Sunday 29 October 2017

Remembering Bob Fitzsimmons

As a proud Cornishman, I believe it is really important that we always do our utmost to celebrate the achievements of people from Cornwall, both past and present.

I therefore cannot let the 100th anniversary of Bob Fitzsimmons’ death pass without writing about his successes in the boxing ring.

Born in Helston in 1863, Bob’s father was James Fitzsimmons, a policeman originally from Ireland, while his mother was Jane Strongman from St Clement near Truro.

Bob was nine when the family moved to Timaru on the South Island of New Zealand and where, when he reached adulthood, he worked as a blacksmith at the family forge. This work is often credited with developing the strength that he used so successfully as a boxer.

He fought a number of bouts in New Zealand, before moving to Australia where he became a professional fighter. Inevitably, he then went to the United States, where he had better chance of securing high profile contests.

Often described as a “lanky” middleweight, Bob was nonetheless reputed to have the upper body strength of a heavyweight and an equally powerful punch.

In 1891, he won the world middleweight title in New Orleans and then, in 1897, he knocked out “Gentleman” Jim Corbett at Carson City, Nevada, to become the heavyweight champion of the world.

Six years later, he won the new light heavyweight title, becoming the first man to hold world titles at three different weights.

Much has certainly been written about Bob, who had a number of nicknames including “Ruby” and the “freckled wonder.” He was sometimes known simply as the “Cornishman.”

One early boxing historian, Sandy Griswold, wrote: “He knows all the vulnerable spots of the human anatomy … and has a greater variety of effective blows than any fighter who ever lived.”

Joe Gans, a contemporary and lightweight champion between 1902 and 1908, told the New York Times that he considered Bob Fitzsimmons to be: “one of the greatest exponents of straight hitting that the prize ring has ever known.” He added: “Fitz was a wonderful fighter and all of his straight punches were very effective … there were few fighters able to withstand that famous shift of his. When Fitz delivered a blow he carried the whole weight of his body with it.”

Nat Fleischer, the founder of The Ring magazine, is known to have later described Fitzsimmons as the “greatest pound for pound knockout puncher in boxing history” and, in 1954, the Cornishman was inducted into the magazine’s Boxing Hall of Fame.

Bob continued to box until he was 51 years old, but three years later died of pneumonia on 22nd October 1917. And as we mark the centenary of his death, I would heartily recommend that people take the time to find out more about his remarkable life.

This is my article in this coming week's Cornish Guardian.

Saturday 28 October 2017

Mebyon Kernow statement on Catalonia

Following the events of Friday 27th October in Catalonia and Spain, which saw the Catalan Government declare independence and the Spanish state impose direct rule, MK has expressed its support for the processes of democracy and called on the international community to respect the democratic wishes of the residents of Catalonia.

Spokesperson Cllr Loveday Jenkin has released the following statement on behalf of the Party for Cornwall.

“Mebyon Kernow has made it clear that we believe it is not for MK or any other political party in the UK to support, or indeed object, to independence for Catalonia.

“However, we fully support the right of the people of Catalonia to decide their own political future in a peaceful and democratic manner.

“The present situation is a complex one, especially given that many people in Catalonia boycotted the recent referendum vote.

“But we remain shocked at the actions of the Spanish state, both during the referendum and in more recent days when it has failed to enter into a meaningful dialogue with the Catalan Government, jailed some political opponents and imposed direct rule on the area.

“It our view that the international community, including the United Kingdom and the EU, need to come together to help to find a way forward that respects the democratic wishes of the residents of Catalonia.”

Friday 27 October 2017

Loveday Jenkin – fantastic on Any Questions

Tonight, Mebyon Kernow was represented on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions for the first time ever, when the latest programme was broadcast from the Solomon Browne Hall in Mousehole.

MK Deputy Leader Cllr Loveday Jenkin was fantastic in dealing with questions on Catalonia, the ongoing fallout from the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Brexit, and the National Health Service.

Well done Loveday – you really did Mebyon Kernow proud.

If you didn't hear it, it is already available online:

Wednesday 25 October 2017

Cornish Nation no. 76 ... available now!

Mebyon Kernow has just published the latest edition of its Cornish Nation magazine, which has been emailed or posted to all MK members.

