Monday, 20 August 2012

Tory MPs attack campaign for Cornish Assembly

In an article in today’s Western Morning News, Tory MPs George Eustice and Sarah Newton have attacked the campaign for a Cornish Assembly.

Insultingly, they call on campaigners to reject the politics of "victimhood and isolationism" by ditching the campaign for a Cornish Assembly, which they claim has "failed.”

They claim that winning significantly greater powers for Cornwall within the UK, through our own Assembly, would be isolationist and divisive. But they also argue that Cornwall’s unitary authority could take on some extra responsibilities which would protect Cornwall “as a distinct, self-confident but outward-looking and enthusiastic part of the UK." What hypocrisy!

The MPs clearly refuse to see Cornwall as a historic Celtic nation, and object to the fact that the other constituent nations of the UK have won significant levels of home rule for their countries.

They lack ambition for Cornwall, and the MP's claim to want more powers for Cornwall Council is contradicted by how the Conservative / Liberal Democrat Government is undermining the structures of local government with their cuts.

Let us not forget that democracy in Cornwall has been failed by central government over the last 15 years. 

Cornwall’s demand for an elected Assembly – which included 50,000 signed declarations – has been ignored.

Our structures of local government were trashed by the last Labour Government, in cohorts with Cornwall’s Liberal Democrats, when they cut the number of principal councillors from a total of 331 to 123 in the new centralised unitary authority.

And now we have the Tory and Liberal Democrat cuts which are undermining democracy further. The lack of funding means councillors are forever being presented with a “graph of doom” saying that the cuts mean we will simply not be able to fund basic services and this is being used as a cloak to promote the privatisation of public services.

So much for democracy in local government, but this is no doubt what George Eustice and Sarah Newton actually support.

I am out of Cornwall today, but have done an interview on Radio Cornwall. I will comment more fully on the article in the coming days.

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