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Showing posts from March, 2013

Good bye to the Sea King and commonsense (or is 2 helos in Cornwall enough?)

Yesterday it was announced that Bristow has won the contract to provide search and rescue helicopter cover around the UK. In Cornwall this means we will no longer see the ubiquitous red and grey Royal Navy Sea Kings in the west and in the north no more yellow RAF Sea Kings. The RNAS Culdrose and RMB Chivenor bases will no longer host the service and it is being split between St Athan in South Wales and Newquay airport. The fact is the older model Sea Kings have seen a great deal of service in their lifetimes and saved many lives both at sea and on land.


The new provider Bristow is investing in 20 new helicopters, they are faster than the old air frames, can fly greater distances and carry big loads. But they are very thin on the ground. The actual present number is hard to pin down wikipedia has it that 771 Sq have 9 helos at Culdrose and 22 Sq have at least 2 at Chivenor, a trustworthy source is hard to find granted. But it is very alarming that they will be replaced by 2 aircraft at…

Penzance parking, Cornwall Council needs to use more carrot and less stick

If there's one thing that Cornwall Council does or doesn't do that annoys me more than anything on a day to day basis, and the most complaints I've heard from people about the council in my neighbourhood it's on street parking. The policy seems to be entirely dictated by employing more and more traffic wardens (civil enforcement officers in newspeak) and issuing more and more fines. A story researched by the Cornishman just over 12 months ago revealed a huge rise in the revenue raised by parking fines after the number of tickets issued rose nearly tenfold from the year before. As a response to massive cuts to Cornwall Council's funding it is obvious that the Tory led administration has targeted parking as a means of raising revenue. The same hypocritical Tories tell us that raising council tax by a small fraction is too much for people to pay, yet £35 a pop fines doesn't seem to be governed by the same logic.

It's an awful habit of governments and councils…

The Council must do more to promote buildings in Cornwall to be energy self sufficent

There's lots of things I'd like to see Cornwall Council doing. My blog on St Piran's day covered some of the areas in which I think the council needs to do more, remind yourself here if you so wish. The general thrust was that the council needs to look beyond itself and to helping Cornwall as a whole. Quite a while ago now, I blogged on the Inspirational Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network which is a great scheme for a community to come together and build renewables on their own terms, where they want them and for their own benefit. I am big fan of renewable energy, I think in Cornwall we need to look to the future and become less reliant on elsewhere for our power. Which also has the great benefit of bringing money into the Cornish economy. I think in the field of renewable energy the council must do more and look to ways in which existing and new businesses can be more energy self sufficient on a smaller scale than large wind farms and solar farms.

Many thanks to Craig W…

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…

Conservatives rush through privatisation at the last minute

With weeks until the elections, where with any luck the Tories will be dethroned, they are rushing through the slimmed down privatisation. Despite the thousands who signed petitions against the scheme and the vote of the full chamber against the Joint Venture for Shared Services aka outsourcing staff and services, the Conservative- Independent administration still press ahead. With a vote at the cabinet with the notable exception of the Independent Bert Biscoe voting against the scheme. If this situation isn't farcical enough only BT are going to bid to take over employment of council staff and deliver services. I don't see the benefits or privatisation, despite the claims nowhere do private sector outfits deliver the same service and make a profit. Consider for a moment the great work done by the Doctor's cooperative Kernow Doc which since being taken over by Serco has been slammed by all and sundry and patients have been left with an inadequate out of hours GP service. (…

Labour decrying investment in Penzance, no surprise there then

Labour's sole Cornwall councilor Jude Robinson has lambasted the decision to invest in St John's Hall in Penzance. It comes really as no surprise, we remember not long ago, Labour suggested to Cornwall's Lib Dems to centralise all of local government in Truro, enthusiastically supported by the Cornish branch of the Labour party. Which resulted in hundreds of jobs leaving Penzance and our decision making abilities in Penwith District Council being stripped from us. As a result there are not enough council staff left in town to warrant both the St Clare site and St John's Hall, so the former is being sold to pay for investment in the latter.

During the last Labour government the Inland Revenue office was centralised from Penzance added to the local courts leaving and even our job center being downgraded. Not to mention the stripping of West Cornwall hospital's accident and emergency department and other services at the hospital being centralised out of town. We saw h…

A vision for Cornwall Council on St Piran's day

Dydh da, Gool Sen Pyran Lowen, Happy St Piran's day. Hope you're all having a good one and celebrating Cornwall in some way on this special day.
Today is a day to think back to the Cornwall of the past, to celebrate what our rich heritage and history is given us, whether it be the black and white flag of St Piran, the pasty or our language, or any of the many things that typifies Kernow. It's also a time to look forward to reflect on the future as well as the past. I thought now would be a good time to blog on Cornish politics and specifically local government. I wish here to outline what I see as some of the shortcomings of this the first Cornwall Council and what I think can be done to rectify some of these shortcomings and make Cornwall a better governed place.

There were always going to be great challenges for the first Cornwall Council, it was a massive experiment to take 6 district councils and 1 county council and transform that into one mega authority. As Mebyon K…

Ruth Lewarne believes both in tax rises for toilets and cuts for the most vulnerable

I am utterly perplexed at the actions of the self proclaimed 'left leaning' Liberal Democrat Ruth Lewarne. At Penzance town council she voted with the rest of the town council for the precept to go up. A completely justifiable view a 5% rise to pay for all of the extra things the council now does, she cites public toilets as an example. If you want to raise more tax to pay for more services fine. It's a view I happen to believe in within moderation  I thought as -Mebyon Kernow councillors did- that a 1.97% rise in council tax for Cornwall Council was an acceptable evil to protect frontline service. However Ruth didn't take this view and voted loyally with the rest of Clegg's Cornish compatriots to freeze council tax. As I've written elsewhere on this blog the Lib Dems choose to target Childrens, Schools and Families and Adult Care and Support. I feel ashamed that my part of Penzance is represented by someone that would rather raise taxes in Penzance to pay for …

Words versus actions, disabled people and Cornwall Council

Recently at Lys Kernow we have seen two councilors ousted as saying indefensible things about disabled people. Collin Brewer was hounded out of office for remarking that "disabled children cpost the council too much money and should be out down". I think it was undoubtedly right that he resigned and feels regret and remorse for this course of action. As soon as the storm of protest on his ill advised remarks died down Councilor Neil Burden was in the press (again both stories run first by This is Cornwall) quoted as saying "the problem is there are too many disabled children". At first glance this is much more serious, Cllr Burden is a cabinet member for Children's Services and Deputy Leader of the Council, whereas Cllr Brewer is a backbencher. Again it looked as though the Independent group had little understanding of disabled people and treated them with contempt. But only that's not the case, many people have contacted me and expressed support for Neil a…