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Showing posts from August, 2011

Cornish unionists for recognition, some thoughts

It has come to my attention that a new facebook group has been started titled "Cornish pride, Cornish recognition", the info page explains:

Cornish Unionists for Recognition Action Group. (CUFRAG)
We are a non-political pressure group, campaigning for the Recognition of Cornwall as a Nation of Great Britain, within the United Kingdom.
Our aim is to obtain status as a Nation that enables our sporting teams and individuals to compete in the international arena.
We would also like to be able to say that we are Cornish, for example, in Census Returns or on Official Paperwork.
We do not promote the Cornish Language.
We do not promote Devolution in Cornwall.
We do not promote Independence.
We are not anti-English.  link to page

This is an interesting development, it certainly is not my cup of tea, I am a Cornish nationalist and a member of Mebyon Kernow, I believe wholeheartedly that Cornwall would be better served by devolution in the form of a Cornish Assembly. On the issue of C…

Olympic non jobs, payment cards and a lack of scrutiny at Cornwall Council and Cornwall Development Company

Following on from yesterday's news (my blog about it here) about the Olympic non job paid for by Cornwall Council. It emerges that the post was not £19,689 per annum as everyone assumed from this advert:
But instead £19,689 pro rata so actually just £13,126 for the whole contract. As Andrew Wallis revealed on his updated blog 20k for one day's work (updated).

I still believe criticisms made by myself and others are still valid, there is no need for this position and existing staff could easily do the work involved. It also reveals something of a trend within Cornwall Council which has spilt over to it's 'company' Cornwall Development Company (CDC) and that is the council has no idea where money is being spent. For some reason Malcolm Bell head of Visit Cornwall (itself a subsidiary of CDC) a man presumably in the know on this subject, told the Daily Mail:

"But Malcolm Bell, head of Visit Cornwall, told MailOnline that the council was expecting revenue of at leas…

ditch the Cornwall Council Olympic relay non job and spend the money....

I read with horror that Cornwall Council's quango Cornwall Development Company is hiring someone to promote the Olympics in Cornwall. Well I say in Olympics in Cornwall, what I mean is the day long torch passing through our fair Duchy. Being a Cornwall Council office job the salary is par for the course (cheap in Lavery terms) 20k for '6 months' work, eye watering for the rest of us. I had a quick look through the job description on the CDC website, basically project management, traffic plans, promotion, marketing, raising the profile of Cornwall and the Olympics blah blah blah. Thinking about it logically, the Olympic torch passing through Cornwall is not exactly the kind of thing that will go unnoticed, it's hard to imagine how a press conference and the obligatory twitter and facebook accounts will really help to raise the profile either of Cornwall or the torch, besides how much would it cost to run them for six months? Traffic management etc (the routes already b…

Cornish hospital chief unfairly dismissed but cancer services not to change, madness!

Heard the news on the radio yesterday that the old CEO of NHS Cornwall has successfully sued the NHS for unfair dismissal, John Watkinson was awarded £1.2 million as a result. He opposed the move of upper gastro-intestinal cancer services outside of Cornwall in principle and believed that legally there needed to be a public consultation. So the point has been conceded and he was right, they sacked him because he didn't agree with their centralising agenda. I waited to hear if there was more to the story, specifically if the move of cancer services would be reversed, but no. So in effect John Watkinson has received £1.2 million, the trust has spent nearly £400,000 and the people of Cornwall are left in the same position as before. The original argument was that survival rates would be better if the service moved, a point heavily contested.
I believe considering the geography of Cornwall and the amount of people here, the move of any hospital services out of Cornwall is to the detrim…

Council tax: I am Spartacus! but not brave just forgetful

I should probably be putting the boot in to Cornwall Councillors from other parties on this but no...

I have read with interest the growing story about Cornwall Councillors who have been late paying council tax bills. The Packet broke the story after a FOI request, 17 councillors have received one reminder and 14 of these have received a second reminder and 1 has been threatened with court action. Various stories from the Packet here and here, Graham Smith got in on the action , as the url suggests imploring councillors to come forward before they found out by other means. I understand the logic that those who sit on an authority should lead by example and pay their bills on time but I can't help disagreeing.

We live in a society where everyone pays bills late, companies pay suppliers at the last possible opportunity. Anybody due a rebate from Revenue and Customs will know this is not an exactly swift…

Cornwall and the blight of second homes

Second homes are a real blight on communities across Cornwall as elsewhere, housing stock lies idle for the vast majority of the year and as a consequence that community dies one empty property at a time. Without full times residents, villages and towns with second homes soon turn into ghost towns, when there is no one there year round to shop in the post office, drink in the pub, and attend the schools and churches/ chapels these facilities soon close. There is need of them, these symbols of the community become redundant and soon too does the community itself and it just becomes an empty cluster of houses, devoid of life and absent in function save for a few weekends a year. This has a wider impact, when the amount of residents becomes fewer and fewer, the need for a bus service lessens and will eventually drop completely effecting nearby communities on the bus route too. In the community itself assets are stripped as they become redundant and save for the odd workman that has to co…

Cornwall and the Cornish on the governments e-petitions site

On the governments e-petitions site there are two Cornwall/ Cornish related petitions that have caught my eye. Firstly Recognition of Cornwall as a national minority and secondly Establishment of a Cornish assembly. Do get people to read them and sign them, talk to your friends and family about them and share on the internet. As with other petitions hundred thousand UK citizens/ residents are required to sign to trigger a debate by MPs. If a UK resident/ citizen, please do sign it only takes a second.

