Saturday, 26 May 2012

Cllr Graham Walker and education in Cornwall

Prominent Cornwall Councillor Graham Walker (St Austell) has resigned from the Liberal Democrats. He told reporters that he could no longer stomach Lib Dem MPs supporting Conservative policies in areas such as health and the economy.

I have a great deal of respect for Graham. We have both been members of the scrutiny committee at County Hall which deals with issues relevant to children, families and education.

I know he is a strong advocate for local schools, and a supporter of measures to improve the standard of education for one and all in our local communities.

I was therefore not surprised to see him slam the Coalition’s approach to education, which he rightly stated has severely harmed “the life opportunities of Cornish youngsters” because of a “whole raft of flawed legislation driven more by ideology, than good sense or any financial imperative.”

I commend him for his courage in making this public stand and I have to say that I fully agree with his comments.

He was right to criticize the Government for scrapping the Building Schools for the Future programme in July 2010, when Cornish schools lost over £70 million in promised funding.

He was right to condemn both the end of the Educational Maintenance Allowance for teenagers and the trebling of tuition fees for university students, which have seen a drop in young people staying in further education and / or applying to university.

And he was right to blast the Government for its cynical and ideological determination to cajole existing schools to break away from local authority control, with promises of funding direct from central government and suggestions, however illusory, of greater levels of investment.

This fragmentation and break-up of the education system will lead to further inequalities and it will disadvantage thousands of ordinary families, creating a “two tier” education system.

Central government has also slashed its mainstream funding for improvements / new buildings in local authority maintained schools, even though there is a significant and growing pressure on schools throughout Cornwall.

The Education Secretary Michael Gove did however set up a Priority School Building Programme. And last week, the Government announced the names of the 261 schools which will benefit from this fund. Sadly, not one of these schools was located in Cornwall.

Welsh flag for torchbearers?

I see that Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards has called on the Olympic Organising Committee to allow torchbearers in Wales to carry the Welsh Flag.

In the Western Mail newspaper, it notes that “earlier this week a bearer had the Cornish flag ripped from his hands by Olympic escorts.” (see

Jonathan said: “For many of the 500 torchbearers that will carry the torch in Wales, this will be highlight of their sporting careers. Many will wish to carry the Welsh flag to show how proud they are to be representing Wales on the relay.”

The response from Locog was that: “We are happy for the torchbearers to be photographed with own flags before and after, but for the 300m when they carry the torch we expect them to wear the torchbearers uniform.”

It is sad that symbols of local nationality are so frowned upon while the corporate feel of the Olympics is so strong.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Planning Policy Advisory Panel

Today I was re-elected Chairman of Cornwall Council’s Planning Policy Advisory Panel and I would like to thank my fellow members for their support and endorsement.

The Panel is presently working hard on developing planning policies for Cornwall. And the next few months will be particularly intense as we consider / argue about what our priorities are for Cornwall and how the planning system should reflect what Cornwall needs.

I predict that, in the coming weeks, there will be many disagreements and that I will be quite outspoken.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Sport: The Olympics and the Stadium for Cornwall

Sport is dominating the news in Cornwall with the arrival of the Olympic Torch and the ongoing debate about the construction of a sporting stadium for the Cornish Pirates rugby team.

The descent of Flight 2012 into RNAS Culdrose, the start of the ten-week relay from Lands End and the first full day of the procession, as the torch weaved its way through Cornwall, was a truly amazing spectacle.

It certainly placed the wonder of Cornwall at the very heart of a global media circus. But perhaps best of all, over 100 men, women and children from our local area were honoured as torchbearers, each recognised for their contribution to sport, their local community or their charity work.

From my own Parish, torch bearers included Val Hawken and David Denmead. Val was honoured because of her endless marathon running and the many thousands of pounds she has raised for Cancer Research, while David was rewarded because of his fantastic work on behalf of the Parkinson's support and research charity.

The event has certainly shown how sport can bring people together and help celebrate achievement.

By contrast, the controversy about the stadium rumbles on, following last week’s meeting of Cornwall Council.

Readers of the Cornish Guardian will know that I have been critical of how this issue has been handled, but I do believe that Cornwall merits a purpose-built sporting stadium (see last week’s comments).

But at the meeting, councillors voted by 55 votes to 46 against the Council exploring the possibility of using public money to underpin the project.

