I have just got back from the count and I can report that the result was as follows:
Lib Dem – 247
Conservative – 234
Independent – 163
Rod Toms (MK) – 161
Labour – 77
Independent – 75
Independent – 54
Rod is obviously disappointed but I feel it is very solid result for MK.
In 2013, when Rod missed out by only 26 votes, there were only three candidates. One of these was a paper candidate for Labour, who lived many miles away, and it was, to be honest, a straight fight between Rod and the Conservatives.
This time, there were seven candidates. The successful Liberal Democrat candidate was a former councillor on Carrick District Council, while the independent was a former Liberal Democrat who has previously served in prominent positions on both Carrick District and Cornwall County Councils.
At the count, Rod appeared to polling in the top three across the whole division but was squeezed into fourth overall because Ken Yeo managed a strong vote in his home village of Goonhavern.
I would like to congratulate Rod and his team for all their hard work and I really believe that Rod being so competitive against such strong and wide-ranging opposition is a really good sign for MK.
Friday, 29 July 2016
I have just got back from the count and I can report that the result was as follows:
Posted by Dick Cole at 01:07
Thursday, 28 July 2016
If you live in the parishes of Crantock, Cubert St Newlyn East or the Goonhavern part of Perranzabuloe Parish, please consider giving Rod your vote.
Posted by Dick Cole at 09:18
Tuesday, 26 July 2016
I was therefore pleased when Cllr Loveday Jenkin was invited to be a guest on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions, which will take place at the Tolmen Centre in Constantine on Friday evening (29 July).
But Loveday has just been informed that the invitation has been rescinded and she will no longer be a participant on the programme.
All this mirrors what happened to me in July 2013, when I too had been due to appear on Any Questions but was ditched in the week leading up to the actual broadcast.
We will be making further representations on the unacceptable manner in which we continue to be treated by BBC Any Questions.
Posted by Dick Cole at 18:43
My article in tomorrow’s Cornish Guardian looks back at the recent House of Common’s vote on Trident. It is similar to a recent blog entry, but is here for the sake of completeness.
Almost all Tory MPs voted for renewal, with only one Conservative taking the opposite view. The majority of Labour MPs (140) also backed the position of Theresa May’s Government.
But I was pleased to see MK’s sister parties (the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru) at the very forefront of the opposition to Trident, along with the Lib Dems, Northern Ireland’s Social Democratic and Labour Party and the single Green MP. It was, though, disappointing that less than 25% of Labour MPs opposed nuclear re-armament.
It will surprise no-one that, as a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) for about 25 years, I was very saddened by the outcome of the debate. I felt it was another sad day for British politics and showed the inappropriate priorities of the political establishment in Westminster.
I strongly believe that we should be working to rid the globe of all nuclear weapons, so that we can make the World a safer and more secure place.
Indeed, the SNP’s Angus Robertson summed it up for me when he said that “it would be both morally and economically indefensible for the UK government to commit to spending hundreds of billions of pounds on weapons of mass destruction.”
The United Kingdom is one of only two countries in Western Europe which hold nuclear weapons. I can see no logical or strategic reason why this need continue. For the sake of the planet and all of its inhabitants, we cannot allow such destructive weapons to ever be used and it would be better if they did not exist at all.
It is especially unpardonable that many of those politicians wishing to spend billions on Trident are the same people who have unleashed devastating cuts to our vital public services, which continue to be greatly under-funded.
CND has estimated that the lifetime costs of Trident would be a massive £205 billion, while the single Conservative MP who opposed Trident – Crispin Blunt, the Chairman of the influential Foreign Affairs Committee – told the Commons that these costs would be £179 billion.
Just think how much good £179,000,000,000 would do if it was instead spent on social housing, job creation, education, health, policing, community groups and so much more.
Posted by Dick Cole at 16:24
My monthly report will be tabled at tonight’s meeting of St Enoder Parish Council. It covers the period 26th June to 24th July.
It is as follows:
1. Council meetings
I have attended a range of formal meetings at Cornwall Council over the last month. These included: Full Council, Planning Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) plus two associated briefings, China Clay Area Network meeting, a workshop on planning procedures at the Council, National Minority Status working group (and an associated external meeting), and a briefing on EU funding following the referendum.