If you are not already a member and would like a complimentary copy, please get in contact via

Please specify whether you would like a paper or digital copy.

This latest edition has a little about my twenty years at the helm of Mebyon Kernow and the 20th anniversary of the devolution referendums in Wales and Scotland, the undemocratic reduction in councillor numbers on the unitary authority, the ongoing threat from south west regionalisation, the campaign to secure a memorial for Emily Hobhouse, and so much more.

MK panellist to appear on BBC Radio 4 Any Questions

I am very pleased to be able to report that MK’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Dr Loveday Jenkin, will be one of the four guests on this Friday’s Any Questions.

This is the first time that an MK panellist has been invited to participate on the show.

The event will be taking place at the Solomon Browne Hall in Mousehole, and the other participants will be the Chair of the House of Commons Health Select Committee Sarah Wollaston MP, Labour MP Dan Jarvis and the businessman Tim Martin.

The debate will be broadcast on Radio 4 on Friday, starting at 8.00.

Sunday 22 October 2017

No to Devonwall!

In this week's Cornish Guardian, my article looks will look at the continued threat of a Devonwall seat and the launch of the latest “Boundary Commission for England” consultation. The article includes material already published on this blog, but the article is here for the sake of completeness. It will be as follows:

Even though there have been reports that the UK Government intends to scrap the ongoing parliamentary review, which would lead to a cross-Tamar Devonwall parliamentary constituency, the “Boundary Commission for England” (BCE) is continuing its work.

Last week, the BCE published revised proposals for new constituency boundaries which still include a Devonwall seat.

This was not a surprise, as the BCE has been working within the rules set down by Westminster that state seats must have electorates of “between 71,031 and 78,507 – that is, 5% either side of the electoral quota of 74,769.”

Indeed, the BCE has reported back: “We noted that the electorate of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly was 393,874 and that if we were to allocate five constituencies, the average electorate of those five constituencies would be 78,775, which is more than 5% above the electoral quota … [this] meant that we had no option but to recommend a constituency that crossed the county boundary between Cornwall and Devon.”

At the Boundary Commission hearings, which took place in Truro about twelve months ago, I argued that the whole process – with regard to Cornwall – was flawed and appealed to the BCE that they should recognise this and join us in making representations to central government to rethink their approach and make sure that a cross-Tamar Devonwall constituency was not created.

I am very disappointed, but not surprised, that the BCE has chosen not to do this. But, in addition, I am saddened at how it glossed over the massive level of opposition to this breach of Cornwall’s historic integrity.

After a further consultation, the final recommendations will be presented to the Westminster Parliament, sometime in 2018, and will need to be endorsed by MPs in a formal vote.

I am therefore perplexed that Theresa May’s Government is allowing the Review to continue, especially as they no longer have a majority in the House of Commons and senior Tories have admitted that their attempt to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 is doomed to failure.

The recommendations of the Boundary Commission will almost certainly not be supported by opposition MPs, or indeed their allies in the Democratic Unionist Party.

Some Conservative MPs are also unlikely to vote through the changes and I commend the MP for St Austell and Newquay, Steve Double, for making it clear that he will use his vote to oppose Devonwall. It is about time that his five parliamentary colleagues in Cornwall made the same pledge.

But most of all, I call on Theresa May to end this farce of a Boundary Review, to repeal the underlying legislation, and think again about how future reviews might be carried out.

My latest monthly report to St Enoder Parish Council

At this Tuesday's Parish Council meeting, I will be presenting my latest monthly report. It will cover the time period 25th September – 22nd October 2017, though I was on holiday for a week during this time. It is as follows:

1. Council meetings

Over the last few weeks, I have attended a range of formal meetings. These included: Electoral Review Panel (and two associated preparatory meetings, plus two sessions seeking the view of local members in Liskeard and Truro); Constitution and Governance Committee; all-member briefing which was attended by the Police Commissioner Alison Hernandez;

“CERC” (incinerator) liaison group; a meeting of members from the China Clay Area plus an additional meeting about gypsy and traveller issues in Mid Cornwall; the national minority working group and an informal briefing as part of the parking review.

In the same period, as well as a number of informal meetings with council officers and others, I have been at one meeting of St Enoder Parish Council, and one meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan working group.