The main aspects of the revised proposal presented at the meeting were that the Council should investigate “whether it would be appropriate for the Council to take the lead in delivering a stadium for Cornwall,” that there should be detailed scrutiny of any proposal brought forward, and that “a detailed report setting out the business case with full financial information be brought back to full Council.”

I was therefore extremely disappointed that councillors voted to throw out the proposal without even wishing to investigate the details or costs or to consider what the sporting and economic benefits might be.

It saddens me that Cornwall Council is getting into such a mess on this issue, when there is so much talk about a sporting legacy from the Olympic Games and associated government investment.

The legacy from that investment should not just be restricted to London. And to put the cost of the Stadium for Cornwall into a sporting context, it equates to the annual income of individual professional footballers called Wayne Rooney (£17 million), or David Beckham (£25 million) who actually delivered the Olympic Torch to Cornwall.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Phil Rendle elected Mayor of Penzance

Congratulations to my good friend Phil Rendle, who has been chosen as the new Mayor of Penzance. Phil is one of Mebyon Kernow’s three deputy leaders.

I have known Phil for many years and first met him when he was involved with the Declaration for a Cornish Assembly campaign. He served on Penwith District Council between 2002 and 2004, and he has been a member of Penzance Town Council for a number of years.

Phil is a determined champion for Cornwall and I am sure that he will do Penzance proud.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Cornwall Council votes no to stadium

At today’s Full Council meeting, the five MK councillors backed a proposal for the Council to investigate taking the lead in delivering a stadium for Cornwall.

Speaking on behalf of the group, I was critical of the report in front of councillors and how the issue has been handled. My speech was as follows:

The Mebyon Kernow group has discussed the issue of the stadium at length and I would like to make the following statement:

In principle, we believe that Cornwall should have the same facilities that other parts of the UK take for granted. And why shouldn’t Cornwall have a purpose-built sporting stadium like elsewhere?

As a group, we can support the first part of the recommendation, specifically that the Cabinet “consider” taking a lead on the stadium.

It is right that Cornwall Council does investigate the options to support this project.

But we are extremely angered and saddened at how this issue has been mishandled.

Only two months ago, at the last Full Council, councillors were informed that Cornwall Council would not need to put “public money” into the project.

And now, days after the massive housing development at Langarth was approved, we have this request for funding. With respect, the timing is at best cynical.

We are also appalled at the report in front of us today. It is shockingly short on detail.

It does not tell us why the Cornwall Community Stadium Ltd could not find the full funds. It does not explain what the difficulties were. It does not tell us what the position is with governmental, grant or European funding? It does not even tell us what the level of investment is from the partners within the stadium.

Nor does it consider the nature of the impact on the capital budget in any way at all!

As backbench councillors, we maintain that this is unacceptable.

I also made it clear that we could not support the recommendations as set out in the report, and moved an alternative proposal based around the original. It was as follows:

That the Cabinet be invited to consider whether it would be appropriate for the Council to take the lead in delivering a stadium for Cornwall which promotes community use and economic benefit for the people of Cornwall.

That the Cabinet request the Environment & Economy and Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committees to ensure that the proposals for any scheme for a stadium for Cornwall are fully scrutinised.

And a detailed report setting out the business case with full financial information brought back to full Council to seek the views of all Members, before Cabinet makes a decision.

The recommendations were seconded by independent councillor Andrew Wallis, but lost by 55 votes to 46. 

Voting in favour of the proposal were all five MK councillors, the single Labour councillor, 17 Lib Dems, 13 independents and 10 Conservatives.

It was opposed by 26 Conservatives, 17 Lib Dems and 12 independents. Seven members abstained: two were independents and five were Tories.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

My thoughts on the stadium proposal

My column in this week’s Cornish Guardian focuses on the various intrigues around the proposed stadium for Cornwall. It is as follows:

There is nothing I like more than watching a game of rugby. My wife and I rarely miss home games at Redruth RFC and we always try to follow Cornwall in the County Championship.

It will therefore surprise no-one that I believe Cornwall merits decent sporting facilities. I believe it is wrong that Cornwall, unlike most other areas, does not have a purpose-built sporting stadium.

But the whole issue surrounding a stadium for Cornwall has been badly mishandled by the unitary authority and the project has now become mired in controversy. It is becoming ever more difficult to tell the facts from the fiction.

Only two months ago, councillors were informed that Cornwall Council would not be putting “public money” into the project.

