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Showing posts from March, 2015

Support for Palestine

I don't tend to write a lot about international politics, which is peculiar as it's a subject I know well. One of the things that prompted me into politics was the international situation of the Blair-Bush era. A lot of what happened then really angered me and I still think the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan were a great mistake. I don't think they solved any problems and I think they made many others worse. Further I think many of the debt problems that UK has arose from the billions spent in both wars.

More than that I really didn't like Tony Blair's government's approach to Israel and Palestine. I remember one of the most infuriating headlines I've read was back in 2002 when Blair told the press that if the UK did not sell arms to Israel someone else would. There was a real opportunity for the UK government to put pressure on Israel to find a peaceful solution and end the intergenerational cycle of violence between Israel and the Palestinians and indeed Le…

Cornwall loses out on fuel discount in the budget, unlike other areas

In the next budget 17 areas across the UK will benefit from a fuel duty rebate. The justification for this is due to the rural locations of the areas, the lack of public transport and the higher price of fuel. We have to ask ourselves why has Cornwall missed out yet again? Can we afford to be ignored by voting for the apathy and lack of influence of Tory and Lib Dem MPs?

We've seen throughout this government the unwelcome reduction in public transport due to austerity. The fuel duty rebate would have helped make up for how these cuts have affected people's lives and the local economy. It would have provided a welcome boost and a compensation for public transport cuts. 

The more eagle eyed among you may notice a trend in the 17 areas announced, as announced by Danny Alexander MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey link:
"The 17 areas which will benefit from the price cut are:
IV54 (Highland – Scotland)
IV26 (Highland – Scotland)
IV27 (Highland – Scotland)
NE48 (Northum…

Penzance votes yes to a Business Improvement District

Today was the day the Penzance town centre Business Improvement District poll results were revealed. The vote was confidentially a yes with 76.79% in favour and the turn out was 55.72% (224 votes). I'd like to congratulate the BID team for their work and their well presented documents and arguments. They certainly deserve the strong mandate from town centres businesses they got in today's result. I really hope this helps turn around the fortunes of our town centre.

A welcome u turn by Andrew George on planning echoing MK policy

Plagiarising MK's recent policy announcement Andrew George has spoken in parliament about how planning should be devolved to Cornwall. Which goes to show if MK can exert this pressure without an MP imagine what we could do with proper representation for Cornwall in parliament.No doubt with a keen eye on this announcement by MK: "All planning decisions should be taken in Cornwall: The leader of Mebyon Kernow has challenged central government to democratise the planning system and for all planning decisions to be taken in Cornwall." LinkOr these words from my Conference speech: "Mebyon Kernow wants a planning system that Kow Tows not to developers and the interests of profit but Kow Tows to the people of Cornwall. So we can be masters of our own destiny, decide what planning policies we want and what housing numbers suit us.The present centralised planning system favours developers and works hard for their needs and wants. Yet it ignores the needs and wants of our com…

my speech to the #MKconf

I’m here to introduce the policies Mebyon Kernow- the Party for Cornwall will fight this election on. The principles upon which we will use to show the people of Cornwall that we are a serious party, presenting serious policies and a serious alternative for voters in this crucial general election.
One of Bodmin’s most famous sons was Thomas Flamank. Despite the fact he probably wasn’t a firebrand, he was a lawyer by trade. Flamank came to lead the great Cornish uprising of 1497, with a man from west Cornwall called Myghal Josef An Gof. A St Keverne man, a black smith. We can easily conjure an image of a passionate, determined and strong man. A smart and gentle man from the east and a brave man from the west joined together, united Cornwall and led a fearsome army of One and All. They marched on the English capital and struck fear into the heart of the establishment.
Although in Bodmin today we might not be handing out swords and bows. Mebyon Kernow is planning with your help, in uniti…

We need a NHS that is in public hands, well funded and close to home

The NHS is a crucial issue, understandably so many of us would not be here on this earth without it. It is understandable that so many people hold it in such high regard and view it as a crucial election issue. It is no surprise that I receive so many emails from constituents asking my views on the future of it. Whether if elected as the MP for St Ives will support the marketisation of the NHS started under Labour and accelerated under the Tory and Lib Dem coalition and whether I would oppose the NHS being part of TTIP.

