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Showing posts from September, 2012

Split in the Liberal Democrats over Shared Services privatisation

There seems to be a split in the Liberal Democrat party over the Strategic Partnership for Shared Services proposed by the Conservative- Independent administration on Cornwall Council. Despite statements by Liberal Democrat councillors, the party is really split. Whether this is a result of being in favour of privatisation or whether they do not want to upset Nick Clegg and David Cameron is unclear, or so disillusioned they no longer turn up and vote. Considering this is the party that in Westminster is parcelling up the National Health Service to the higher bidder, they should come clean with the Cornish electorate...

Lib Dem deputy leader on Cornwall Council Alex Folkes explained to the Packet that he signed the no confidence motion to oust Alec Robertson as leader:

“In particular, the decision by the Cabinet to press ahead with their privatisation scheme despite a vote by a majority of councillors against it. If the leader and cabinet system is to work then those in charge have to l…

Clegg's using pensions for property scheme, don't hold your breath

The Liberal Democrat leader boasted at the party's annual conference that, his government are announcing a plan to help first time buyers get on the housing ladder. Attracting great headlines and no doubt steadying the queasy Lib Dem membership, this plan sounds great and going by the old maxim if it sounds to be good to be true it probably is. Basically the plan is for first time buyers to use their parents pensions to afford a deposit and voilĂ  break the high house prices versus low wages deadlock, win win, well at least superficially.

My initial scepticism of the plan was whether it would just be meant for richer families. I asked on twitter if the plans would include state pensions and the replies were none, not a single one. A little odd I thought, so I checked it out and indeed it does not include state pensions, only private pensions. Perhaps the millionaire Clegg in his lovely home in a fashionable neighbourhood of London is unaware, but here among us common folk, private …

Vote of no confidence is perfect opportunity for Independents to leave the sinking ship

Alec Robertson the leader of Cornwall Council is facing a vote of no confidence on the 16th of October, after 41 councillors have signed a motion to oust him as leader. This provides the perfect opportunity for the Independent group to walk away from their coalition with the Conservatives. The political make up of the council is such that the Tories cling to power with the connivance of Independent councillors. Pulling the rug from underneath them is not only possible but the sensible thing to do, the ruling group is at the moment ignoring the votes of the majority of councillors and the thousands of members of the public who signed the petition to oppose the Shared Services partnership. The council can hardly be described as popular suffering from too many bad news stories to link them all, it is in the interests of the people of Cornwall and indeed the people that voted for Independent councillors that they once again act, think and vote like independents rather than propping up the…

Council Tax devolved and how localism is more expensive to the Cornish taxpayer than an assembly

A while back I wrote about the Tory criticisms of a Cornish Assembly. I pointed out that devolution to a Cornish assembly may well be expensive to public funds but what of localism where does the money come from? My real fear is that powers will be devolved to Cornwall but the taxes that paid for them will remain in London. At the time it was hard to confirm this fear, there is no real plans that cover what localism will mean in Cornwall, what the details and pros and cons will be. In fact I am coming to the conclusion  that localism is an ad hoc arrangement, whereby politicians and bureaucrats decide amongst themselves what Westminster no longer wants responsibility for and they just 'wing it' and fudge something together. However some details have come to light and it seems my fears are being realised. This means for the Cornish taxpayer that we will still pay the same amount of tax (income tax, national insurance, vat, fuel duty, road tax, corporation tax, capital gains etc…

BT and CSC NHS IT fiasco proves they are not suitable partners for Cornwall Council and the Cornish NHS

Ignoring the will of councillors and their voting down proposals, Cornwall Council's cabinet are still intent on pressing ahead with a Strategic Partnership of Shared Services with either British Telecom (BT) or Computer Sciences Corp. Embarrassingly for the administration, not only lost a vote about the proposals but also a petition subsequently launched by Independent Councillor Andrew Wallis has attracted 1796 signatures in less than a week (link here) and there is no indication that anybody (outside of the ruling clique and BT and CSCs' boardrooms) want these changes.

I thought I would have a look around the internet and see if there was any credibility in the proposed benefits of setting up a joint venture, the claims are that jobs will be created, savings made and services improved whilst profits are somehow squeezed out of the current budget. I always had doubts that all of these things were simultaneously possible and from a quick search of the internet neither BT or C…

petition against Cornwall Councils privatisation shared services scheme

Sign the petition against Cornwall Council's Strategic Partnership for Shared Services privitisation plans.
link to the epetition here
Four reasons to sign:

1. The people have not been asked. We the people of Cornwall that will pay for this scheme have not been asked. The Conservative party and Independent group did not stand on this privatisation scheme in an election. Despite the multi million pound nature of the contract the administration has unilaterally decided without a public referundum to take this action.

2. The workers that will have their employment transfered no doubt with worse terms and conditions have not been properly consulted. Every indication is that employees -who ought to know best about public services- do not want this part privatisation.

3. Despite the grandiose promises of the scheme providing savings, creating jobs and profits for the partner corporations, examples of this actually happening are hard to find. Authorities elsewhere have already ditched sim…

Shared services, Cornwall Council's cabinet must listen to democracy and stop this great gamble

Following on from yesterday's full council vote to turn down the cabinets and officers plans to part privatise public services the Conservative party remains adamant on ignoring the democratic will of the chamber. This is an absolutely ludicrous situation, the obvious contradiction with democracy is that nobody stood on the platform of sharing services with private companies, the people of Cornwall have not been asked whether they agree with these plans either in a referendum or at the ballot box. The staff that will be most effected by these changes have not even been asked. Despite all this the ruling group on Cornwall Council are determined to push through these plans.

If you missed the webcast (link here) various directors and assorted bureaucrats made the case for bringing in private sector companies to run council services in partnership with the council. Most councillors argued against the scheme in the mammoth three hour long debate and a wide array of arguments came to li…

Problem with Serco (NHS) out of hours service in Cornwall today

Bit of a public service announcement, via Pirate FM news. Serco that run the NHS out of hours service are having troubles with their phone lines today (first September). Posted on the Pirate website from a Serco spokeperson.

"A spokesperson said: "Patients can also get medical advice from the NHS Direct service on 0845 4647. For very urgent cases only, patients should consider using emergency services. Please listen for further announcements this evening."

The link to the Pirate story is here and it does include more information, NHS out of hours helpline problems.

If you need to contact Serco for some form of medical problem, please follow the instructions on the Pirate FM site. If you don't, this case is something to ponder, Serco has been in the news for failing in their Cornwall NHS service and this is more problems with it. This is one of the problems of privatisation, whereas a NHS run service could probably find alternative arrangements, a company running a pu…