Councillors were told that the stadium would be fully funded through the Cornwall Community Stadium Ltd (CCSL) set up by the Inox Group (who were seeking planning consent for 1,500 housing units on nearby land), the Cornish Pirates rugby club and Truro / Penwith College.

Just two weeks ago, Inox’s housing development in Truro was approved by Cornwall Council’s Strategic Planning Committee. Members of the committee were told that the application for housing was “separate” from the stadium plans. But it was a key contributory factor and may have influenced how members voted.

And yet within days of approving the housing, Cornwall Council received a request from Inox / CCSL advising that the stadium project could not proceed without significant financial support from the local authority.

A report has already been tabled for “emergency” discussion at Full Council with councillors asked to debate whether it “would be appropriate” for the Council to take the lead in delivering the stadium.

The report itself lacks detail. It does not explain why funding could not be found and says nothing about what governmental, grant or European funding might, or might not, be available. It does however suggest that upto £10 million of capital funding could be allocated towards the project by the Council.

I remain extremely cynical at how the request for funding arrived so soon after Inox had achieved consent for their megabucks housing scheme, and then how a report could be brought to the Council so quickly.

It is hardly surprising that so many people are angry that Cornwall Council appears able to find monies for certain projects, while it continues to cut services and make staff redundant in this age of austerity.

As a “backbench” councillor, I feel we have been denied the full facts, I remain troubled at what is going on and I have dozens of questions that need answering.

But think on this. Central government is spending over £12 billion on the Olympics, including new venues such as the Olympic Stadium (£500 million plus), in an area where there is already a plethora of sporting arenas.

Isn’t it time that Cornwall had its fair share of such government sporting investment? 

Monday, 7 May 2012

MK comment on local election results in Scotland and Wales

The Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition took a real drubbing in Thursday’s local elections. Together they rightly lost over 700 seats, as well as control of a number of Councils.

In Scotland, the SNP achieved another fantastic election. It out-polled the Labour Party and won a total of 424 seats, electing 61 more councillors than when the seats were last contested. The SNP also won control of Angus and Dundee Councils, and has already formed an administration in Midlothian, in partnership with an Independent and a Green Councillor.

But it was very disappointing how the London media downplayed the SNP successes, preferring to publicise how well the Labour did in Scotland – even though it elected fewer councillors, made fewer gains and won fewer votes overall.

In Glasgow, for example, Labour won 44 seats out of 79, while the SNP won 27 – an increase of seven. Labour was shown as having gained five seats, but in 2007, when the seats were last contested, they actually won 45 seats! (The difference was that a number of deselected councillors walked on Labour a few months back.)

Sadly, in Wales, Plaid Cymru did less well, electing 158 councillors – 39 less than in 2008.

Very good Plaid Cymru councillors have lost their seats, with voters streaming back to Labour to express their anger at the policies of the Coalition. I know many of the Plaid members and I would like to extend my commiserations at this time.

Plaid is however the largest group on three Councils. In Gwynedd, it elected 37 councillors, winning exactly half of the 74 seats contested. There is one seat still vacant. In Ceredigion, it won 19 seats (out of 42) and, in Carmarthenshire, it won 28 seats (out of 74).

They are still the second largest party in Welsh local government and will have a vital role to play in standing up for Wales.

But looking ahead to the 2013 local election, the unpopularity of the Coalition bodes well for MK.

I am confident that MK is poised to do extremely well. We now have ten months to prepare a strong team of candidates for Cornwall Council, as well as local town and parish councils. If you want to be part of this campaign, why not get in contact?

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Yet more broken promises: six further statements from the Liberal Democrats

Leading up to the 2010 General Election, the Liberal Democrats ran a very strong anti-Conservative campaign, calling on voters to back them in order to stop the election of Conservative MPs.

7. Heart of Cornwall Journal leaflet (November 2009)
“With a General Election only months away, the Conservative Party, which says it is preparing for Government, has shown it can’t be trusted. A series of policy blunders has left local people wondering what the difference is between the new Conservatives and the Conservatives who wrecked Cornwall last time. Would-be Tory Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, has raised the prospect of vast areas of Cornwall being concreted over by a new Conservative Government that plans to offer cash-bonuses to Councils that build the most houses. Lord Hanningfield, the Conservative Business spokesperson, let slip the Tory plans to cut benefits for people in Cornwall when he said: “The cost of living is higher in Essex than it is in Cornwall, so people don’t need the same levels of benefits.” In another move, millionaire Tory frontbencher, George Osborne has launched controversial plans which would see pay for teachers, nurses and care workers frozen or even cut while at the same time giving tax breaks for millionaires.”

