Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Who voted to Keep Cornwall Whole? and who didn't?

I have been chewing the fat of the amendment that would have protected Cornwall's political integrity and I find some of it quite difficult to chew through, and some of it hard to swallow. There are some surprises senior Tories (D, Cameron and L, Fox) and Senior Labour MPs (Miliband (both) G, Brown) that didn't vote and a shortfall in Labour votes. Looking at the figures of who voted which way there are two things that occour, firstly the amendment could have mathematically been voted through and secondly that there are some surprises over who did vote who and didn't vote. To quickly illustrate the first point the amendment was defeated by 315 to 257, a government majority of 58 in simple terms this means that 80 Members of Parliaments did not bother to vote. Mathematically at least these 80 MPs could have forced through the bill that protected not only Cornwall's integrity but Anglesey, the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and the Isle of Wight too. I know it is simplistic to guess the votes of absentee parliamentarians but bear with me while I illustrate my second point.

In terms of broad strokes, the Coaliton Government -give or take a few- voted against the amendment, whilst the opposition voted for it. Voting against the bill was every notable Liberal Democrat from Clegg, Cable, Alexander, Campbell et al through to the back benches. Voting for the bill Cornwall's Lib Dem trio, joined by Charles Kennedy and John Thurso and Adrian Sanders MP for Torbay (unlike his fellow Devonian Lib Dem Nick Harvey who voted against.)

Cornwall's 3 Tories voted for the amendment as did the Isle of Wight MP, but the picture across Conservative party is slightly different, David Cameron did not vote either way, whether in a way of an apology for the Amazon comment or on behalf of his Cornish born daughter we will never know. The much vaunted Shadow Minister for Cornwall Mark Prisk voted for Devonwall as did most senior Tories. Devon Tories; Morris, Parish, Stride, Cox, Colville and Wollaston all voted against the amendment.  However 2 Devon Tories did not vote either way (Swire and Streeter) the same was true of Liam Fox.

Moving on to Labour, no doubt the majority of votes came from this party -including Devon MPs Seabeck and Bradshaw- but the fact that Labour has 258 MPs, and MPs voting for the amendment totalled 243 here there is a shortfall. We've already named 10 from the coaliton and 11 from small parties that voted against and at least 6 who (see below) considering I may have missed a few coaliton MPs at least 44 Labour MPs did not vote either way. I do not have a full list but the party leader Ed Miliband, his brother David Miliband, ex PM Gordon Brown were amongst the Labour MPs who did not vote.

Moving on to the small parties the 3 Plaid Cymru, 5 of the SNPs 6,  2 of the  DUPs 6 and 1 of the SDLPs 3 all voted in favour. The MP for the Northern Ireland Alliance Party, an Independent and the Green MP all did not vote. In other words from the small parties none voted against the amendment, with 11 for and 12 abstaining. To round up some of the information, all Cornwall's MPs voted for the amendment, Devon's MP were divided 7 against, 3 for, 2 abstaining. I must apologise for throughout this blog I have not specified exact details of how Labour, Lib Dem and Tory voted, unfortunately Hansard does not list MPs by party on voting results and not myself being burdened with knowing which party 600 odd MPs are in, I can not be more specific.

Support for the amendment in the Coaliton was extremely thin on the ground, but to return to my first  point, could the oppositon have voted the amendment into the bill? I believe so, if all Labour members had voted (from the Leader down), small parties had been persuaded and Devon MPs brought alongside the Cornish 6 and their allies may well have won. That's as maybe I suppose, but there are some hard questions to be posed by the Cornish members of the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, Labour and the Greens over how they were not able to persuade their fellow party members to support this amendment.

Anyway perhaps as a fitting epitaph to the loss of the Tamar I leave you with the parliamentary exchange between Andrew George LD and Angus Macneil SNP:

 Mr MacNeil: The hon. Gentleman has mentioned history and culture, and there is of course the Gaelic proverb:
    "S fhearr caraid sa chuirt na crun san sporran"-
it is better to have a friend in court-and, indeed, Parliament -than money in the purse. With that in mind, I say to my Celtic cousins from Cornwall that Karl Marx in one of his madder moments said that the fate of the Celtic races was to be ruled by the Nordic races. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the treatment of Cornwall could thus be construed as Marxist? Did he ever imagine that when this coalition Government set out their aims, they would end up with Marxism in Cornwall?

Andrew George: Let me quote someone else. It was Matthew Arnold who said that it was the desire of a centralised state

    "to render its dominions... homogenous".

The quote is from Column 680 and the voting record deduced from column 696 which also details the defeated amendment, both from the same -November the second- Hansard entry. 

1 comment:

  1. Parliamentarians need to do a study of how changing Cornwall's boundaries and hence character will affect tourist dollars.
    When I, a Cornish American, go to Cornwall, I go to drink in NOT the sunshine (we have more in Virginia) and not the beaches per se but heritage. Cornish blood courses through my veins from the Rashelighs and Trewollas.
    When I go back, it is to replenish my soul.
    If you change Cornwall, well you change the heritage.
    Many Americans travel to England not to view the land in terms of modernity but to retrace/replenish heritage.
    Gerrymandering the landscape in Cornwall and elsewhere destroys the heritage, that along with the Royal Household, pulls in the tourist dollars.