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

Wednesday 30 April 2014

FXU Students' Union Hustings

The Falmouth and Exeter Students' Union have organised a hustings type event for Friday May 23rd. It will take place at the Penryn Campus from 4:00pm.

This will be an opportunity for all of the Truro and Falmouth PPCs to talk with students and listen to their concerns.

More details will be available soon - but please pencil the event in your diary if you think you might want to see what issues are important as the general election campaign properly gets underway.

Monday 28 April 2014

Mr Wilkins resigns

Statement on the Resignation of Mr Terry Wilkins
I am saddened that a person in whom the people of Illogan had placed their trust behaved so badly.

However, I am pleased that Mr Wilkins has now resigned and we can begin the process of choosing someone as quickly as possible to represent Illogan in these challenging times.

On a personal level I thought long and hard about exposing Mr Wilkins conduct. It was not a decision that I took lightly and it would have been very easy to do nothing when the information came into my possession .

I feel vindicated that I have had the courage to make a stand when I perceived that an injustice was being done.

Sunday 27 April 2014

Congratulations to Cornish folk everywhere!

Well done to my Cornish friends everywhere!

You have finally been awarded the recognition that you all already knew that you deserved through inclusion by the UK government in the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

Congratulations also to the team effort of Cornish campaigners everywhere over many years.

The effort to give Cornish people officical recognition has been a team effort with many and varied contributions - a team that Mebyon Kernow has been proud to be a member of.

Special mention might be made of John Angarrack who campaigned tirelessly for recognition for many years. Also to Ian Saltern who has written two reports on behalf of Cornwall Council which has enjoyed cross party support in their representations to Westminster. Also the Celtic Kernow Branch which has picked up the baton more recently in organising a campaign of writing letters to MPs.

Thank you to the Liberal Democrats. There are many genuine supporters of the Cornish cause amongst their ranks - it is just a pity that, instead of celebrating a team effort victory, their press releases and some individuals seem to want to turn this victory into a party political point scoring exercise.

Questions will now have to be asked of UKIP. Many local members of UKIP seem to disparage the decision to recognise the Cornish although one UKIP MEP gives his full support. As usual with UKIP - no comprehensive or cohesive message. it is impossible to tell what is the official partl line and what is the usual rogue member nonsense.

Questions will also have to be asked of local MP Sarah Newton. Even very recently she was campaigning hard against Cornish recognition. You would have thought that her bosses in Westminster would have let her know which way the wind was blowing before she was so categorically scathing of the idea - so much for our Cornis MPs being 'at the heart of government'.

Illogan residents demand the resignation of Cllr Terry Wilkins

A group of concerned residents has contacted me this morning. They are apalled at the actions of local councillor Terry Wilkins in using his public office to lie to the people of Illogan.

They are currently collecting signatures door to door in Illogan and inform me that they have collected 50 signaures in a couple of hours so far.

They have asked me to set up an online petition to see if there is wider support for their call for Terry Wilkins to resign.

You can sign the petition here if you agree with them.

Update: 163 signatures collected from Illogan residents in less than 24 hours plus more online from across Cornwall.

Green Feedback on our Consultation Document

Many thanks to Steve Haynes - Membership Officer of the Mid and East Cornwall Green Party for the latest feedback on our consultation document "Towards a National Assembly of Cornwall".

You can find his views here.

I am particularly pleased that Steve has recognised the 'golden thread' that we sought to use to bind our thoughts - democracy.

I would like to wish the Green Party well in the Euro elections.

Trevithick Day

Another successful National Assembly campaign roadshow completed! This time at Trevithick Day, Camborne.

Close on another 300 signatures added - thanks particularly to some sterling work by Cllr Alan Sanders.

Lots of tallk about natonal minority status and lots of resolve to take the next step forward towards a National Assembly.

Many thanks to all of our activists who made a sterling effort in unkind weather and to the people making new declarations in support of an Assembly.

Friday 25 April 2014

Cllr Terry Wilkins : "I am completely innocent."

