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Showing posts from April, 2013

A video appeal to voters to vote for me Rob Simmons

Please watch it and vote for me Rob Simmons in Penzance East.

A summary/ explanation of the Mebyon Kernow manifesto for the Cornwall Council elections

This was something I put together to illustrate Mebyon Kernow policies before the Penzance Chamber of Commerce election hustings. I thought I'd share it here, it was originally going to go on the PZ Chamber website but I don't think any other parties put forward material, too busy slagging each other off and shamelessly claiming credit for anything good that has ever happened in Penzance, (if you've read their leaflets you'll know what I mean), leaving them no time to talk about actual policies. Me I'm a bit old fashioned I think politics is about policy and manifestos should mean a great deal more than they currently do. That we can talk about attracting investment, providing leadership and protecting the vulnerable until the cows come home but without a plan not much will change. All of the below is relevant to all of Cornwall, for those considering voting Mebyon Kernow in the Cornwall Council elections please read on.

A brief summary of the Mebyon Kernow manifest…

Quick update on the play equipment at Alexandra play park Penzance

Just to say that I finally got through to the lovely people at the petitions office. They informed me that it's policy that no epetitions are started in the election period, so after thursday's election it will go live here Whatever happens on the second, whether the people of Penzance East place their trust in me and I am elected as a Cornwall Councilor and a Penzance Town councilor or neither I will still be pushing this and with the help of people in Penzance hopefully we can save the Alexandra play park's trawler from meaningless destruction.

I have started a facebook group here

Stay tuned

My very late and very disappointing reply from the government about Wave Hub

After I had given up all hope that I would receive a reply from those that I emailed about Wave Hub, finally today I received one. It was prefaced with an apology over the length taken to reply. I sent the email on the 17th of February (and re sent it after they told BBC Spotlight they had not received any email) so over two months so I think I could be forgive for expecting some kind of detailed reply, alas no. Save for the first paragraph the word Wave Hub is mentioned once more and Cornwall gets a solitary mention. My concerns raised in my email over the management of the project not addressed at all, instead a lengthy spiel about the government's support for off shore renewables and their strategy. Very depressing therefore that Cornwall and Wave Hub is mentioned but once.

Here's a sample:

Where these questions in my original email too much to be answered?

So I ask of you, can you provide me (and the people of Cornwall) an update on progress with this project?
Can you provi…

stop Cornwall Council taking play equipment from parks in Penzance

In today's Cornishman on page 7 they have an exclusive story that the council is planning on taking away the trawler in the play park on the prom known widely as the Pirate park (Alexandra grounds). When my eldest was younger that play park had lots of facilities that have been stripped over the years. A little red boat by the entrance and 2 little wooden land rovers with slides on them. Steadily over the last few years they fell into disrepair and were taken away. The wooden trawler that is the center piece of the play equipment obviously hasn't been repaired in that time and is now showing the signs. Citing the fact it's 'too popular' the council now wants to take it away. Enough is enough the council needs to think twice and invest in these community facilities that are popular year round. I know lots of people that come from across West Cornwall to go there. It's one of the few things thst keeps kids happy and doesn't cost to go there. I'm sure tou…

My thoughts to the Penzance Chamber of Commerce

Last night the Penzance Chamber of Commerce invited candidates from across the spectrum to speak to them. Credit to them it's good to see a lot of interest in this election I learnt a great deal about business in the town and the thoughts and concerns of businesses. All of the political parties and 2 independents were invited to give their thoughts on policies and priorities if elected. Phil Rendle was busy on town council business so I represented Mebyon Kernow and spoke on my thoughts and what the parties manifesto offers business and trade in Penzance. The question put to candidates was this:

“What will you/your party do to help the economy of Penzance and what will your priorities be.”

I didn't actually write anything to read out, I've not spoken much in public before, but I have learnt after speaking to a politics conference in Redruth that reading things from bits of paper is not the best approach. Also I was a bit concerned that if I wrote something, I'd simply…

Penzance East bedroom tax, council house rent hikes council tax benefits cuts and a radio interview

My interview on Radio Cornwall about benefit 'reform' (cuts in the real world). Before the election hustings event hosted by the Penzance chamber of commerce. I gave an interview for the BBC with Tamsin Melville (a woman that smiles more than I do, which is impressive, why they don't get her on tv more is beyond me.) Anyway I digress here's what I said:
"I've spoken to a lot of people on the doorstep, in Treneere particularly, about benefit cuts. I've been on the dole before and I've struggled but what they're going through now is disgusting. We should be focussing on how to create jobs, all the government is focusing upon is taking money off the poorest people in soceity." I then went on a bit which got cut from the interview. From memory I said that: Here we are in one of the richest countries in the world and we are treating people shabbily and this wasn't the kind of society I want my children growing up in. That's the truth that&#…

