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

Monday, 31 December 2012

New Year - Massive Challenge

Bledhen nowydh da!

2012 was certainly a politically action packed year in cornwall and 2013 looks set to be just as busy with unitary elections early in May and a new council finding its feet and setting an agenda for Cornwall's future.

I feel tremendously honoured to have been selected as the prospective MK Cornwall Council candidate for Illogan and I am relishing the challenge of getting the MK message out to the voters of Illogan, Park Bottom and West Tolgus.

I am planning an intense, targetted and scientific approach to gaining the Illogan ED seat on cornwall Council for MK.

I want to ask anyone who lives close to Illogan, and who believes in the MK message, to get in touch and help me win Illogan for MK.

Perhaps you can help me deliver leaflets or fold them ready for others to deliver. Maybe you could help knocking doors, talking to voters and identifying where the voters who may vote for MK are. You may live in Illogan, Park Bottom or West Tolgus and would be willing to display a poster or garden sign for the campaign. Alternatively you may be able to offer a cash donation to help us fight the campaign with a level of resources that the London based parties will be sure to be deploying.

However you might be able to help your support will be greatly appreciated. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with me at starichardson@btinternet.com or on 07711 587905 if you have any questions or are able to offer any help.

I know MK candidates and branches accross Cornwall are steeling themselves for the mammoth task facing the party over the coming months. If you normally help a specific branch or particular candidate then please continue to support where you would normally do so. However, if you don't normally get involved with election campaigns then this appeal is for you. MK needs all the practical support it can get over the coming months if we are to realise the potential that we have worked hard to develop over the last few years.

Bledhen nowtyth da - please get involved. - either helping me or your local candidate or branch.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Goodbye Mr Lavery

Unless there is some form of April Fool tradition in New Zealand that happens in December, it seems that Kevin Lavery will be derting the sinking ship that is Cornwall Council.

No doubt there will be many recriminations and much discussion as to the ins and outs of why Mr Lavery is leaving and why councillors weren't informed before a newspaper in New Zealand printed the story.

Personally I don't care. I am just glad to see the back of him. Clearly, from his CV (which we in Cornwall have just paid a small fortune to enhance) he was a career opportunist plain and simple - never making any long term commitment to any organisation that he has worked for.

Now that things were beginning to look as if they might go a bit sour for him is it any wonder that he's off to fresh pastures and new opportunities.

What concerns me more is the process of finding a new CEO.

Who is responsibe for this?

How is the process managed?

Who decides on the rate of pay and the job description?

Given Eric Pickles' latest suggestions, perhaps now would be a good time to start to reduce the ridiculously high salaries paid to the top level executives at Cornwall Council.

50 Shades of Cuts

Eric Pickles latest offering, soft porn for Tory cost-cutting ideologists, is nothing but a shameful and expensive propaganda exercise. His top 50 tips for councils to save money is patronising in the extreme.

It is hard to feel sorry for Cornwall Council's Tory/Independent administration but even they are clearly doing a more professional job than Pickles' epistle seems to give any local council credit for.

The guide, which aims to show councils how to administer the deeply damaging cuts imposed by the Tories and lib dems in Westminster without impacting front line services is just an attempt to shift blame from Mr Pickles to hapless local authorities.

Utter tosh!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Newquay Aerohub (lack of) Enterprise Zone

The Newquay Aerohub gained Enterprise Zone status in August 2011.

At the time we were promised over 1000 new high level jobs over the next five years.

15 months later or one quarter of the way into the five year promise there seems to be around 80 jobs at the Aerohub - less than 10% of the promise. (Always provided, of course, that these are in fact NEW jobs and not jobs simply moved to Newquay to take advantage of the lower business rates on offer?)

The Aerohub was heralded as a fantastic boost for Cornwall by Cornwall Council and the LEP, with promises of many highly skilled jobs.

It seems that they need to get on with meeting their promises if the vaunted benefits are to be delivered. In the remaining 75% of the project's five year plan they still need to deliver well over 90% of the promises.

Is this just another example of the 'same old, same old' broken promises. Or will there be the ritualistic brushing of the failure of past headline grabbing claims under the carpet when the outlandish projections don't materialise?

Those cynics who thought that the aerohub enterprise zone was just another expensive way of covering up the lack of real business opportunity and market need at Newquay Airport are probably beginning to mutter the words "Told you so!" right now.