As well as the meetings listed above, I have attended a number of meetings relating to the Council’s Governance Review and the review into the Council’s size. These have included Constitution and Governance Committee, the Electoral Review Committee and two meetings of the advisory “Governance Review External Group” which is taking evidence on behalf of the Council.
As the leader of the Mebyon Kernow Group, I was present at a summit which brought together people from across Cornwall to consider the implications of the referendum result on the future investment into Cornwall and related issues.
As well as the meetings listed above, I have had numerous informal meetings with council officers and I have attended two meetings of the St Enoder Neighbourhood Plan Working Group.
2. Other meetings
I have attended meetings of the Local Enterprise Partnership’s Rural Sub-group, and the South and East Cornwall Local Action Group.
3. New play area in Indian Queens Recreation Ground
Construction of the new play area has commenced and, along with the Parish Clerk and others, I am monitoring progress with the project. It is still my hope that the play will have been completed by the middle of August and I will update at the meeting.
4. Additional grant application for Indian Queens Recreation Ground
On behalf of the Parish Council, I have submitted an application to the National Lottery’s Awards for All programme for a grant to construct a tarmac path from the car park area to the new play area. It is our hope that this will improve access to the facilities in the Recreation Ground during the winter months when the field can get quite wet and boggy.
5. Progress with Neighbourhood Plan
As noted above, meetings were held on 5th July and 19th July, which dealt with issues relating to housing, employment land, open spaces and the delineation of development boundaries and / or zoning. This work will feed into the production of a questionnaire around St Enoder Parish.
The next meeting is planned for 2nd August and will focus on the historic environment and heritage assets.
6. Grant application for Neighbourhood Plan work
On behalf of the Parish Council, I have submitted an application for a small grant to help cover the costs of the St Enoder Neighbourhood Plan.
7. Upcoming planning appeals
I can confirm that the hearing into the proposal for mobile homes on the Kelliers (PA15/06186) will be held at the St Austell council offices on 16 August, while the hearing into the two applications for the biogas plant at Higher Fraddon (PA15/03073 and PA15/05220). It is my intention to attend both hearings and make representations based on the appeal statements that I have produced.
As members will be aware, I serve on the South and East Cornwall Local Action Group, which distributes ‘Leader’ funding for local businesses.
A new funding programme is presently being devised which central government says should be focussed in those “lower super output area” which are in the 30% most deprived. But in addition to these areas, it was agreed that some monies could potentially be spent in “hinterland” areas. I made representations that St Enoder Parish should be included in the CLLD hinterland and I am pleased that I was successful, though this does still need to be signed off by the managing authority in Whitehall.
9. Road traffic issues in St Enoder Parish
In my last monthly report, I included the full content of a letter that I wrote to council officers about the lack of action on my numerous requests for traffic calming measures and my representations on areas of concern about road safety.
I have received response, the key points of which are set out below: which is as follows:
I appreciate the frustration expressed in your letter, shared with other members and officers, attributable to the fact that there limited resources available for general traffic requests.
Whilst there are not, under normal circumstances, resources to address these requests in such detail, you have raised a number of issues which will apply to many other requests on the current waiting list, and I have taken this opportunity to set out the position in relation to these issues.
As you indicate in your letter, a comprehensive list of proposals/requests in the Indian Queens/Fraddon area was submitted/discussed on a number of occasions.
For clarity I have used the numbered references in your letter.
Requests for Speed reduction measures / traffic calming
- Indian Queens Speed Reduction Measures
- Fraddon Speed Reduction Measures
- St Columb Road Speed Reduction Measures
- Parka Road, St Columb Road Traffic Calming
From previous discussions … I would summarise the general points:
- There is no specific fund for members request schemes.
- Where there is no evidence of exceptional circumstances or at least some rationale for priority, the diversion of funds from other programmes to carry out these requests would be difficult to justify.
- Other opportunities for funding can be explored. However, in the event that other funding opportunities do arise, requests in St Enoder Parish would have to be considered, and ranked against other similar requests in Cornwall. Priority would be given where safety or other exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated.
- In the absence of funding, the most that I can agree is that this location will be retained on the list of requests for consideration with other opportunities.
With regard to these requests, (and the other sites on the list) I did discuss these with a member of the Planning Development Control Team, last year, to explore the opportunities for developer funding. However, I was reminded that where there are no demonstrable issues of safety or severe congestion, developers cannot be forced to include measures through the planning processes.
