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Showing posts from June, 2014

Cameron's phone woes illustrate what's wrong with Cornish politics

The Prime Minister was in the Cornish news recently revealing his phone signal problems while holidaying in Cornwall. As the story goes David Cameron cut short some breaks because he couldn't get enough phone signal to do whatever it is he does normally.  Suddenly this is big news, the familiar refrain of 'something should do something about that' is ever present. This is a big issue because the Prime Minister's holiday was ruined. Phone companies should be doing more, pooling resources for the common good etc. No doubt this is very true. But my problem is why hasn't this been a problem all along? Bad mobile phone signal is not news to anyone. I live in the middle of Penzance and on a good day I might get a text message indoors, on a bad day a string of messages when I leave the house. Unlike Cameron this doesn't ruin my holidays, it ruins every day, like so many in Cornwall, work, friendships, emergencies and even the odd tasteless joke and drunken phone ca…

A welcome to the European funding u turn and the scandal no one wants to talk about

In the last few days there's been something of a whirlwind campaign against government plans to seize control of Cornwall's European funding. Quite why this has come out now is not abundantly clear. But it did. After a flurry of Conservative and Liberal Democrat press releases condemning (rightly) this centralisation there's now been a u turn. But the real scandal no one wants to talk about is why the delay in the next round of 'cohesion' funding. Well not quite a u turn, depending on your view of a u turn. If I drive in my car to London get to Stonehenge and turn around that's a u turn. If I plan to drive to London and get talked out of it and never drive there is that a u turn? It's much the same with this. Apparently the 'government was considering a proposal', quite who in the government this came from isn't abundantly clear. But I guess someone somewhere thought government should take control of all of the ERDF funding centrally, hardly sur…

Government finally acknowledge Penzance town council letter about flood defences

On monday I blogged about Penzance and the lackadaisical response to the flood damage from central government.  I expressed disappointment that the letter sent to the Prime Minister from the then mayor Phil Rendle had gone weeks and weeks without a response. Just now 5 days after I posted my blog, the post came, including a letter from Dan Rogerson providing a partial response to some of the points raised by the town council. Dan writing here in his capacity as Parliamentary Under Secretary in DEFRA. Apoligises for the lateness in the reply citing high volumes of correspondence about the winter storms. (Perhaps it's not just the passport office running a record back log?)The following paragraphs are pretty generic.  I'm sure everyone's had ample time over the last 3 months to read and hear government ministers repeat these messages. Here they're no doubt copied and pasted from elsewhere. 1.4 million homes saved from flooding across the UK, capital investment programme …

What does Penzance need to do to get storm money from the government?!?

One hundred and fifteen days ago, or if you prefer 3 months and 26 days ago, Penzance was hit by ferocious storms culminating in the biggest one on St Valentine's day. Despite various promises at the time when the media spotlight was on the government, precious little has been done since in the forgotten west. In a stark contradiction to the prompt repairs in Aberystwyth. As many coastal communities, the Somerset levels and riverside properties feared for their homes and livelihoods it was boom times for the gentleman outfitters in the vicinity of Westminster with a big run on wellington boots. As members of all the Westminster parties were quick to turn and practice their concerned faces:

Here in Penzance millions of pounds worth of damage was caused, the prom was a mess, Newlyn Green was like a demolition site, the harbour wall had blocks missing, the rail line was flooded. As this video from the day after amply demonstrates (just some) of that destruction:

Credit to the emergen…

Why is austerity and cuts to public services the consensus?

There's been stories going around for a while that Labour is to join, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives in the austerity agenda. Despite the obvious negative effects it has on public services, all of the established parties have signed up to it. In some senses they all had in 2010, but there still remained some economic differences between the big three. So the question I ask myself is why the anti cuts movement and the obvious public dislike of cuts to public services and public spending not materialised in either of the Westminster parties?

The effects of austerity are profound and it is obvious the most needy are the worst effected. Some of the prime examples in Cornwall include the shutting down of vital respite centers in Redruth and Truro, the closure of cottage hospitals like Poltairin Penzance (and perhaps soon St Michael's in Hayle too). The ending of council tax support in Cornwall meaning council tax benefit is greatly reduced, compounding the government&#…

In praise of Cornwall at the final

Just wanted to write a few words about Cornwall's trip to the home of English rugby at the weekend for the final of the Bill Beaumont Cup. Lay some praise on the squad and the coaching staff for a really great game and indeed run of games in the championship.

15 mins to lkick off
— Stephen Richardson (@CllrSRichardson) June 1, 2014
This was the second year that I traveled up to Twickenham with friends including Stephen Richardson pictured above. It certainly was a great occasion, thousands of 'Trelawny's army' marching on (or should that be driving to) London. I don't know the exact number of Cornwall fans dotted around the colossal stadium but it certainly seemed like more people than at your average rugby game in Cornwall itself. To all intents and purposes this fixture has always been more like a home game for the Cornish side whoever their opponents. As an example we just got there in time to see the Cornish squad arrive by coach, to …