Skip to main content
Undemocratic, disengaging, insulting,
stupid and unsympathetic,
five reasons why Devonwall is a bad idea

There are many reasons why a Devonwall constituency is a bad idea. It’s tempting to list 1074 for this is the number of years since the Cornish border was established (in 936AD) , this would certainly be possible. However for the sake of your sanity and mine the number of objections to Devonwall can be summed up in five reasons. I know there are many more and I haven’t included for example the historical and cultural significance of the Tamar, Cornwall’s constitutional position and the fact that the Cornish like the Welsh, Scottish and English deserve equal political respect under law. I feel these subjects have been ably covered by other writers on their blogs. Anyway my five are perhaps a little procedural and dry but here they are.

1. Firstly and most importantly, the decision to create a Parliamentary Cross- Tamar constituency is wholly undemocratic. The move is opposed by Cornwall’s six Members of Parliament (both the 3 Liberal Democrat and the 3 Conservative), Cornwall Council has voted unanimously against and in addition a large proportion of town and parish councils are opposed. Democratically elected officials from across the Duchy and from all of the political parties do not want a Cross-Tamar MP at the next parliament. There is no desire for a Devonwall constituency in Cornwall.

2. There has been no public consultation about this move, even as the bill is passing through parliament, the public have still not been told if the proposed Devonwall constituency will join West Devon to North Cornwall or Plymouth to South East Cornwall. Before the coalition government came to power all boundary changes were open to public consultation, not anymore. The public simply have no avenue of official interaction with the government over this matter, thus a public rally has been organised.

3. The plans for a Devonwall constituency are part of the plans for reducing the number of MPs which in turn is part of the reform of the electoral system (the AV referendum). So Cornwall stands to lose its political integrity and millennia old border as a footnote to another issue. However insulting this is, it also means that Liberal Democrat MPs in Cornwall will be whipped into voting for electoral reform and forsaking their own beliefs and those of their constituents. 

4. The most prescient practical reason for opposing the Cross-Tamar is the extra unnecessary work for both the MP and local authorities. Again before the Coalition came to power, great attempts were made to keep constituencies within administrative divisions, not anymore. Say for example if the constituency straddles Plymouth and South East Cornwall, the MP will have to liaise with Cornwall Council, Devon County Council and Plymouth City Council, as well as town and parish councils. This would lead to a lot of unnecessary work for both the MP and the Councils, making everyone’s job harder, much more inefficient and reduce the effectiveness of all involved.

5. Although there are historical, cultural and political arguments to be made for keeping ‘Cornwall Whole’ these have so far been ignored by Nick Clegg and the coaliton government.. This is a great shame for there have been special dispensations made to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on similar grounds. In the case of our Celtic cousins the strict new rules on constituency size have been waived in favour of common sense. So if there can be exceptions elsewhere in the Celtic nations, why not Celtic Cornwall?

I have listed below some links for those of you that might be interested in reading more/ getting involved:
Keep Cornwall Whole site, including details of the rallies on the 8th, 9th and 10th October.
This campaign is being considered by 38 degrees, please vote for it here.
The Cornish Republican's blog which provides an overview of the subject.

Popular posts from this blog

Why I'm voting to stay in the EU and why I think you should too

I haven't interacted much with the European Referendum campaign much. Perhaps it's because I'm too much of a political nerd and would love to see people debating the policies of the European Parliament rather than various name calling and scare mongering but anyway... There's a great deal to not like about the European Union. I'm not a defender of everything it does and the way it conducts itself. But I can say the same about a whole host of institutions and authorities. Which is why this post focuses  on a few of the things I think are important. I think the European Union is fundamentally a good idea. For 2 principle reasons, 1 the formation of the EU and greater European cooperation and understanding has led to the longest period of European peace in recorded history. If the history of Europe tells us anything then we are better off working with each other than we are fighting each other. I know that the EU will continue to exist if the UK votes to leave on th…

Meeting with Premier Inn about proposed Branwell's Mill development

As many of you will have read online and in the local papers. Premier Inn are interested in setting up a hotel in Branwell's Mill in Penzance. Last night members of the Town Council were invited to a presentation by the agents from the hotel chain in St John's Hall. The Town Council rightly has a clear position that it is neutral on this development. Due to Code of Conduct rules and particularly Section 25 of the Localism Act, councillors must not enter debates with a closed mind. Or to put in plain terms the council and councillors can not be seen to have made a decision before the meeting and before they see the facts before them of that meeting. As with any planning application in the parish of Penzance it will be reviewed, debated and voted on by Penzance Town Council  Added to the fact that I've seen a presentation for the developers but not been able to speak to hear other sides of the story. This post is primarily to inform yourselves of what is happening rather th…

Bona Vacantia, the Duchy of Cornwall, the case of the missing money

The Telegraph ran with a story about the income of the Duke of Cornwall from bona vacantia yesterday. This is when people die in Cornwall without a will or a next of kin then their possessions are deemed to be ownerless goods (the meaning of bona vacantia in Latin) and are appropriated by the Duchy of Cornwall. In England these 'goods' land, property, belongings, money and so on are appropriated by the Crown and passed over to the Treasury (i.e. the government) but in Cornwall now and since 1337 these unclaimed possessions pass to the Duchy. For centuries these assets merely became part of the heir to the English thrones fortune, but since the 1970s they have been passed to the Duchy of Cornwall's Benevolent Fund or at least that's the story. So upon reading the story I thought I'd have a quick look on the internet and see where this money went and the story of the money is very curious...

Firstly the Telegraph reports that the income to the Duchy from Cornwall'…