Thursday, 30 April 2015

All MK campaign materials have been produced in Cornwall

I have had another pleasant day on the campaign trail, delivering leaflets in Nanpean, St Stephen and Whitemoor. And I am proud that all our campaign materials have been produced and printed in Cornwall

This is very different from the Westminster parties, which have produced almost all of their leaflets outside of Cornwall.

Pictured below is a pile of such leaflets that I have had through my letter box …

... Conservative leaflets from London and Somerset; Labour leaflets from Essex; Liberal Democrat leaflets from Lincolnshire, London, Portsmouth and Somerset; plus UKIP leaflets from London and the West Midlands.

What a difference to MK, which actively supports Cornish businesses …

For the record, materials for my campaign have been produced as follows:

Leaflets – Palace Printers, Lostwithiel; St Austell Printing Company, St Austell.
Posters – Palace Printers, Lostwithiel.
Corex posters – 20/20, Falmouth.
Videos – Cornish Living TV, Newquay.

For the sake of accuracy, I have also had a single A5 flier from Labour, which was printed locally, while the Green candidate has had his leaflets printed in Cornwall.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

MK achieves only tokenistic coverage on BBC television

Watching the BBC tonight, I am getting increasingly angry about the way that Mebyon Kernow is being treated in this election by the mainstream television media.

It is true that the BBC featured a short piece about MK on its Monday night programme. A recorded piece, it was much shorter than the “in the spotlight” interviews with representatives of each of the “five largest parties” as they described them.

Tonight, Spotlight also featured a constituency profile for the Camborne and Redruth constituency. Only four of the six candidates – Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and UKIP – were interviewed.

And then, there was the BBC Spotlight Election Special which featured representatives of the Conservative Party, Greens, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and UKIP on the panel. I have covered in previous blog posts about how MK was excluded from the panel and how the BBC decided to film a short recorded statement to be broadcast during the programme. We were also told that it would highly likely that the MK representative in the audience would be “featured during the recording.”

In discussions with the head of BBC South West, I was given the impression that the MK representative would be allowed to ask a question. This did not happen, though Andrew Long did get to make one short comment about housing.

I have been told by the BBC that they seek to “ensure that the views of political parties are reported in a balanced and proportionate way.”

The coverage of MK has certainly not been balanced or proportionate, but insultingly tokenistic.

To be balanced myself, I can report that following representations I have made to ITV about their lack of coverage of Mebyon Kernow, I have yet to receive a response.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

BBC Politics … the analysis

Thanks to Bernard Deacon for his insightful analysis (grumbling) about how much airtime the various political parties are being allowed by the BBC.

Shock horror … it is Mebyon Kernow which is losing out the most!!!

MK on Spotlight

Mebyon Kernow was featured on Monday’s Spotlight programme. I did a long interview last week and the edited down version – with interspersed graphics – can be viewed at:

Please note that this link will only be live until 6.55 tonight.

"Vile rant" at Camborne and Redruth hustings

Mebyon Kernow was mentioned in the last edition of the Mail on Sunday. The article was not about what MK stands for, but focussed on a report about the Labour candidate for Camborne and Redruth, Michael Foster. The headline stated that he was “accused of launching 'vile rant' after he was challenged over his £1.5 million home by rival at local hustings.”

The rival was MK’s Loveday Jenkin and she has published her of version of what happened. This can be found at:

For the record, you will see that it was not MK which has made a public issue of this dispute.

Mr Foster has himself denied using foul language to unsettle Cllr Jenkin. On the BBC Sunday Politics programme, when asked “did you say that?” – he answered “there is absolutely nothing in that article with which I agree.” A strange response.

