Saturday, 1 December 2007

The Cornish Constitutional Convention AGM

This weekend, I attended the Annual General Meeting of the Cornish Constitutional Convention in Truro.

Speaking at the event was the leader of Cornwall County Council David Whalley. His presentation was promoted with the strapline - ‘With the unitary authority secured, now for the roadmap to the Cornish Assembly!'

Apparently, the creation of a single council for Cornwall “will be a significant step towards meeting our aspiration for a more radical and ambitious model of governance, with closer integration of all public services at strategic and local level; a shift from a model of local government to one of local governance.” Words from the Convention press release – not mine!

From my perspective, David Whalley rather unconvincingly told us how a unitary authority would lead to greater powers for Cornwall, he talked about “local government” – not regional government – “structured in a different way,” steps in the right direction and bodies which could evolve.

There were also mixed messages a plenty. We were told that the government was listening, that there is an open door and that the people of Cornwall and their representatives need to tell Westminster what Cornwall needs. But that the County Council had only asked for a unitary authority as that was all that was on offer!

I raised a series of points about why I feel that the arguments for unitary local government for Cornwall are flawed and, in particular, that it was more likely to institutionalise Cornish ‘local government’ beneath a South West regional tier than deliver devolution to the Duchy.

The questions largely went unanswered as the Chair of the meeting brought a very truncated debate to a premature close.

One thing is certain however. Mebyon Kernow will continue to fight for a real Cornish Assembly and a democracy for Cornwall that is fit for the 21st century. If you are not already a member of MK – join us and help us in this campaign.

10 comments:

Bob Hayes said...

The words you report Mr Whalley as using give me an awful sinking feeling in my stomach. Having worked in a Labour local council from the 70s to the 90s, and seen what they did locally replicated on a national level one New Labour came to power, the liberal (no pun intended!) use of buzz words like "governance" instead of "government" (presumably to mask the fact that they intend to control the populace even more) and "strategic" (which was always a military term until these plonkers started to use it to make themeselves sound grander)just makes me more and more convinced that we are being expected to dance to a tune that is being played 300 miles away!

Bob Hayes said...

My annoyance with the use of these buzz words has led to me looking to my dictionaries, as a great man once advised that if you look deeply into the original meaning of words you will be able to tell if people are trying to mislead you. A 1943 dictionary gives governance as a synonym for government, adding "control; direction". A 1998 one does the same "government, control or authority". My 1963 edition of Skeats Etymological Dictionary also gives it as a synonym for government, describing it as "the older term". So what gobbledegook is this, a shift from Local Government to Local Government? A very clear intent to deceive by redefining the English Language, in my view. But then this should come as no surprise, Orwell's 1984, which seems to used as a text book for creating a totalitarian society by this government, described the re-writing of history and dictionaries - war is peace; truth is lies. The unscrupulous start off the process and the gullible perpetuate it because it makes them sound clever, and all the time central control on every aspect of life becomes tighter.

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