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Showing posts from April, 2015

Statement on the need to pause the privatisation agenda in Cornwall

We the undersigned recognise that: The privatisation of public services is not working in Cornwall. There is little mandate from the people for outsourcing Public services must be about effective delivery not profit Therefore we the undersigned call upon the authorities in Cornwall and the next government to pause the privatisation process in Cornwall. To have a wide ranging debate with the public about the shape and future of public services and to scrutinise the practices of privatisation. To work towards public services that deliver as they are supposed to and that the public have confidence in. We all believe in efficient good quality public services and wish to see a system in place in Cornwall that delivers that. Will you sign this statement? Share it online, tell your friends and push for better public services at this general election? It's not often politicians listen to the people, but they are now, at this election, let's make our voice heard to end this privatis…

A call to pause privatisation in Cornwall and have a rethink

Again the question of privatisation is in the news, this time Mitie getting fined for not meeting targets on their cleaning and catering contract with RCHT. Also this week the BT contract with Cornwall Council is not producing the jobs and other targets upon which the contract was made. Add to this the growing public disquiet about profit in public services. Something has to change. Today we Mebyon Kernow are using this election period to call for a pause in privatisation. We will later release a statement calling for support from the public and other political candidates, activists and parties to have a pause in the privatisation process in Cornwall. The present system is not working there is no public faith in it, time and again we see providers failing in the basics of providing public services. We are calling on one and all to say no to this continued farce, to join with us in opposing this. To call on the next government to pause the privatisation process and hold a debate with …

Sport is a good thing and the government should do more to promote it in Cornwall

“Do you think Cornwall needs a Stadium for Cornwall  and how should this and other sporting facilities in Cornwall be funded?”
Like many members of Mebyon Kernow, I've long been a supporter of a stadium for Cornwall. We need a stadium for the community, we need a stadium to unleash Cornish sporting talent and a stadium would help build our economy. The same benefits are true of other sporting facilities from the grass roots up.
I think the ideal way of funding Cornish sport is through public- private partnership, with authorities such as the government, Cornwall Council and one day soon a Cornish Assembly, teaming up with sports organisations and other institutions like colleges and communities to deliver it.
I feel so strongly about the benefits of sport that I recently wrote to sports teams in the constituency asking for their opinions on how government could work better for them. I believe government could, and indeed must work better for Cornish sport. For too long Westminster,…

The alternative to the austerity consensus of the Westminster parties

There's a brilliant piece in the Guardian featuring Paul Krugman, attacking the Tories and Labour on their post election austerity budgets. How the distance in economics is so close between the two "major" parties. To quote from the article :"Cameron is campaigning largely on a spurious claim to have ‘rescued’ the British economy – and promising, if he stays in power, to continue making substantial cuts in the years ahead.“Labour, sad to say, are echoing that position. So both major parties are in effect promising a new round of austerity that might well hold back a recovery..."It's a sad thing in a democracy that major issues like this aren't dominant in political debate. How we spend money, what the state chooses to spend and how it spends it. It is not this issue alone this is being ignored look at privatisation, Trident, foreign policy, the royal family, the House of Lords, Europe, tax dodging. When was the last time a politician brought up these su…

Mitie and the impotency of the NHS in face of private profit

Today the BBC are reporting that the private cleaning firm Mitie are being fined by the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust. The service being provided is not up to scratch and there were 50 incidents that left RCHT the only option they have and that is to fine Mitie 51% of their profits. This is the fallacy of privatisation, even if it goes wrong, the firm still gets 49% of the profit. The firm does cleaning and catering services at Treliske, St Michael's in Hayle and the West Cornwall Hospital here in Penzance. It is horrific to think basic things like cleaning, so important in health care, can be falling below required standards across West Cornwall.

It's high time we revaluated the profit motive and what it is doing to public services in Cornwall. We can't carry on with services falling below standards. We saw with the Serco Out of Hours service, that things fall below what is necessary and nobody can do anything about it. I strongly believe we need an NHS in public hands, …

Cornwall needs wages to go up and employment conditions to improve

“New figures suggest that in some parts of Cornwall as many as 40% of jobs are not paying a living wage – what can be done to tackle the problem of low pay levels in Cornwall and should employers be allowed to continue employing staff on zero hour contracts?”


This is a very topical question, the TUC is running a Fair Pay Fortnight campaign at the moment, raising the issue of low pay and this week in the news, low wages across Cornwall has featured
heavily. That said, although it is higher on the political agenda and we should be grateful that politicians are showing an interest, it has been a problem in Cornwall for certainly all of my life time. Combined with high house prices, the low wages in Cornwall are a blight and contribute to the brain drain of young talented people moving from Cornwall. 
Government needs to take action to make pay fair and protect workers rights. There is a wide disparity between the minimum wage and the living wage, this wide gap needs to close. I'm full…

On the unfairness of austerity

“Is it fair that people in Cornwall who rely on public services are being made to suffer to help the national effort to cut the budget deficit and should more be done to ensure that local services are protected from cuts in public spending which are being enforced by austerity?”