An alternative take on the saga from my good friend Bernard Deacon can be found at:

In Monday’s Western Morning News, there was a two page spread about the “four way marginal” of Camborne and Redruth. It makes mention of the coverage in the Daily Mail, but sadly for Loveday, her only mention was in the “also standing” context in the last paragraph.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

An update on media coverage

A few days ago, I reported that ITV were planning to do an outside broadcast from St Austell Brewery on Thursday 23th April. The Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and UKIP candidates for the St Austell and Newquay seat were to be featured, while short pre-recorded snippets from me and the Green candidate were to be inserted into the piece.

Obviously, I complained about MK not getting parity with the establishment parties, but the whole thing was actually cancelled because of David Cameron’s visit. I have however been in regular contact with senior staff at ITV and I am hopeful they will cover MK’s campaign in the next few days.

I will report back when I hear more.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

On a “soapbox” in St Austell

Today I was pleased to attend a “soapbox” in St Austell town centre to give a short speech and then answer questions from members of the public.

Organised by the wonderful Ally Watkins, it was very enjoyable. I would like to thank Ally for arranging the event and everyone who came to support me. The questions were extremely wide-ranging – on the NHS, austerity, planning, eco-town, austerity, education, Europe, and so much more.

I hope I did Mebyon Kernow proud.

I am pictured above being introduced by Ally, alongside a cardboard cut-out of Aiden Turner’s Ross Poldark … don’t ask!

School hustings … great hope for the future

One of the great highlights of the General Election campaign for me has been the two hustings at local secondary schools. I have already written about the event at Brannel School and, this week, attended a similar event at Penrice Academy on Thursday.

It was really enjoyable, the students were a real credit to the School and I was delighted when a vote was taken at the end of the debate. According to the “returning officer” (the headteacher), I was the winner – as at Brannel.

It does give me great encouragement for the future and I hope that many of their parents will follow their example on May 7th.

I would also like to say good luck to Connor Bolt (below), who is standing in the actual school election for Mebyon Kernow.

Bulloverman's Tomb of the Bizarre

The General Election is rightly a serious business. But it is also scattered with moments of great humour and I am grateful to “Bulloverman's Tomb of the Bizarre” on facebook for its stream of humorous election posters for your truly.

I have included three of the posters on this blog, but there are many, many more.

Do check out “Bulloverman's Tomb of the Bizarre" ...


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Dick Cole, the Wonder Boy ... in the Western Morning News

In today’s Western Morning News, there is a feature which reflects on the fact that I have a superhero namesake. Written by Simon Parker it is as follows:

Cameron may appeal to the posh, Miliband might have the backing of the unions and Nigel Farage has found favour with the far-right – but there’s one party leader who will be calling on his superhero namesake to help clinch him a seat in Parliament on May 7.

Dick Cole, who has led Cornish party Mebyon Kernow for nearly 20 years, says he is delighted to discover that he shares a monicker with a 1940s comic-book favourite called Wonder Boy.

Raised by the benign Professor Blair (no relation!) of the Farr Military Academy, Dick Cole the Wonder Boy went on to fight all manner of baddies. And his modern-day equivalent is now hoping to invoke the spirit of the original “wonder boy” to vanquish his own foes in the guise of Tory, Labour, Lib-Dem and UKIP candidates in the St Austell-Newquay seat. “My political opponents have described me as many things over the years, though never a super-hero,” laughed Dick.

“But maybe with Wonder Boy on our side in the run-up to the May 7 general election, it will be Mebyon Kernow and its supporters who will be having the last laugh.”

With 25 councillors – including four on Cornwall Council – MK’s political influence west of the Tamar is greater than ever. Campaigning on a ticket of giving prosperity for all, social justice and environmental protection, the left-of-centre party formed in 1951 states that its core aim is to “build a confident and outward-looking Cornwall that has the power to take decisions, directly affecting the people of Cornwall, locally”.

On May 7, MK will field candidates in all six of Cornwall’s seats. They are Dick Cole (St Austell-Newquay), Andrew Long (South East Cornwall), Loveday Jenkin (Camborne-Redruth), Jerry Jefferies (North Cornwall), Stephen Richardson (Truro-Falmouth) and Rob Simmons (St Ives).

