Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Clegg's visit to Penzance and absence from the Autumn Statement

Today 2 things happened in politics, 1 there was the Autumn Statement setting out the Coalition government's priorities for the next budget. 2 Nick Clegg came to Penzance to talk about money put into a breakwater study.

A month ago Penzance Town Council voted to put a contribution towards a study into a breakwater. I blogged about it here. Nick Clegg was in Penzance today announcing the government will put forward their contribution. A welcome step? Yes of course. News? Not in the slightest, the town council was asked by government for a contribution with the understanding they would fund the rest.

This is a welcome step, having proper sea defences is a must for Penzance and is long overdue. As I've written before this is the start of a journey. Having a study conducted will be a step forward, the first if many, afterward funding will need to be found.

So why would the Deputy Prime Minister come all the way to Penzance for a small step? The Cornishman asked Clegg if it was a deliberate snub of the Autumn Statement. Nick of course denied it. I can definitely see why they asked the question. The Deputy Prime Minister avoiding the Autumn Statement is a snub and a silly one. Budgets are massively important things, it lays out what will happen next year or indeed not happen, not being there for essentially a preview of the budget is odd to say the least.

Although I have a different theory. There is a definite reason to snub the Autumn Statement for Cornwall's MPs. We aren't mentioned once. Not especially unusual but when one of the themes of Osborne's speech was devolution and we aren't mentioned (again). Another section titled Northern Powerhouse detailing investment in the North of England. No powers nor including in regional infrastructure funding.

There's no good story there for Cornwall there's nothing for our MPs to be proud of. When the local newspapers hit the stands don't be surprised if the front page is Clegg in Cornwall. Not that Cornwall has missed out on any new spending in next year's budget.