Monday, 18 March 2013

A response to Labour accusations that I am a liar

I have many faults as an individual, as a husband, a father, a son, a brother a team and a friend, but I work on it, I'm not perfect but I try. Although I have faults I pride myself on my honesty and I pride myself on my writing particularly on this blog. I sometimes review posts I have written and cringe at the spelling and grammar but I have always been happy that my posts have presented factual information. Any accusations that I have lied on my blog I take very seriously. So when Labour's sole Cornwall Councilor accused me of lying on my blog, I really took it to heart and I was unable to sleep for a long time last night pondering her accusations. I've had very rigorous debates with Jude and the few other people in the Cornish branch of the Labour party, but I've never resorted to personal insult or sleights. I've always believed that we should treat others in the way we which to be treated, I write this blog and some disagree with what I write, that's fair enough. I disagree often with other politicians, I have criticised them on their policies, their priorities and their points of view. I'm more than happy for people to do that with my blog or the views and policies of Mebyon Kernow, we live in a democracy it ought to not only be welcomed but people's duty to question other people's political ideas. Politics is about ideas even with my staunchest ideological enemies I have refrained from attacks on their characters, I believe we must treat each other with respect.

(On a separate note the Labour candidate for Penzance East Tim Dwelly, knocked my door yesterday and spoke to my wife and gave Labour's usual don't vote for Mebyon Kernow spiel. I'm informed other MK voters had the same treatment. My wife explained that I was her husband and the candidate for MK, so I went to the door and spoke to Tim, he was with my good friend Chris Drew who I always have a lot of time for. We chatted amicably and at the end of the conversation, I wished Tim good luck in his campaign, he didn't reciprocate and was quite taken aback by this. Which makes me wonder maybe I'm too nice too civil for politics, I'm not sure maybe my sense of fair play and manners will hinder me in the future, tell me what you think at the bottom.)

Last week I wrote a blog titled 'Labour decrying investment in Penzance, no surprise there then'. Focusing on both Labour's record of centralising jobs from the town and the comments of Councilor Robinson about the investment in St John's Hall in Penzance. Jude quite vigorously took exception to this, sending this tweet to the Mebyon Kernow twitter account. (Apologies for the screenshots but Jude amended her blog I wrote in response to and I don't want to be accused of more lies if she chooses to delete these tweets.)


I replied on twitter to a comment made on my blog.


Jude also edited her blog and added:
Update: And just in case there are any other political party candidates in Penzance who want (like Mebyon Kernow) to play silly games and claim the above blog ‘decries’ investment in St John’s Hall, let me make this even clearer. As it says in the first line ‘I believe in Council investment’.
I also believe in real political debate not twisting other people’s words, telling lies about opponents and all the petty stuff we see every day at County Hall. Labour will fight this campaign on the issues.
link

I take exception to this nowhere is there a rebuttal of the issues involved, nowhere is there a defence of Labour's record of centralising jobs and services out of Penzance. Instead I am accused of playing silly games, telling lies and being a dissapointment, if that's campaigning on issues I hate to see what a character assassination from Labour would be. I particularly take exception to people accusing Mebyon Kernow of telling lies without any justification, not everyone agrees with us, but no one can seriously question the parties honesty or accuse us of playing silly games. Besides which MK has nothing to fear from Labour we've outpolled them before in the last Cornwall Council elections and in the European Elections on the same day, if anything they should fear us. If their approach on the doorstep of actively campaigning against Mebyon Kernow is anything to go by, they know they should be worried.

Anyway back to the issue Jude also wrote a comment on my blog.


This is a lie from start to finish. I have never 'decried' investment in St John's Hall, Penzance or anywhere else. I actually say in the blog that 'Investment is good'.

What I said was that the project at Carn Brea should be treated in the same way - as investment.

Please apologise and delete this blog. If you repeat this on a leaflet, it will be an offence under the Representation of the People Act and I will make a formal complaint.

Again I take exception to being told my blog post is a complete fabrication, so I'd like to clarify. I accused Labour of decrying the decision to invest in Penzance, I accused Jude of lambasting the decision. Which are both fancy ways of saying that Labour criticised the decision, which they did. The title of Jude's blog was More council investment NOT in Carn Brea which questioned why the council was investing in Penzance and not in the Carn Brea leisure center. (On a side note Labour activists have accused me and MK of not supporting Carn Brea see Stephen Richardson's blog here for why that's far from true and note the picture of MK councilors front and center at the protest.)

Cllr Robinson points to the fact that she wrote 'I believe in council investment.' Which is a lot more convincing when taken in isolation (even after she'd edited her original blog):
Don’t get me wrong, I believe in Council investment. But why is is okay for the Council to dip its hand into its pocket to refurbish St John’s Hall in Penzance.
My understanding of the English language is such that if you make a statement in one sentence and start the next sentence with the word but, it undermines the statement made previously. If I wrote for example that 'Don't get me wrong Labour are a progressive party. But why did the gap between rich and poor widen when they were in government?' Or 'Labour are being progressive arguing against the 50p (high earners tax rate). But why did it take over a decade of being in government to introduce it?' 'Labour are being progressive to oppose the bedroom tax. But why did they enforce under occupancy rules and less money for private tenants on housing benefits when in office?' You would be right in saying that I am lambasting and decrying the failure of Labour to be progressive when in office. Even though the first statement before the but appears otherwise. Further Labour's comment about the investment in St John's Hall is coming from the sale of the St Clare site and savings from moving the library and other public services there and is in no way linked to the awful Carn Brea sell off. This does not equate to the council dipping it's hand in it's pocket despite Jude's claims.

Bear in mind at this point all I wrote was 'Labour decrying investment in Penzance.' and Jude 'lambasted the decision'. I said they were critical, this is true, despite the smear attempt of Labour to accuse myself and Mebyon Kernow of lying and silly games that is a fact, they did criticise the decision. They can choose to backpedal and amend blogs all they like but they did decry the decision to invest in Penzance. I'm not the only person to have taken Jude's blog this way. I apologise to the Cornish branch of the Labour party, but be wary many people like me in Penzance remember all too well, the lack of investment in the town and the stripping of jobs and services the last time Labour were in government. And I make no apologies for questioning people from other parties, their principles, beliefs and policies.