Welcome to the blog. All the opinion on this blog is my own or as attributed. Thank you for reading - I hope you enjoy.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

I would like to say thank you to the people of Illogan who took the time and trouble to vote in the recent Illogan Parish Council by-election – whichever candidate they voted for. I believe that it is important that more people engage in their local community and having a say in how the parish is run is important. Of course, it goes without saying that I am especially grateful to those who were kind enough to vote for me.

I would like to thank my opponent, the Labour candidate Steve Richards, for running a very positive campaign. I note the comments that he made with regard to local government at parish level needing to be based on consensus. I also note that he very much has local needs and concerns at the top of his agenda. However, I can't agree that politics can altogether be eradicated from what is, after all, an institution that is political by nature and construction. I would also suggest that in order to remove party politics from the agenda a candidate would need to stand as an independent. The Labour party is certainly a London based political party even if its members in Illogan are locals. I believe that any Labour candidate would find it hard to gain credibility when arguing that housing needs to be primarily for local need when the Labour party was responsible for the policy demanding the constuction of 68,000 new houses in Cornwall (including up to 11,000 within a stone's throw of Illogan).

As I went round the parish, knocking on doors and introducing myself, it became clear that many of people did not feel that they had been informed properly about the election – polling cards had not been distributed and apart from campaign leaflets many would never have been informed about the election. I am acutely aware that it seems a bit rich asking you to come out and vote when you do not feel that you have been given sufficient information to do so. This problem is one of the first things that I will be looking into as a councillor and I will endeavour to discover how the decisions regarding polling cards and publicity for by-elections are made.

The parishioners of Illogan have already provided me with quite a number of issues that they feel need to be looked at and I have already started working on these on their behalf. Some people felt that politicians were only interested in their opinion when there was an election taking place. I take that criticism on board and encourage anyone who believes that they have issues that I can help with as a Councillor to get in touch with me. I cannot promise that I will always be able to help but I do promise to do whatever I can when I can.

The Illogan Parish Plan is well under way now and has reached the second consultation stage. There was an excellent response to the initial survey. Now the results of the survey are being taken around Illogan parish by way of a ‘road show’. It would be great if people could take the time to visit the road show and make sure that everything that needs to be covered has been.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Do Lib-Cons have time for local democracy?

Well here we go! I don't know if anyone will be interested in anything I have to say - but who knows?

This blog will be about things that concern Illogan and Cornwall and I'm hoping that putting my thoughts into words might help me examine and question my own views on local and Duchy issues.

I moved to Cornwall in 2008
and have been given a very warm welcome by the local community. With this in mind I have decided to stand as the Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall – candidate in the Illogan Parish Council by-election to be held on 24th June. I would like to try to give something back to the community by serving as a Parish Councillor.

Parish councils are statutory bodies and have a large range of powers. The activities that parish and town councils are involved in are wide and varied. Many parish and town councils are involved in planning, promoting tourism, licensing, community halls, representation, management of town and village centres and providing community halls.

Unfortunately Parish councils are sometimes overlooked by the public (especially when an election falls just after a general election). This is a great pity because there is so much good work that can be done on this basic grass-roots level.

Indeed, even some of the ‘big’ London based parties seem to be dismissive of local grass-roots community involvement. For example, in the forthcoming Illogan by-election there are only two candidates. Besides me there is a Labour party candidate standing and that is it. It would seem that the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are now too busy with national government to be concerned with working for the good of local communities through this fundamental and critical tier of local government.

If you live in the Illogan ward, please use your vote on 24th June. It is important that local democracy has a strong mandate from the community that it serves.