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Showing posts from May, 2013

Penzance and Cornwall Council, trying times ahead

I blogged the other day about the positivity in Penzance to move forward. Unfortunately ideas and good will don't make up for the challenges coming from Cornwall Council. Specifically austerity and cuts, but also the centralisation of local government and decision making. Unfortunately the dominant theme of this has been to axe jobs in the periphery and ditch services that don't make money for short term gain. The petition to "save the trawler" is making slow progress but I suppose compares favourably with other e petitions on the Council website, see that and sign it here. Unfortunately, the removal of the piece has started, those of you that know Alexandra play park can see from the picture that the climbing net has already been taken away. It's tempting to blame the new administration or the old one for this but it does seem to have been decided during the election and coalition talks. It would seem this has been decided by officers. Also in this period Corn…

The ideas and energy of a town: looking to Penzance's future

There are many challenges ahead for Penzance in terms of the town and local government. In some sense there is every reason to be optimistic there is a great sense of drive and new blood on the town council and new groups and movements emerging. Here's my thoughts.

At my first Committee meeting, that is General Purposes (GP) I was elected as vice chair. The town council has 4 standing committees GP, Planning, Finance and Property and Penlee House and Park. All councilors sit on 2 committees, (I sit on GP and the Penlee committee) Basically GP, deals with everything not covered by the other committees, and as a new councilor, I have a lot to learn about what is involved. But this is true of all of the new councilors, I think we all share a drive and enthusiasm to get stuck in and all of the committees have newly elected councilors as vice chairs. Exciting times and I promise to blog and try to explain to people what I do on the council and what the council actually does. I apologi…

Centralist austerity focussed fire service review finds cuts and centralisation as a solution

The government has published the report by Sir Ken Knight on the future of the fire service. Much vaunted as independent, it must be borne in mind that this is a thin veil, the man was chief government adviser and the terms of the review clearly pointed by the coalition to centralise services and make cuts. Bearing all the hallmarks of the review and subsequent cuts to the Coastguard service and the number of operational stations. I wouldn't doubt the credibility of Sir Ken Knight he no doubt has forgotten more about the fire and rescue service than I will ever hope to know. But the basis of the review, it's terms and approach were fundamentally flawed and it is clear that the purpose of this exercise was to cut firefighters and merge services in the trademark top down re-organisation culture long prevalent in Whitehall.



Looking back to December the "Terms of reference" of the review are as follows:

To review the ways in which fire and rescue authorities may deliver f…

Petition: The Duchy and why money from Cornwall's dead should be better managed

Got caught up with the election business too much to blog about being quoted in the Guardian on the 2nd of May. Their journalist Robert Booth ran a story titled Prince Charles uses 'intestate' cash in Cornwall to fund his own charities, highlighting the charitable donations from the Duke of Cornwall's benevolent fund to some of the Duke's own charities. I've since set up a petition here As some background, the constitutional quirks of Cornwall as a Duchy mean that the Duke is the head of state effectively and lots of the rights that belong to the Crown east of the Tamar west are granted to the Prince of Wales. One of these is that if people die intestate, that is without a will then their estate is claimed by the Duchy, in England it's inherited by the Crown and diverted to the Treasury's coffers.

The process is known as Bona Vacantia "ownerless goods", but in Cornwall the money is not taken by the treasury but administered by the Duchy. I blogged …

Mayor making and leadership in local government

Last night was the 34th annual meeting of Penzance Town Council and the mayor making ceremony. It was my first real taste of the pomp and ceremony of local government. I was pleased to see my fellow Mebyon Kernow councilor Phil Rendle to be officially re-elected as mayor of the town. I learnt a great deal about the process of local government and had ample opportunity later to have a good chat with some of the councilors and get a feel for where people are coming from and hope to achieve in the next 4 years.I overcame my scepticism of the pomp when a good friend of mine, and former mayor of the town, Jerry Drew pointed out that this is the history of the town. The ceremonial and dramatically named "sword of justice" the maces, the key, seals and the ancient charter are mere symbols albeit extremely valuable. But they are relics of the past the continuity of this town council through the old borough council and the a demonstration of the history of this proud town. I ended up…

Thoughts on the election and thanks again

Sorry I haven't blogged sooner, I've had the cold from hell. Obviously as a consequence as talking to hundreds of people over the last month on the doorstep and around and about, I have picked up some germs. Taken with the stress and the strain of talking to hundreds of people, I was a bit worn out. So today is the first I have woken up without a fever and think a good walk from Mousehole to Lamorna last night in lovely weather, greatly helped me get over it and thanks to my wife for dragging me off the sofa.


As I wrote before thanks to everyone that helped and supported me link here. I'm greatly disappointed that I only achieved 91 votes in the Cornwall Council vote, but I'm not entirely surprised. Labour and the Liberal Democrats threw the kitchen sink at it and both delivered twice as many leaflets as I did. Had all kinds of shadow ministers and MPs canvassing on their behalf. Similarly UKIP had a plane flying over Penzance on the day before the election. They also …

Thanks for all the votes and support

However I do today I've really enjoyed getting out and talking to people and getting to know this area better. I've enjoyed the lovely chats and cups of tea and I'm impressed the amount of people that gave me the time of day.Whatever the result today whether I'm elected to both Cornwall Council and Penzance Town Council or it's a not as good as I hoped and I'm on neither, I'm happy with my campaign, I certainly couldn't have worked harder or gave more. No doubt I've learnt a lot about canvassing and about myself.Whatever happens today (counts between 12:00 and 15:00) I'm already looking forward to being back on the doorstep in 4 years time and meeting you all again. Thanks if you voted for me, thanks if you chatted with me and thanks if you read my leaflets, blogs and twitter etc. A special thanks to the huge and surprising amount of people that have wished me luck. All those that have supported me online, shared my blog and you tube video I'…