2. “Outreach” Post Office at the Victory Hall

I am pleased that an outreach Post Office is now being run from the ante-room of the Indian Queens Victory Hall for two three-hour sessions each week.

The sessions are held:

Every Tuesday morning: 8.30 – 11.30.
Every Thursday afternoon: 1.00 – 4.00.

As reported last month, the new outreach provision is being run from the existing Post Office at Summercourt, while the cost of hiring the Victory Hall for the next twelve months will be covered by Kingsley Developers.

Unfortunately, the service did not start on Tuesday 3rd October as advertised, due to a technical problem with the phone line, but it did actually commence on October 12th.

3. Newsletter

In advance of the opening of the outreach Post Office provision, I was delivering my six-monthly newsletter around the Parish which, amongst other things, publicised the opening date of the “outreach” Post Office.

However, when the opening date was pushed back, I had to delay the distribution of the newsletters. Now that the Post Office is open and I am back from a week’s holiday, I will be out leafleting again soon.

4. Planning matters

Numerous planning applications in our local parish are being dealt with by Cornwall Council. Listed below are updates on a couple of the more contentious proposals.

- Higher Fraddon biogas plant

As reported in my last monthly report, the owners of the plant have submitted two appeals to the Planning Inspectorate relating to condition 14. The condition states that the types of HGVs accessing the site must be agreed through the condition, but the operators want this to be left very open-ended and not to specify the principal use of the “duoliner” vehicle that they had previously pledged they would use during the planning process. In addition, they have appealed a planning application to modify condition 14 (by increasing the number of small vehicles to the plant).

On behalf of the Parish Council, I have written a detailed planning statement for the two appeals, which was submitted prior to the deadline of 19th October.

I have also contacted the owners of the plant, now known as Fraddon Biogas Ltd, and pointed out that they are not in compliance with condition 16 of their planning permission.

This states that: “Within two months of the date of this permission, the Operator shall submit to the Local Planning Authority for approval in writing and then implement the approved Vehicle Management Policy to deal with deliveries to and from the site” which included “details of the content of a written report which will be provided to St Enoder Parish Council and residents of Higher Fraddon Lane at 4 monthly intervals and will address information regarding deliveries to and from the site...”

Condition 16 was discharged on 19 April 2017 (PA16/11310) but, some six months later, St Enoder Parish Council has yet to receive the first four-monthly written report specified above.

- Unauthorised development on the Kelliers

Members will recall that, about nine months ago, the unauthorised caravan site on the Kelliers failed to secure planning permission through an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. The owners were also told that they had to remove the seven caravans from the site by 18th July 2017. They failed to do meet this deadline but, during the last two-three weeks, the caravans were actually carried off site.

The appeal for the failed application for five traveller pitches on the same site is still outstanding, though no date has been set for this.

A meeting of Clay Country councillors was held in September to discuss issues relating to unlawful activities as described above and, as a result, officers at the unitary authority have started research to assist in its formulation of future actions.

5. Proposed housing scheme near Mitchell

On 3rd October, I attended the consultation event in Mitchell, at which Coastline Housing presented a potential “affordable housing led” scheme for twenty houses on the eastern site of Mitchell at the Fruit Farm.

I will report again, when I am updated on progress with the site.

6. Visit of Police Commissioner

The Police Commissioner Alison Hernandez attended a briefing at Cornwall Council on 29th September. During the meeting, I made representations about the ongoing reduction in PCSOs and she stated that the scale of the cut in such officers was likely to be revisited. Another councillor for Clay Country and I had a further conversation with her after the meeting and she promised to attend a future meeting of the China Clay Area Network.

7. Highway matters

In recent weeks, the local Cormac officer has overseen speed recordings at three locations within the Parish: Parka Road, St Columb Road; Parka Road, Fraddon; and Toldish. I will make available the summary reports for the readings in the near future.

8. Review into parking matters

I attended an informal meeting as part of the “task and finish” group to review the Council’s arrangement for parking (as part of the Economic Growth and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee). This looked at the work needed to explore various charging options for council car parks.

The next meeting will be on 24th October and will address enforcement issues, which is of special interest to our local area.