Cllr Terry Wilkins believes that he is "completely innocent".

He has apparently received phone calls of support from all areas of the council chamber and all political parties.

I have called on Cllr Wilkins to resign.

As I said in my open letter I don't believe that using his public office to deliberately lie to a public authority and the people of Illogan in order to 'play a game and embarrass an unknown person' is something that any Councillor of integrity would do.

If using his office as a cornwall Councillor to deliberately lie is 'completely innocent' then pigs may book a take off slot at Newquay airport very soon.

I would like to hear from any 'area of the council chamber' and from any representative of any political party that does indeed agree that Cllr Wilkins is innocent.

That would be revealing.

Thursday 24 April 2014

An open letter to Terry Wilkins

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

Dear Cllr Wilkins,
I believe that it is time that you resigned from your position as Cornwall Councillor and Illogan Parish Councillor.
You have falsely claimed to have been awarded an MBE. This false claim was used during your election campaign. You say that you have never used your false MBE for personal gain – however, you were elected as Terry Wilkins MBE and you now hold a public office along with an allowance paid for by council tax payers.

It is a criminal offence – electoral fraud – to make a false statement as to the character of a candidate during an election.
Your explanation of how you came to make a false claim about being awarded an MBE makes you appear as a victim – I would say that the real victims are the people of Illogan who have trusted in your integrity.
There are also several problems with your account of how you became a victim of a malicious hoax. For example, you have said in your statements to the media, that you never went to Buckingham Palace to receive your award. On the other hand, I have had several concerned Illogan residents approach me who have told me that, in the past, you have related to them a story of how you actually went to the Palace and met the Queen. Perhaps you have an explanation for this as both accounts clearly can’t be accurate?
It has also become clear that you have demonstrated a clear lack of integrity as a member of both Cornwall Council and Illogan Parish Council.
You have admitted to lying about having a degree, claiming that it was just a game that you were playing to embarrass some un-named person who was jealous of you. If this is true then why did you use your official report as a Cornwall Councillor to play your game and lie to Illogan Parish Council? You were absolutely clear in your March report to Illogan Parish Council that you had been awarded a degree. You embellished the story with the ‘fact’ that you had ‘graduated’ with a ‘2:1’. You also made it seem that your modesty would have prevented you from informing the councillors present except for the fact that your wife had insisted on you including it in your report. You enjoyed the congratulations and applause from your fellow councillors – and now you claim that this was all part of a ‘game’ that you were playing. It is a funny sort of game to blatantly lie in your official capacity as a Cornwall Councillor to the assembled members of a local authority. In my opinion this shows a total lack of respect for the offices that you hold, your fellow councillors and the organisations that you represent.
I would urge you now to reconsider your stance that you are completely innocent of any kind of wrongdoing.  In order to avoid further embarrassment to yourself, might it not be wise to simply to step down now?

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Richardson LL.B

Saturday 19 April 2014

Europe - in or out?

On Thursday 22nd May the UK will go to the polls to elect our representatives to the European

Paradoxically the polls indicate that the most anti-European party, UKIP, will do well. Am I the only one who doesn't understand why we elect people, who have no raison d'etre other than getting out of Europe, to fight our corner within Europe? UKIP MEPs, usually aligning themselves with right wing pan-European groups, have done an apalling job in representing us here in the UK - a lot of the time they can't even be bothered to turn up. UKIP MEPs have failed our fishermen with their arrogant absences and voted against European initiatives aimed at protecting and promoting Cornish culture.

Unfortunately, this time around, Mebyon Kernow, will not be represented in the European hustings. For us the system is so undemocratically skewed as to make it almost completely pointless for us to enter the race. The last time around we beat the Labour party in Cornwall with 7% of the vote. Despite this, because of the sheer size of the Euro constituencies, we still lost our hefty £5,000 deposit. In fact, the anti-democratic nature of the system means that, even if the whole of the Cornish electorate were to vote MK, we would still not get a MK MEP! Given these facts the only thing that we could hope to achieve for our £5,000 would be to see our names on the ballot paper and allow the growing habbit of people to vote for MK to continue.