MK Comment: Since the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition was formed, it has introduced the New Homes Bonus and it has made numerous statements promoting regional pay. George Osborne’s recent budget also included a tax cut for millionaires, with the full support of the Liberal Democrats.

8. Risographed leaflet (2010)
“David Cameron wants you to vote for Labour or Mebyon Kernow … because he knows they can’t win here …one Lib Dem MP = one less Tory MP.”

9. Risographed leaflet (2010)
“The only way to stop the Conservative’s is to back Steve Gilbert and the Lib Dems.”

10. Election communication (April 2010)
“The Conservatives won’t deliver for you … The party of billionaires and bankers. The Conservatives are bankrolled by Belize billionaire Lord Ashcroft. A man who has avoided paying over £100 million in tax. They won’t stand up for ordinary people … Putting the NHS at risk. Many Conservatives want to break up our NHS and charge people for treatment. One top Tory described the NHS as a sixty year mistake. Our NHS is not safe with the Tories.”

11. Steve Gilbert. Your New Lib Dem Voice for Westminster leaflet (April 2010)
“It’s a two horse race … Labour and Mebyon Kernow are out of the race and cannot win here. Our crazy voting system means a vote for them will help the Tories get in through the back door. Local people are switching to back Steve to stop the Tories. One former MK voter said ‘I like Dick Cole, but he can’t win. I’m voting for Steve to stop the Tories getting in’.”

12. Steve Gilbert. Your New Lib Dem Voice for Westminster leaflet (April 2010)
“Only the Lib Dems can beat the Tories in Cornwall.”

MK Comment: In Cornwall, the main plank of the Liberal Democrat’s 2010 General Election campaign was opposition to the Conservative Party and Conservative policies. Many people – who might otherwise have supported MK, Labour or Green – believed the spin and voted Liberal Democrat. Such people are right to feel aggrieved – they did not get what they voted for. And they are right to feel angry at how the Lib Dems went from being a party of great anti-Tory rhetoric to being cheerleaders for David Cameron within a matter of days.

Broken promises: six pledges / statements from the Liberal Democrats

The first six pledges or statements from the Lib Dems that I have selected are as follows:

1. The Heart of Cornwall Journal leaflet (2008)
“Making the streets of Cornwall safe is a top priority for local people in Cornwall … the Liberal Democrats have said that they would scrap the expensive, pointless and ineffective ID card scheme. With over £1 billion saved the Lib Dems have said they would recruit 10,000 more police officers across the country – and an extra 223 officers on the streets of Devon and Cornwall.”

MK Comment: The Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition Government has cut funding for Devon and Cornwall Police by £47 million. Staffing numbers have already been cut by over 200 and it is anticipated that, by the end of the spending review period, there will be 700 fewer police officers within the “Devon and Cornwall” policing area. Recent figures also show that crime has risen within the force’s area.

2. Numerous leaflets
“Labour and Mebyon Kernow are out of the race and cannot win. A vote for Labour or Mebyon Kernow will let the Conservatives in through the back door.”

MK Comment: After the 2010 General Election, the Liberal Democrats joined the Conservative Party in forming a Coalition Government to deliver Conservative policies – in direct contradiction to the vast majority of its election promises and campaign statements.

3. Standing up for St Austell and Newquay (2009)
“Can we trust the Conservatives with Cornwall’s future? The Conservatives have always treated the Cornish as second-class citizens. When Cornwall last has a Conservative MP it made no difference – Cornwall got the most unfair deal we ever had … The last Conservative Government sold off Cornish council houses without replacing them and gave 50% council tax discounts to second home owners … The Conservative’s botched water privatisation left Cornwall with the highest water bills in the UK, nearly twice that of London … The Conservatives left Cornish hospitals starved of funds and many patients waiting for treatment. They can’t be trusted with our NHS … The Conservatives left Cornish school children with over £100 less per child each year for their education than the rest of the country. It is time for a fair deal for Cornish schools … Now, the Conservatives are suggesting that people in Cornwall should get less in benefit payments than people in Essex.” – Steve Gilbert, PPC for St Austell and Newquay

MK Comment: Since the formation of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition, the Liberal Democrats have supported cuts in funding for affordable housing, the reintroduction of the Right-to-Buy of council houses, the further privatisation of the NHS through the unpopular Health and Social Care Bill, cuts in capital funding for local authority run schools, etc, etc. The Coalition has also raised the spectre of regional pay and lower incomes for workers in areas such as Cornwall.

