Friday, 23 April 2010

Launch of policy document

Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall today launched its policy document for the 2010 General Election at Fraddon's Kingsley Village, in the heart of electoral division and the St Austell and Newquay Constituency.

The policy document is attached focuses on ten key campaign priorities:

1. A legislative National Assembly for Cornwall
2. Fair funding for Cornwall to improve public services
3. A long-term strategy for a sustainable economy
4. A fair tax system based on ability to pay
5. Affordable homes for local people
6. Reduction of the public debt
7. An Environmental Action Plan for Cornwall
8. Accountable democratic government though radical political reform
9. A more just and peaceful World
10. Recognition for Cornwall

A copy of the document can be downloaded from the MK website at

It has been a very hectic day with a number of media interviews, which has included BBC Spotlight, the team from the local Politics Show, Westcountry TV, Radio Cornwall and a reporter for the Devon and Cornwall Media (Cornish Guardian, West Briton and Cornishman). I should point out that I also did an interview for Pirate FM earlier in the week.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Odds slashed again

It was back to Fraddon and Kingsley Village for the Inquiry and I got the opportunity to cross-examine SITA’s first witness. The main topics I covered were to do with the process and how Cornwall County Council / SITA chose the site at St Dennis, and why it failed to properly consult with local people.

I have found out that my main leaflet for the campaign has started arriving on peoples’ doorsteps and it has been pleasing to receive a number of new messages of support.

I have also found out that, like Ladbrokes, William Hill have slashed my odds on winning the St Austell and Newquay seat, but they have gone even further. William Hill have me on 33-1.

St Dennis, polls and Radio St Austell Bay

The Public Inquiry today went to St Dennis to allow local people to make direct representations to the Inspector. Over 35 speakers were involved and clearly demonstrated why the incinerator proposal was totally inappropriate.

The Cornish Guardian meanwhile published the results of an unregulated internet poll which showed me in first place. Apparently I polled 815 votes (34.2%). Caroline Righton the Conservative was in second place with 771 votes (32.4%) with Lib Dem Stephen Gilbert in third with 690 (29%).

In the evening, I took part in the first constituency debate at St Austell Rugby Club, hosted by Radio St Austell Bay. Five of the six candidates were present (MK, Labour, Liberal Democrat, UKIP and BNP) and feel it went reasonably well. Questions ranged from Europe, climate change, disability provision and housing in St Austell – for which I got the only individual burst of applause for the evening.

SITA at the Inquiry

I am continuing to juggle the General Election campaign, my local commitments as a councillor and the Public Inquiry into the incinerator. The car is in the garage and my computer has collapsed.

Priority for Tuesday was the Inquiry and the first statement from a witness representing SITA. His name is John Scanlon and was the company witness, outlining the approach and views of the company.

I can report that it has been acknowledged that the Contract does not preclude the importation of commercial and industrial waste from outside of Cornwall and SITA were unwilling for this to be modified.

Today also saw the close of nominations for the General Election, with a Mebyon Kernow candidate in every Cornish constituency for the first time in our history.

Monday, 19 April 2010

The Daily Politics

It is now only sixteen full days to the election. From this point, I will do my utmost to blog at least once a day. The campaign is certainly hotting up and I will be doing a number of interviews and taking part in some constituency debates over the next few days.

Today, I travelled to Plymouth to be interviewed (over the wire) by Andrew Neil of the Politics Show. It was a very short interview – shorter than I expected – but I was quite pleased with how I handled the questions. I was also pleased that MK was actually featured on a UK-wide programme.

The interview can be viewed at

The Western Morning News also noted the importance of MK being featured on Mr Neil’s programme in its editorial.

“Nationalist politics in Wales and Scotland have moved from the fringes to centre stage in a few short years. The advent of the Scottish and Welsh parliaments have given those two nations not just assembly members representing their own people in areas of policy devolved to them but also MPs who have an influence on national politics at Westminster.

“The potential benefits of extending that regional influence to Cornwall through the political party Mebyon Kernow will be appealing to at least some in the county.

“It is a measure of how politics has become increasingly fragmented that Dick Cole, the MK leader, wil today face TV presenter Andrew Neil on the Daily Politics Show.

“In Cornwall the Conservatives and the Lib Dems might be looking to slug it out between themselves with MK as mere bystanders.

“But if Mr Cole gets his way he and his candidates could upset the predictions that the major parties hold all the seats. His moment in the spotlight later today won’t do MK’s chances any harm at all.”

