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Showing posts from 2011

Nadelik Lowen to all my readers

Hope you all have a nice Xmas, if you're a regular reader or this is your first time, thanks for reading my blog, it means a lot to me that so many people do read it.I won't be blogging for a while, I am  taking a break over the festive period. I'll be back refreshed and better than ever in the new year. Nadelik Lowen ha Blydhen Nowydh Da, Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year. Kernow Bys Vyken !

Government inaction, flawed localism and Wave Hub

Today it was announced that the Future of Wave Hub is Secured. Which is a story about the transfer of the management of Wave Hub (http://www.wavehub.co.uk/) to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the ex RDA project now has a new owner. To be cynical, nothing has actually changed there are still no users of this exciting and innovative contraption, over a year after it was installed. Hopefully this will change and London can sort this one out because it is such a shame for the unique device and all the 42 million (plus infrastructure) spent on it. Best of luck to them. However, it must be noted some of the side stories evident in the story of Wave Hub, reflect on the policy and governance of the coalition government. Localism has been cast aside by the centralisation of Wave Hub and the governments ability to run services due to a focus on reform and rationalisation or in layman' terms cuts.

Localism of donkey work and the centralisation of control
Although there wi…

The case for a Cornish Assembly

The tenth anniversary of the Cornish Assembly petition has just passed. For a little bit of background the Labour government had announced that any area demonstrating 10% support (of the adult population) for devolution could have it. Always keen to rise to a challenge, Mebyon Kernow duly accepted, I don't imagine for a minute that Blair really thought anywhere would be able to achieve this. But members of MK did getting 50,000 signatures for the petition pictured on the right (taken from Dick Cole's blog) and they were duly delivered to 10 Downing Street on the 12th of December 2001. The government refused to entertain the idea of Cornish devolution and unfortunately the hard work of campaigners came to nothing. Marking the anniversary, three Plaid Cymru MPs, Jonathan Edwards, Elfyn Llwyd and Hywel Williams created Early Day Motion 2532, highlighting the desire for a Cornish Assembly. Any MP that agrees with the EDM can sign it, so far Andrew George, Dan Rogerson and John McD…

debunking the myth of the Lib Dems commitment to fair funding for Cornwall

At the Mebyon Kernow conference, Dick Cole said in his speech
"Members of the London based political parties may time and time again stampede onto the political ground that we have served with honour, but they have so often failed to remain true to those causes they have  espoused for short term political advantage. They've so blatantly co-opted the policies of MK,they've said one thing to people in Cornwall totally different thing to people in London. they've given their support to local campaigns and then they've blatantly backtracked when told to by their Westminster masters." See that video here on the Cornish Republican blog,
There are a great number of examples to illustrate this point, one came this week with the announcement by the Coalition government that public sector workers pay will reflect local pay levels. Yet again the Liberal Democrats co opted the MK policy of securing fair funding for Cornwall at the last election, yet are in a government that…

Penzance parking....

I live very near to the middle of Penzance and parking is a great problem on my street and lot's of the residential streets nearby. Many people that shop or work in town, park in these streets rather than pay to park in Cornwall Council car parks. I don't really blame these people, parking is very expensive and as we all know there is a recession at the moment, people have less money due to stagnation of wages and rising costs or if they own a business a reduction in trades and profits. Still parking is a major issue here as I blogged a while ago about the Penzance Liberal Democrats campaign to get action for the town at Cornwall Council. See that post here.

For a number of reasons parking has been on my mind, firstly the problem seems to be getting worse and personally getting parked legally means hundreds of yards away from my house and unfortunately outside somebody else's house on another street. Secondly, the traffic wardens are doing great business in Penzance, yeste…

Reforming planning and how to bring power back to communities in Cornwall

I believe that Cornwall Council is not a proper body to adjudge all the planning cases around the Duchy. Below I have noted some of my criticisms of the planning process, I think some of my ideas would alleviate these concerns and have the added benefit of bringing 'localism' (aka local rule) to Cornish communities. I don't think for a moment I have all the answers so please add thoughts to the comments section with any criticisms or anything I have missed.

