Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Last day at Restormel

Today is my last day as a Restormel councillor. From April 1, Cornwall’s only principal council will be the new unitary authority.

Restormel's last council meeting was on Monday night.

Councillors arrived to find all the Restormel signs had already been replaced by new “Cornwall Council” signs and we entered the building to be presented with our P45s. To say we were not happy would be an under-statement.

It was an occasion of mixed emotions. We honoured eight long-serving, past and present, councillors with the position of honorary Aldermen to mark the passing of the Borough. Tributes were paid to many councillors and members of staff for their hard work for Mid Cornwall over many years, and the way in which one and all worked together as a team.

There was sadness at the ending of the council but also considerable anger at the chaos surrounding the unitary authority, the way in which it had been undemocratically imposed on Cornwall and the way in which many employees are still unsure about their jobs and their futures.

But the unitary council is with us. We can do nothing about that now and it is especially important that we now get new pro-Cornwall councillors elected in order to turn things around.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

What a great day

Today, I had the privilege to speak at the 'incinerator' Planning meeting at County Hall on behalf of St Enoder Parish Council. It was wonderful to be able to make the case against the incinerator alongside so many dedicated campaigners for a more sustainable way to deal with Cornwall's waste.

Twenty councillors voted to refuse the application, one was in favour and one abstained.

As you can see from the photograph - we are all delighted at the result.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Standing for the European Parliament

Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall has just announced that we will be putting forward a list of candidates for the ‘South West Region’ seat in the European Parliament.

As well as well as Cornwall, the constituency covers Bristol, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire and the island of Gibraltar. Six MEPs will be elected via a list form of proportional representation.

This is not something we are doing lightly.

Democracy in Cornwall is at a vital crossroads and June 4th will be an important day for the future direction of our politics, with elections to both the new single tier council and the European Parliament.

It is our hope that people will take the opportunity of the elections on June 4th to demand a better deal for Cornwall by sending a strong message to both London and Brussels by voting MK.

After all is said and done, we are the only political party that does not have political masters outside of Cornwall to please.

It will be a hard fight for the Euro-seats however,

Six MEPs will be elected via a list form of proportional representation and it may be estimated that a political party would need to poll 150,000-160,000 votes in order to win a seat. And yet in the 2004 elections, 141,140 valid votes were cast in Cornwall – less than needed to win a seat!

What is more - the deposit to stand is £5,000 and parties lose this deposit unless they poll over 2.5% of the vote. In MK’s case, this equates to more than 25% of the Cornish vote.

Mebyon Kernow has also committed itself to continuing the fight for a Cornwall-only Euro-constituency that would give Cornwall a real voice at the heart of Europe.

Help us to make a success of this campaign.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

The St Piran Trust will today launch an appeal to raise funds for a project to re-excavate St Piran’s Oratory near Perranporth.

As you will know, the Oratory is one of the earliest surviving Christian buildings in Britain. It is also an iconic structure through its association with Cornwall’s national saint – St Piran. It has been lost to the people of Cornwall since 1980, when the building was buried in the sands to protect it from damage.

The St Piran Trust is working with the Historic Environment Service of Cornwall County Council (ie. me) to develop a wide-ranging archaeological project to uncover the Oratory, conserve the remains of this important building and make it accessible once again to the general public.

The Trust is also working with all the relevant statutory bodies to ensure that the project can be undertaken with no adverse impact on the environment of the Special Area of Conservation within which it lies.

Eileen Carter of the Trust has rightly described the project as extremely important for Cornwall, our history and our heritage.

Anyone can support the appeal with a donation. These can be paid directly into the St Piran Trust Project account (sort code: 30-98-76: account number 1450689) at Lloyds TSB, 7 Boscawen St, Truro, TR1 2QT. Alternatively, cheques can made out to the St Piran Trust and sent to the St Piran Trust, Penquite House, Liskeard, PL14 5AQ. All donations will be acknowledged and donors will receive regular progress reports.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

St Piran's Day Message

Each year, as the leader of MK, I publish a St Piran's Day message. For 2009, I have called on local people to work for Cornwall – all year round - and vote for MK candidates in the unitary elections.

The statement was as follows:

"St Piran's Day represents a wonderful opportunity for local people to remember what is fantastic about Cornwall and to celebrate its distinct identity and its inclusive traditions.

“As a proud Cornishman, I would encourage everyone to get out there and to do something positive to celebrate Cornwall. But as we celebrate on 5th March, we also need to look ahead and consider how we can work for a better deal for Cornwall all year round."

“2009 is election year and, on 4th June, Cornwall will elect 123 members on the new single tier council. MK opposed the undemocratic imposition of the unitary council on Cornwall, but it will soon be a reality.

“We need it to be a success for the sake of the ordinary people of Cornwall. And that means electing councillors who really do have Cornwall’s best interests at heart.

“On this St Piran’s Day, I appeal to one and all to look afresh at the politics of 21st century Cornwall and support candidates from Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall.”