Thoughts from the Penzance doorstep roads and transport

Previously I have written about some of the concerns people have had when I have spoken to them on the doorstep. I wrote about the need for two way communication between the elected and the public here about rubbish on the streets and bin collections and parking on residential streets. Today I'm writing about roads, about making traffic flow better and the need for a coherent transport strategy. I have lots of other things to write about and lots of things I've heard in Penzance East, on the doorstep, by talking to my neighbours and on the school run over the last few years. If I find time I will write about them all.

A major issue facing Penzance in the future is the Sainsbury's supermarket coming to town. For clarity I think we should be supporting and focusing on the town centre and we do not need yet another supermarket. Unfortunately this decision has been made, this week the old heliport building will be demolished and soon enough more shoppers will be tempted out of…

Lib Dems on Cornwall council are lurching to the right, Mebyon Kernow must become the ones offering big ideas and change

Nick Clegg last week launched the Liberal Democrat election campaign in Cornwall. Gone was the radicalism that once defined the party, gone were the big ideas, the visions and the desire to change, replaced with the worthy but uninspiring attacks on money wasted. One of Clegg's leads was this trivial attack on his coalition partners:

Here in Cornwall we’ve even seen the Conservative’s waste money hiring taxis to ferry teas and coffees between council buildings link

Don't get me wrong waste in all facets of the civil services is troubling and needs addressing, where there are examples of money going on non-essential things this should stop. That said I'm not a subscriber to the Tax Payer's Alliance/ Eric Pickles school of thought that tightening up on waste, can somehow counter all of the austerity cuts from central government. That the odd hundreds or even thousand of pounds spent lavishly, can make up for hundreds of millions of pounds in cuts to Cornwall Council's…

Why on earth am I standing for the council? and other questions that keep me awake at night.

I find myself in a bit of a quandary sometimes with all this election stuff. One of the most incisive questions you can be asked on the doorstep is: "why do you want to be a councilor?" (if your stuck for questions when politicians come a knocking ask them that one). Although I've heard it precious few times on the doorsteps of Penzance East. It's one I have been asked and my answer was because I want to serve the people of this town, I want change at Cornwall Council. That is true I really do, but it is one of those 'stock' answers politicians say. It sounds frankly like one of those unconvincing soundbites well polished politicians give.

I'm not one of those well polished politicians, that rabbits out soundbites. Probably my worst answer to a question on the doorstep was the other day, a lady asked if I could get council tax reduced and I said that "I'm no miracle worker." Probably the right answer for a politician in that situation is to …

Rubbish on the streets! and why we need our own waste center and why refuse collectors need to pick up rubbish

So my first blog on what people are telling me on the Penzance East doorstep is that people are concerned about rubbish and litter. A number have commented that the streets only seem to be cleaned when the tourist season is on it's way. They question why the powers that be only take pride in our town for some of the year. The problem is threefold, general litter being dropped by passers by, rubbish collections resulting in rubbish left on the street and fly tipping of waste. My solution to this is threefold.

Firstly we need refuse collectors to be better at cleaning up after themselves. Since the contract was taken over by Cory, there seems to be more rubbish left on the streets after they've been. Quite why, I don't know, they use the same kind of lorries and we all have the same wheelie bins we've had for years, yet this didn't happen under the old contractors. We need to find out why and councilors need to hold Cory to account on this, something I would do if el…

Thoughts from the Penzance doorstep, what people want to see changed

After spending the last couple of weeks speaking to people on the doorstep, I though I'd highlight what people are talking about and what they think Cornwall Council and Penzance Town Council can do to make things better for the people like them. I live in the division and I spend a lot of time in it, my kids go school here, I have friends here, even my dentist is within 2 minutes walk from my house. Anyone that knows me, will know I'm a friendly guy and I like nothing more than a good chat and I have time to talk to anyone. I had this notion that I really understood the people of Penzance East, that I know people here and have a good grasp of what politics ought to be offering people. I was pleasantly surprised that I don't have all the answers, my leaflet does not cover all the issues people care about. Something I've learnt over and over again in life is that you learn more when you listen then when you talk.