In the Wonder Boy comic-books, which ran for several years in the US and UK, the brilliant Professor Blair trained Dick to be an “all-round wonderful man” with great strength, stamina and agility, as well as having the power to heal more quickly than other humans... which might prove handy if the MK leader finds he is licking his wounds on the morning of May 8.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Mebyon Kernow calls for cancellation of “eco-community” project

MK Councillor Matthew Luke will today call on Cornwall Council to withdraw the planning application for a so-called 1,500 – 1,800 property eco-community near Penwithick and to cancel the project for good.

Cllr Luke who represents Penwithick and Boscoppa on the unitary authority says: “There is a so-called ‘eco-community’ in the planning system because central government imposed the concept of an eco-town on the mid Cornwall area. This was specified in an eco-towns planning policy statement (PPS) and the principle of development was therefore fully established.

“But in early March, the Coalition cancelled the PPS. This means that the policy basis for the whole development has been called into question and, as the local councillor, I am calling on the unitary authority to withdraw the planning application and to permanently quash its plans for the development.”

As a long-standing opponent of the development, I am very pleased to back Matt's call for an end to the eco-town project. There is little or no local support for this scheme. Over 700 letters of objection have already been received and it is time that Cornwall Council respected this significant level of opposition and withdrew the planning application.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Sunday Politics - 19th April

Today’s edition of the Sunday Politics South West is now viewable online at

To see the “south west” section, go to about 41 minutes and 30 seconds. I hope you enjoy … probably not the right word!

MK coverage on ITV?

A couple of months before the General Election, a journalist from ITV SW told me that they hoped to do a specific news story about Mebyon Kernow. But I understand that the editorial team changed their minds and I was then told that MK would get some coverage as part of election's constituency profiles.

However, this week I was phoned by a reporter from ITV who said that in the St Austell and Newquay seat they would be doing an outside broadcast from St Austell Brewery on this coming Thursday. I was told it would not be a constituency profile as such, but would feature issues around the economy and jobs. Featured in the broadcast would be the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and UKIP candidates for the St Austell and Newquay seat, but the contribution from me and the Green candidate would be a short pre-recorded snippet inserted into the piece.

Once again, MK candidates are not being treated with anything approaching fairness.

I have complained and spoken to the reporter three times this week. She has told me that I will be contacted by one of the main editorial team to discuss my happiness.

For information, I have not yet been contacted by ITV.

Update on media coverage on the BBC

A few days ago, I had a long discussion with Leo Devine, the Head of BBC South West, about the (i) lack of coverage of Mebyon Kernow on BBC TV in the period leading up to the General Election and within the campaign period itself, as well as (ii) the exclusion of an MK spokesperson for the upcoming South West “Question Time” debate, which will take place in late April.

I could not persuade Mr Devine to include MK on the panel, but he reaffirmed that a “short recorded statement” would be included on the programme. He also confirmed that a member of MK in the audience would definitely be able to ask a question.

We are not happy with this – as it puts MK at a massive disadvantage – and I intend to keep lobbying. But we have no option other than to take what publicity we can muster.

Mr Devine also reaffirmed that a Spotlight film would be produced about MK and its election campaign, which he intimated would be meaningful.

I am being interviewed tomorrow by BBC SW for this coverage.

Over the last week, I can report that Mebyon Kernow has achieved some coverage on local radio and television news.

I did an interview for BBC SW on Monday. This was around the time that the two MK videos were released and a short snippet of the interview was broadcast on the same day on Spotlight. A second snippet was featured on today’s Sunday Politics – which should soon be available on the BBC iplayer.

Three candidates for Cornish seats were in the studio today – Conservative, Liberal Democrat and UKIP – to discuss devolution. I would recommend you have a look at how candidates for the political establishment fail to address or even understand the devolution debate.

In terms of Radio Cornwall, which does give MK fair coverage, this week's coverage included two hustings debates (Andrew Long in SE Cornwall and me in  St Austell and Newquay) and an early morning interview on Friday about the manifesto.