9. Grass cutting (Cornwall Council)

I have continued to make representations about the cutting of grass in those areas owned by Cornwall Council (such as the small play areas in certain housing estates). I took a senior Council officer around the sites and he acknowledged the grass in these local areas was not being cut quite often enough and he would sort this for next year’s cutting rota.

I have made yet more representations about the fact that there has been no maintenance of the garden area in Clodan Mews, St Columb Road, during this last twelve months; and the green area in Lindsay Fields, Fraddon, was not cut, as it should have been. I have been given promises that this will all be sorted out.

10. Waste Collection and Cleansing Contract

I am making representations about the limited extent of street cleaning in rural communities and the number of public waste bins, as part of the review into the content of the contract for waste collection, street cleaning, beach cleaning, etc, which will be retendered in a couple of years.

Last month, I listed the number of bins in St Enoder Parish (and these are reprised below).

Fraddon / Indian Queens / St Columb Road
Moorland Road (opposite cemetery) (083)
Moorland Road (cemetery layby) (348)
Fraddon Hill (bus stop / layby) (351)
Chapel Road (bus stop / layby) (352)
Fraddon Hill (bottom of) (353)
Parka (St Columb Road end) (354)
Parka (nearer Fraddon end) (082)
St Columb Road junction (by Chopping Block) (355)
Penhale (bus stop / layby) (081)
St Francis Road (bus stop nr Carworgie Way) (356)
Penhale (near Westbourne Terrace) (358)
Moorland Road (east of Gnomeworld) (084)
Not included on official list
Higher Fraddon (near bridge to Pedna Carne) - no number
Newquay Road (899)

School Road (360)
School Road (Thomas Playing Field) (361)
Road to Chapeltown (by car showrooms) (897)
Beacon Road (bus stop) (047)

I will bring maps to the Parish Council meeting to inform our discussions, so that we can consider a formal request to Cornwall Council for enhanced bin coverage in St Enoder Parish.

11. Review into councillor numbers

On 26th September, the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) published its decision to reduce the number of elected members on Cornwall Council from 123 to 87. The change will be implemented at the next set of elections due to take place in 2021.

I did quite a bit of media work about the decision, which I condemned as an “assault on democracy in Cornwall.”

Prior to 2009, Cornwall had 331 councillors on the County Council and the six district councils. The centralisation of local government was then imposed on Cornwall and the number of councillors slashed to 123. And now we are expected to suffer another significant cut in elected members, which will further increase the democratic deficit from which Cornwall already suffers.

It is interesting to note that the LGBCE did not seek a similar reduction in the number of councillors when it carried out an electoral review of the unitary authority in County Durham, which was also created in 2009. Durham County Council was founded with 126 councillors and its review allowed the council to continue with the same number of members.

The next stage of work will involve working up proposals for the new divisional boundaries for Cornwall Council and, as vice-chairman of the Electoral Review Panel, I am heavily involved with the work.

Consultants have prepared some indicative boundaries for each of Cornwall’s nineteen community networks, which are the starting point for the detailed discussions which will follow.

The China Clay Area will have four councillors and the indicative maps that have been produced show the following:

1. St Enoder Parish and St Dennis Parish (minus Enniscaven and Gothers)
2. St Stephen Parish (minus Whitemoor)
3. Treverbyn Parish (minus Bugle)
4. Roche Parish (plus Enniscaven and Gothers, Whitemoor and Bugle)

12. WW1 project

The necessary paperwork for the Heritage Lottery Fund has been completed and we have received official permission to start the project to remember the fallen of the First World War. St Enoder Parish Council will soon be receiving the £7,500 HLF grant towards the project.

The first event to publicise the project will be at Summercourt’s New Memorial Hall on the morning of the 4th November.

13. Helping local community groups
I can also confirm that I have helped the committee of Fraddon Village Hall with a funding application for new chairs.

14. Inquiries

During the couple of months, I have also helped numerous people with guidance on a vast array of issues.

15. Mebyon Kernow

In addition to my local issues, I did generate a considerable amount of coverage in the local press because I have now been the leader of MK for twenty years.

Tuesday 17 October 2017

MK calls on Theresa May to end farce of Boundary Review

MK has just released the following statement concerning the Boundary Review:

The leader of Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall has today called on the Prime Minister to make a formal announcement that she will scrap the Boundary Review that would lead to the creation of an unpopular cross-Tamar constituency.

