart of the EU.  I am not a member of any political party and will campaign and work for whoever is judged to be most likely to remove our current Tory MP, whether they be Liberal Democrat, Labour or Green.

Ricky Knight

Councillor: Barnstaple Town Council; Newport Ward 2003 – 2022.
Retired Modern Languages Teacher (Park, Braunton and Pilton Comprehensive Schools 1989-2015.
Activist Green Party Member since 1984.
Parliamentary Candidate:  2005 North Devon; 2010 Bristol West; 2015 North Devon; 2017 North Devon.
Lead Candidate for the South West Greens in the 2009 European Elections.
Founder Member of ‘Make Votes Matter’, ‘Get PR Done’ and ‘Compass Northern Devon’.
I have a specific interest in representing Compass Northern Devon to the Liberal Democrats, Labour and Independents in Northern Devon.

Howard Porter
I joined Compass because I think our political system is outdated and no longer fit for purpose, something which is underscored by our archaic and unfair voting system. We need Proportional Representation in line with other European democracies if we are to stand a realistic chance of building a fairer and environmentally sustainable society.

I have a background in art and design and was a teacher in Further and Higher Education before founding a full service design agency in London. I have been a member of the Green Party for around a decade and a half and stood as a parliamentary candidate in the Tonbridge and Malling constituency.

I was Chair of Tonbridge Town Team, a member of the Medway Valley Line Community Rail Partnership and a board member of Kent Farmers’ Market Association. I helped to set up Tonbridge and Malling Friends of the Earth and Fairtrade Tonbridge. I also instigated the Tonbridge Scene, a forum for bringing arts organisations together and was also coordinator of Tonbridge for Europe during the 2016 EU referendum.  

I moved to Devon with my wife in 2019 and am currently a practicing artist (art has been a lifelong love, fascination and frustration!). I am a member of North Devon Arts.

Mark Johnson
I am a recently retired tech entrepreneur living in Braunton. These days I am heavily involved in the North Devon and Torridge Housing Crisis campaign and am on the board of Braunton Community Land Trust. I got involved with Compass as I see a political system that is broken and rarely delivers what the majority of people voted for. I am not a fan of political party tribalism, but I am currently a member of Labour as we need an Opposition that is electable and prepared for Government. I will vote for whoever is best placed locally to deliver that change regardless of colour of their party badge. My role in the Compass group is primarily on the social media presence. 

Dave Sharratt
Hi, I am Dave Sharratt, a retired Science teacher who has taught in six secondary schools in England.

For the last eight years of my career, I was as Principal in a North Devon academy school which acquired International School status in 2007.

I feel privileged to live here in North Devon just off the South West coast path and 400 metres from the sea. I am a keen walker, swimmer and kayaker. I love photography. and capturing the glorious landscapes here in North Devon. In addition, I am an  environmentalist and engage in campaigning for nature conservation and protecting local moorland habitats, our waterways, seas and beaches. Tackling anthropogenic climate change underpins all of this endeavour.

I am proud to be both British and a European. I actively campaigned to remain in the EU in 2016. I was very disappointed when by a narrow margin we chose to leave the European Union. The hard Brexit which we now endure is holding back our economy and severely limiting the many cultural, employment and educational opportunities which we enjoyed as a full member of the EU. I am an administrator of the Northern Devon for Europe FB page.

I would describe my political locus as a green social democrat although I am not currently a member of a political party and enjoy working with people from other political parties where views significantly overlap. I believe our democracy is not well served by the First-Past-The-Post/winner takes all electoral system.  I therefore became a member of the cross party North Devon Compass group which is campaigning for electoral change with PR as a key aspiration.

My wife and I have two daughters and four grandchildren, I want them to enjoy a peaceful future on a planet where the natural world is thriving and sustainable.

Jennifer Jones
I have lived in Welcombe on the border with Cornwall for 26 years now having moved from London where I had been working in the Joseph Rowntree Social Services Trust building in Poland Street as a researcher for the historian Edward Goodman founder of the Liberal Acton Society.

I was also given the resources by Rowntree to edit a grassroots monthly pamphlet in the very early days of a new political phenomenon called The Green Party as the environmental movement emerged onto the national stage.

These were truly exciting and revolutionary times thanks to Rowntree.  Friends Of The Earth; The Action Against Child Poverty; The British Irish Association (an influential back channel for politicians to engage in the dialogue that helped pave the way and culminated in The Good Friday Agreement); Peter Tatchell’s pioneering work on establishing gay rights and equality.  The place buzzed with everyone emerging from their individual ‘hives’ to exchange ideas and debate the issues that have gone on to dominate the national political agenda and rightly so.

Once in North Devon I found the near perfect job in Welcombe itself working at a charity called The Yarner Trust.  We were engaged in promoting sustainability and self-sufficiency and created an educational programme of over 60 courses ranging from sustainable building, traditional rural skills, small-holding and environmentally sustainable carbon reducing ways of living. 

We worked entirely in a non-hierarchical way and democratic decision making was a keystone to the organisation. Trust and co-operation were at the heart of our shared values and ideals.  This was not a given but when challenges arose had to be faced and worked through in a tolerant listening environment.

And, it is this thirst for progressing the values of a liberal social democracy and in continuing a quest for greater fairness and equality in society that has propelled me towards joining Compass Northern Devon.

Mary Tait
Like many people I've been dismayed at what's happened in this country over the last decade and I believe a lot of our problems spring from the way the first-past-the-post voting system works - I've spent the wee small hours of every recent election totting up what the results would have been if the progressive parties had worked together!

My life journey has taken me though TEFL teaching in Singapore, a long spell in the Civil Service where I spent a lot of time on EU trade and competition issues, a bit of cleaning, an OU languages degree, and working as a school clerk and a library assistant.

I moved to North Devon six years ago and I love it, but I see a lot of problems here which are just not being tackled, and we now badly need a government which is committed to social justice and serious action on the climate crisis. Time for a change.

Tracey Beresford
I've been active in the Green Party for about 10 years, first in London and now in Torridge. I've served as a committee member of my local tenants' and residents' association, and taken part in campaigns around social housing, active travel and the protection of green spaces. My professional background is as a sub-editor for newspapers including the Guardian. In London, I also worked behind the counter at my partner's bakery - often the scene of lively political discussion as we and our customers lived through the Brexit referendum and successive general elections! These days, Adam and I are developing a gastro-tourism business near Holsworthy, doing our best to make it sustainable and socially responsible.

I believe in cooperation and consensus, and want politicians of all shades to put country (and planet) before party. Britain's first-past-the-post electoral system achieves exactly the opposite: it has caused political infighting and left society deeply divided. Canvassing on doorsteps, I've met many people who have understandably lost faith in politicians and don't see the point of voting. Parliamentary democracy is now at risk, and change to a voting system based on proportional representation must be a priority for the next government. Compass has a vital role in pressing for this.

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