Austerity is not about fairness, it's not about what is right and what is wrong. As we've seen in recent weeks with the the various tax dodging scandals, successive governments have turned a blind eye to the richest individuals and corporations paying their fair share. The present system is wholly unfair. 
At the moment local government is at the front line of these cuts. This is all despite the fact that it was not authorities like Cornwall Council, our public toilets or our care workers, police officers and NHS staff that caused the recession, it was the financial sector. However under the present skewed system who is it that has to pay their fair share of tax?
Tax dodging MUST be stamped out, being …

The troubling lack of debate over TTIP in this election

TTIP the massive issue that should be being talked about, but isn't. It stands to fundamentally change the EU's relations with the US, give yet more power to corporations and cede sovereignty of governments to companies. It's part of that worrying trend in politics that corporate interests get more and more say behind closed doors.

Dispensing entirely with concepts of democracy and accountability. In this regard it is starting in the way it means to go on. It will give corporations the rights to sue governments for loss of profit and stands to strengthen profit in the post- nationalised world of public services. It's so wrong it should be stopped.

Despite these grave fears, Labour, Tory, Lib Dems and UKIP all support it. (Greens and Plaid Cymru against TTIP and other parties not funded by corporate donors e.g. NHA, Left Unity). No question of a referendum or even something as old fashioned as a public consultation. The only real difference between the lot of them is th…

Policing we need to scrap the commissioners and have the funding in place for decent policing

Another in my daily posts featuring my answer recently in the Cornishman
“Is it right that the number of police officers in Cornwall is continuing to fall,  what would you do to stem this loss and should the role of Police and Crime Commissioner continue."

It is not right that police numbers continue to fall. Both coalition partners promised to increase police numbers, yet did the opposite in power, no one voted for this. There is increased demand on our police force, not only from crime but as we saw recently mental health patients being put in cells due to lack of resources in the NHS.  This is one of the ways the police are being squeezed from both sides by the coalition's short sighted spending cuts.
My party Mebyon Kernow did not support the creation of police and crime commissioners.  It was the first election I chose not to vote in, because I felt so strongly it was not neccesary. The post is excessively expensive and worse still there is no evidence it has made polic…

Cornwall and the relationship we need with Europe

My answer printed in the Cornishman, to the following question:

“What impact do you believe current immigration laws have had on Cornwall  and do you believe Cornwall benefits from the UK being a member of the EU?”
"We live in a global world and being connected with the world for Cornwall's benefit is foremost in my mind. I take
 great exception with the idea that everything and everyone in the world is somehow a threat and to be feared. We must neither turn our backs on Europe nor be scared of changing it. 
The free movement of labour is not a new concept from the miners and labourers that came to work in Cornwall centuries ago to those same Cornish miners who went on to make the world theirs. I think we always need to bear this in mind when the increasingly dangerous prejudice of the right wing rears it's ugly head. 
As for the EU there are obvious benefits for Cornwall through various schemes of funding. We should be wary that if the UK does decide to leave the EU we wi…

What we need to do about foodbanks and the scandal of inequality and food poverty

My answer in the Cornishman on the scandal of food poverty answering the following question:

What are you going to do about the scandal of food banks and how do we tackle the issue of poverty  which is forcing people in Cornwall to require food banks?
The rise in food banks and food poverty is a scandal and people not being able to afford to feed themselves is a scandal anywhere in the world but especially so in one of the richest economies in the world. The reason that foodbanks are increasingly relied upon is due to coalition policies that exasperate inequality. 
The Cornish economy is not recovering, wages are stagnating and however the coalition like to massage the figures, the reality on the high streets of Helston, St Ives and Penzance is decline. We need jobs and investment not a constant barrage of cuts!
The problem of food poverty is a problem of policy, this government knows all too well about wealth distribution policy and putting money in people's pockets. They have slas…

The future for green energy in Cornwall, we need more control and benefits from it

My answer printed in the Cornishman to the following question:
“Assuming that we are serious about developing green energy, does that mean increasingly covering
Cornwall's farmland in solar panels and wind turbines is a good idea, or are there alternatives?”


