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

Thursday, 31 January 2013

A Week of Hypocrisy

What a lot of hypocritical nonsense we have had to suffer during the last week!

First up Eric Pickles and his Westminster cronies cut council tax benefit and try to scam us by passing on the responsibility for that cut to local authorities. When local authorities decide to increase their tax base instead, Mr Pickles claims an abuse of democracy because the councils keep the increase below the amount required to trigger a referendum. The loss of council tax benefit is down to you Mr Pickles and we don't see you calling for a referendum on George Osbourne's budgets.

Westminster Tories - hypocrites!

Next up we have:

"Nigel Farage's UK Independence party has told its MEPs not to oppose a package that would fund some of Europe's most extreme parties. The Alliance of European National Movements, a grouping of far-right MEPs, is looking to get £340,000 from the European commission, with a similar amount for a possible thinktank. The alliance includes Nick Griffin's British National party, Hungary's neo-fascist Jobbik party, Bulgaria's far-right National Democratic party and the Front National in France."

From http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/jan/27/ukip-far-right

So it seems that not all European spending is a bad thing where UKIP are concerned and actually our money is well spent on promoting far right organisations.

UKIP - hypocrites!

And then we had the spectacle of the Lib Dems trashing the Tory reform of constituencies and the number of MPs which would have resulted in a 'Devonwall' constituency. The thing is, all of the Cornish Lib Dem  MPs have previously trudged through the lobby in support of Devonwall. It's only because Nick Clegg, in his London office, feels a bit peeved that the Tories haven't supported the Lib Dem attempt to reform the House of Lords that Cornish MPs have been instructed to vote against Cameron and the Conservatives. I'm sorry Cornish Lib Dems, you voted against the Bill because of a coalition tantrum, not because you care about preserving Cornwall's historic border.

Cornish Lib Dems - hypocrites!

Meanwhile Alec Robertson (the wannabe comeback kid) has started a petition to reserve the role of councillors in Cornwall for those that are well off or retired. His 'family and friends' petition calls on Cornwall Council to rethink it's decision to increase councillors' allowances by less than the independent reccommendation. As you can read here Cllr Robertson has profited from his time at Cornwall Council to the tune of over £123,000. never mind greedy councillors, more like a greedy and hypocrtical ex-leader.

Alec Robertson - Tory (though which particular Cornish denomination thereof is unclear) - hypocrite!

Cornwall needs politicians to put Cornwall first. Mebyon Kernow councillors do this time after time. We have no masters to serve in Westminster and we don't put party, career or personal bank balance ahead of what is right for Cornwall.

Back your local MK candidate in May and leave the westminster hypocrites in the cold.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Celebrate Perrantide in Perranporth


Come and start off the celebrations by joining in our events to honour St Piran

Friday March 1st. 6pm. St Piran will come ashore at Perranporth beach to be welcomed by the giants of Perranporth school and the children dressed as tinners and bal maidens. He will be paraded through the streets accompanied by music and banners to the venue for music, dance and refreshments.    The children work hard for this event and your presence would be much appreciated.

Sunday March 3rd. 1.30 for 2pm. St Piran Play on the dunes at Gear Sands; Free parking near the start in Haven holiday park. Very exciting news for this year, we have a new play written by Alan Kent; Cornish author and playwright who has dedicated it to our late chairman, Perran Penrose. Our new director, Jason Squibb is well known amongst theatrical companies and has the expertise to give us a most enjoyable day. The play is unique with many twists, do come along and enjoy a real spectacle.

Haven are opening their doors to you as usual to enjoy a snack, drink or hot food. They will be open beforehand for those who need refreshment early. We thank them for their support and hospitality.

Displays and videos of St Piran plus news of the impending dig at the oratory will be in the bar at reception area. A big raffle will be held to help funds for the dig Trustees will be present to answer your questions.

St Piran Trust appreciates your continued support.contact colinretallick@gmx.com eileen@st-piran.com

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Coyte Farm

Coyte farm is a massive out of town retail park destined (if planning officers and developers get their way) to be built on the green fields surrounding St Austell.

Last night I was looking through my Twitter feed and came accross the following tweet from Cllr Steve Double.

I was quite intrigued. Once you get past wondering how Mr Double actually knows as a fact 'what the majority of St Austell RESIDENTS think' (perhaps he has conducted private polling) I clicked on the link and readthe blog - it is always good to get different view points. Given Steve Double's usual viewpoint, I was expecting to see a pro-Coyte Farm piece and, in this at least, I wasn't disappointed.