Traffic management measures
- Fraddon / Indian Queens Traffic Order
- St Francis Rd, St Columb Road traffic management
My response makes comment about agreement and consensus. This was due to some (anecdotal) evidence of previously proposed traffic orders in the area which were divisive, contentious and ultimately aborted. Nevertheless, the situation remains that an area wide traffic order could be considered for this parish, but it would need to be considered alongside requests in many other parishes across Cornwall.
With regard to your comments about enforcement, you are correct that this would be a factor in any decision to undertake an area wide review. It should be noted that the removal of restrictions can be an effective means of reducing speeds and reducing the need for enforcement. This approach has been tried and tested successfully in other areas.
Indian Queens Primary School Transportation Improvements
My discussion with the Highways Development Team also included the request for measures at Indian Queens School. I believe that some measures were secured through the planning process for development at the school.
I have again made enquiries as to whether there are any outstanding planning commitments regarding the School Travel Plan to support the initial planning application. I expect a response from the project manager of the work at the school shortly, and I will report this back to you. Although I understand that parking and am/pm congestion is still a contentious issue, I can raise this again with the Planning Obligations officer to see if there are any outstanding actions.
Summercourt Crossroads - Pedestrian Crossing
My response in November raised the possibility of a pedestrian phase at the signals, since the introduction of a separate light controlled crossing in close proximity would not be possible.
It is likely that the existing signals already provide a pedestrian facility in the ‘intergreen’ periods. Also, an intergreen pedestrian phase at the signals could generate a disproportionate delay and congestion at the junction, which could be considered a nuisance for residents and would not support safety at the junction.
Nevertheless, a pedestrian/vehicle count and review of accidents has been requested to determine whether further measures are necessary or appropriate.
Summercourt Speed Reduction Measures
As per responses above [in relation to other speed reduction measures).
Summercourt School 20mph Zone
In addition to responses [above] … where exceptional issues have been identified, it should be borne in mind that the requested measures may not be confirmed as being the appropriate response.
I will follow up the requested speed readings and report for this location.
Prioritisation of Local Transport Plan funding has been dominated by larger schemes and those which are an integral part of a wider strategy. The reasons for this were set out in the Council Implementation Plan, PAC report 11th February and the Cabinet report of 4th March 2015.
Funding for smaller traffic schemes and general requests up till April 2013 depended on allocations from the Council’s corporate funding reserves. I am not aware of other external funding sources which could be used for such schemes which would not require achieving specific demonstrable objectives and targets.
Approach to Road Safety
With regard to your comments regarding the Council’s approach to road safety, I have spoken to the Road Safety Team about this. I have summarised the responses below, which I believe sets out the situation clearly. If you still require a higher level meeting to discuss this I will forward your request for discussion on approach with the appropriate chief officers.
“The Council has a number of mechanisms to deal with road safety concerns. The Local Safety Scheme (LSS) mechanism is the most formal and rigidly defined and follows national criteria. It is a relatively small budget and normally covers between 1 and 6 schemes for the whole County in a year.
“The basic duty to identify accident cluster sites and treat them arises out of S.39 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. This states in part:
"Each local authority must carry out studies into accidents arising out of the use of vehicles on roads…within their area... [and] must, in the light of those studies, take such measures as appear to the authority to be appropriate to prevent such accidents, including…the construction, improvement, maintenance or repair of [such roads] and other measures taken in the exercise of their powers for controlling, protecting or assisting the movement of traffic on roads”.
"The criteria for site identification are broadly based on the “Road Safety Code of Good Practice” recommendations, although in Cornwall a lower threshold is used for identification, due to the generally lower concentration of accidents and the relative success of past schemes in treating the worst sites.
“The county’s accident record is reviewed each year and a list compiled of all sites that meet the criteria. This is then prioritised by factors such as the severity of a site’s accident record and how recent it is. The current list stands at just over two hundred and twenty.
“Highways managers have access to this list and check it against requests for traffic improvements in their areas.
“Accident investigations generally reconstruct in detail the accident record over five years or more, seeking common or related factors amongst accidents.
“If these factors are identified, then engineering methods can be applied so that road users are better protected. However, not every site investigated will be susceptible to treatment; some accident records are simply the product of random variation, blind chance or a combination of factors which cannot be treated by engineering measures alone.”