I have a deep feeling of frustration with the development of renewable energy in Cornwall. I remember as a boy growing up in awe of the wind turbines going up here before anywhere else in the UK. I had a great sense of pride that that our land was at the cutting edge. These feelings were rekindled by Wavehub but lamentably under government control progress is not being realised.
There are alternatives to prime valuable agricultural land dedicated to energy production. We need to look to the sea. We have some ideal locations for marine renewables but central government and their policies are holding us back. In Scotland where energy is devolved their marine renewables are world class an example for Cornwall to follow.
There needs…

My views on the NHS in Cornwall, it needs to be public and funded

My piece in the Cornishman on the question of the NHS answering the following question.

“What are your views on the future of NHS services in Cornwall  and how they are funded?”

The NHS is a great institution, I’m sure myself and many of us, have relatives that would not be 
alive without the NHS and it’s dedicated nurses and doctors. Yet our health system is under 
threat from 2 angles underfunding and privatisation.

For decades the Cornish NHS has been underfunded. This has resulted in things like the closure

of Poltair and the continuing threat to services at West Cornwall Hospital and St Michael’s. 
Leaving us here in the west, to travel further (at increased risk in emergencies) for health 
services. 

We’ve seen in recent days the failings of Hinchbrooke, much revered as an example of public 
sector profit making. As we’re all keenly aware in Cornwall, after the Serco out of hours debacle, 
for profit often means cuts in service provision and an increased profit, privatisation does …

Recognition of the Cornish as a national minority was not worth the paper it was written on

On this day April 23rd, last year the government announced that they were recognising the Cornish people under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. This was widely welcomed including by myself, that the Cornish were now recognised as a nation. However 12 months on, what has really changed?

I became concerned back in February when people contacted me to say that they had registered to vote online and did not have the option to identify themselves as Cornish, as this screenshot of the website shows:



This situation prompted me to contact the Liberal Democrat ministers and ask them what had actually changed since the fanfare of the announcement? Why situations like this were still occurring, let alone things more ambitious than adding a 7 letter word. That was back on the 11th of February and the reply? a deafening silence. 
This is the problem with the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, they'll put out grand press releases about devolving power to Cor…

Winning the Cornish devolution debate at hustings

mebyonkernow.org
Posted by Mebyon Kernow- the Party for Cornwall on Sunday, 19 April 2015

Obviously the idea of getting more powers for Cornwall is a central plank of Mebyon Kernow's election campaign. Myself like all of the candidates are taking every opportunity to raise the issue, on leaflets, online, on the doorstep and at hustings. I've been pleased at how well received the ideas of devolution have been at the various hustings I have attended, especially when I have given examples of the kids of policies we could change if it was in Cornwall's power to do so.

Now I have attended 6 hustings with all of the 6 candidates. The same questions come up time and again at every debate. It's intriguing what candidates say and how that develops over time, I have certainly heard a few, not only making the same points as candidates had previously but even given the very same examples. I think this is partly because we all have different experiences and knowledge and we learn …

Cornwall needs proper devolution to a Cornish assembly

For the 16 weeks up to the general election the West Briton and Cornishman have asked each candidate to write 200 words on a question put by readers for every day until the 6th I'll post my answers here, hope you enjoy readin any questions get in touch with me on twitter @cernyw or email me robscornishblog@gmail.com



“Should more power be devolved to Cornwall and, if so, in what form?  If the answer is ‘no’, please say why not.”


For me the question: should Cornwall have more power? Is like asking if I’d like to spend my money

or if I’d like someone else to spend it. Although I might sometimes spend my money wisely and

other times come back with magic beans, it’s about choice. I’d prefer it was my decision, so I could

spend my money, on my priorities and if I end up with a beanstalk, I’ve only myself to blame!

That is the nub of it, currently our taxes travel 300 miles, there they decide how to spend it and send

the money back. People that make these decisions aren’t elected by the pe…

West Cornwall Healthwatch hustings last week

Last wednesday I attended the West Cornwall Healthwatch hustings at the Methodist Chapel on Chapel Street in Penzance. It was quite a long debate as there were the 6 candidates and a very lively one. It's of no surprise that the NHS is a major issue in politics, it always has been indeed always should be. This has intensified over the last government with the continuation and acceleration of the privatisation introduced by Labour. 


As you can imagine the issue of privatisation came up time and time again. I was very happy for the round of applause when I explained that Mebyon Kernow's policy is to say not to privatisation of the NHS and other public services and the need to bring them back into public administration away from the undemocratic and unaccountable trusts and groups. I also spoke on the need for decentralising health care services and my view that more needs to be done at West Cornwall Hospital and that Cornwall deserves more than one general hospital. I was also …

Election debate in Marazion for BBC Radio Cornwall

Last night I attended a St Ives constituency debate in Marazion, featuring al 6 candidates from UKIP, Labour, Lib Dems, Tories, Greens and myself for Mebyon Kernow. It was a lively debate and I'm grateful to Radio Cornwall for inviting me along, although we have many troubles getting fair coverage on the BBC generally. Radio Cornwall at least are fair and impartial to how is invited along. Not that I'm not without some grumbles, I was a little hamstrung by the fact I was last or nearly last to answer every question and consequently Laurence would ask me to be succinct after hearing other candidates talk at great length, meaning I was often cut off half way through answering the question of when I paused for the audience to applause. If you hear it let me know what you think, perhaps I'm being unfair...