I try to respond to every email I receive asking my views as candidate, I can't say it's easy with dozens of emails every day, but I try and it's a no brainer for me that we have this technology that allows freedom of communication. That the future for democracy is to utilise the internet to get closer to voters. I'm always very glad when people respond to the comments I send to them and more than a little disappointed when people express their frustrat…

Penzance TC votes yes to BID, for weed spraying and no to MCZ

An interesting and animated town council meeting this evening, with a full agenda covering a diverse range of topics.  Hereafter the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Starting with the good, there were 2 presentations beforehand one on Jubilee Pool and another on the Business Improvement District. The pool continues to progress well and there still on track for an Easter 2016 opening. With the final details and engineering problems to fix and finalise Cornwall Council are assuming a 10 month construction period.  The BID seems to be progressing well and the businesses of Penzance are voting (by post) at the moment.  As the town council owns 2 non domestic properties that are above the minimum threshold, Penlee House and Gallery and Penlee car park, we got to have our say. Councillors were pretty much all in support and voted yes (as did I). The bad, well weed spraying is and isn't bad. It is dissapointing that Cornwall Council no longer do it, thanks to Conservative and Liberal Democrat…

Mebyon Kernow Cornish Assembly plans unveiled

On St Piran's day, MK launched our document Towards a National Assembly for Cornwall availble here as a pdf. In it we outline the powers that Cornwall needs, there are arguments for these responsibilities and an explanation of how things will work. This document was originally launched a year ago. In that time it has been out to consultation with party members and these comments were considered. After that it went out to public consultation and the same process happened. As a result the document is much more robust as it has had a collective input into it.

The broad outline for a Cornish Assembly in the document is that it should be a national legislative assembly, not giving more powers to Cornwall Council. Instead a fundamental rethink of how services are delivered in Cornwall, and many policy areas devolved from Westminster and Whitehall to Cornwall. This isn't about renaming local government it's about bringing real powers to Cornwall and having the crucial decisions m…

The good work of the Citizens Advice Bureau in Penzance, my visit last week

I was very grateful to be invited to the Citizens Advice Bureau in Penzance and to learn more about their work last week. It was a great insight into the kind of problems people in the St Ives constituency, gratitude to Phil Jacobson the Social Policy Co-ordinator for showing me the statistics and answering my questions. Congratulations to the CAB for taking the lead and inviting candidates from all parties to come along and find out about the issues that face the CAB and the people they help, I certainly hope all of the other candidates take this opportunity.

It's been a long time since I have been into a CAB and had to ask them for help (thankfully), but I know they do good work and I know they offer great advice and point people in the right direction and help those most in need and often with nowhere else to turn, in this regard it seems little has changed. That's not to say that the issues people go to the CAB for help about remain static. The amount of benefit cases rise…

The housing and planning policies that Cornwall needs to address affordability

To say housing and planning is an important issue in Cornwall is a gross understatement. No one is happy with current policies whether affordability, second homes or over development. I am pleased that Mebyon Kernow is leading on this and has today called for planning policy and the whole process from planning to appeals to be devolved to Cornwall. This coincides with my piece in next weeks Cornishman which addresses the issue of affordability.

The question put to all candidates in this general election is:

“The cost of housing - whether it is renting or buying - is becoming out of reach for a vast number of people in Cornwall – what can be done to solve this pressing problem?”

My answer (within a strict 200 word limit) is as follows:

Housing is a huge issue for people in Cornwall, most people of my generation struggle with high prices of both renting and buying, coupled with low wages, it’s a perfect storm, forcing people out of Cornwall.  Yet thousands of houses are being built, unaf…