 The blog piece, by Jessica Milln, is well written. Mrs Milln has considered the evidence and reached the conclusion that Coyte Farm is a development that is desparately needed by St Austell if the town is "going to realistically market itself and be taken seriously as ‘St. Awesome.’"

As readers of this blog will know, I am not Cornish and I have never lived in St Austell. Unlike Mrs Milln who has lived there practically all of her life, I have little knowledge and no experience of St Austell's unique history. From reading her blog it is clear that Mrs Milln is passionately proud of the St Austell community and the town as a place to live - even if she is disappointed with what the town centre has to offer.

As I read through the piece I was reminded at almost every line of the book 'Cornwall at the Crossroads' produced by CoSERG. The decline of St Austell (and its community) over the last forty years or so, as related by Mrs Milln seemed to be the story of Cornwall in microcosm. However, the conclusions drawn by CoSERG and Mrs Milln were like chalk and cheese.

Mrs Milln has five reasons why she believs that Coyte Farm would be good for St Austell.

First she thinks that St Austell has always been too quick to say no. As an example she cites the decison by M&S not to set up in St Austell. It was rumoured, she says, that the traders were against this at the time because they thought it would harm their trade.

I'm afraid that I don't believe that M&S would ever decline to operate a store somewhere because other traders didn't want them. I also don't believe that M&S, or any other big corporation, would refuse to set up shop at any opporunity unless they were convinced that they would not be able to turn a profit. Ultimately, I think that M&S did not come to St Austell because they didn't believe they would make a profit - and not because St Austell said no.

Mrs Milln also considers the White River development which she says ended up nothing like the people of St Austell wanted. Surely this is evidence St Austell wants to say yes - but that the corporations funding developments say no to St Austell?

Mrs Milln then goes on to echo the battle cry of developers everywhere. Development brings jobs and provides a panacea for the ills of communities wherever it occurs. I'm sorry but this is just wishful thinking - as the evidence of Cornwall's hyperdevelopment of the last forty years shows. This kind of development will do little else for employment than provide a small number of part time, low wage jobs. Reading the comments following the blog, Mrs Milln claims that a few jobs as checkout operators or shelf stackers generates consequential employment and stimulation in the economy. This is because people with a steady income tend to rent or buy houses which they then do up. The problem with this utopia is that a part time minimum wage doesn't actually provide enough income to be able to obtain a mortgage. Coyte Farm jobs will be subsistence jobs and no more. Very few people will be able to afford to buy a house on the strength of their employment at Coyte Farm.

Worse still, Mrs Milln believes that, if Coyte Farm goes ahead, property prices will rise because St Austell will be a desirable place to live. Now I can't say that I agree with this assertion, but, even if it is true, it doesn't bode well for the young people of St Austell who will have trusted in the minimum wage employment that is being held up as a shining opportunity for the future. They can't afford to live in their home community now - and will be less likely to be able to if Mrs Milln is correct.

But shouldn't we view Coyte farm as an opportunity? St Austell should negotiate with the developers. A good idea, unfortunately a problem in practice. St Austell, public or Town Council, have no power to negotiate. Cornwall Council might perhaps negotiate some minor concessions from developers who ultimately have to turn a profit for their share holders, but such concessions would be very small. Not only are there many councillors who are simply led by the nose by unelected council officers but the officers themselves seem to be there to put into action the Westminster government's policy of development any cost and would not be likely to drive a hrad bargain for the people of St Austell.

Of course the answer might be that St Austell town centre is simply afraid of competition. St Austell is apparently full of businesses which are inward looking, do not provide people with what they want and lack any customer service culture. This may be true. Mrs Milln is better placed than me to make this claim though, as I own a retail business myself, I know how difficult it is just to survive in the current climate even if you focus on customers at every turn and I salute all small shop keepers evreywhere in the today's economic environment.

What is clear is that fair competition does indeed improve customer focus, however, unfair competition does not. Perhaps, as part of the negotiations that it is suggested should take place, the developers could hand over the car park at Coyte Farm to Cornwall Council to charge at the same rate as the town centre car parks? Or, maybe, the tenant businesses at Coyte Farm could pay a service charge to enable Cornwall Council to reduce or eliminate car park charges in St Austell? I can't see that happening somehow.

