It has to be acknowledged that Jude Robinson, senior Labour impresario, works damned hard. She attends masses of meetings and public gatherings, both in the course of her public duty as a councillor and in her capacity as a person who cares about people.
Now some people (who are much more cynical than I) say to me that a lot of this verve is down to the fact that Cllr Robinson wants to be the next MP for Camborne/Redruth/Hayle (or whatever constituency has been gerrymandered by the LibCons by the next election). These misanthropic n'er-do-wells point to the Labour leaflets in the recent Camborne South by-election and ask why was so much space devoted to Ms Robinson rather than the actual Labour candidate.
My reply is swift and sure "Jude is a good lady. She is very sincere and is great at listening to people"
"Yes, indeed," they reply, "she will agree and empathise with any voter who will talk to her - but she is a bit short on real substance and just a bit too long on hollow rhetoric."
Well, of course, I have always told these non-believers that they need to be more trusting - until now that is.
This afternoon Cllr Robinson and I had the following exchange on Twitter:
@JudeRobinson: "Rapid expansion of our population is a concern, especially when it causes unease, homelessness and other problems. We have to make provision to deal with those problems and cooperation is a big part of that. I don't think the figs shld be extrapolated for 90 years to stir up resentment. Smacks of 'rivers of blood' to me. PP from Cornwall have settled across the world, this has always been a trading nation and a meeting place of settlers but that does cause stresses and safeguarding this unique culture and heritage should be a bigger priority."
Hmmm, I thought, that sounds like Jude understands the situation and is conscious of a need to do something about the unsustainable growth in poulation that Cornwall is currently experiencing. Perhaps she could answer a couple of questions?
@CllrSRichardson: "Jude how much of a problem do you think in-migration is? What would you do to reduce it? Also why did previous Labour government actively plan for it rather than do anything to reduce it?"
Fair enough questions, you might think, for the top dog in Cornish Labour, given the empathetic and sympathetic statements that she had just made? Let's see what Ms Robinson intends to actually do to prevent unease, homelessness and other problems. What plans or policies do labour have to make provision to deal with the problems and to safeguard this unique culture and heritage?
@JudeRobinson: "well I wonder Stephen. Any suggestions? You're a recent incomer. How could we have put you off?"
@CllrSRichardson: "Typical! You can't answer the questions so you avoid them."
@JudeRobinson: "Er, am I mistaken or are you a cllr for a political party? You don't have answers but have a go at me instead. Would you prefer chaos, lack of planning, North Cornwall all over again? Suggest a plan. Better than sniping. This why I don't want to get involved in these debates. Attack all you like but let me get on with some work."
This tirade, over several tweets, was a little tetchy I thought - considering that I had only asked her a couple of questions. Unfortunately this what you can expect from Labour in Cornwall.
Cllr Robinson is an expert at empathising with voters and demonstrating how much she cares for the people of Camborne and Cornwall, but it seems she has little to offer in the way of ideas to actually make a difference.
If she is criticised she quite often resorts to claiming that her critic is 'having a go at her' or 'sniping'. Well perhaps criticism comes with the territory of being a politician? Jude Robinson also frequently bemoans the fact that people insult her, but she often confuses criticism with insult. If it all gets too much for her then she takes a final refuge in claiming that she is tired of men patronising her just because she is a woman. Sorry Jude - if you ask me, this is all just a bit of a front to divert attention away from criticism to which you have no answer - make it look like the poor little girl, who is just trying to be nice, is being bullied by the big nasty men.
The fact is that Labour have shown themselves to be disastrous for Cornwall.
A decade ago New Labour promised any region a referendum on devolution if it could show that 10% of the population wanted it. Mebyon Kernow collected over 50,000 signatures (all verified and checked against the electoral register) on a petition which was presented to and, immediately ignored by the Labour government, thus blatantly breaking a pledge in a way that was echoed 10 years later by Nick Clegg and his promise on tuition fees.
Labour, with their big regionalisation schemes, refused to recognise Cornwall as its own region and consistently forced Cornwall to be joined with a more affluent Devon (or even a wider South West) when applying for funding from the EU. Only after much campaigning, from the likes of Mebyon Kernow, was Cornwall eventually allowed to apply for funding in its own right. Finally, Cornwall received convergence funding from Europe. Labour immediately gave this money to its quango, SWRDA and a lot of the much needed cash for Cornwall disappeared into the South West Region black hole and was never seen again.
The Second Cornish National Minority Report has just been published. Labour steadfastly refused to honour the commitment they made when the UK government signed the Framework Convention for National Minorities and yet Jude Robinson now blithely signs the call "to include the Cornish" contained in the Foreward of the new report.
Labour, just like each of the other Westminster parties, is not good for Cornwall. London is remote from us in this part of the world and doesn't understand what is needed to allow Cornwall and all the people of Cornwall to get going economically and socially. We are quite capable of managing Cornish affairs we just need to be allowed to get on with rebuilding communities and addressing socio-economic needs in a Cornish way. We need an Assembly for Cornwall and politicians who will put Cornwall first in everything they say and everything they do.
(.... and a little less empathy!)