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Showing posts from December, 2013

Happy New Year/ Blydhen Nowydh Da

So that was 2013, barring anything interesting or life changing in the next few hours, the year is done and dusted. We can all look forward to 2014 and a new year of challenges and opportunities, I certainly am. Many years I've reached this time of year with more of a desire to see in the new year and say good riddance to the old one. Thankfully this time around, I'm looking forward to 2014 and looking fondly back at 2013. I hope my readers feel the same. 

In a lot of senses a great deal of my life and certainly my blog this year have been dominated first by the elections themselves and my election to Penzance Town Council. (And of course my unsuccessful Cornwall Council election bid for Penzance East as well.) I hope this is a welcome development for readers, certainly a lot more people have read my blog this year than other years. But I do feel sometimes that I should be focusing on politics and society elsewhere. 

Not that I would have the time to blog on everything but still…

The unfair funding of Cornwall continues with renewed vigour

The further cuts to local authorities has been announced, it's unfair across the board. Although the job of local authorities is the front line of public service they have faced cuts of 8.2% whereas the average across government is a 1% cut. I don't think it's of a great surprise that government has chosen to protect it's own budgets for it's own departments and palmed off the cuts to others.

But in the case of Cornwall specifically we know we are hugely underfunded, unfortunately these cuts have increased this situation. Cornish residents and Cornwall itself now face a situation where council tax will rise next year and yet even statutory services are at risk of not being delivered, specifically care for the most vulnerable. Alongside the level of services, such as public toilets and libraries are reducing, welfare benefits are being slashed. Due to cuts in local government finance and the Tories and Liberal Democrats choosing to offload the harshest cuts and the …

Do as I say not as I do, Eric Pickles wants to stop councils criticising central government

Eric Pickles far from being the champion of localism as per his rhetoric is increasing central government's control over local government. After 3 years of trying to micro manage council policies, controlling what services they provide by slashing funding, he now wants to control what they say too. Enforcing rules onto local government that he himself flouts again and again. Enforcing standards that take from local government the right to criticism or even have anything but the most sterile of opinions on central government policy.


Tucked into the Local Audit and Accountability Bill is a new Code of Practice on Local Authority Publicity, which vests in him the right to monitor and veto Council's press releases. In particular it allows him and his successors the right to enforce the following:

And the following:


Consider section 16 above and the points about objectivity and influencing public opinion and section 15 above and the last sentence in particular:

"...should avoi…

Cornish success! Waitrose yield to flag pressure

Tis a bright day in Kernow, after the saga of Waitrose flying English flags on Cornish sardines they have relented and will fly the correct flag. A real step forward for Cornish identity in general and Cornish food identity in particular.  Hopefully (although at this stage it's unclear) Cornwall's produce will be identified as such. After dozens of facebook posts on Waitrose's page, dozens of tweets to them and no doubt a similar amount of emails.  They replied yesterday to the Kernow branch of the Celtic League with an email, copied on to their website http://kernowcelticleague.weebly.com/1/post/2013/12/waitrose-withdraw-english-flag-from-cornish-pilchards.html Well done everyone! If only politicians were so willing to change in the face of public pressure!

Should Cornwall impose a supermarket levy

The organisation Local Works are lobbying for councils to impose the so called 'Supermarket Levy'. This is already done in Northern Ireland, Scotland and recently Oxford. But recently other councils have rejected the idea such as Bristol. I want to know people's views on the matter, there are real advantages and disadvantages to the idea, I'll explain some of it below, provide some links and encourage you to vote in the poll on the right.

Basically the levy applies to large retailers, so it's dubbed the supermarket levy but does apply to all retailers with a rateable of £500,000 a year, this is a tiny proportion of retailers. After a quick search on the VOA website, the shops with the highest rates in Penzance town centre are New Look (£158,000) Poundland (£116,000) and Poundstretcher (£121,000) with the others being considerably less. Sainsbury's isn't listed, nor Morrison's, but Tesco's is and is valued at £730,000. This gives some indication of h…

Finally some progress on Wavehub

Well not six months (more like over 3 years), in ten days time will be the second anniversary of the government centralising control of Wavehub. Well not the term they used, proving they have a sense of humour they announced: "The future of Wave Hub is secure", 2 years later we draw nearer to some progress. Whether this is due to the fact the government have lots of plates to spin (Iain Duncan Smith is busy sweeping up his dropped ones as we speak), or the fact they care little for development in Cornwall or perhaps that the "Greenest government ever" rhetorical fad has ended, is anyone's guess.

As I have written before here and here, the centralisation of this project has been to it's detriment, it should have always been controlled in Cornwall with a dedicated team. On the subject, Vince Cable never replied to my email back in February and the question I posed to him "Can you provide justification that having the management of Wave Hub centralised i…

Waitrose management think it's "correct" to use an English flag for Cornish fish

There's been image circulating social media for a few weeks now, of Cornish sardines (pilchards) displayed with an English flag, along with the caption "spot the mistake". It's something I'd not noticed until this week, so I asked them on twitter why it wasn't a Cornish flag (as did many others on their facebook page and twitter). The same stock answer came back for ease of identification an English flag is used, any questioning of this was answered with a stony silence. I even asked their twitter operator if they knew what a Cornish flag looked like, no reply.  The customer is always right unless their Cornish? So I sought a more considered response and some dialogue, so I emailed their ceo. Explaining Cornish pride in our flag and our food. I also pointed out the significance of the quality of Cornish produce and that Waitrose should take pride in that.  I pointed out the trend toward labelling the origin of food and it's food miles.  All good arguments…

A passionate plea for a Cornish assembly

I don't usually post other people's opinions on my blog, I have far too much to say for myself. But a great and passionate argument from Penryn Town Councilor Dave Garwood for a Cornish assembly deserves a share here:

Post by Mebyon Kernow- the Party for Cornwall.

Well said! Please sign and share http://www.change.org/petitions/the-uk-prime-minister-and-cabinet-create-a-cornish-assembly