He was speaking after the Boundary Commission announced revised proposals for constituencies for the next General Election – which included a cross-Tamar seat.

Cllr Dick Cole said: “As someone who has campaigned against the imposition of a ‘Devonwall’ parliamentary constituency for a number of years, I was pleased to see numerous recent newspaper reports that the Conservatives intended to scrap the Boundary Review.

“But I am perplexed that that Theresa May’s Government is allowing the Review to continue – especially as they no longer have a majority in the House of Commons and the recommendations of the Boundary Commission will almost certainly not be supported by opposition MPs or their friends in the Democratic Unionist Party.

“Senior Conservatives have already admitted that their attempt to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 is doomed to failure, and I call on Theresa May to end this farce of a Boundary Review and think again.

“We will certainly be continuing with our campaigns to protect the territorial integrity of Cornwall, and for Cornwall to be treated as a distinct entity for the purposes of governance.”

Boundary Commission proposes Devonwall seat ... AGAIN!

The Boundary Commission for England (BCE) has today published revised proposals for new constituency boundaries tomorrow and commenced an eight-week consultation.

The BCE is still recommending a cross-Tamar Devonwall constituency, and has glossed over the massive level of opposition to this breach of Cornwall’s historic integrity.

At the Boundary Commission hearing in Truro in November, I argued that the whole process – with regard to Cornwall was flawed – and appealed to the BCE that they should recognise this and join us in making representations to central government to rethink their approach, to modify the existing legislation and make sure that a cross-Tamar “Devonwall” constituency is not created.

I am very disappointed, but not surprised, that the BCE has chosen not to do this.

Relevant extracts from the document published today are as follows:

“We noted that the electorate of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly was 393,874 and that if we were to allocate five constituencies, the average electorate of those five constituencies would be 78,775, which is more than 5% above the electoral quota, and therefore outside the permitted electorate range. We were aware that there would be opposition to the creation of a constituency that crossed the Cornwall county boundary, but we considered that the ‘Rules for distribution of seats’ in Schedule 2 of the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 (as amended) meant that we had no option but to recommend a constituency that crossed the county boundary between Cornwall and Devon.”

“There was a large amount of support for our proposed sub-regions. The main political parties all submitted counterproposals that adhered to the sub-regions, while acknowledging that there were objections to the creation of a ‘Devonwall’ cross-county boundary constituency. For example, the Liberal Democrat Party (BCE-32821) said ‘We protest at the creation of a “cross-border” seat. We recognise the legal and population requirements. We accept the proposed boundaries and name of the cross-border Revised proposals for new constituency boundaries in the South West 13 seat as “Bideford, Bude and Launceston”.’ There were a number of objections from respondents in Cornwall to the combining of Cornwall and Devon, with many citing Cornwall’s separateness from the rest of England – see the Cornish Nationalist Party (BCE-29305), the Cornish Stannary Parliament (BCE-34907 and BCE-31410) and Mebyon Kernow (BCE-29560).”

“There was support for our proposed constituencies, but also many objections to the creation of a so-called ‘Devonwall’ cross-county constituency, as detailed previously in this report. Many of those who objected to a cross-county constituency did not submit a counter-proposal to create five constituencies wholly within Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, each with an electorate within the permitted electorate range. It was argued that Cornwall was a separate entity to the rest of England and should be treated in the same way as Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales in terms of the review. Our assistant commissioners were sympathetic to the arguments against a cross-county constituency between Cornwall and Devon, but accepted that the statutory rules left them with no choice but to recommend such a constituency.”

The consultation website is:

Monday 16 October 2017

Revised proposals for parliamentary seats to be published tomorrow

Even though there have been numerous reports that the Conservatives intend to scrap the ongoing boundary review, which would otherwise lead to the imposition of a cross-Tamar “Devonwall” parliamentary constituency, the Boundary Commission for England (BCE) is continuing its work.

It will be publishing revised proposals for new constituency boundaries tomorrow (Tuesday 17th October).

There will then be an eight week consultation.

The BCE is stating that this consultation will be the “last chance” for people to have their say before it reports recommendations to central government in September 2018.

The consultation website is:

I will post more information as soon as I get it.