I was pleased with how I performed at the St Austell and Newquay debate and would like to thank everyone who has complemented me on what I said. I was able to make a number of additional comments in the debate – perhaps more than some of the other candidates – though sadly, in the final edit, a number of these were edited out for “balance.”

The broadcast version can still be heard at:

PEB for TUSC but not MK

On Friday, a Party Election Broadcast from the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) was broadcast on BBC1, BBC2, ITV and Channel 4.

TUSC are standing in 135 seats across the UK and I am pleased they have been allowed this platform to publicise their anti-austerity message.

In Cornwall, there are no TUSC candidates but local residents had the ability hear their views.

And yet, Mebyon Kernow is standing in all six Cornish seats but is being denied coverage of our PEB.

If you want to see our broadcast, produced locally by Cornish Living TV, you have visit Youtube at

Surely the BBC and ITV must see what an affront this is to a fair and democratic system.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Campaign meeting at Kingsley Village

Thanks to everyone who attended our campaign meeting tonight. It was great to see some many people (50-plus) at Kingsley Village and I was delighted to be able to thank everyone who has helped my election campaign through Crowdfunder, through leafletting, or putting up posters, and so much more.

Special thanks to Kernow King - for introducing our recent film - and Malcolm Pitch for entertaining us his songs.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

MK manifesto launch

Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall also launched its manifesto today.

Titled “Vote for Cornwall … and a new approach to politics,” it includes twelve sections:

- Greater self-government for Cornwall
- Fair funding for Cornwall
- An end to austerity politics
- Decent public services for all
- A strategy for a sustainable economy
- A fair tax system
- Planning in and for Cornwall
- Affordable homes for local people
- A Climate Change Act for Cornwall
- A more just and peaceful World
- A reformed Europe
- Recognition for Cornwall

Why not have a look and see what you think. The document can be downloaded from the MK website at

Campaign update

Nine debates down and my main election leaflet for the campaign – the ‘freepost’ one – was delivered to Royal Mail yesterday. All 50,000 of them should be delivered within a week, though I know many of the leaflets – including to my own home – have been delivered today.

Radio Cornwall debate - noon on Thursday

Last night, I attended an election debate at the Eden Project hosted by Radio Cornwall, who recorded the proceedings. It was a somewhat excitable hustings.

Thanks to everyone who supported me at the event. But for those people who were not present, Radio Cornwall will be broadcasting the event tomorrow at noon. Why not have a listen to see how I and the other candidates did.

Monday, 13 April 2015

MK campaign meeting at Kingsley Village, Fraddon ... videos and Kernow King

This coming Friday (17th April), I have arranged a campaign meeting for MK members, supporters and members of the public who may wish to learn a little more about Mebyon Kernow and our campaign in St Austell and Newquay..

The get-together will be at Kingsley Village in Fraddon and will start at 7.00.

We will be showing the two videos that have just been produced for Mebyon Kernow.

The first is the Party Election Broadcast, which sets out some of MK’s key policies including more power for Cornwall, fair funding, investment in Cornwall, local control over planning, and an end to austerity.Produced by Cornish Living TV, it can also be viewed at

The second is an "in conversation" video with Cornish comedian Kernow King. Also produced by local firm Cornish Living TV, the 12 minute video can be viewed at

Kernow King will also be present at the meeting and we would love to see you there.

Coverage on BBC television ...

I did an interview with the BBC today, part of which was broadcast on tonight’s Spotlight.

I haven’t seen it yet, but I understand that it can be viewed on the BBC iplayer at

Skip to 6:35 if you want to see what I said.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

"Kernow King and MK leader Dick Cole in conversation – the video

I am very grateful to Kernow King for appearing an "in conversation" video with me. Produced by local firm Cornish Living TV, the 12 minute video can be viewed at

We both have very deep roots in the China Clay Area and the video was partly filmed at two iconic sites in the area – Indian Queens Pit and Roche Rock. We can also be spotted viewing the waste incinerator presently being constructed near St Dennis, where we share concerns about planning in Cornwall.