I believe the fundamental problem facing planning in Cornwall is the monopoly of the Unitary Authority in this process. This in a number of cases presents fundamental conflicts of interest, take for example the supermarket application in Wadebridge (Morrison's). Part of the application was buying a building owned by the authority. In Truro the Eastern District scheme counts the council as one of it's partners in the development. In Penzance the 'Option A' Route Partnership bid also had the council as a …

Let's kick Devonwall into touch

There has been a lot of comment and condemnation recently about the Government's boundary 'reforms'. There are far too many articles and examples to be all listed here, but it's fair to say that people from a variety of backgrounds from throughout the UK are unhappy at the proposals. The proposals stand to disregard natural and administrative boundaries and leave constituents being represented alongside people who they share very little with. My perspective is that these changes are bad for so many reasons, prime among them is the fact that our Cornish border stands to be disregarded. I noticed today on the e petition site that there is a petition titled Protecting local community ties which argues that these changes should not simply be a question of numbers but that community identity and ties should take precedence. I agree with this wholeheartedly and I have no desire for English constituencies to be butchered any more than I do Cornish constituencies, please sign…

is Kevin Lavery in a world of his own?

You may remember I blogged about a month ago about Kevin Lavery Cornwall Council CEO and how he was hellbent on taking the job of returning officer for the up coming Devon and Cornwall Police commissioner elections. Well now it emerges that -against the wishes of a vote in full council- he did indeed take an interview for the position in London. A real snub to Cornwall Councillors, but also a snub to the hard pressed Cornish taxpayer because -despite taking the job in a supposedly personal capacity- he claimed travel expenses from the council. The West Briton gained details that he claimed the 40 mile trip to Newquay airport as expenses and also £25.50 in taxi fares. They however did not receive a reply whether he had also claimed the cost of the flight and accommodation for the trip. This is deeply disturbing in this time of austerity and deep public sector cuts, the idea that 'we are all in this together' has yet again been debunked with the rich and the powerful growing mor…

My experience on the Politics Show and why Stephen Gilbert needs to read government press releases.

During the last week I was interviewed by BBC Spotlight about my own experiences trying to get on the 'housing ladder'. Parts of my interview were repeated on the Politics Show South West on sunday morning. I was talking about my own sense of frustration, I am one of the many people in Cornwall who want to simply live in a decent house they can afford. For the record (and if you're my landlord reading this) I have no problem with renting in itself. We pay a fair rent for our property and we are lucky to live somewhere that we can afford to pay the rent every month. The trade off however is that we live in a house without such things as central heating, double glazing, a garden, an allocated parking space and there is a limit to what we can do with the property. So with council houses being rarer than rocking horse dung buying is our only option to finding a suitable property.

The link for the show is here the section on affordable housing is about 34 minutes in, but will o…

LEP Cornwall needs to learn from the Black Country

I have posted a few times recently about the Cornish and Scillonian LEP and it's lack of obvious work. In the last couple of weeks they have announced public consultations (again please do go to them and have your say see here for details) and a website http://www.cornwallandislesofscillylep.com/. I did get to thinking am I being a bit unfair on the LEP perhaps? for whatever reason maybe it does take over a year to set up a website and start the public consultation process, perhaps I am being a little impatient. So whilst waiting for the good news of Mebyon Kernow's electoral success in Wendron last night, I had a look on the internet to see what other LEP's were doing. To be fair, a number have done very little and Cornwall and Scilly is certainly not alone in announcing a board without a clear idea of what they are to do. However, I did stumble across the Black Country LEP website and I was shocked to see the level of work they have done. It would take a long time to li…

A great end to November for Mebyon Kernow & Loveday Jenkin

Barely a month ago I wrote about the defection of Derek Collin's from the Lib Dems to MK and how this was a great end to October for Mebyon Kernow. I was optimistically writing that this should set the tone for November and I hoped we could look forward to a successful month both at the party conference and in the Wendron by election. After a lot of hard work and dedication by our growing number of party activists it was successful and I am holding firmly on to my optimistic frame of mind from now on.

