Skip to main content

Some thoughts on the Society Cornwall survey...

Tomorrow the 16th of October the leader of Cornwall Council faces his vote of no confidence. Brought about from his unwavering support for a Joint Venture on Shared Services (see my thoughts on that here and here) despite the vote of councillors against the scheme and the hugely popular petition against the scheme. Before tomorrows protest on the issue outside Lys Kernow starting at 9:30 and this fateful day the leadership can take little comfort in a survey conducted by Society Cornwall on attitudes toward local government in Cornwall. Here's a picture of their results:

http://www.societycornwall.co.uk/news/how-you-feel-about-local-government-in-cornwall/
Now there are caveats to the survey, it was only a sample of 129 Cornish residents over 5 days. But despite the small number of respondents there are clear conclusions. The cabinet system is widely condemned 47%  against it as the best form of governance with only 10% agreeing  and thus 43% presumably I don't know. Or in other words 61 don't like the present cabinet system, 13 do like it and 55 I don't know. Small numbers clearly but nonetheless a clearly identifiable trend.

Now as always with types of governance we have to evaluate that the actions of particular body have to be separated from the style of organisation. That is to say, have the decisions of the 10 strong cabinet made people dislike the cabinet or is it the organisational structure itself? Personally I strongly dislike the Cabinet model and don't think it's suitable for Cornwall Council, the Joint Venture for Shared Services is an excellent example of how this system is undemocratic despite the entirety of Cornwall Councillors voting against this privatisation partnership the cabinet remains resolute in supporting the scheme. In a more democratic system then the majority clearly expressing their will would have meant the plan was axed and it begs the question what is the point of having 123 councillors if only 10 have a say in s major change in policy like this?

I think it could be suggested that the fact 48% of people think that their community is not well represented clearly demonstrates that people feel the council to not be democratic and or responsive to the views Cornish public. Again is this a result of the rule of the Tory-Independent regime? or a result of the strangely exclusive and unrepresentative cabinet system? Either way this is bad news for Alec Robertson's besieged leadership and although only a snap shot, a clear indication that people aren't happy with his administration. Suggesting that him being removed from power tomorrow would be supported by the people of Cornwall.

All of the questions and answers are intriguing but I am perplexed what to make of the last question. 53% of respondents agreed that party politics should have no place in local government with 22% disagreeing. Obviously has a long history of electing independent councillors and this is reflected, yet it does not take into account that all but 2 of Cornwall's Independent councillors are in a group in coalition with the Tories, this group is in all but name a political party and keeps the Tories in power. I am deeply confused as to the point of voting Independent if by proxy you are voting for Tories or any other party for that matter. With this in mind I do wonder if those 53% of respondents think voting for Independents in any way equates to keeping party politics out of Cornwall, or if this is a sign of frustration with Cornwall's quasi-independent councillors?

Personally I really like this survey conducted by Society Cornwall, the study of the views of the Cornish public towards government is long overdue and can only add to the democratic process. I implore my readers to look at their website and join if they so wish. http://www.societycornwall.co.uk/join-society-cornwall/

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'…