The official MK position on the Euro elections is that MK  will not be supporting any one party in the elections - the decision to vote for any particular party will be a choice free from MK party political influence. Personally I will be voting for the Green party - for me any London based party is out - and that most definitely includes UKIP.

But what if MK had stood and I had been included in an MK slate of candidates?

Well I would have been campaigning hard for an in/out referendum. I believe that the UK, and particularly Cornwall, is better off within the UK - but I am a democrat and I can see that there is absolutely a case for allowing the people to have a say on whether they remain part of the EU.

Besides it being the democratic thing to do, there are two very important reasons why it it would be good to have a referendum as soon as possible.

First of all I think that the uncertainty is doing the UK a great deal of harm. Foreign investors look at us and wonder if we are worth investing in. If an investor wants to invest in a country at the heart of Europe they will not be considering the UK for a while. At the same time if the investor wants someone outside the EU then we are clearly ruled out for the time being. This uncertainty can't be good for business one way or the other. Our Wetsminster politicians need to stop looking at what spin is best for their party and start to look at what is good for UK business.

Secondly, whichever way the vote went - in or out of the EU - it would spell the end for UKIP. A referendum on Europe would demonstrate the will of the people. If we left Europe then the single purpose pressure group that is UKIP would have nowhere to go. It has no policies of note other than to leave the EU and scaremonger over immigration. If we stayed in the EU then  it would be clear that the UK public had didsmissed the UKIP experiment and they would fade into oblivion.

MK is a collaborative party, we don't believe in the isolationist and separatist politics of UKIP and the Tories. For me it makes no sense for anyone living in Cornwall to vote to leave Europe. The investment that we receive from Europe would never be matched by a Westminster government that was outside Europe. Cornwall receives far more cash from the EU than we pay into it in the form of taxation through Westsminster. If we left the EU then the money we no longer paid into Europe would inevitably be invested in London and the South East of England. Tax payers in Cornwall voting to leave the EU would be like turkeys voting for Christmas.

Am I completely happy with the way Europe is managed for Cornwall? Of course not. There are many ways that we can make the EU better for Cornwall and for all the member states. We need reforms that make institutions more accountable. We need our elected representatives to have greater powers and the political appointees have less. We need policies that direct European investment into producing real jobs rather than encouraging white elephant projects such as Heartlands in Pool.

But then the EU isn't responsible for Heartlands. It is our own politicians that were allowed to dream up that particular failure all by themselves. This is why we need a strong Cornish Assembly. We need a body that can take European funding and make it work hard for Cornwall instead of working hard to enhance someone's CV. We need a Cornish Assembly that will establish an office in the EU governmental workplace to promote Cornish interests at the heart of EU governance.

And perhaps a Cornish Assembly would give us the opportunity to press for a Cornish Euro-constituency - why shouldn't we have an MEP of our own that wasn't shared with Gibralter?

Sunday 13 April 2014

S4C comes to Cornwall

A few weeks ago S4C - the Welsh language television station - spent a week or so in Cornwall to look at Cornish culture around St Piran's Day.

The result was a Kernow packed show - Heno:

"... a special programme focusing on the Celtic Media Festival, held this year in St Ives, Cornwall. Aneirin Karadog will be introducing viewers to the festival which celebrates the best in broadcasting from Wales, Cornwall, Ireland, Brittany and Scotland and Gwenno Saunders will be showing us there's more to Cornwall than picture postcard views."

A great show covering Cornish culture and language.

A brief appearance for MK around 38:00 - but much, much more all through the show. Well worth a watch!

Monday 7 April 2014

Letter from Dave

I received my letter from Dave Cameron today.

It informed me about what a splendid job Dave is doing for my business in government and how I may qualify for £2,000 in reduced national insurance payments so can I please employ some more people.

What an affront!