Firstly congratulations to Cornwall Councillor Loveday Jenkin she fought a really hard campaign. Loveday successfully built upon her hard work and long service both on Crowan parish council and -the now lamentably defunct- Kerrier district council to win the election. The dedication shown by Loveday and the reputation she built over the years as a hard working councillor was a great part of her electoral victory. It was great to see the party really coming together to help her in he…

Cornwall and the government must do more for Scilly

I lament the fact that the ancient links between Penzance and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly look in jeopardy. There is still little resolution and a firm plan on the sea link, I welcome the fact that people in Penwith are getting together to try to rescue the mess caused by the Conservative-Independent Cornwall Council (the Penzance Seafront Forum). The helicopter link too looks in doubt short sightedly Cornwall Council granted Sainsburys planning permission to turn the existing heliport site into yet another out of town supermarket for Penzance, despite the fact the heliport had not found a new home. Once again big business has taken precedence and blinded the council to the bigger picture. Whoever we blame for the mess we are in, the very real business, tourism and community links between Penzance and Scilly are in grave doubt, we need to take action.

The undynamic Cornwall Council does not look to be doing anything about these links, they seem more than content to attract the h…

a sincere apology to my readers about my housing blog

I must apologise to you all, on monday I blogged on how the new government policy and existing governments policies for housing were failing the people of Cornwall. In it I had written in response to the BBC article titled Get Britain Building, I had wrongly assumed that this was based upon fact and research in this assumption I was wrong, it is little more than a copied and pasted government press release. At that point the actual firm details of the coalitions plans had not been released and I feel I have let myself and my readers down by taking the government and the BBC at their word. I should have waited for the actual figures to be released and analysed and criticised them properly. Research by Channel Four news -and no doubt others-0re01veals that affordable housing is actually down a staggering 97% on work done by the Labour government. Here is the Channel four article the astonishing numbers the housing strategy failed to mention the pdf file of the actual figures proposed is…

There is an alternative & Mebyon Kernow is fighting for it

Listening to the speeches of the Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards and SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson at the MK conference it was clear to me there is a better way of doing politics and only Mebyon Kernow can offer it to the people of Cornwall. Plaid and the SNP have forged a path not just of devolution but also better governance and  fairer deal for the people of Wales and Scotland this is an example that MK must follow. There are three messages I heard from the two speakers and I heard them clearly and we must fight, strive and shout to offer to Cornwall the better way of politics other Celtic nationalist parties offer. In my opinion the three messages were: 1. there is an alternative we can dare to dream, the public sector can do more to help people. 2. devolution works it provides better governance and better decisions for the people. 3. The SNP and Plaid are proud of their achievements and are proud to be members of parties fighting for a better deal for their respective nations. Here'…

Government housing policy is failing the people of Cornwall

Today the Coalition government has announced it's own policies to solve the housing crisis, the BBC news site leads the story with the title Affordable Home Shortage: Government to reveal plans. First of all we must congratulate the cabinet of millionaires, for realising that housing is problem and restarting the debate over what can and ought to be done. Unfortunately the government has announced plans that offer the same old broken Thatcherite policies that have caused this generation, my generation, most of the problems. Typically for this right wing government it involves free market solutions and is more about bumping up developers profits than the genuine needs of the people and solving the housing crisis.

Yesterday at the Mebyon Kernow conference hours were spent formulating MK's policy toward housing. We recognise as a party that the people of Cornwall are being failed by housing, that the state whether it be in London or Truro are not doing enough to confront the hous…

Cornwall and Scilly LEP gets a website

It is my great pleasure to announce that our LEP finally has a website, well done. It's simple, only one page but it's a website and designed by a Cornish company too. Hopefully it will soon have more information and we can all get to grasps with this mysterious organisation and what it is going to do. Here's the website they've yet to work on their search engine presence as a quick Google search reveals. But I am not complaining too much about that as my blog and others (Alex Folkes & Cornish Zetetics) feature on google and let's face it between us we've done more thinking and writing about the LEP than the organisation has done, at least as far as is obvious to ordinary people.

Cornwall LEP announces public consultations (at last)

So here we are 12 months and 17 days since the LEP bid was announced as successful by the coalition government and the LEP has announced public consultations. Only a day after I blogged criticising the LEP for a lack of discernible action such as consultations. So I was pleased to read of the roadshows being announced on the Business Cornwall newsite, as much as I have criticisms of the LEP particularly their lack of action, I do believe people should turn up listen to what they have to say and give feedback, criticisms and forward their own ideas (list of venues copied below). As much as the MK member in me wants to make party political points about the coalition and their poor economic record in Cornwall, we need the LEP to work for the sake of the Cornish economy and it is imperative upon both the businesses of Cornwall and the public to engage with the LEP and influence it. In particular here the public, despite being funded by taxpayers we have had no say in who should be on the…