Road safety problems at New Road, Fraddon
I understand from your comments that you do not agree with the Road Safety team assessment of New Road at Fraddon.
Additional information has been received from the Police which matches the Council’s own data. I have asked the Road Safety Team to take another look at the accidents in conjunction with the Police records, to see if there are any gaps in information between your report and the accident recording system.
Road safety problems at Sea View Terrace, Fraddon
The Road Safety Team has been asked to review the recorded accident history at this location. I will also seek out the historic request for speed limit measures at this site, and the related correspondence, as I am not sure of the specific location. I will see that it is included in the next update.
Accident outside of Ridgewell Terrace, Fraddon
As per [above].
Summary outstanding actions
Follow up actions to the above responses are summarised below:
- Indian Queens School Development - Project Manager to report back on any outstanding planning commitments regarding the School Travel Plan to support the initial planning application.
- Summercourt Crossroads - Pedestrian Crossing – ped survey
- Summercourt School 20mph Zone – I will follow up the requested speed readings and report for this location.
- New Road, Fraddon – Disagreement with the Road Safety Team assessment. Road Safety Team have been asked to match the information on the Police and Council accident recording systems, and the submitted Report, and make sure that nothing has been overlooked.
Last week, I attended a follow-up meeting at which there was further discussion particularly about Indian Queens School and New Road near Fraddon. The notes from these minutes are presently being written up and I will report them at our next meeting.
In addition I would add that, at the most recent meeting of Cornwall Council, I declined to support the latest iteration of those schemes in the Local Transport Plan. I had previously opposed the production of this document.
10. SWW works
Members will be aware that South West Water has also started works on the upgrading of over 900 metres of old water mains along the Drang and St Francis Road. The works are aimed at dealing with the issue of frequent bursts in the area, and will take seven weeks.
Various arrangements have been put in place in terms of traffic and the impact on community events, and I will be available if anyone experiences any problems.
11. Glebe solar farm
When Clean Earth Energy secured planning for the solar farm at Glebe near Summercourt, they agreed that St Enoder Parish Council would receive £2,000 per annum to invest in community projects. I have been in contact with Clean Earth Energy and the first payment will be available in November. The company asks that when we have a project to spend the money on, we should contact them to receive the funds.
12. Fraddon Millennium Green
As the secretary of the Millennium Green, I am pleased to be able to report that we are also doing improvements in this area. Some repairs have been done to the equipment, we have commissioned a local contractor to repaint all the play equipment and a new rocker will soon be installed.
In addition, another contractor has been hired to trim the hedges around the Green, improve the entrance area and clear vegetation along the path through the facility.
In the last month, I have also helped numerous people with advice and guidance. Issues have included housing problems, various enforcement matters and so much more.
Posted by Dick Cole at 08:26
Monday, 25 July 2016
The delivery of “black bag” waste to the incinerator at St Dennis has commenced. We will soon be seeing the “smoke” coming out of the two chimneys, which now dominate this part of Clay Country, as they start to test the workings of the plant.
This announcement was all over the news today and, as someone who has been involved in the opposition to the incinerator for around a decade, it felt like the end of a very long journey.
Among the people interviewed today was Ken Rickard who rightly made the point that local campaigners (who have opposed the incinerator) would now be monitoring the operation of the plant to ensure that it works as well as promised.
Speaking for myself, I am proud of the role that I played in opposing the incinerator at the planning application stage and then at the Planning Inquiry which followed. It remains my view that the plant was ill-conceived and is oversized; that there were better options and the incinerator will dampen down efforts to increase recycling; and that decision-makers at the County Council deliberately dumped the facility on the communities of the China Clay Area – an unforgivable sin in my eyes.
Posted by Dick Cole at 22:04
In April 2014, the Westminster Government finally recognised the Cornish people through the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. But since then, the Westminster establishment has failed to act on this recognition of our national status and have actually undertaken action after action which have been detrimental to Cornwall.
On Friday, the British-Irish Council held a Summit meeting in Cathays Park, Cardiff, which was symptomatic of the ongoing lack of recognition of Cornwall.