This was my 5th hustings of the campaign and I'm starting to get into the swing of things. I find it fascinating that at the start of the hustings, I've always notice…

Lib Dems need to come clean about plans for another Tory coalition

Daily leaflets are going through people's doors throughout Cornwall from the Lib Dems. The budgets aside of how much all that printing up country costs and how much the Royal Mail charge. They are all covered in messages about keeping the Tories out. Hoping people have forgotten the last 5 years completely and are unaware that plans are afoot for the Lib Dems again to prop up the Tories. It's time for Cornwall’s Liberal Democrats to come clean and admit that the anti Tory message is just rhetoric. Nick Clegg told the press at their manifesto launch that he's willing to do a deal with anyone to be in power. What was once a party of principle and common sense is now an empty vessel interested only in power. Little wonder they're facing a wipe out on May the 7th. Mebyon Kernow will not do a deal with the Tories or any of the Westminster parties. If people want a party that will fight the Tories or any government, for Cornwall to get a better deal, and fairness in policy t…

Trident the real views of candidates versus the Party political dictatorship

The news is awash of claim and counter claim between Tory and Labour about defence and Trident. In summary the Conservatives are attacking Miliband because they think he'd do a deal with the SNP to form a coalition government, which would include not replacing Britain's nuclear arsenal. Labour deny this strenuously and accuse the Tories of attacks and negativity.Labour are sending the clear message that (like so much) they would match the Tories on Trident replacement. But this does not reflect the views of their PPCs. Many of them have taken part in the CND survey on scrapping Trident, as I have, like me an overwhelming majority support scrapping Trident. Of the 500 candidates from all parties that responded 81% support scrapping Trident. According to the New Statesman 75% of Labour respondents support scrapping Trident. Yet we have a ridiculous political system where parties rule and what parties decide, MPs follow. Thus Ed Miliband in his attempt to out muscle Cameron on to…

5 things you can do to help MK at this election

Join, volunteer, put up a poster, donate, attend a debate. The campaign is frenetic for myself and all of the Mebyon Kernow candidates and we need your help. Here's some things you can do to help out.

1. Join, joining the party is remarkably simple and only takes 5 minutes. The costs start from £8 unwaged, £15 waged, family membership £20 and life membership £300. That's literally pennies a week! Click here  to join today.

2. Volunteer, if you're a member contact your local branch and volunteer your services if not click this link on the MK website. There are tens of thousand of leaflets that have already been delivered and many many more yet to be delivered. If you can do thousands, hundreds or just a few it will be appreciated and will help Cornwall have a stronger voice in politics.

3. Posters, have a garden, field, window or car? why not put up a poster. Again contact your local branch or visit the website to get a poster.

4. Donate, any donations to the party are welc…

Although welcome, the council's case for Cornwall is not enough, vote MK to stand up for a strong Cornwall

Cornwall Council have released their ideas for devolution and they are asking people to 'Stand up for Cornwall'. Starting an online campaign to get more powers for the council. This was recently taken to the full council, the Mebyon Kernow group proposed an amendment that the case be widened to include a Cornish assembly. Unfortunately these was not enough ambition among the Cornwall Councillors (including the Lib Dems who tell us they are in favour of a Cornish assembly). The document we are left with is to ask government to give more powers and responsibilities to Cornwall Council.

Despite this lack of ambition and leaving most of the powers under the control of the dead hand of Westminster, it is tagged stand up for Cornwall!



I spoke to Radio Cornwall about this last week. I spoke about John Pollard and Cornwall Council being on the right track and identifying the right problems but not the right solutions. I don't think Cornwall Council is well placed to take on more p…

Mount's Bay needs massive investment from the next government

If elected as an MP for the St Ives constituency, I would make it my mission to get the investment we deserve into sea defences and to help reconnect our communities with the sea. There is huge potential to grow the economy of Penzance, Newlyn and the whole of Mount's Bay and Penwith if we can secure from government the money to unleash this potential. We need sea defences, investment in our harbours and support for industries that rely upon the sea and the capacity to grow new ones.

For far too long we have seen investment opportunities pass us by, as top down approaches have been thought up in distant places and brought to the bay. This has resulted in politicians at all levels descend into fractious debates and rather than work together for the common good and investment they have pulled apart in the name of petty political point scoring. This attitude must stop, we must find ways of working together.

I have always passionately believed that the best solutions come from the grou…