Monday 9 October 2017

Update on Post Office “outreach” at Indian Queens Victory Hall

Over the last few days, the Clerk of the Parish Council and I have been liaising with the Post Office Ltd about the delays to the start of the Post Office “outreach” at Indian Queens Victory Hall.

I can confirm that the fault on the telephone lines, etc, has been sorted and the Post Office Ltd has today confirmed that the “outreach” service will start this coming Thursday (12th October), between 1.00 and 4.00.

The service will then happen at the Victory Hall twice a week as previously advertised (Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons).

Those Tory promises on housing ... some comments

In her address to the Conservative Party Conference last week, the Prime Minister has quite a lot to say about housing and, in particular, affordable housing.

Theresa May talked about the UK’s “broken housing market,” she pledged to boost investment in affordable housing by £2 billion, and spoke about “getting government back into the business of building houses … a new generation of council houses.”

This general shift in government thinking has, I think, been quite widely welcomed, though a range of housing experts have been extremely dismissive of the scale of the boost in investment.

For example, Michael Oxley, the director of the Cambridge Centre for housing and planning research described it as “chicken feed,” while Anna Minton, the author of Big Capital, called it “laughable.” She added that the number of rental homes that would be built as a consequence was “pathetic” and would make little difference to the “worst housing crisis in modern times.”

Personally, I consider the present Government and their immediate predecessors to be a key part of the problem. After all, it was the Tories who started selling off council housing in the 1980s, which was a key factor in unbalancing the housing market, and their more recent policy prescriptions have also been very damaging.

They have overseen a massive reduction in investment in affordable properties. They have re-invigorated ”right-to-buy” and stopped investing in “social rent” properties, dictated that Housing Associations must focus on the much more expensive “affordable rent” model (that sets rents at 80% of the inflated cost of private sector rents), and even came up with a nonsensical scheme for “affordable” starter homes, which would cost first-time buyers “no more than £250,000.”

It is little wonder that I remain extremely cynical about the Conservative Party’s commitment to genuine affordable housing.

But I did notice that the Prime Minister stated that the Conservatives would, once again, “allow homes to be built for social rent, well below market level.” She did, though, qualify this by specifying it would be “in those parts of the country where the need is greatest,” and I have no idea if the UK Government considers this to include Cornwall!

As a local councillor, I fully support the increased provision of “social rent” homes which often cost around £400 a month, as I have always opposed the focus on “affordable rent” properties which delivers, for example, three-bed houses with rental costs in excess of £600 a month that many low-income families struggle to pay.

At this time, we need to continue to put pressure on the UK Government to deliver genuine affordable housing and that includes converting existing “affordable rent” properties into less expensive “social rent” ones.

[This is my article in this week's Cornish Guardian].

Wednesday 4 October 2017

Thank you for the messages of support

Over the last few days, I have received a large number of positive messages from people wishing to compliment me on lasting twenty years in the position of leader of Mebyon Kernow and for the work I have done in that time, for Cornwall and my local community of St Enoder Parish.

I am most grateful for everyone who has taken the time to get in contact and to express their support. Thank you.

Looking back over the last twenty years

It has been exactly twenty years since I was elected the leader of Mebyon Kernow. The role has certainly been a massive part of my adult life and little did I think that, two decades on, I would still be in post!

It has been an absolute honour to lead the Party for Cornwall, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has campaigned with me during this time.

It has been hard work. There have been many highs, it has often been frustrating, and there have been many lows as well.

High points in terms of MK include being the author of the “Declaration for a Cornish Assembly,” which was signed by over 50,000 people in 2000 and 2001, and still stands out as a powerful demand from the people of Cornwall for a meaningful devolution settlement.

It was fantastic to be part of the wide-ranging campaign that secured the recognition of the Cornish through the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

Personally, I feel my election as a Mebyon Kernow councillor for my home parish was my key accomplishment. It has been a great privilege to have served St Enoder Parish since 1999, and I am grateful to all those local residents who have continued to support me with their votes.

But politics can be tough, and I must admit my frustrations at MK’s difficulties in making progress in a political system conducted through the prism of Westminster.

In Cornwall, MK has proved itself able to be competitive in council elections and a number of members have been elected. But it has been very different when it comes to parliamentary elections, where voters have been less willing to give MK their support. It has certainly not helped that MK, as a “regional” political party, has been denied party election broadcasts at such times, and the “mainstream” media, such as the main television channels, very rarely deem MK worthy of coverage.