Finally, Mrs Milln asks what do we risk? Is it because town centres have acted like dinosaurs in their outlook that they are failing? What if Coyte farm is not built now - will the town centre be any better in five years or just the same but with St Austell lacking an amazeballs new reatil therapy park?

Well, to reverse the question, if Coyte Farm is built will St Austell be any better in five years? Mrs Milln uses HMV as an example of how a mainly town centre based business has failed. What about Comet? Just about every out of town development has had a Comet hasn't it. Far from being the future I would say that the out of town shopping centre (at least as we know it now and as Coyte farm is planned) is doomed to future failure by internet shopping as Comet has already shown.

Mrs Milln, herself, eloquently sums up the risk:

"I can’t predict the future except that nothing stays the same. Saying ‘yes’ to Coyte Farm will change the landscape and houses will follow. The Primary School I attended surrounded by farmland (we were once taken to see the cows being milked at Coyte Farm) won’t be the same,  the little country Church I was married in will be engulfed and St. Austell will creep west."

So there is the risk. Is this really a risk worth taking?

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The Walrus and the Carpenter

Cllr Dick Cole has accused the Tory and Lib Dem councillors on Cornwall Council of crying crocodile tears about the cuts in Council Tax benefits that their bosses in London want to impose. 

The whole scenario just reminds me of the Lewis Carroll poem the Walrus and the Carpenter.

 "I like the Walrus best," said Alice, "because you see he was a little sorry for the poor oysters."

"He ate more than the Carpenter, though," said Tweedledee. "You see he held his handkerchief in front, so that the Carpenter couldn't count how many he took: contrariwise."
(Just like the Lib Dems try to disguise all the pre-election pledges they made.)

"That was mean!" Alice said indignantly. "Then I like the Carpenter best—if he didn't eat so many as the Walrus."

"But he ate as many as he could get," said Tweedledum.

(Just like the Tories make as many cuts as they can possibly get away with.)
This was a puzzler. After a pause, Alice began, "Well! They were both very unpleasant characters—"

(Hear! Hear!)

The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright--
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done--
"It's very rude of him," she said,
"To come and spoil the fun!"

The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead--
There were no birds to fly.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "it would be grand!"

"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.

"O Oysters, come and walk with us!"
The Walrus did beseech.
"A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each."

The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head--
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.

But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat--
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn't any feet.

Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more--
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

"But wait a bit," the Oysters cried,
"Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!"
"No hurry!" said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.

"A loaf of bread," the Walrus said,
"Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed--
Now if you're ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed."

"But not on us!" the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
"After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!"
"The night is fine," the Walrus said.
"Do you admire the view?

"It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf--
I've had to ask you twice!"

"It seems a shame," the Walrus said,
"To play them such a trick,
After we've brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"The butter's spread too thick!"

"I weep for you," the Walrus said:
"I deeply sympathize."
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.

"O Oysters," said the Carpenter,
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?'
But answer came there none--
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one.

Vote for Cornwall in May. Vote for Mebyon Kernow - the only party putting Cornwall first.

Community Actors/Performers wanted for St Piran Play!

Are you interested in performing?  Would you like to celebrate the life of St Piran?  The St Piran Trust is looking for actors to take part in the annual processional play at Perranporth on Sunday 3rd March 2013. 

 A new adaptation of the play, Bewnans Peran: A play for Perrantide has been written by acclaimed dramatist and playwright Alan M. Kent. The play includes a walk across the dunes at Gear Sands, Perranporth to re-enact St Piran’s arrival in Cornwall from Ireland.

We are looking for anyone interested in performing, regardless of age/experience, to get in touch with us. There will be a very low key audition/read-through on Wednesday 23rd January at The Seiners, Perranporth starting at 7.15 pm.

Rehearsals will commence on Thursday 31st January 2013 and will be about four weeks in duration, although you will not be required every evening.  Those involved will be supported and guided by professional director Jason Squibb, who recently directed The Life of St Meriasek and the Falmouth 350 Charter enactment.  This will be a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience for all involved.

If you are unable to attend on 23rd January please turn up on 31st.  If neither date is suitable please make contact – see below.

If you wish to take part in the play or would like more information, please contact Jason Squibb on 07932 370031 or email jasonsquibb@onetel.com  alternatively Colin Retallick on 01872 571606 or email colinretallick@gmx.com