Cornish Assembly Now!

Cornish Assembly Now!

Welcome!

Welcome to the blog. All the opinion on this blog is my own or as attributed. This blog is not an official outlet for either Mebyon Kernow - The Party for Cornwall, or for Illogan Parish Council. Thank you for reading - I hope you enjoy.
www.facebook.com/StephenRichardsonMK
@CllrSRichardson

Friday, 24 April 2015

Why you might consider voting for me!

Over the last few weeks I have attended nearly a dozen hustings. Over that time I have got to know
the candidates' political views quite well. In fact I have made a tongue in cheek suggestion that at the last hustings we should all attend as one of the other candidates because we all know what each other will say.

In Truro and Falmouth we have 9 candidates - that is a lot!

I would venture a suggestion that we have this many candidates because of a fundamental dissatisfaction with the Westminster elite. Whether its the Tories, the Red Tories, Orange Tories or, now, the Purple Ultra-Tories, it makes no difference they are all the same. The only thing that separates them is the sheet of carbon paper that they use to copy each other's policies.

There is also a growing recognition of the harm that the austerity ideology is doing to both our social fabric and our economy - and this is reflected in the fact that most of the non-Westminster candidates are standing with an anti-austerity agenda.

So, in Truro and Falmouth, if you are fed up with the Westminster elite why should you consider voting for me and for Mebyon Kernow?

To answer this I would say that you should entrust your vote to me if you really want your vote to count and if you want Truro and Falmouth and Cornwall to have a strong voice in Westminster.

There are reasons for this!

First of all vote for or tactical vote against any Westminster party is the real wasted vote. If you vote for a Westminster candidate you are voting for the status quo. Whatever colour Tory you vote for you will get a government that is fully subscribed to the ideology of austerity. Instead of Cornwall having a strong voice in Westminster (which is what you will get with an MK candidate), Westminster will have another overpowering voice in Cornwall. A voice which will obey its party political bosses in London.

I and other MK MPs will sit with the anti-austerity alliance, including the SNP and Plaid Cymru. It seems likely that any government that is finally formed will exist only with the support of this alliance. an MK MP will be in a powerful position to argue the case for his/her constituency and for Cornwall as a whole.

With MK you have a solid history of campaigning for social justice and devolution for Cornwall. I have a great respect and admiration for several of my opponents in Truro and Falmouth who don't belong to the establishment Westminster parties. If you can't vote for me I would rather that you voted for one of them than a candidate which will take orders from their party boss and carry on as usual.

However, with the very best anti-austerity intentions, these candidates might be described as 'pop-up' candidates. Just like the shops in the High Street that appear at Christmas time and then disappear in January, where is the history of long term political commitment?

So if you want:

  • An MP  who will work tirelessly for their constituency and for the best interests of Cornwall;
  • An MP who will fight to ensure that all planning and development policies, decisions and appeals are made in Cornwall by the people of Cornwall;
  • An MP who will lobby to build more council houses instead of selling them off;
  • An MP that will fight to redress the imbalance of central government funding funding that is so detrimental to Cornish communities;
  • An MP who will campaign to use £100 billion to build hospitals, schools and communities instead of risking our security through Trident nuclear weapons;
  • An MP who cares about the environment and whose party has real and credible green policies;
  • An MP which believes that we need to be outward and forward looking rather than introspective and insular and who will fight for a reformed EU and an MEP for Cornwall;
  • An MP who will fight for democratic accountability to the people of Cornwall for public spending in Cornwall through a devolved national assembly;
  • An MP who will endeavour to create a joined up and properly funded health service in Cornwall which is measured by clinical success rather than the balance sheet
...  then you should vote for me - or an MK candidate in your constituency.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Compare and Contrast - the positive vision of MK or Lib Dem decimation of democratically accountable local government.

Mebyon Kernow has today launched its policy document - 'Towards an Assembly of Cornwall'

In the document we spell out how a national government for Cornwall could bring governance of Cornwall home to Cornwall. Our vision of an Assemply is a strategic, national government with powers similar to the powers of the Scottish Parliament following the Scotland Act 1998. This would give us the tools and leverage to develop the Cornish economy, protect our health service and stop the concreting of Cornwall.

At the same time we would reform local government and do away with the highly centralised single unitary authority to be replaced by four smaller authorities This would be a strengthening of local government - making it more accountable to the people that elect our councillors - and making it more, well - 'local'.

Nick Clegg will be using the kudos of St Piran's day to indukge in a spree of electioneering.

The Lib Dems present themselves as a party that understands and promotes Cornwall and Nick Clegg has clearly chosen St Piran's Day for electoral purposes.

While he's announcing what the Lib Dems laughingly call devolution, will Nick accept responsibility for the cut in funding to the Cornish laguage? I doubt it.

Will Nick give an assurance that devolution for Cornwall will be a line in the sand in any future coalition deal? I doubt it.

Full of promises and committment now - but will the Lib Dems actually act on any of their promises in the future? I doubt it.