I hope you enjoy our discussion.

MK Party Election Broadcast on Youtube

Mebyon Kernow has been denied airtime on BBC and the ITV which state that, to be allowed a PEB, MK would need to stand in one-sixth of the constituencies in "England." That equates to a total of 89 - six in Cornwall and 83 in England.

Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall has nonetheless produced its own PEB which will be viewable on Youtube.

The PEB sets out some of MK’s key policies including more power for Cornwall, fair funding, investment in Cornwall, local control over planning, and an end to austerity.

As well as featuring yours truly, it includes contributions from my fellow parliamentary candidates Cllr Loveday Jenkin (Camborne and Redruth), Cllr Andrew Long (South East Cornwall), Cllr Stephen Richardson (Truro and Falmouth) and Cllr Rob Simmons (St Ives).

The video, produced by Cornish Living TV, can be viewed at

Supporting local businesses with my General Election campaign

I am proud that all the leaflets, posters and campaign materials for my General Election campaign in the St Austell and Newquay constituency have been produced in Cornwall.

But that is most certainly not the case with the local parliamentary candidates from the establishment parties.

In the St Austell and Newquay seat, I have come across dozens and dozens of different leaflets, but the vast majority of them have been printed upcountry. The Conservatives have distributed leaflets printed in Bristol, Somerset and London, while the Liberal Democrats have distributed leaflets printed in Hampshire, Lincolnshire, London, Portsmouth and Somerset. I have also come across Labour leaflets from Essex and UKIP leaflets from London.”

I consider it damning that the London-based parties are not using local firms to produce all their leaflets and other campaign materials.

For the record, materials for my campaign have been produced as follows:

Leaflets – Palace Printers, Lostwithiel; St Austell Printing Company, St Austell.
Posters – Palace Printers, Lostwithiel.
Corex posters – 20/20, Falmouth.
Videos – Cornish Living TV, Newquay.

The below picture is yours truly inspecting the proofs at the St Austell Printing Company

Thursday, 9 April 2015

The view from BBC South West

Further to my complaint to BBC South West concerning MK’s exclusion from the upcoming South West “Question Time” debate, which should take place in late April, I have received the below response from Leo Devine, Head of BBC South West.

Thank you for your recent letter.

As I think my colleague has explained to you already, the BBC South West Television election debate will be broadcast across the entire South West, including parts of Dorset and Somerset as well as Devon and Cornwall.

I am aware that Mebyon Kernow is standing in all Cornish constituencies, which is why the party has been invited to take part in all of the BBC Radio Cornwall constituency debates. However, unlike the other parties included in the regional TV debate, Mebyon Kernow is not fielding candidates in any other part of the region. As with any programme, we have the editorial discretion to make a judgement about limiting contributions in a way that ensures the best understanding for the whole of the audience. For that reason, the debate panel has been limited to those parties that can demonstrate significant electoral support right across the region and/or the UK.

Although we are not inviting you to be on the panel, we would like to invite you to attend; I think it’s highly likely that you will be featured during the recording. We would also like to film a short recorded statement from you to be included in the programme. Zoe Clough will contact you to arrange this.

The BBC is committed to fair and balanced reporting of the General Election; BBC Spotlight and BBC Radio Cornwall will endeavour to report all the significant news developments and strands of opinion as the campaign unfolds. To this end, Mebyon Kernow will feature in our overall television and radio coverage. We also intend to produce a Spotlight film focusing on the party and the nationalist voice in Cornwall. Martyn Oates will be in touch to arrange this.

As in all elections, BBC programme editors will ensure that the views of political parties are reported in a balanced and proportionate way. We believe that our levels of coverage are proportionate.

I am presently taking soundings from the other MK candidates and I will be responding to the BBC later tonight.