But, looking back over the last twenty years, perhaps the most saddening thing has been the failure of the UK Government to act properly on so many demands coming from Cornwall.

Just take the 50,000 declarations for a Cornish Assembly and our national minority status as examples. The declarations have been ignored and, instead of bringing devolution proposals, Westminster has centralised and undermined local government structures in Cornwall. And it is also the case that central government has failed to act it on its obligations – cultural, linguistic, political and economic – enshrined in the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

This all reinforces to me that MK, as a pro-Cornwall political force, is needed now as much as ever, and it is my intention to continue playing my part in the years to come.

My time as leader of the Party for Cornwall will be marked at the afternoon session of MK’s 2017 National Conference, which will be held at Bodmin’s Shire House Suite on 18th November. Anyone interested in coming along would be very welcome.

[This is my article in today’s Cornish Guardian newspaper].

Tuesday 3 October 2017

Interview on Radio Cornwall tomorrow

Earlier today, I did an interview with Radio Cornwall's James Churchfield about my twenty years as the leader of Mebyon Kernow - the Party for Cornwall.

It will be broadcast on tomorrow's breakfast show.

Monday 2 October 2017

BAD NEWS – Delay to opening of Post Office “outreach” at Indian Queens Victory Hall

This afternoon, Post Office Ltd has been in contact to say that the Post Office “outreach” will not be starting at Indian Queens Victory Hall, tomorrow, as advertised.

I have been told that this is because of a fault with the telephone line somewhere between Indian Queens Victory Hall and the Post Office branch at Summercourt, which will be responsible for the service.

As someone who has been circulating newsletters publicising the opening, you can probably imagine just how absolutely exasperated I am.

I have been in contact with a senior person in Post Office Ltd this afternoon. She has asked me to send on her apologies to the local community. She has also confirmed that BT will be on site tomorrow to deal with the fault. The Post Office Ltd will then send in their staff to configure the computers systems, etc.

This shouldn't take too long (fingers crossed) and I will let everyone know when this has been done and when we have a new start date for the service.

If you know of anyone who might have been planning to use the service tomorrow, or Thursday, please let them about the delay to save any wasted journeys.

Sunday 1 October 2017

Cornwall Live article on my 20 years as MK leader

Thank you to Richard Whitehouse for his positive article on the website about my twenty years as the leader of Mebyon Kernow.

I am really quite pleased with what he has had to say.

Here is a particularly kind extract:

Dick Cole – proud Cornishman, vocal politician and all round nice guy. This is probably the description that you would get from most who have encountered the leader of Mebyon Kernow.

This week he celebrates 20 years at the head of the only purely Cornish political party …

“When I took on the role 20 years ago I had no thought that I would be doing it 20 years later,” he says with a warm chuckle.

“I just hope that it shows that I can be quite passionate in standing up for the things I believe in and my local community.”

That is a massive understatement – Dick is one of the most recognisable names and faces in Cornish politics and is well known for the passionate speeches he has given in the council chamber at Lys Kernow over the years.

When Dick stands up to speak he commands the respect of all in the chamber, no matter what their political persuasion and he is also listened to. On most occasions he is also a rare voice of reason in amongst the often party political posturing which sometimes occurs.

When it has come to issues such as the creation of the unitary authority which shut down the former borough and district councils it was Dick who spoke most passionately to raise concerns that it would lead to a democratic deficit – a similar argument he is making now about plans to cut the number Cornwall Council members from 123 to just 87.

He has also been outspoken on issues such as the incinerator in St Dennis, the plans to impose thousands of new homes across Cornwall and the proposed eco-town.

And when he fights for these issues he is battling on the side of the people and railing against the authorities which are imposing them. Above all he is always consistent and always researches his arguments to a high level.

The full article can be viewed at:
Cornwall Live article on twenty years as MK leader

Marking twenty years as the leader of Mebyon Kernow

This coming Wednesday (4th October) will mark the twentieth anniversary of my election as leader of Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall.

I will have more to say closer to the actual date of the anniversary, but the first media report of my two years at the helm of MK can be found on the Cornish Stuff website.

News report on Cornish Stuff