4. Local Matters election booklet (February 2010)
“It’s clear that cutting the budget too soon, as the Conservatives want to, could stop the recovery and create a deeper recession.” – Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat economic spokesperson

5. Letter from Vince Cable (2010)
“Our economy is in a fragile state. One wrong move could send Britain tumbling back into recession. Now more than ever before our country needs the right policies to get the economy moving again … I’ve seen David Cameron and George Osborne get it wrong again and again on the economy. Their plan for swingeing cuts to public services will send our economy back into recession costing more jobs and more heartache to families everywhere.”

MK Comment: As soon as the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition was formed, Vince Cable became Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. He immediately reversed the Lib Dem’s policy position and backed the deep cuts proposed by George Osborne. As a consequence, the United Kingdom has slipped back into recession – the first “double dip” recession in decades.

6. Local Matters election booklet (February 2010)
“Why the Conservatives are wrong for Cornwall … A new generation of Home Counties’ Conservatives think it is their turn to inherit the system. Like their predecessors, today’s Conservatives offer nothing for Cornwall. If you’re thinking of voting Conservative in the coming election, you don’t need a crystal ball to see what it may mean – all you need is a memory. Remember what it was like. The closed village schools, the shut cottage hospitals, the burning pyres of our cattle, the rape of our farming industry. Remember our rocketing bills – we are still paying for those. Remember the devastation of our post offices, the long queues of our unemployed, the negative equity on our houses … Cornwall can’t afford another Conservative Government. We’re still paying for the last one!” – Lord Paddy Ashdown, former Leader of the Liberal Democrats

MK Comment: Following the General Election, Lord Paddy Ashdown performed a massive u-turn and backed the decision of the Liberal Democrats to go into coalition with the Conservative Party. Leaving the meeting at which the decision was taken, he was approached by the media and asked for his view on the decision. He replied: “Hooray!”

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Broken promises: six more pledges / statements from the Conservative Party

The second set of Conservative pledges or statements all date from the actual election period.

7. Election communication (April 2010)
A hung parliament would mean five more years of Gordon Brown.

8. Election communication (April 2010)
“We will cut the deficit – but not the NHS, our number one priority” – David Cameron.

MK Comment: The Coalition’s divisive Health and Social Care Bill further privatises the NHS, which many health professionals believe fundamentally undermines the founding principles of the health service and could lead to the very abolition of the National Health Service

9. Election communication (April 2010)
Photograph of Caroline Righton holding placard stating: “There are alternatives to incineration – say No.” She was pictured with “shadow Cornwall Minister” Mark Prisk and campaigners against the proposed incinerator at St Dennis.

10. Coast to Coast Election Special leaflet (May 2010)
“Cornwall’s Lib Dem legacy … a deeply flawed thirty year contract for an obscenely large and inappropriate incinerator that the Council commissioned for a specific site which they also then refused permission for, expensively leaving Cornwall with no Plan B option to deal with waste.” – Caroline Righton

MK Comment: The Conservatives opposed Lib Dem plans for an incinerator at St Dennis prior to the elections to the new Cornwall unitary authority. Since June 2009, Conservative-led Cornwall Council has refused to investigate alternatives to incineration. It has refused to develop a Plan B and has done everything in its power to push ahead with the scheme to develop an “obscenely large and inappropriate incinerator” at St Dennis.
11. Coast to Coast Election Special leaflet (May 2010)
“Shadow Housing Minister Grant Shapps agrees we need properly affordable homes for local people which is why we will cancel Labour’s housing targets and give power back to local communities to determine where houses are built and what type.” – Caroline Righton

MK Comment: The Coalition has slashed funding for affordable housing, it has replaced social rent with a much more expensive “affordable rent” model set at 80% or more of inflated private sector rents, Thatcher’s Right-to-Buy has been reinvigorated by Cameron and there have also been regressive reforms to housing benefit arrangements. 