Friday, 16 April 2010

My odds have been slashed ...

I have just found out that Ladbrokes have changed their odds on me winnning the St Austell and Newquay Constituency.

I am no longer 100/1 - I am now at 50/1.

Now that is what I call momentum and there are still three weeks to go!

Nomination papers

This afternoon, I travelled to Liskeard to hand in my nomination papers for the St Austell and Newquay constituency.

The ten people who signed the papers are councillors and campaigners that I have worked with over the last decade.

My proposer is Andrew Waters, who represented St Enoder Parish on Restormel Borough Council from 1995 to 2009 and the parishes of St Enoder and Colan on Cornwall County Council from 2005 to 2009. My nomination is seconded by Harry Heywood, another former Restormel Councillor who is now the Cornwall Councillor for Newquay Treviglas.

The other eight signatories are Des Curnow (Cornwall Councillor for St Stephen), Fred Greenslade (Cornwall Councillor for St Dennis), John Wood (Cornwall Councillor for Roche), Tim Jones (former Liberal Democrat leader of Restormel Borough Council), Matthew Luke (former MK councillor on Restormel), David Mathews (former Lib Dem councillor on Restormel), Dennis Harris (former Lib Dem councillor on Restormel and Cornwall County Council) and Pat Blanchard, a leading opponent of the proposed incinerator for St Dennis.

I am grateful for their support.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Support from David Mathews

I am very pleased to be able to report that another former Liberal Democrat councillor on Restormel Borough Council has given his backing to my campaign in St Austell and Newquay.

St Austell’s David Mathews and I served together for four years on the Council. To show his support, David has produced the following statement.

“I met Dick Cole whilst we were Restormel Borough Councillors.

“There were only a few who really stood out head and shoulders above the rest. Dick was one of those. Each time he had something to say it was always informative, often eloquent, and always with passion. I came to admire his knowledge of any given subject, and his ability to question things with great reasoning behind it.

“He clearly cared for the people of Cornwall and this has continued from strength to strength. His integrity is also admirable, and a core part of his life.

“I believe Dick will be around serving the people of Cornwall for a long time, just as he has already been doing for many years. He is therefore the only candidate worthy of our vote in this forthcoming election.

“Vote for Dick Cole and see our area get proper representation, and a proper job done.”

Many thanks for your kind words, David.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Double standards?

At the weekend, Lib Dem boss Nick Clegg hit out at Labour politicians, such as Lord Adonis, for claiming that the elections was a ‘two-horse race.’

He has been reported as saying the following:

“Vote with your heart. Don’t be told by politicians like Lord Adonis you’re only allowed to have a choice of two.

“I think it’s really arrogant for Lord Adonis to sort of declare at a time when we have so much choice in our lives – from the holidays we take, from the mobile phones that we choose, from the food that we choose and so on – [that] uniquely in politics, you are only allowed to choose from the red team or the blue team.

“Vote with your heart; vote for the values and the policies you believe.”

I have to say that I totally agree with Nick on this. Sadly, when he was last in Cornwall (see blog entry for 3 April) Mr Clegg said that a vote for MK was “wasted” and that it was only between the gold team or the blue team.

Double standards?

Week one of the campaign

What a week. There has been some rest but it was also about multi-tasking. I had a restful Tuesday (6th April). It was my birthday and my wife forced me to take a day’s rest. We went out and explored Kit Hill.

But as well as trying to organise our General Election campaign, I had to focus on my day-job as a councillor. This included two meetings about housing and, in particular, the ongoing work to produce the first Cornwall-wide DPD (Development Plan Document) on affordable housing. The second meeting was a presentation to the members of the East Sub-Area Planning Committee. The Public Inquiry at Fraddon continues and I attended the 13th day on Friday.

Of course, we did get out on the campaign trail. On Saturday and Sunday, we were out leafleting in places such as Lanjeth, High Street, Coombe, Sticker, Grampound, Polgooth and Charlestown, as well as parts of Newquay.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The team for Cornwall

It is now official. The General Election will take place on 6th May and Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall are standing candidates in all Cornish constituencies for the first time in our history.

Following MK’s good showing in last year’s European Elections, when we out-polled Labour, and the election of three MK members onto Cornwall Council, we believes that putting forward a full slate of candidates represents a serious step-change for the Party.

