Monday, 20 March 2017

Not on the Daily Politics!!!!!!!

Care-free Dick Cole is not a happy boy tonight.

At 10.00 this morning, I received an invitation to appear on BBC2’s Daily Politics Show to talk about the recent Council of Europe opinion. I drove to the BBC offices in Plymouth, arriving at 12.15, getting into the studio at around 12.30.

There was then an almighty cock-up. The camera that would normally be in the newsroom was not in place, so I was lined up to speak from the main studio. BBC Plymouth thought that I would be interviewed in advance of the studio being needed for Justin Leigh’s news headlines at 1.00. But BBC London had me down as the last item – and before they got to me, I was shifted out of my seat for the “local” news headlines and was unable to take part.

BBC Plymouth did record some film with me on the issue, in case they needed it in the future.

But all in all, what a wasted day.

I left home at about 11.00 to travel to Plymouth and, after apologetic phone calls and grabbing some dinner, I didn’t get back home until nearly 4.00. All that time … to not do an interview.

I have just seen the actual programme on iplayer and I am now really annoyed with how the panellists Eric Pickles and Caroline Flint handled the issue. Flint, in particular, was very disparaging towards MK, wanted to talk about Cornish independence and I was not there to respond!

The programme can be viewed at:
BBC Daily Politics

Looks like there will be yet more calls to the BBC tomorrow.

On the “Cornish 50" List

The Cornwall Live website (for the Cornish Guardian, Cornishman and West Briton newspapers) has just published its “Cornish List,” which gives their take on the top 50 people who “lead the way in campaigning on Cornish issues” and “flying the black and white flag for Cornwall.”

Such lists are always controversial, but it is nice for yours truly to sneak in at number three, just behind Will Coleman (no. 1) and Ed Rowe (no 2).

The full list can be seen at:

MK Spring Conference ... Saturday (25th March)

MK’s Spring Conference will be taking place this coming Saturday at Roche, in the heart of the China Clay Area.

The venue will be in the lounge bar of the Roche Victory Hall Social Club in Victoria Road. The lounge bar is to the rear of the main hall and there is also ample parking at the site.

It will be a relatively informal morning event and will focus on the upcoming elections to the unitary authority and town & parish council elections across the whole of Cornwall.

It will give you a wonderful opportunity to meet some of our election candidates and to find out how you can help them in their campaigns.

The doors will open at 9.30 and the event will commence around 10.00. It is anticipated that the Conference will close before 12.30.

The agenda for the meeting will include:

- short speech by Party Leader Cllr Dick Cole.
- introduction of numerous MK candidates.
- discussion of MK pledges for the upcoming elections.
- question and answer session with the MK leadership team.

We hope you will be able to join us and we look forward to seeing many of you at this get-together.

But it won’t just be about talking. In the afternoon, we will be inviting MK members and supporters to join us in some leafleting sessions around the China Clay Area.

Why not come and join us on the campaign trail.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Tory election spending scandal shows we need urgent reforms

Today’s announcement that the “Conservative Party has been fined a record £70,000 for breaking election expenses rules” shows that the rules around election spending need to be reformed.

The BBC has reported that:

“The party broke spending rules by moving campaigners and staff from its national headquarters to boost local party efforts and not properly declaring their hotel bills and expenses.”

“The Electoral Commission found the Conservative Party also failed to correctly report all expenditure on a national battlebus campaign, which helped David Cameron win a majority at the general election.”

“It has referred a possible criminal offence - of whether Simon Day, the Conservative Party's registered treasurer until April 2016, ‘knowingly or recklessly made a false declaration’ - to the Metropolitan Police.”

This links to the ongoing scandal about the “battlebus” which has been linked to at least two Cornish MPs.

It is clear that the Conservative Party spent more than the allowable limits in a number of marginal seats, because much money was spent on local campaigns but was classified as “national” expenditure.

But all the large Westminster political parties habitually target their expenditure into target seats but do it in such a way that the spendng is deemed part of their state-wide messaging.

In addition to the battle buses, and hotel costs of their volunteers, which only seem to appear in target seats, here are a few examples of things that are often not counted as “local expenditure.”

Massive billboards in prominent locations – which do not mention the name of the local candidate – are often deemed “non-local” by the parties. However, the Billboards tend to appear in the seats that particular parties think they could win – and not across the UK as a whole.

Likewise, the cost of election poster-boards which do not have the name of the candidate on them – but simply proclaim “Conservative,” “Labour” or “Liberal Democrat” – have, on occasion, also been classed as “national” expenditure, even though the signs inevitably appear in greater numbers in existing or target seats.

And targeted maildrops to individual voters from prominent members of political parties (such as Party Leaders, Prime Ministers or Chancellor of the Exchequer) also often forget to mention the actual names of the local candidates – allowing them to, ridiculously, be termed “national” expenditure.

This is all so wrong and we should all be pushing for really far-reaching and more comprehensive reforms to better control election expenditure, in order to ensure fairer elections in the future.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Update on Fraddon Post Office

Local residents will be aware that planning permission has been granted for a new retail complex at Kingsley Village. The ownership of the site will soon pass from Kingsley Developers to CPG, who intend to redevelop the area for a number of stores including Marks and Spencer. 

St Enoder Parish Council has been informed that the Post Office presently located within Kingsley Village will, as things presently stand, close at the end of April.

When the planning application was being dealt with, I sought guarantees that a Post Office would continue on the site. The company (CPG) which is in the process of purchasing the site agreed that this was acceptable to them and it was even written into the planning consent that: “A Post Office shall remain within the development.”

In addition, the present owners (Kingsley Developers) promised they would ensure that, during the construction of the new retail park, a local Post Office would continue at the eastern end of the Parish. Indeed, it was stated that there would be the provision of a temporary unit within the car parking area at Kingsley Village.

In recent days Amanda Kendall, the Clerk of the Parish Council, and I have had meetings with a representative from the main Post Office Ltd and the present owners, who we have been pressing to make good on the promises they made during the planning process.

The Post Office Ltd has told us that another option, in the short-term, would be “outreach.” This would consist of a temporary Post Office run from a venue such as a local village hall, and we are pushing for further information about how many hours such a service would be open.

We know how important the provision of a Post Office for the Fraddon / Indian Queens and St Columb Road area is, and we are putting a significant amount of pressure on all concerned to make sure that this local Post Office is not lost between now and when the new development is opened.

It is also the case that Post Office Ltd will be consulting on the future of this local Post Office in the near future. Please make sure that you impress on them just how important it is for the local area.

I will report back more when I have further confirmation on what will be happening.