The full list of delegates was as follows:
Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns MP
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire MP
Minister of State for the Department for Exiting the European Union, David Jones MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland and Northern Ireland, Lord Dunlop
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD
Minster for Foreign Affairs and Trade,Charles Flanagan TD
First Minister, Carwyn Jones AM
Northern Ireland Executive
First Minister, Arlene Foster MLA
Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness MLA
First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP
Isle of Man Government
Chief Minister, Hon Allan Bell CBE MHK
Government of Jersey
Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst
Government of Guernsey
Chief Minister Deputy Gavin St Pier
I welcome the ongoing involvement of the Isle of Man (population 85,000), Jersey (population 100,000) and Guernsey (population 63,000), but it shows how the establishment is still blinkered when it comes to the historic nation of Cornwall (population 540,000).
In our campaigns for greater recognition, we must continue to lobby for attendance at the British-Irish Council.
Posted by Dick Cole at 08:49
Sunday, 24 July 2016
The online petition which calls on central government to reverse their cuts to Cornish language funding and to continue providing annual financial support is getting closer and closer to 10,000 signatures.
This afternoon, it stood at 9,135 names.
The petition can be located at: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/128474
Posted by Dick Cole at 19:09
Monday, 18 July 2016
MPs have voted by 472 votes to 117 to renew Britain’s so-called “nuclear deterent,” specifically replacing four Vanguard class submarines with four Successor submarines.
It is a sad day for British politics and shows the inappropriate priorities of the political establishment in Westminster.
Plaid Cymru has accused pro-trident MPs of acting irresponsibly and putting the security of the UK at risk as they choose to spend billions of pounds on a “toxic status symbol” at the expense of dealing with modern security threats facing the British state.
The SNP’s leader in Westminster Angus Robertson has meanwhile stated: “It would be both morally and economically indefensible for the UK government to commit to spending hundreds of billions of pounds on weapons of mass destruction – even more so at a time when they are cutting funding for public services.”
Both Plaid and the SNP are spot on and it was interesting that one Conservative (Crispin Blunt, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee) told the Commons that the lifetime cost of Trident renewal would be £179 billion. This would be made up of "capital costs of £31 billion with £10 billion contingency and ongoing costs that would equate to 6% of the annual defence budget.
Mr Blunt was the only Tory to oppose renewal, while 140 Labour MPs backed the position of the Conservative Government. Only 47 Labour MPs voted to oppose the weapons of mass destruction, while 41 abstained.
Others against the renewal of trident included the SDLP, the single Green and the Lib Dems.
Posted by Dick Cole at 23:14
Sunday, 17 July 2016
My article in this coming week’s Cornish Guardian looks at the talk about constitutional reform in the last few days. It will be as follows:
The last week saw the somewhat whirlwind coronation of the new leader of the Conservative Party who also became the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Theresa May now has many challenges to face, especially as she seeks to address the outcome of the referendum vote to leave the EU.
In her first speech as PM, she used a large amount of inclusive language which as far as I am concerned fails to tally with the recent approach of the Conservative Government – of which she was a key part – in terms of social and economic issues.
She also talked about her commitment to the “union” and the “precious, precious bond between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”
It was all very similar to the comments of David Cameron, after the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, when he pledged a balanced constitutional settlement which was “fair to people in Scotland, and to everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well.”
The constitutional implications of these recent votes are certainly coming to the fore. It is noteworthy that the majority of MPs around the Cabinet table continue to be based in the South East of England, but the cross-party Constitution Reform Group, which includes a range of senior politicians and constitutional experts, has already made the case for a more federal UK. It even claims that the need for such “radical constitutional change” has been “boosted by the vote to leave the European Union.”
Their proposals say the “existing union should be replaced with fully devolved government” in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland “with each given full sovereignty over its own affairs.”
They argue that these “nations” of the UK would then be “encouraged to pool sovereignty to cover the matters they wish to be dealt with on a shared basis” in a smaller House of Commons.
The First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, has made a similar call for a “new federal arrangement of the UK nations” in which he said he wanted to avoid Wales being seen as "some sort of annexe to England."
But, in all of this, the position and democratic future of Cornwall appears not to be deemed worthy of discussion. Indeed, when it comes to democratic reforms, many of the key decision-makers and opinion-formers to the east of the Tamar have a blindspot in terms of the historic nation of Cornwall and our call for meaningful devolution.
Anyone who is interested in finding out more about this important campaign can request a free copy of MK’s publication “Towards a National Assembly of Cornwall” from me c/o firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Dick Cole at 20:47
Friday, 15 July 2016
This morning, I attended a summit on what Brexit will mean for Cornwall. Held at Truro College, the event was organised by Cornwall Council and brought together a wide range of partners in the private, public and voluntary sectors. The initial idea for the meeting came from Bishop Tim Thornton, and I attended in my capacity as the leader of the Mebyon Kernow group on the unitary authority.