Why are the taxes that I pay being used to send out blanket party political propaganda. There is no way that I will see any benefit from Dave's helping hand.

In fact my business is suffering because of Dave's mishandling of the economy. My customers are struggling to make ends meet and fish & chips are a bit of a luxury theses days.

Thanks Dave for making it more likely that my customers are now just as likely to visit a food bank as they do my shop. Thanks for increasing VAT and making it harder for me to compete with several other local shops. Thanks for making it necessary for me to reduce the number of staff that I can afford to employ.

I am working hard to retain my staff and keep a roof over my family's heads - despite your economic incompetence. So please don't use my money to tell me how good you are for my business.

We Can Do Better

Cornwall can do better. No ifs buts or maybes we can do it. All we need are the democratic tools for the job.

And that is what I am about. I want Cornwall to acquire the tools that we need in order to forge a prosperous future - a future where we make the decisions that affect us most - right here in Cornwall. 

It’s time that Cornish politicians put Cornwall first, instead of their party or their career. We want Cornish politicians to make the difference for Cornwall.

It’s time to end the situation where our health service has been short-changed by more than £200 million over the last six years. We need to invest in our hospitals, surgeries and care centres and make them accessible to people who depend on them. Our politicians should fight for Cornish healthcare instead of ministerial promotion.

Our children should enjoy the same educational opportunities as children up the country – not make do on half the money spent on pupils in the City of London.

We deserve a National Cornish Assembly with a fair settlement based on need. If there was one essential tool that we need to help ourselves an Assembly would be it. Cornish miners have always been good at digging themselves deep holes – now we deserve the opportunity to be able to dig ourselves out of an economic hole.

Together we can make Cornwall an even better place to live. Our unique geography and geology has provided us with a chance to develop a sustainable life-style and reap economic benefits at the same time. In a global market we can develop niche businesses including environmentally sound industries such as renewable energy production. We have a stellar history of innovative engineering and this could be employed to deliver exciting new technological projects such as geothermal engineering and anaerobic digestion of waste. In preference to building a costly white elephant incinerator Cornwall could use waste as a resource to generate income rather than paying millions to big corporations to make yet more millions from it.

While we are at it we can build homes for people as opposed to houses to be used as accommodation for the summer. It is time to rethink our social housing responsibilities and embark on a programme of organising housing for local need in place of constructing buildings to add to property portfolios for big corporations and the super-rich. The system of ‘national’ targets decided in Westminster and administered by our local government doesn’t benefit Cornwall. It is absolutely vital that we press for a National Cornish Assembly which can create housing and development policy which is right for Cornwall rather than London. This is the only way to stop the concreting of Cornwall and Only Mebyon Kernow has a detailed and bespoke Cornish housing and development policy. 

And let’s decide once and for all how we feel about Europe. I would like to see a referendum on European membership as soon as possible – it is the democratic option. The constant uncertainty that we have at the moment is not good for us one way or another. Personally I favour remaining in Europe. If you live in Cornwall it would be madness to vote to leave the EU. For every pound that Cornish taxpayers send to Europe we get four pounds back. There is a colossal opportunity for a Cornish Assembly to use our EU funding in a more strategic way. We need to see a strategy of long term investment in industry rather than building short term monoliths to feed the egos of career politicians. 

Cornwall is not just about June, July and August. We have a wide experience of entrepreneurial talent. European funding should be used to encourage our entrepreneurs and to invest in real jobs. We can do tourism but let’s make that tourism work for Cornwall – let’s do it in a Cornish way. Let’s keep the profits made on the back of Cornwall’s culture and geography in Cornwall instead of sending them to pay them dividends to share-holders who-knows-where. But let’s look also at exporting our engineering skills and experience, let’s develop our world class reputation for producing high quality food into a thriving global business and let’s become self-sufficient in renewable energy by developing and exporting these cutting edge technologies all around the world.

Sunday 6 April 2014

"Westminster Politicians"

Quite often we refer to the big political parties as 'Westinster Parties'.

