Cornish Assembly Now!

Cornish Assembly Now!


Welcome to the blog. All the opinion on this blog is my own or as attributed. This blog is not an official outlet for either Mebyon Kernow - The Party for Cornwall, or for Illogan Parish Council. Thank you for reading - I hope you enjoy.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Cornwall's Democratic Deficit

How many times do you hear that a National Cornish Assembly would be 'another layer of expensive politicians'?

The real facts are  that Cornwall has a massive democratic deficit! See our document on a National Assembly for Cornwall - sections 60 - 64.

So we are already spending less on democratically elected and accountable community representatives - democracy in Cornwall is being run on the cheap.

Further still we believe that a National Assembly would save money - even allowing for some extra administrative costs. An National Assembly for Cornwall could sweep away the politically appointed and democratically unaccountable quangos such as the LEP.

The Cornish LEP came into being in a blaze of glory claiming that thousands of jobs would be created. Several years later and the only job that can be laid fairly and squarely at the door of the LEP is the one that carries a big salary - the post of LEP chairman!

Instead of privatising public bodies and spending public money on boosting private profit a Cornish Assembly could make investments in public services.

Not another layer of expensive politicians - a way of making them more accountable to the people and helping to improve public services.

Say NO to supersized LOCAL government - demand a NATIONAL ASSEMBLY!

Julia Goldsworthy, the failed MP who's only legacy was a rocking chair expenses scandal, is on the
Westminster electoral comeback trail.

In an attempt to re-ingraciate herself with the electorate (and get back onboard the expenses gravy train with a newly raised salary to boot), she is heading the Lib Dem assault on devolution for Cornwall.

The Lib Dem party, the pick 'n mix party who like to throw any sweetie into the bag that they think may get them elected, are, yet again, re-inventing their policy on devolution.

Like dodgy used car salesmen, they are willing to take the clapped out Cornwall Council, tart it up a bit and add a few gadgets before passing it off as a deluxe new National Assembly. Of course, like any cut and shut, the whole thing will fall apart - probably with tragic consequences.

Cornwall Council is a failed experiment. It is too big and overcentralized to work as democratic and responsive local government and does not have the capacity to handle national problems.

Mebyon Kernow is calling for a true National Assembly for Cornwall.

An assembly which can do away with unelected and politically appointed quangos such as the LEP and tie public spending to public accountability.

An Assembly which can take full controll of our housing and development policies - rather than having Westminster dictate housing numbers to us.

An Assembly which can prioritise spending on our NHS instead of selling it to the highest bidder.

And as part of a new democratic settlement for Cornwall we need local government reform. We need to do away with Cornwall Council altogether and take real local decison-making powers closer to the people through four smaller unitary authorities and by enhancing the powers of towns and parishes.

Mebyon Kernow is the only political party with real vison and ambition for the governance of Cornwall. We have a raft of policies which have been carefully thought through and developed over years. While the Lib Dems gather in the pub and fiddle around with the back of a fag packet we are the only party that has devolution policies that do what they say on the tin.

MaKe The Difference - support our vision, join our party, get involved - tomorrow may be too late and if you don't act now then, like the Scots, you will wake up to the usual broken Westminster pledges.

Friday, 19 September 2014

How Depressing! :-(

Today I am feeling very depressed!

No - not because of the way the referendum went in Scotland. Ok the result was disappointing but the Yes campaign worked miracles to get the result that it did fighting against the full weight of the establishment and media. At the end of the day the people chose, yet again, to believe the false promises of the Westminster establishment politicians. It may be disheartening but the sheer scale of the engagement in the decision by the Scottish people was truly uplifting.

What is so depressing is the way that it is back to business as normal for Westminster.

No sooner had the ink dried on the ballot papers but the excuses, ruses, justifications and obfuscations began as to why Scotland won't get what they actually voted for - devomax.

Add to that our local Westminster representatives talking down Cornish aspirations and you begin to think that they are gong to get away with bertrayal and deceit yet again.

For example we have Sarah Newton. She has obviously read the Project Fear campaign handbook by deliberately misleading people about devolution to a National Assembly of Cornwall and talking in terms of 'independence' and separation. At the same time she makes it clear that her idea of devolution is giving powers and control of massive chunks of public spending to unelected and unaccountable quangos such as the LEP. Giving control of public money to businessmen with vested interests is not devolution - it is privatisation by the back door!

To top it all off, I arrived home at lunch time to find a letter from George Eustice awaiting me. Apparently George is very concerned about overdevelopment in Illogan and wants to do something about it. I'll tell you what George - why didn't you vote against your government's relaxing of planning laws and their introduction of a presumption in favour of development if you were concerned about overdevelopment in Illogan. Or maybe you should support the idea of a devolved Cornish National Assembly which would have control over Cornwall's planning strategy instead of Westminster - that would be one way to allow people to have a greater say in how their localities deal with development.

This hypocrisy in Westminster politicians is bad enough but the kowledge that they are probably going to get away with it yet again makes it depressing.

Dick Cole, has called for a mature, wide-ranging and respectful debate about devolution. I agree with him but until we can have a debate involving a little bit of honesty from Westminster I think it is a bit of a big ask.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Is the West Briton Biased?