One of the things I have always thought about politics is…

Labour's dodgy maths and bar charts and who can win in Penzance East

Got passed a Tim Dwelly leaflet from a Mebyon Kernow member in Treneere, much like the other Westminster parties they are focussing on scaremongering and dodgy bar charts to get votes. The same old us or them there's no alternative, if you don't vote for us someone worse will get in. Here's the bar chart taken from their facebook page. 
What the 5 people that like the photo probably don't know, is the maths is dodgy. I'm not surprised this comes from the party that thinks Cornwall Council can afford to massively increase the CEO's salary cap by an eye watering £95,000!
Here's what the actual bar chart would look like, based on the same results, source here, with the others all lumped together as Labour claimed to have done.
The full bar chart with everyone's vote in 2009 looks like this. 

From left to right Lib Dem Ruth Lewarne (357 votes), Labour John Payne (332), UKIP Ricky Barnes (199), Conservative Margaret Powell (159), Independent Mike Waters (12…

The latest figures show yet more unemployment in Cornwall

Today in amongst the world going crazy debating the finer issues of the Mebyon Kernow manifesto (not really, Thatcher once again drowned out the left, she died as she lived). There was stark news about Cornwall's employment figures (story here) despite bold claims by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat government that there would be a rise in private sector jobs, this has not happened in Cornwall. Since the coalition took power Cornwall has lost 9,000 jobs. To quote from This is Cornwall:

Some 176,000 people said they were employed by business, rather than the state, across the county by September last year, down from 184,000 in the summer of 2010.

To put that into context that's pretty much every person of working age in Penzance losing their jobs. Many many more than the closures of Geevor and Wheal Jane during Margaret Thatcher's reign, or Compair Holman's and South Crofty under Tony Blair, less symbolic admittedly.

Still this is greatly troubling, differential fac…

Devolution, Labour, Mebyon Kernow and prescription charges

The nature of public funding and the fairness of it, is the subject of one of Mudhook's latest blogs. He/she is a Labour blogger (see footnote). They question the fairness of the Barnett formula and in particular why people in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales don't pay for them, yet in England and here in Cornwall people do have to pay for them. Laying the blame at the system of 'unfair' funding across the UK. They lay open this challenge:

Will Cornish nationalism, fretting about 1337 and all that, question this uneven imposition on sick people in Cornwall? Prescription charges are the real world …

I don't really know whether Mudhook thinks paying for prescriptions is or isn't fair, it's not a 100% clear. Who exactly is fretting about 1337 is also unclear (1337 is the date of the creation of the Duchy of Cornwall). It does however seem implied that prescription charges are somehow linked to the devolved administrations, as if having devolution and the fu…

A personal recommendation of my election campaign from Susan Penhaligon

Susan Penhaligon takes a keen interest in the politics of Cornwall despite her acting career taking her up country to live. Anyway she expressed an interest in my election campaign and said she'd door knock with me if she wasn't so far away. So I asked if she minded writing me a recommendation, here it is.

I spent my formative years in Cornwall and I come from a 
Cornish family I've traced back to the 17th century, my 2nd cousin was the Liberal MP David Penhaligon. I was brought up for a while by my granny in Falmouth. She  was a passionate Cornish woman and she taught me that Cornwall was different and Celtic and special.

I believe that Rob Simmons is passionate about local issues and Cornwall too. You need his voice, his ideas and energy on Cornwall Council and Penzance Town Council.  
In my heart, I cannot understand how a central government in London can understand Cornish issues and what is best for Cornish communities. 
Take one issue alone, I don't believe central go…

A stadium for Cornwall and how Cornish rugby should take a step forward

On thursday the 4th of April, Cornwall Council's strategic planning committee, will discuss and rule upon the stadium. Watch the webcast here, this will be a turning point whatever happens...

I wrote before that we should grab this opportunity on the eve of that fateful day when the Mebyon Kernow motion at full council to investigate funding was so cruelly lost. A majority of councilors didn't even dare investigate further and voted down MK's motion (who voted which way here on the Stadium campaign website.) The saddest thing about the whole affair is that, despite the scaremongering the money wouldn't have come from front line services but from the capital budget, this money went unspent.

Many people that know me, will know I am fully in support of a stadium, I think Cornwall needs top tier sport. Our sports clubs want it, the fans want it and our sporting youngsters need it. In the past few weeks Cornish Pirates stalwart prop Paul Andrew has signed a deal with Worce…