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Friday, 26 September 2014

An Open Letter to Cllr Candy Atherton

Here is the text of an open letter that I have sent to Cllr Atherton:

Dear Cllr Atherton,
Cornish Assembly
I have read a report of your comments in a recent article in the Western Morning News and I would like to thank you for making it clear that The Labour party is opposed to a Cornish Assembly and that Labour does not believe that Cornwall is capable of running its own affairs.
Unfortunately the rest of your recent diatribe as reported in the Western Morning News is a bit harder to understand.
For example, in reference to a Cornish Assembly you talk in terms of “another layer of bureaucrats”. Of course this sort of statement is very emotive but then you Westminster types do so often like to be long on emotive language when the point you want to make is short on fact. Sadly you do seem to like making this (untrue) point over and over again and it behoves me, as a good citizen of Cornwall, to explain why your assertion is as wrong as a Labour Party candidate calling themselves a socialist.
You see – far from being an ‘extra layer’ - a Cornish Assembly would simply move the machinery of government 300 miles from an office with a W1 postcode back home to Cornwall. Devolved matters wouldn’t be decided in Westminster any longer – no extra layer - they would be decided in Cornwall instead. No extra layer at all, none, nada, zip – just extra democratic accountability of government to the people of Cornwall.
Of course, this does unfortunately raise the spectre of just exactly what all those expensive and centralised Westminster politicians would be doing upcountry - so I can see why your party might be a bit perturbed about disturbing the status quo.
Now - moving on to your vision of ‘regionalised’ governance. I have heard you wax lyrical - time after time - about working together with partners at an appropriate level. There is absolutely nothing at all wrong with working with all sorts of partners - and Mebyon Kernow would certainly advocate that Cornwall worked with all manner of partners whether within the United Kingdom, within Europe or on global basis.  Nevertheless - we wouldn’t advocate giving up our democratic voice to be subsumed within a massive South West English region.
“Plymouth!” I hear you cry – again and again, “We could work with Plymouth.”
There is unequivocally nothing wrong with Plymouth. Plymouth is a sterling place - you can see Cornwall from there on a good day!
However, Plymouth is not Cornwall and any partnership of Cornwall with Plymouth should be based on a one-off partnership of equals and Plymouth should not be allowed to become a Trojan horse whereby Cornwall’s democratic voice is swamped by the larger population of English counties and her top jobs and services are moved to Exeter or Bristol.

Finally, your utterly ludicrous assertion that not more than one per cent of the Cornish population would welcome a Cornish Assembly is – well, just that - ludicrous. You said that you would challenge anyone on a wet October day to find more than one in one hundred who would like more politicians. I’m not quite sure what effect precipitation has on people’s view of politicians - but I’m sure it doesn’t have much effect on what they think about a Cornish Assembly!
Your attempt to conflate disdain for politicians with disdain for a Cornish Assembly is laughable and disingenuous to say the least.
Cllr Atherton I have a challenge for you.
Come with me while I knock on one hundred doors and listen to exactly what people think about a Cornish Assembly – or, admit that you are wrong and that support for a Cornish Assembly amongst the people of Cornwall is far greater than you would have us believe.
Yn lel,
Stephen Richardson

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