Below is the text of a letter that I sent to the West Briton. I sent it in a week before the paper was due to be published. In the same edition there Sarah newton gives her Conservative view of 'devolution' and  an overtly party political letter from Simon Rix was published.

People often say that they believe that the West Briton is biased against MK but I have always said that I didn't believe this to be the case. However, I do begin to wonder given that I have had several letters rejected since I became the PPC for Mebyon Kernow whereas previously my letters were mainly printed.

I have sent a letter to the West Briton asking them where I am going wrong that they don't think my letters fit to be published on such a regular basis. I'll have to wiat and see if I get a reply.


Today the people of Scotland will decide whether or not their country will become independent.

Whichever way the vote goes it has become clear in recent months that the United Kingdom will never be the same again. All over the island of Britain, from John O’Groats to Land’s End or from Aberystwyth to Great Yarmouth people have been discussing the implications of the Scottish debate and their utter disillusionment with a centralised Westminster government.

The Westminster political parties have all espoused the benefits of the union – yet it becomes clearer every day that they are defending their own party political interests by setting out the imagined benefits of a highly centralised system of government.

At the same time each London based party sets out its own tawdry interpretation of ‘devolution’ in an attempt to appear that they might be prepared to give up some of their power to allow people run their own affairs.

The Tories try to convince us that placing responsibility for massive amounts of public spending into the hands of unelected and politically appointed quangos is devolution. Where is the local democracy? This is not devolution it is privatisation by the back door.

Meanwhile Labour is certain that regional bodies are the answer. Cornwall would get swamped in a ‘South West England’ region. It would have a miniscule political voice and an even smaller opportunity to develop the Cornish economy.

Of the London based parties the Liberal Democrats shout the loudest in favour of devolution for Cornwall and yet have failed to set out their vision for Cornish devolution. They have no clearly defined plan as to exactly what powers they believe Cornwall deserve or how any new powers might be used. Another vague pledge to be discarded when the going gets tough.

The only party that has set out a clear proposal for real and democratic devolution to Cornwall is Mebyon Kernow. The Party for Cornwall believes that people of Cornwall should be responsible for the vast majority of public spending in Cornwall through an elected national legislative Assembly.  MK is the only party that has a proposal for devolution that will do what it says on the can!


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Illogan suffers - usual Lib Dem broken pledges

Illogan Parish Council is attempting to complete the transfer of Illogan Park into local control. Cornwall Council has been guilty over the last few years of neglect and poor maintenance and IPC and the people of Illogan want to take on the park and make it fit for purpose once more. All this has been agreed in principle between Cornwal Council and IPC.

However, Cornwall Council has been unable to produce certain vital information that has been requested by IPC and without which the transfer cannot take place. This has been the situation for many months now and the project is stalled because of this inability on the part of Cornwall Council to get the job done.

A month or so before the recent by-election in Illogan our newly elected Cornwall Councillor, David Ekinsmyth, met with his Lib Dem comrade and Cornwall Council portfolio holder for localism and devolution - Cllr Jeremy Rowe. We were told that this historic meeting would ensure that the log jam at County Hall would be freed up and that all would be well.

Cllr Ekinsmyth's election campaign portrayed him as the person that had solved the problems with the transfer of Illogan Park to IPC. Cllr Ekinsmyth was a man of action and the Lib Dems were the party who could get things done.

A month after the election and a second IPC devolution committee meeting has had to be cancelled because Cornwall Council are still unable to provide the information requested.

So much for intervention from portfolio holders and so much for the Lib Dems being the party of action in Illogan.

Just more broken Lib Dem pledges.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Support for Chacewater Parish Council

At the full council IPC meeting last week, councillors voted to offer support to Chacewater Parish Council who have recently raised concerns about the way that Cornwall Council operates.

The full text of the Chacewater Parish Council letter can be found here.

CPC is concerned that Cornwall Council is becoming less democratic and more authoritarian. It is worried about inappropriate development, Newquay Airport and a total lack of cost benefits that might have been expected to be derived from operating as a unitary authority.

It was interesting to see that the only councillor to vote against support for CPC was our newly elected Cornwall Councillor, David Ekkinsmyth. Although he did not speak in the debate he voted against a motion of support for CPC.

You have to wonder if this is the first sign of party politics from our new Liberal Democrat councillor - not wanting to be seen to be critical of his new bosses in Truro who are in turn responsible to their bosses in London.

So much for keeping party politics out of parish matters and so much for the Lib Dem 'principles' of devolution and extending powers to the most appropriate level!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Illogan Parish Fair

Despite the dire weather warnings Illogan was bathed in sunshine for its annual Parish Fair.

This year the fair was organised on a multi-site basis - drawing together the school, village hall, Wellbeing Centre and church. Stalls and events were held throughout the display areas and the locations merged into one thriving hub of happy and smiling villagers.

Illogan Parish Cuncil conducted a treasure hunt for children - encouraging them to visit each and every stall or display - while the adults were asked to give their views on how Illogan Park should be best utilised when it is finally signed over to IPC.

A great day out - many thanks and congratulations to the organising committee who have done yet another sterling job.