Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from February, 2015

The Party Whip system is undemocratic, I support the Free Vote Voluntary Recall Alliance

I was recently sent an email from the Free Vote Voluntary Recall Alliance. They are campaigning in this general election for MPs (and PPCs) to unwed themselves from the system of voting for a party line as dictated by the whips.  Their website is here. I think it's a great campaign and I find it depressing that such legislation is even needed. MPs are voted in by constituents to represent their views not to represent the party line. It makes a mockery of democracy when MPs views and opnions are subordinate to the party and party whips. I'm more than happy to sign the below pledge, I hope the campaign makes PPCs and MPs think that their constituents and personal principles (where applicable) should come first not party bosses. “This is my promise to the voters of the St Ives Parliamentary constituency.
I , Rob Simmons, the Mebyon Kernow- the Party for Cornwall candidate standing for election as your Member of Parliament , do herby promise and affirm, that if I am elected to be …

Penzance Business Improvement District goes to the vote

It's an interesting time in the town of Penzance, the Neighbourhood Plan process is being launched and has a great new website here and business in the town centre are going to vote on becoming a Business Improvement District (BID). It's easy to assume that people know what a BID is, it's been well publicised in the local press and a consultation has taken place with the businesses in the area. However there are a lot of people that are not aware this is going on and they really should, because it's an important development in the town and although I have a number of reservations about the structure and process, I think it could be a very good thing for Penzance.

As a short description a BID imposes a levy on business (2% on top of rates in our case). It then takes that money and uses it for the good of the area and specifically the businesses in it. There's a lot more information on the process in Penzance and the plans on the BID website here. There are some real…

"dog-end voters in outlying regions" a rare insight into how politicians view places like Cornwall

Recently Mark Garnier, a Tory MP gave a speech to the Institute for Economic Affairs. He told the think tank:

"This massive argument that is going on about what is going to happen to tax rates for entrepreneurs and risk takers, who are in many cases mortgaging their houses several times over in order to create jobs and create economic activity, we need to be giving a much clearer message to them.

He continued:
"That they don't have to worry about politicians mucking around with tax rates in order to try to attract a few dog end voters in outlying regions of the country."

From BBC News



You have to wonder how pervasive this attitude is in Westminster, with our only major hospital in a terrible situation, no alternatives put forward to our vulnerable rail line at Dawlish and what should be a crisis for government -but blatantly isn't- the poor performing Cornish economy and the terrible state of wages in Cornwall.

I believe this is a very telling insight into how pol…

Mebyon Kernow- the Party for Cornwall, who we are and what we stand for in this general election

For many of my regular readers, this may be a little patronising but maybe it won't be. Politics is about trust (or more recently the abject lack of it) and familiarity. I always like to think of elections like job interviews, if you are to give someone the responsibility of representing an area and it's people, you need to know a great deal about them, what they believe in, what they will stand up for and whether you can trust them.

The same is true of parties, without knowledge of the party and it's policies and guiding principles, then the job of a candidate is futile. The challenge for any party and candidate is to let people know more about who you are and what to expect. This is especially true of smaller parties like Mebyon Kernow, although you can't pick up a newspaper or watch the news on tv without seeing the views of Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems the same is not true of parties like MK and other smaller parties in the UK.

This blog is about the party I …

Neighbourhood Plan: Your chance to have a say on the future of Penzance

After a lot of planning and preparations the Neighbourhood Plan will publicly launch this weekend
 in Penzance town centre. It is your chance to have your say on the future development of the Penzance area. For decades it has always been the way that a select few would decide what was built, where and under what design. A Neighbourhood Plan turns this all on it's head and puts people in charge and makes planning officers, politicians and developers have to listen to people.

The process will take a long time, it will be a thorough consultation, ending in a referendum of all the residents of Penzance parish (i.e. Eastern Green, Gulval, Heamoor, Penzance, Newlyn, Mousehole and Paul). To find out more there will be a pop up shop opening in the town centre this saturday, in the old travel agents on Market Jew Street near the Humphry Davy statue. opening hours will be saturday's 11 am - 3 pm, thursdays 4 pm- 7pm, fridays 11am- 3pm.

As one of the town council's representatives o…

Are we not British or from a different country? the government's tokenistic recognition of the Cornish people

The Cornish are recognised as a national minority by the UK government. Or are they? I was informed recently about the lack of a Cornish nationality option on the government's register to vote website:



I did some other looking around and found the Civil Service issued guidance document: Best practice guidance on monitoring equality and diversity in employment (available here). Cornish is not mentioned once and searching the government website only finds one mention of Cornish minority status; the press release Cornish granted minority status within the UK.

I have today contacted Danny Alexander and Stephen Williams (who both triumphantly announced Cornish recognition in the run up to the European elections), to ask what is being done to make good on the promises to recognise the Cornish. To enquire why the government is not taking Cornish inclusion in the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities seriously. Any answers I receive I will post here.

my support for the tax dodging bill

As a parliamentary candidate, I receive a lot of emails asking me to support or oppose various issues. It's greatly encouraging for me that people do take the time to email candidates and press them on their views and ask them to support change. One in particular caught my eye the campaign for a 'Tax dodging bill' for a number of reasons, personally I think tax justice and closing the loopholes that allows big corporations to avoid and evade tax is long over due. On top of this, more people have emailed me on this subject than any other. (Wherever you are please email your PPC and MP on the subject click here to do so.)

I wholeheartedly endorse these sentiments that introduce the policy briefing on the bill:

"In a just tax system, everyone pays their fair share - each according to their means - to the public purse. But when those most able to pay can unfairly escape their contributions to society, the majority of people lose out. Inequality increases and there is less …

People power can win this election for Mebyon Kernow

In the 1950's there was a revolution in Cuba, rebels landed on the island and in time overthrew the fascist Batista US backed regime. There's a lesson here for Mebyon Kernow, not that we need to take up arms or need to provoke a communist revolution or even that we need to start smoking cigars. The lesson for us coming into this general election can be summed in Fidel Castro's thoughts after the revolution: "I began revolution with 82 men. If I had to do it again, I do it with 10 or 15 and absolute faith. It does not matter how small you are if you have faith and plan of action." MK might not have hundreds of thousands to spend on this election like other parties and tv coverage, paid staff and all the other advantages they have. However we do have faith, a plan of action and a clear message and more than 10 or 15 people!

The lesson of the Cuban revolution was that those 82 men quickly snowballed. That people identified with their principles and shared with them …

Cameron needs to be realistic about reserves or at least look at the government's

Recently in a car crash of an interview, the prime minister claimed that Cornwall Council needed to make efficiencies and savings, or in plain English cuts to staff and services. Unable to spin his way out of admitting previously announced money was new. He lashed out at Cornwall Council for having reserves, suggesting this money should be spent on front line services. We might assume that reserves are therefore bad, that the government will stop this austerity drive and dip into it's reserves. However data released by the ONS suggests a different story. showing reserves growing. It's high time Cameron got his own house in order and stopped seeing Cornwall and elsewhere as places to offload cuts and then blame unfairly when less money equals less services

The government's gross and net reserves continue on an upward trend.  The ONS released data on reserves today (4/2/15), it reveals that the government holds $39,098 million (£26,034 million). Here's a graph taken from…