12. Coast to Coast Election Special leaflet (May 2010)
“The Liberal Democrats are playing fantasy politics, saying whatever they think will work for the audience they have at the time … Talk is cheap when you know you will never be tested on your promises. The Conservative treasury team are assiduous in making sure that MPs and candidates like me don’t make any uncosted promises. We have done the sums and can say with confidence that we will protect frontline NHS services, put more police on patrol, restore the pensions earnings link and give a fair deal to our armed services.” – Caroline Righton

MK Comment: The claim that the Conservatives have “done the sums” is false. They may have criticized opponents for “playing fantasy politics” and “cheap talk,” but have themselves failed to live up to promises, for example, to put more bobbies on the beat.

Broken promises: six pledges / statements from the Conservative Party

The first six pledges or statements from the Tories that I have chosen are as follows:

1. You Tube statement from David Cameron (March 2007)
“At the absolute heart of the approach I want the Conservative Party to take is to put public services first and to give local people far more control over how their local area is run. And today I can announce that I am appointing, for the first time, a shadow minister with responsibility for Cornwall. Mark Prisk is a born and bred Cornishman. He went to school in Truro. He knows the Duchy extremely well and all of its different parts and variety and the people there. What I want is for him to listen to people in Cornwall, to understand their concerns, to get to grip with the issues and report back to me so that actually Cornwall is heard at the heart of the Shadow Cabinet and the heart of the Conservative Party, so that we can address the concerns that people have. I think the Labour Government has taken the South West for granted for far too long, and Cornwall almost completely ignored by the Government. I don’t want that to happen. I went to Cornwall during my leadership election and I will be back over the next coming months. And I think having Mark as a Minister with responsibility for Cornwall will be a great step to make sure that your voice is heard at the heart of Whitehall and we have policies which reflect the needs and aspirations of the people who live in Cornwall.”

MK Comment: The Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition Government has refused to appoint a Minister for Cornwall, and the Prime Minister’s pledge that Cornwall’s voice would be heard “at the heart of Whitehall” has been shown to be false.  The Coalition has legislated to create a Devonwall parliamentary seat and also has plans to introduce a “Pasty Tax” and regional pay.

2. Coast to Coast leaflet 6 (2009)
“It is dishonest to claim that we will cut police officer numbers. In fact, our plans to cut bureaucracy and red tape mean that there would be more police on the street, fighting crime and protecting local communities.” – shadow Home Secretary Nick Grayling

MK Comment: The Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition Government has cut funding for Devon and Cornwall Police by £47 million. Staffing numbers have already been cut by over 200 and it is anticipated that, by the end of the spending review period, there will be 700 fewer police officers within the “Devon and Cornwall” policing area. Recent figures also show that crime has risen within the force’s area.

3. Coast to Coast leaflet no. 6 (2009)
Cornwall already receives less per head for services such as education and health. We cannot afford to be cut back and in fact, here in Mid Cornwall, we need to make the case for increased investment in services and infrastructure.” – Caroline Righton, PPC for St Austell and Newquay

MK Comment: Investment in Cornwall has not been increased by the Coalition Government, and public services in Cornwall have suffered very significant cuts. For example, cuts in funding to Cornwall Council equates to a reduction in spend, over a four year period, of £490 million.

4. Mailshot from David Cameron (2009)
“Seven out of ten working people will be better off than under Labour, and nobody will be worse off.”

5. Letter from George Osborne (March 2010)
“Most importantly of all, we need to get the economy growing again. It is growth that will do most to get our economy moving. It is only when the economy is growing strongly again that we will be able to make real inroads into the huge debt that Labour have built up.”

MK Comment: Under the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition, the economy has struggled. The depth and speed of Coalition spending cuts has further damaged the economy, and it has been confirmed that the United Kingdom has slipped back into recession – the first “double dip” recession in decades. Many thousands and thousands of people are worse off under David Cameron and George Osborne.

6. Statement from David Cameron on the campaign trail
“There will be no top-down reorganisation of the National Health Service.”

MK Comment: The Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition pushed the divisive Health and Social Care Bill through the House of Commons, ignoring unprecedented levels of opposition from nurses, midwives, GPs, doctors and ordinary people. 

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The broken promises of the Coalition parties ... two years on

It is now almost two years (24 months) since the 2010 General Election.

To mark this anniversary, during Wednesday and Thursday, I will post online 24 pledges or statements made during the election campaign by the Conservative and the Liberal Democrat parties.

There will be twelve from each party and most will come from leaflets circulated to voters in the St Austell and Newquay Constituency, where I was a candidate. And obviously, I will comment on which promises and pledges have not been actioned and which ones have been ignored.

The first posting will cover six promises from the Conservative Party and will be added to this site early on Wednesday morning.