Penzance parking an update

Following on from my last blog about PZ parking link here, there have been some recent developments across Cornwall. Firstly is was revealed by the BBC's Graham Smith that Tregantle car park in Torpoint has seen a sharp fall in parking revenues after recent fee hikes by Cornwall Council see Graham's blog here. Also in Liskeard local groups and councillors are recommending a £2 all day charge in one car park and £1 for two hours nearer the town centre; see the article on This is Cornwall here.

Here too in Penzance there has been action, I am loathe to support the Liberal Democrats in this, I still haven't forgiven them for the imposition of unitary and the abolishing of district councils nor forgiven them for Devonwall but this is for the good of Penzance. The PZ Lib Dems have set up a Facebook group calling for Fairer Parking Charges for Penzance and an online petition too link here. I still reserve my criticisms that these proposals do not go far enough, but still do supp…

Affordable housing and the government's new equity loan scheme a Penzance perspective

Although for donkey's years politicians of every London based party have promised action on affordable housing in Cornwall, none has been forthcoming. Houses in Cornwall are unaffordable to those people that earn the average Cornish wage. If you are looking for a definition of what is unaffordable, scroll through the jobs section of say the Cornishman and note the average wage then scroll through the property section and note the average house price and you'll have some idea what unaffordable is and the situation faced by many in Kernow.

So the other day I heard an advert on Pirate FM for the governments new scheme to help first time buyers and I thought great my little family could try that. We rent at the moment and we would like somewhere with a garden for the children and parking would be good too. At our last house the landlord decided to sell up after we had been there a year, so we had to move and we don't want to be in this situation again, especially not with youn…

Some action on Penzance parking at last! but is it enough?

Something has kicked some life into Penzance's three Liberal Democrat councillors, since the election in 2009, I haven't had a single leaflet and it has been very hard to ascertain what they are exactly doing. But in the last week with much fanfare Ruth Lewarne (councillor for my ward, Penzance East) Tamsin Williams (Penzance central) and Mario Fonks (Gulval and Heamoor) have organised a campaign for fairer parking for the town. They wish to reduce the first hour parking rate in line with other Cornwall Council car parks in other towns and make it free to park after 4pm. More later on these plans, but do sign the petition if you can Cornwall Council needs to listen on this one, (can't find it online)

I must say I have a few vested interests here I live in the center of Penzance (PZ East) and parking is a nightmare and the problem is getting worse as time goes on. At the last council election I voted for Ruth Lewarne, for a number of reasons; there was no Mebyon Kernow can…

Penzance harbour and why Alec Robertson says one thing and does another

I read with interest Alex Folke's blog about Cornwall Council's latest press release, recognising the councils work as being one of the most creative councils in the country. As the great leader Alec Robertson proclaims:
“As Eric Pickles recognised earlier this year we are a “can do” council which has never been afraid to do things differently”            .....
“Our proposal involves working with communities to improve their local areas by making change happen. Rather than imposing solutions, we want to support local people to work with us to identify and then solve the problems they face. We will then work with them to develop the best ideas and create business plans around their proposed solutions”. Alex goes on to note that this lacks clarity and is hardly innovative, I can only agree with Alex on this, click this link for his blog.

But to look past the fluff and lack of plain English and the obvious congratulatory attitude between Pickles and Robertson, are these words really t…

Karin Schepers, demonstrates the need for emergency tugs in Cornwall

Barely 24 hours ago (early hours 3/8/11) a German owned vessel called the Karin Schepers ran aground near Cape Cornwall. Fortunately no one was injured and the 9,000 ton container ship was undamaged, miraculously the ship avoided the jagged rocks of the West Penwith coast and ran aground on a sandy beach. Certainly it would have been a different story had the ship struck the rocks, now at the very best we would be clearing up pollution and at the very worst who knows?

This incident goes to show that even in the best of conditions the shipping lanes around Cornwall are a very dangerous place. This should serve as a wake up call for the government to start taking maritime safety seriously, we can easily imagine why Mike Penning (minister responsible for shipping) has no idea about maritime matters, I would probably be the same if I lived in Hemel Hempstead (where he is MP). Similarly too with the Transport Minister Philip Hammond in his inland Surrey constituency of Runnymede and Weybri…

Mudhook totally wrong on Mebyon Kernow and localism

This blog is essentially in response to a post by another blogger, but serves to illustrate and clarify Mebyon Kernow's policies toward giving power back to local communities within Cornwall... I sometimes read Mudhook's blog, perhaps this is a little strange for a Mebyon Kernow member as Mudhook does like to denigrate the party and it's principles. Perhaps I am a little masochistic, (much like the left wingers who revel in reading the Daily Mail) or perhaps it's because sometimes he has something useful to say. Unfortunately he (I assume it's a he) doesn't allow comments on his blog, so you can't fully interact with his content and arguments. This is regrettable because I often think he misrepresents Mebyon Kernow, for example recently he blogged about discrepancies within Cornwall in terms of education attainment; The Parts of Cornwall and forms part of his wider argument on the subject, to quote:
"Nevertheless, the differences are startling and I re…