Whatever the colour rosette - blue, red, orange or purple - the big parties are run from Westminster central. It seems that the MPs in these parties are often career driven and they have to toe the party line or else hey are out on their ear.

A prime example of Westminster making choices for us in Cornwall has been offered by the Lib Dems as a topdog in the Lib Dems has interfered in their selection of local candidate for 2015. 

Cllr Jones feels that: "It feels as though Truro and Falmouth have been lumbered with somebody they didn’t want because the national party felt it was the right thing to do"

Cllr Jones has left the Lib Dems and joined UKIP. A great pity that he has left one Westminster party for another - but you can see his point.

First meeting for Illogan's Neighbourhood Development Plan

Illogan Parish Council has finally set Thursday 27th June as the first meeting for a Neighbourhood Development Plan advisory group.

If you are interested in how development takes place in Illogan over the next fifteen years then you might consider becoming part of the group. If the plan is to be successful then the key thing is to involve the whole of the community in Illogan parish.

We will have to ensure that our plan fits with the Cornwall Local Plan and the targets and policies that are dictated by London - however, the plan will represent an opportunity to limit encroachment on our green fields to a minimum. It will also allow us to set policies and create a vision of how a future parish of Ilogan might look and feel.

Please come along to the first meeting and help to set the agenda for how our plan will grow.

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Demonstration against WCAs in Truro

Here is the text of my speech to the demonstrators against WCAs in Truro today.

Friends, Romans, Countrymen – lend me your ears.
In Shakespeare’s play, after the assassination of Julius Caesar, Mark Anthony spoke to a crowd who were rejoicing in Caeser’s death. He told the crowd that he had ‘come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.’ 
Well today - I have come to praise all of you. Last week you forced the Westminster coalition Government to part company with ATOS. Well done! You did it, you forced them to get rid of a corporation whose sole purpose seemed to be to make a profit from making the lives of vulnerable people a misery.
But not only have I come to praise you – I have also come to urge you to carry on the fight and to bury the policy which tells us that assessing a person’s life is nothing more than a paperwork exercise.  
Bury the policy which means that a face to face interview is predetermined to show that a person is fit to work just so that government targets can be met.
And bury the policy that has caused such utter desolation and distress that people have taken their own lives as a consequence.
Now I’m sure that no-one here disputes that we have to get value for tax payer’s money. No-one will dispute that fraudulent claims are a blight on society.
But we cannot allow the government to use this as a way to blame defenceless and innocent members of our society – a way to single them out for condemnation, intimidation and victimisation.  
I say let’s bid goodbye and good riddance to ATOS. But let’s  make it a priority to bid goodbye and good riddance to the unfair and unjust Work Capability Assessment. Until we do there will be another big corporation waiting to come along and take up where ATOS have left off. 
We deserve government that acts on behalf of all of the people and not just the well-to-do elite. This unholy Tory/Lib Dem alliance has shown, time after time, that their first priority is to cut taxes for the super-rich and to scapegoat the weak and frail.  
To be honest you probably shouldn’t expect much more from the Tories - who have always done this - and from UKIP who promise more of the same. Nor should we expect much from the Lib Dems - whose only principle seems to be to do whatever it takes to get elected. But the real disappointment is the Labour Party. Let’s not forget that it was Labour that introduced WCAs and employed ATOS in the first place. It was Labour that ummed and arred over whether it would do away with the Bedroom tax. And only a week or so ago the Labour Party voted with the Tories to enable an arbitrary and indiscriminate cap on welfare for those who are most at risk. 
Whatever the colour - blue, orange, purple or red – the Westminster parties have all sold out to Tory ideology.  
We must guard against all those who seek to destroy the hard work that our parents did in building a fair society after the war. We must resist the constant shift to the right of centre in pursuit of the populist vote. 
You’ve won this first battle – you have consigned ATOS to the dustbin of history. Now - let’s go on and win the war against WCAs. And let’s force the Government - whatever its party colour - to listen to our voice.