Our candidates are as follows:

Camborne and Redruth – Loveday Jenkin
North Cornwall – Joanie Willett
South East Cornwall – Roger Holmes
St Austell and Newquay – Dick Cole
St Ives – Simon Reed
Truro and Falmouth – Loic Rich

In our first salvo in the campaign, we have confirmed that we will seek to place “Fair Funding for Cornwall” at the heart of the campaign.

We all know that Cornwall has been under-funded for many, many years. We receive less money for our schools, hospitals and public services than elsewhere in the UK, while we continue to lose out to the wider South West and the quango-state.

A key part of our campaign will be for a Commission to investigate the full extent of this Government under-funding of Cornwall, which we will pressing all political parties to support. We are also calling on the main London parties to abide by the findings of such a review and guarantee Cornish communities their fair share of future spending.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Update on leaflets

Some weeks ago, Mebyon Kernow challenged all political parties standing in Cornwall at the coming General Election to make sure that their election literature was printed in Cornwall.

Leaflets (and letters) are still flying around like confetti from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats – thanks to the Royal Mail. I thought now was a good time to report back on what I have received in the last two-three weeks and whether they were printed locally.

1. A glossy leaflet from Stephen Gilbert (Lib Dem) – printed in Shaftesbury.

2. Two direct mailings (exactly the same) from Caroline Righton (Conservative) - one for me and one for my wife. It contained a letter introducing herself. The first sentence notes that my “name appears on the recently issued register as a new elector” and she speculates that I may have recently moved house, moved into the Constituency or was previously unregistered! It also contained another photocopied sheet offering me a postal vote, as well as a small colour leaflet – printed in Guildford.

3. A single direct mailing from the Lib Dems to my wife and I telling us that Labour and Mebyon Kernow cannot win in St Austell and Newquay. This letter was printed in London! It was accompanied by a risographed A4 sheet also telling me not to vote Labour – or Mebyon Kernow.

4. Hand-delivered to properties in my local parish, there was also a handful of Liberal Democrat leaflets. Two were full colour A4 leaflets – both printed in Shaftesbury. This time, these were accompanied by a risographed A3 sheet also telling me not to vote Labour or Mebyon Kernow.

5. Two more direct mailings (exactly the same) from the Conservatives - one for me and one for my wife. It was a letter / leaflet from George Osborne - printed in Guildford.

6. A direct mailing from Vince Cable. It also kindly offered me help with getting a postal vote and contained a letter - printed in London.

It seems to me that printers in Shaftesbury, Guildford and London seem to be doing well out of the election.

MK’s pledge continues to be a simple one. All leaflets produced by Mebyon Kernow for the General Election will be printed here in Cornwall.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Nick Clegg in Cornwall

Many people will be aware that Lib Dem boss Nick Clegg (pictured right)was interviewed by Radio Cornwall’s Tamsin Melville on Wednesday. She asked Mr Clegg about Tim Jones, the former Liberal Democrat leader of Restormel Borough Council, and his support for my campaign in the St Austell and Newquay seat.

Nick Clegg’s comments were as follows (recorded on Graham Smith’s blog -

“You know, if people want to make their own individual choices in favour of MK they're free to do so but I think that everybody knows MK hasn't got a hope of getting any MPs here and certainly hasn't got a hope of wielding any influence in Westminster. So talk about wasted votes - that is a wasted vote on a spectacular scale. I think the decision is quite different - do you support a party, the Liberal Democrats, which has Cornwall sort of coursing through its veins or do you vote for a party, the Conservatives, that is basically a party of the Home Counties? That's the choice.”

A number of people have already contacted me about the ungratious nature of Nick Clegg’s comments and I thank you all for your support. I too hope that his negativity backfires on the Lib Dems.

This whole episode seems to be popping up on other blogs as well. See - and

Public Inquiry - Day 11

The third week of the Public Inquiry ended in positive fashion for the local community.

Professor Vyvyan Howard appeared via a videolink from the University of Ulster (see left) and gave an authorative and detailed presentation about the potential risks of emissions.

This was followed by STIG’s Amanda Routledge who outlined the very real concerns of local people on the same grounds, which was now clearly articulated within the St Dennis Parish Plan.

SITA’s barristers appeared quite discomforted by the whole session and the best that they could argue was that such concerns were for the regulators, not the planning process.

And there was I thinking that Planning Policy Statement 23 contains the principle of the precautionary principle!