There was the inevitable discussion about the uncertainty that surrounds the present EU programme, and a short briefing paper was distributed at the meeting which set out the extent of what was under threat. This was summarised as European Social Fund (£132,913,454), European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (£97,697,000) and European Regional Development Fund (£341,228,733); though no figures were presented for the match funding that would have been provided, and the previous likelihood of post-2020 transitional funding was also referenced.
One of the most contributions for me was the individual who pointed out that the new Prime Minister was already visiting Scotland to meet with Nicola Sturgeon, because of the clear and powerful narrative coming from the elected politicians and the wider community to the north of the Tweed. The message was clear – Cornwall needs to up its game!
The discussions at the summit were certainly wide-ranging and, very appropriately, the recent increase in intolerant behaviour and hate crime towards certain individuals and groups was addressed.
Following the meeting, I did interviews for BBC Spotlight / Radio Cornwall and Pirate FM – which you may have heard.
Posted by Dick Cole at 20:31
Thursday, 14 July 2016
The "Boundary Commission for England" has this week published its "Guide to the 2018 Review," which sets out its approach to devising new constituencies for the 2020 General Election.
It has stated that "it is our current intention to publish our initial proposals for new constituency boundaries on Tuesday 13 September 2016."
Sam Hartley, the Secretary to the Commission, has added that: "The first step on the journey will come in September this year, when we will publish our initial view of what the new map of England’s [sic] constituencies should look like. We’ll be asking for people’s views at that point, and travelling round the country in October and November to hear people’s views direct."
As the legislation stands, this review would lead to the creation of a Devonwall constituency and it is important that we lobby the (new) Government to modify the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act to ensure that Cornwall can be kept whole.
Following a motion that I presented to Cornwall Council, the unitary authority has challenged the Government that the approach to the boundary review breaches the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.
The letter to John Penrose, Minister for Constitutional Reform, included the following:
"The Act received Royal Assent in January 2013. On 24 April 2014, the Government announced that it intended to recognise the Cornish under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. Cornwall Council believes that the implementation of the Act, in creating a parliamentary constituency which cuts across Cornwall’s historical borders, is contrary to the spirit and intent of the Framework Convention as it applies to the Cornish.
"At its meeting on 17 May, the Council overwhelmingly supported a motion which urges the Government to take all necessary steps to amend the Act prior to the completion of the parliamentary constituency review on or before 1 October 2018, to specifically protect the parliamentary constituencies of Cornwall so that they all remain fully within the boundary of Cornwall.
"We recognise that this is a complex constitutional issue and, if it would be helpful, representatives of the Council would welcome the opportunity to meet with civil servants to discuss the implications of this motion and how the conflict between the Act and recognition of the Cornish under the Framework Convention might be resolved."
When the make-up of the (revised) frontbench is in place, we will be lobbying hard to make sure that the territorial integrity of Cornwall is respected. Please join us in these representations.
Posted by Dick Cole at 13:00
Cornwall Council is presently undertaking a Governance Review, which is taking place alongside a review into the electoral arrangements for the authority (ie. number of councillors and divisional boundaries), though these changes would not be implemented until 2021.
The Council has also set up a Governance Review External Group (GREG) to feed into the work.
The official Council blurb says:
"The Review is designed to ensure that the authority works in the best possible way and will look at three possible models – the Leader and Cabinet system (as we have currently), the Elected Mayor and Cabinet system, and the Committee system. The Review will also think beyond these to explore whether there is another model that would best suit Cornwall needs, any such model would require Government approval. In considering the different models, the review will also look at the role of local members and how the Council works alongside town and parish councils and other organisations in Cornwall.
"An independent external panel, chaired by Andrew Campbell, Associate Director of the Local Government Association, will gather evidence during four inquiry days."
It is fair to say that I have been a critic of the process but, on Tuesday, and even though this is all about local government, I was invited to explain to the GREG the case for greater democratic reforms and the case for a National Assembly for Cornwall.
The session took 25 minutes and was webcast. I presume it will be archived on the Council website in the near-future and I will keep people informed about the progress with the Review.