The Lib Dem plans amount to a tinkering with, indeed decimation of, local government. They say that they want to remove layers of bureaucracy whereas, in fact, their plans will reduce the democratic accountability of government in Cornwall even more than so called 'localism' policies already have. More bureaucracy - just transferred away from the people that we elect to appointed civil servants.

Are the Lib Dems seriously suggesting that extra powers and responsibilities can be given to a local government authority and put in the hands of what are often part-time councillors. What's more we're told that the number of councillors would be reduced. This will not save money it will increase costs as responsibilities are transferred to an ever increasing raft of highly paid council officers.

If you think that Cornwall council is not fit for purpose now then heaven help us if the Lib Dems get their way.


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

TTIP - Privatisation of Democracy?

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership TTIP is currently being negotiated between the EU and the USA.

Ostensibly the deal will create a free trade area with the EU and USA as members.

Now free trade is good and to be welcomed as a driver of economic development, however, I believe that there are too many drawbacks with what is currently being negotiated for it to be a good thing overall.

TTIP is likely to threaten environmental and consumer protection laws in Cornwall and could take vital decisions out of the hands of our elected rpresentatives, giving corporations the opportunity to sue governments if their profits are affected. The Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) will be a new legal tier outside of the EU framework.

Another problem is that jobs could well be even harder to come by as companies switch from the EU to the USA where employment regulations are set at a lower standard than in Europe.

Negotiations are being kept under wraps and I am always wary of any public process that lacks transparency.

All in all the disadvantages and 'dumbing down' of our standards to make creating profit easier and the 'privatisation of democracy' are too high a price to pay for improving the balance sheets of big corporations.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Remind me again - why are we building 47,500 houses. Bringing decision-making home to Cornwall.

Mebyon Kernow - The Party for Cornwall has called for all aspects of planning policy and decision making necessary in Cornwall to be devolved to Cornwall.

Planning policy is currently dictaed through the National Planning Policy Framework from Westminster. There is an inbuilt bias in the policy in favour of development because the Westminster parties see house building as a way to solve economic problems and as a way to appease the corporations and wealthy property developers that back their parties financially.

Mebyon Kernow believes that houses should be built purely to meet local need and not simply to generate profit for the big building firms.

Planning applications are dealt with mainly by unelected planning officers who are instructed to follow central government policies and guidelines. In the few instances where our democratically elected representatives are involved with decisions they are often warned about going against the advice of officers due to the costs involved when developers appeal their decisons. All too often the developers win their appeal - the system backs profit-making against community wishes.

It is time to bring all aspects of planning policy and decision-making home to Cornwall.

We should have a national assembly which could produce a strategic, community led policy for development in Cornwall - which would then be implemented by a reformed local government. Power over development should be in the hands of our locally elected and accountable representatives - not in the hands of big business backed by central Westminster government.

And this issue is so vital here in Cornwall that we need this devolution of power even ahead of  a national assembly. We need to set our own policy and to to have all the mechanisms and appeals based here in Cornwall and overseen in a truly democratic way.

If you want to see an end to the concreting over of Cornwall, the only hope is to vote for Mebyon Kernow and send that message up the line to London.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Say Yes to Free Votes in Parliament


Rob Simmons, good friend, fellow member of MK and MK PPC for St Ives has recently blogged about his pledge to the voters of the St Ives constituency.

The Free Vote Voluntary Recall Alliance has asked that politicians abadon the practice of putting their party before the people they are supposed to represent.

For me one of the worst aspects of Westminster party politicians is that they are generally career minded above all else. Candidates for Labour, the Tories, UKIP and Lib Dems know that if they are elected they are on the first steps of a highly lucrative career path. As well as a very big salary they can claim expenses and, as we have seen recently, can even get other jobs as well as being an MP. If they do a really good job, and vote the way that their party bosses in London tell them, they might look forward to remaining the candidate for their party in the next election to start the process all over again. In the meantime the very loyal party politicos will be rewarded with ministry jobs to supplement their income. After their parliamentary career is done they will walk into highly pais directorships or consultancies - all they have to do is keep their noses clean, not criticise the party and vote as they're told.

As a member of Mebyon Kernow I believe in policies that are designed to put Cornwall first, to make a difference to the lives of people in the Duchy. I am happy to say that I fully support MK's policies and I am standing for election on that basis. If I am elected it will be because people have voted for me knowing what I stand for. But that doesn't mean that I would automatically vote as MK might want me to at Westminster. Each issue, each vote in the Commons is a separate matter and deserves full consideration as to how it would affect constituents in Truro and Falmouth. While I would work to promote MK, because I believe in their ethos, my position as an MP would be outside of that remit and my work as an MP would be to promote the interests of constituents and not the party.

