Monday, 26 May 2008

A break from politics ...

It has been a quiet few days for me and my wife Ann. We have taken an early summer holiday and spent the last week on the west coast of Scotland. We were based just outside Oban for most of that time but spent the last night of the break on the Isle of Mull which allowed us to visit Iona (see above).

I really needed the break and even managed to work my way through four novels.

That said, it was great to be in Scotland under the control of the SNP’s minority administration and to see the ongoing public debate around the independence or greater powers for Scotland. Even the Conservatives were making positive noises about building on the last devolution settlement.

How different from Cornwall! It was certainly depressing to come home to hear about the latest undemocratic shambles surrounding the unitary authority experiment.

The latest news has it that the ‘Boundary Committee for England’ has decided that they need more evidence about how many councillors the new council should have. And because of this they state that it is unlikely there will be enough time to implement new electoral arrangements – meaning that the elections would have to take place on the present County Council wards leaving the whole of Cornwall with only 82 principal councillors.

And we also have central government suggesting that next year’s local elections should be pushed back to June to coincide with the European elections. If this did happen, it would mean that with the present principal councils being abolished on April 1, Cornwall would have no councillors for over two months. Almost unbelievable ...

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Strategic Investment Frameworks!

On Monday, through my position as Chairman of Restormel's Policy & Scrutiny 4 Committee, I had the pleasure of launching, with Annette Egerton the leader of the Borough Council, economic strategies for the China Clay Area and St Austell/St Blazey.

As well as focussing on how the economy of the area can be strengthened over the next twenty years with the creation of more and better-paid jobs, the documents will double up as a Strategic Investment Framework (SIF) and determine how the area can make the best use of the new European funds potentially available from now until 2015.

These economic strategies are vitally important documents and should underpin much of the investment in the China Clay area and St Austell / St Blazey over the next ten to twenty years.

I do sincerely hope that local people to take part in the consultation to help us deliver for local people and these wonderful communities in Mid Cornwall.

Mr Brown in Cornwall

It is no wonder that people are so disillusioned with the political process.

The Prime Minister was in Cornwall, last Friday. He didn’t come to meet with local people to discuss their concerns and their problems face-to-face or even to meet with representatives of the local district council to consider regeneration issues.

Instead, he came and visited the Eden Project for a photo opportunity.

Reading the papers this week, I am more than a little annoyed. In the Cornish Guardian, Mr Brown claimed that, concerning the eco-town proposal, “we are listening to local people and what they have to say on the plans.” Do you believe him – I do not!

Labour ignored Cornwall when 50,000 people demanded a Cornish Assembly. It has imposed a unitary authority when 80% of people made it clear that they were opposed. And now it has short-listed the IMERYS eco-town proposal without even talking to the local Council, undermining some of the local regeneration policies that the Council was developing.

Mr Brown, I would invite you to come back to Cornwall and visit real working people in our local communities and learn about what Cornwall really needs.

Friday, 2 May 2008

The Celtic Connection

Robin Field is a local film maker who has made a number of quite short documentaries, which he has uploaded onto the web. He did an interview with me in my home and if you would like to see the end result, titled ‘The Celtic Connection,’ you can view it at: