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Monday, 7 April 2014

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.

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