Sunday, 23 October 2016

Conservative double-speak on devolution

When the UK Government “agreed” its so-called “devolution deal” for Cornwall in 2015, it claimed that it was a “major step” in their commitment to “extend opportunity to every corner of our country” and that Cornwall would be gaining “historic new powers.”

The Prime Minister David Cameron said the “deal” would put power in the hands of local people and talked about the “fantastic potential that Cornwall holds.”

At that time, Mebyon Kernow criticized the “deal” for lacking ambition and hit out at the growing influence of unelected and unaccountable entities – such as the Local Enterprise Partnership – which do not have democratic legitimacy.

And, of course, the utterances from senior Tories were indeed "spin."

On Friday, a leading Conservative admitted that MK were correct.

At the “South West Growth Summit” and, in the context of a potential “devolution deal” for the 17 local authorities in Devon and Somerset, the words of Communities Minister Sajid Javid were reported as follows:

“He argued that Cornwall’s Devolution Deal without an elected mayor was not ambitious and did not involve any hand over of money. ‘What’s the point of going down that route?’ he said.”

There were clearly additional discussions about the Cornwall as part of a wider south west once again, which would see our distinct needs marginalised – just as the UK Government is pushing forward with a boundary review which disrespects Cornwall’s historic border.

It all shows that we need all politicians in Cornwall to coalesce around our calls for a Cornish Assembly with meaningful political powers.

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