Monday, 28 March 2011

Coastguard Emergency Towing Vessels no risk assessment so far!

Many of my regular readers (if there are any) will see that I have great concern about cuts to the Coastguard service both here in Cornwall and generally. (my earlier post on the subject) It is also of great concern that the government plans to scrap the Emergency Towing Vessels around the UK coast, the Cornish based vessel being the Anglian Princess, pictured above. Which I blogged about at the end of last year, (the post explains more about the vessel and it's role). The Celitc League has been campaining on this issue and it emerges from a letter sent to them from the MCA that there has as yet no risk assesment of the impact of the loss of these vital tugs. Read the Celtic League's press release here: ETV RISK ASSESSMENT.

It just seems that like the cuts to the Coastguard stations the government has decided to cuts services and then is tailoring assessments and consultations to fit these forgone conclusions. It can't be stressed enough that in emergency services like the Coastguard, the needs and demands of the lifesaving service should be paramount not an afterthought. As the Cornish Lib Dem blogger Alex Folkes, rightly pointed out, cuts to emergency tugs could lead to another Penlee disaster his blog here, those familiar with those tragic events will know that the stricken MV Union Star refused a commerical tug to rescue her for fear of the high cost and thus leading to the infamous tragedy. The government needs to reassess how they approach these cuts and needs to realise that cuts to the Coastguard and the ETV's should be given more significance than numbers in columns.

March 26 and the Cornish anti cuts movement

Anybody interested in the anti-cuts movement in Cornwall and the protection of public services from the Thatcherite axe. Would do well to read the blogs of:

March the Fury and his unique perspective on the days events in London on March 26th and particularly insightful his view from Trafalgar Square.

Make a Left Turn also Keith Shilson's blog about a group from Cornwall who also attended the March 26 rally.

Blogs like these are vital for those of us who couldn't make it all the way to London (300 miles or so, either way) to take part but were there in spirit. It goes to show the strong feeling of people here in Cornwall against the cuts agenda and the real and present worries not only of peoples jobs and the economy but of services that many people rely upon. I have great admiration for those who took the long coach journey to London, who speak for many of us and were there representing themselves and the growing number concerned about the Thatcherite cuts agenda, and the damage it will do to the economy and society generally.

The Cornwall anti cuts alliance facebook page
http://en-gb.facebook.com/pages/Cornwall-Anti-Cuts-Alliance/166698853382832?sk=app_2373072738

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Save our Coastguard Stations


The coaliton plans to downgrade the Coastguard service provided by Falmouth station and to generally slash the cover available verges on the insane. Although they like to carp on about modernisation and providing a better service this is simply not true. It emerged a few days ago that fundamental aspects of the changes had simply not even been considered, a prime example being the fact that the 'proposals' had not considered whether 999 calls might go unanswered, prompting scathing criticism from the Public and Commercial Services Union. As the This is Cornwall website reported: Risk assessed 'on back of a fag packet' . This follows the revelation that the proposed cuts to the number of operational stations were planned before the before the government scrapped the Nimrod fleet, (The Press and Journal) Thus their have been no allowances in the plans for what affect this lack of communication aircraft would have on maritime safety and pressures on Coastaguard services. Further as reported in the Stornoway Gazette, campaigners have put in a FOI request to confirm that a 'table top' exercise (based on the proposed number of stations) had been a complete disaster. Read the story here.

I know above is a list of stories and facts without much explantion to each individual situtation, but they all go to show that the proposed closing of Coastguard stations is badly thought out. They have obviously decided on cutting so many jobs and stations and then thought about how that will impact maritime safety. It goes without saying that safety should be the number one concern and the foundation from which to plan the coastguard service not anything else. Here in Cornwall and throughout these islands the coastguard are the 4th emergency service (sorry but the AA are far from the Coastguard that risk their lives to save others). They stand ready to help shipping, fishermen, leisure craft, swimmers, beach users, cliff walkers etc etc.


The Coastguard station at Pendennis in Falmouth is world renowned, the system works well and many lives have been saved. Or to put it another it ain't broke don't fix it. This is the message that needs to be told in no uncertain terms to the MCGA who are holding a public consultation at the Tremough University Campus at 7:30 this evening (wednesday 9th March).

More on that from the Falmouth Packet
A link to the UK wide online petiton
The MCGA Consultation Document on the 'reforms'

Friday, 4 March 2011

Happy St Piran's day

Firstly, Happy St Piran's Day or in Kernewek Dy'Gool Sen Piran Lowen.

Picture taken from the I'm having a St Pirans Day Celebration Facebook page.


I know on my blog that I often am very negative, like many people I have grave concerns about some of the things that politicians are doing to Cornwall like not respecting our border. More generally the cuts and how they will affect the NHS, the Fire Brigade, the Coastguard, Libraries etc etc etc

But this time I though I would be a bit more positive, the true nature of celebrating days like St Piran's is to have fun, to drink and be merry, see friends and family and above all celebrate. Cornwall has many fine festivals such as Penzance's Golowan- Mazey Day, Montol, Murdoch Day, Trevithick Day, Padstow Obby Oss, Helston Flora Day, Bodmin Riding and so the list so goes on. I always look forward to these events, it is nice to see the community coming together, having fun and letting their hair down. In this vein it is great to see the Pirantide festivities are growing both in number and the scale of existing events.

It is interesting to note a couple of items in the news recently, the continued calls for St Piran's Day to be makred as a bank holiday (e petition for Cornwall Council to mark St Piran's day as a holiday) (article from the West Briton) and today news that the May Day bank holiday may be swapped for another date. The two I think could be linked, the latter is important in as much as that it indicates that bank holidays do not have to be static and the government is open to change in this regard. So why not St Piran's day? we have bank holidays for so many days that I do not know the significance of, why not have one for a discernible reason?

I quite like the idea of Cornwall swapping one bank holiday for the 5th of March, we could all get together, have street parties, go to rugby games, listen to live music, or simply go to church to remember one of the Christain pioneers in Kernow. We shouldn't think of this in terms of money, people couch these things in terms of the benefit for tourism etc, but I really feel this misses the point by a long way. The real benefit of festivals, fairs and holidays can't be deduced from a calculator they are not about money. They're about community, celebration and taking a day out to have fun.

The future aside, this weekend go out and celebrate St Piran, concentrate on having fun, forget about money and smile.

Here's a link to some St Piran's events: http://www.cornwallinformation.co.uk/news/

If you can't make any of these events why not enjoy some traditional Cornish produce, perhaps a pasty followed by a saffron bun or hevva cake with some obligatory clotted cream, and washed down with a nice Cornish ale. yum!

A breath of fresh air at Penzance Town Council

The election has certainly rung a great many changes at Penzance Town Council. There are now 12 brand new councillors (although Simon Reed...