What we need from Cornwall Council, The LEP and the Cornwall Development Company is some real action. Some intervention to help not just to provide subsidies for the bigger businesses in Cornwall but myriad small interventions to boost the opportunities for real Cornish businesses to see through these challenging times or to get started.

We need to begin at the small end helping one, two or three people create prosperity and leave the high visibility, CV building projects to the well paid managing directors of the companies who have the skill and ability to deliver them without part time help funded by our council tax and government schemes.

More of the money spent on business develoment should go to SMEs and less to the administration of the LEP and CDC.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Making sense of the census

83,000 people defined themselves as being Cornish in the 2011 UK census. Of these, 73,000 were resident in Cornwall on census night. In 2001 just 37,000 people identified as Cornish - so why the dramatic increase?

An increase made even more surprising given the hoops that these self-declared Cornish men and women had to go through in order to establish their ethnicity.

For English people it was a simple, passive tick of a box.

Cornish people had to tick a box labelled 'other' and then write in their ethnicity. They had to actively assert their identity without being given an obvious and clear Cornish option to do so.

I believe it's all about education. It's about making sure that people know that 'Cornish' is an option - not just in people's hearts but in the grey world of officialdom. It's about saying that it's actually ok to be officially Cornish.

For me the encouraging thing is that this is the general public making an apolitical statement in an overtly political way and, seemingly, revelling in the rebellion.

Friday, 7 December 2012

What do tax dodging Starbucks and the Duchy of Cornwall have in common?

The Duchy of Cornwall's web site tells us that the Duchy is a private estate. At the same time this 'private estate pays no corporation tax as it is a 'crown body'.

Is this morally correct even though it is quite 'lawful'?

Just like Starbucks, Charles Windsor is not legally required to pay tax and yet he chooses to pay money to HMRC as a public relations exercise.

What is the difference between Starbucks 'volunteering' to pay tax and the Duke of Cornwall 'volunteering' to pay tax?

Why is it that when one pays a sum of money (that it is not legally required to do) it is vilified by the press and MPs and yet no-one mentions the other?

Just as it is claimed that it is immoral for Starbucks and Google et al to avoid paying tax (though there is no legal requirement) so it must be for the Duchy of Cornwall - shouldn't it?

Sunday, 2 December 2012

The 'Core Strategy' goes to Cornwall Council's full council

I get to talk to a lot of people - both in my capacity as a Councillor and in my shop. 

I have yet to find anyone that truly believes that all the housing development that is happening in Cornwall is a good thing. So why is it that only Mebyon Kernow has a bespoke policy for Cornwall’s housing needs? 

We believe in building houses only where there is a demonstrable local need. We call for Cornwall’s development policy to be centred on providing jobs for the people who already live here rather than encouraging more people to buy second ‘homes’. 

No matter what your local Tory, Lib Dem, Labour or UKIP candidate tells you, all of the London parties share the guilt of tarmacking over our countryside. 

Even the so called Independents have much to answer for. The person responsible for a policy of building at least 50,000 houses on Cornish land over the next twenty years, Mark Kaczmarek, is a leading member of the Independent Group. Cllr Kaczmarek insists this is necessary or else London will impose its own targets. I say Cllr Kaczmarek is doing a good job of ruining Cornwall all by himself – who needs Westminster telling us what we need? 

We deserve politicians who put Cornwall first and are prepared to fight for our green fields.
Mebyon Kernow was the only party to care enough to write a paper calling for a lower new-build housing target during the consultation period for the twenty year plan. None of the local Westminster parties could be bothered. 

When you vote in May remember which party is putting Cornwall first and would act to put policies that are good for Cornwall in place.

Below is a message from the Trelawney Alliance: 

Stop the Mass Destruction of Cornwall
On 11th December Cornwall Council will decide on its housing target for the next 20 years. Councillors will be asked to support a motion to build 49,000 houses out of which only 20% will be affordable. We feel that 49,000 is much too high a figure, it is unnecessary, unsustainable and to support inward migration.
However, Councillors will also have the chance to vote on a lower number of 38,000 and as these are the only two options we obviously want our councillors to vote for 38,000,although Trelawney Alliance still think that this number is still far too high. 
1. Create an email to your local Cornwall Councillor
2. Write a short message, see suggestion below
3. Send that email and repeat the process with other councillors in your area.
Suggestion for email
Dear Councillor.................... On December 11th Cornwall Council will be voting on its housing targets for the next 20 years. I object to the proposed 49,000 and respectfully ask you to support the lower option of 38,000.
Yours Sincerely