Posted by Dick Cole at 10:25
Wednesday, 13 July 2016
The next meeting for Mebyon Kernow members in the St Austell & Newquay Constituency has been arranged to take place on the evening of Friday 22nd July.
The meeting will take place at ClayTAWC in St Dennis and start at 7.30.
Anyone from the St Austell & Newquay Constituency, who would be interested in finding more about MK and its local campaigns, can call me on 07791 876607 or email me on email@example.com for more details.
Posted by Dick Cole at 20:40
At this time of ongoing political upheavals, I would like to use my column to look back at a political breakthrough of great significance to the Celtic parts of the UK.
This week marks the fiftieth anniversary of the victory of Plaid Cymru’s Gwynfor Evans in the famous Carmarthen by-election, which took place on 14th July 1966.
In the General Election of March 1966, he had polled 16% of the vote and came third out of four candidates. But in the July by-election he made history, polling over 16,000 votes, to become the first Welsh nationalist MP at Westminster.
The Daily Mail headline famously announced: “The Welsh unseat Labour,” and days later, hundreds of supporters travelled to London to see him enter Parliament for the first time – as the lone nationalist voice – a position often likened to that of Labour's first MP Keir Hardie. He promptly became known as the “MP for Wales” and took advantage of his new position to highlight Welsh problems and to promote his vision of a self-governing Wales.
It was a truly stunning victory, it was followed by Winnie Ewing’s win for the Scottish National Party in Hamilton, and this all heralded new phases in Welsh and Scottish politics.
One instant consequence of the by-elections was the decision of Harold Wilson’s Labour Government to set up the Royal Commission on the Constitution (Kilbrandon) to investigate the UK's constitutional structures. The Kilbrandon Commission reported in 1973 and recommended devolved assemblies for Scotland and Wales.
And though these proposals did not proceed at that time, Gwynfor Evan’s election as an MP clearly set his country on the journey to greater self-government, which led directly to the creation of the National Assembly of Wales in 1999, an institution which continues to grow in stature and authority.
Indeed, in leading tributes to Gwynfor upon his death in 2005, Plaid Cymru Party President Dafydd Wigley described him as the “greatest Welsh politician of the twentieth century,” adding that, without Gwynfor’s determination to win political recognition for Wales, the National Assembly would simply not exist and other progress, such as official status for the Welsh language, would also not have been achieved.
I believe this to be a fair assessment and I was privileged to meet Gwynfor Evans on a couple of occasions when I was a student in West Wales, and I have always taken great motivation from this truly inspirational man who dedicated his whole life to Wales.
And it is my view that everyone in Cornwall who seeks to win greater powers for our small nation can see what can be achieved through democratic politics if we are willing work hard enough.
Posted by Dick Cole at 08:58
Tuesday, 5 July 2016
It was great to be able to get out electioneering today on behalf of my good friend Rod Toms, who is standing for MK in the by-election for a seat on Cornwall Council (Newlyn & Goonhavern division).
We leafleted Crantock and it also nice to meet up with so many people, and even the odd dog – though one did take exception to Rod’s leaflet (see above).
Posted by Dick Cole at 17:33
Friday, 1 July 2016
I am pleased to be able to report that Rod Toms will be standing in the forthcoming by-election for the Newlyn & Goonhavern seat on Cornwall Council.
Rod is an experienced councillor and he sits on Newlyn East Parish Council.
At the last Cornwall Council election in 2013, Rod missed out on election to the unitary authority by a mere 26 votes after a recount.
The division consists of the four parishes of Cubert, Crantock and St Newlyn East, as well as the Goonhavern part of Perranzabuloe Parish.
MK needs help from people who can help out with leafleting and door-knocking. If you can help, please call me on 07791 876607, or go direct to Rod on 01872 510505 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Dick Cole at 17:24
The consultation on the Schedule of Post-Hearing Changes to the Cornwall Local Plan commenced today.
As I have previously reported, the unitary authority has been tasked by the Government Inspector to publicise his proposed changes which he deems necessary to make the Plan “sound.”
The consultation will only be on the proposed changes, not the complete Local Plan, and will run for a six week period from 1st July to 5pm on 12th August 2016.
The Local Plan, proposed changes and representation form can be viewed on Cornwall Council’s website at www.cornwall.gov.uk/localplancornwall.
Posted by Dick Cole at 14:13