So, like Rob this is my promise to the voters of the Truro & Falmouth Parliamentary constituency:

I , Stephen Richardson, the Mebyon Kernow- the Party for Cornwall candidate standing for election as your Member of Parliament , do herby promise and affirm, that if I am elected to be your Member of the Westminster Parliament  in the General Election on 7th May 2015. I will adopt and act in accordance with the terms of the Free Vote Voluntary Recall Alliance Pledge as published at www.fvvra.org  and I will maintain this, my personal pledge throughout my term as your Member of Parliament”.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Tax Dodging Bill

My friend, colleague and fellow MK PPC - Rob Simmons - has offered his support to the campaign
for a Tax Dodging Bill.

I would like to follow his lead and add my voice to the call for fairer tax and greater social justice.

You can read all about this excellent campaign and call on your candidates in the forthcoming election to offer their support here.

Below is the email of support that I have sent to the campaign organisers.

Dear Tax Dodging Bill Campaign,
 
In my capacity as the Mebyon Kernow - The Party for Cornwall prospective parlaimentary candidate for Truro and Falmouth, I would like to offer my unequivocal and wholehearted support for your campaign for a Tax Dodging Bill in the next Parliament.
 
Mebyon Kernow is a political party based in Cornwall. We are often called 'Cornish Nationalists' - which we are proud to recognise. However, Mebyon Kernow is not an insular party - as people outside of Cornwall might imagine - it is a party which believes in local democratic accountability and national, European and global co-operation.
 
Members of Mebyon Kernow, like myself, are committed to bringing about greater social justice everywhere and our policies already endorse the kind of action that you are campaigning for.
 
For me it is an absolute 'no-brainer' to support your campaign, which I do unreservedly. Personally I can see no reason why any right minded person who genuinely wants to achieve greater social justice would have any qualms in offering such support.
 
I wish you well with your campaign and would like to offer any material and tangible support that you think would help with your campaign.
 
Chons da ha gans oll a'n gwella, (Good luck and with all the best)
 
Stephen Richardson - MK PPC for Truro and Falmouth

Thursday, 29 January 2015

UKIP at it again!

Last night UKIP held a public meeting in Illogan starting at 7:00pm.

According to @UKIPCRH there were 'many' people there - though the definition of 'many' according to @UKIPCRH seems to be 7 ????  (This might give context to UKIP claims about the problems we face because of 'many' immigrants to the UK)

I attended the start of the meeting but was unable to stay for the entire thing as I had a different engagement at 7:30pm.

The UKIP PPC for Camborne, Redruth and Hayle, Robert Smith, began speaking at around 7:05pm. I left around 7:20pm so I caught around 12 - 15 mins of Mr Smith's speech.

A good two thirds of what I heard was rebuttal of the recnt bad press that UKIP have received as the media begin to examine their (lack of) policies in detail.

In particular Mr Smith was keen to point out the UKIP were all in favour of the NHS and had no plans to privatise it.

The problem with this claim is that David cameron 'had no plans' to raise VAT - yet that was what happened within weeks of him becoming Prime Minister.

Mr Smith pointed to what Nigel farage had said recently about the NHS. Conclusive proof that UKIP are solidly behinf the NHS! Thing is Mr Farage keeps changing his mind on the NHS - torn between his natural tendency towards privatisation and his knowledge that this tendency won't do UKIP any favours in the polls. At the same time the UKIP message on the NHS is a shambles with all sorts of spokespeople saying all sorts of different things.

Then the speech turned to immigration.

A background was sketched before us. We had recently had a census - the purpose of which is to aid the prediction of population trends. The Labour Party had got the interpretation of the data hopelessly wrong and immigration was massively higher than predicted. UKIP isn't against immigration at all - we should have a points system like many other countries (none of which are in the EU and enjoying the economic benefit that it brings mind you). UKIP is simply about restricting immigration for economic migrants.

So, it would seem that wealthy immigrants or perhaps immigrants with skills that would command a good salary would be welcome while poorer ones should not be allowed. OK that kind of makes sense if you're a right wing pub politician.

But then came the killer blow for me and the point where I got up, thanked the speaker and left for my other engagement.

"Of course, this is why we have to build 47,000 houses in Cornwall"

The link between immigration, following the build up and scene setting and you could see the finished painting as far as housing goes.

In Cornwall we are having to build 47,000 houses because we will need to accommodate economic migrants from Eastern Europe.

So wrong on so many levels!

What would be the point of  building houses for the immigrants that UKIP want us to stop? They come from countries where the economy is more like ours in Cornwall. If our people in Cornwall can't afford the ridiculous number of houses that will be built here then I'm certain that the mythical 'many' economic migrants from Eastern Europe won't be able to!!!

What would be more likely is, if we accepted the UKIP spin on immigration, and welcomed the wealthy immigrants with open arms, then, of course they would be able to afford our houses and force prices even further out of reach than they are already.

The truth is that we are building houses in Cornwall - not to address local need in any way, but to accomodate people moving to the Duchy from wealthier parts of the UK or wealthier people from outside the UK.

How much longer will we allow UKIP to scapegoat the poor and disadvantaged for the excesses of the bankers and 'city' finance moguls and to lay a blaket of blame for every ill in society on Europe and immigration.