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Thursday, 28 September 2017

The Cornwall Council boundary row and how it illustrates my frustration with Cornish politics!

So the LGBC has decreed that democracy in Cornwall needs to be further reduced! The number of people that we can actually choose for ourselves to have any input into how Cornwall is run will be slashed from 123 to 87.

Why are the Tories crowing about this and why are the other Westminster parties going through the motions of being appalled while  indulging in the usual rhetorical inaction - designed to give a pretence of opposition for the benefit of voters?

A little thing like local government isn't particularly important to the Westminster bunch. The Tories are desperately trying to get rid of it. Labour simply uses it to attack the Tories and the Lib Dems are desperate to use it to make them appear even slightly relevant in the current political world.

All of these political uses of local government by London-centric political parties benefit from one thing. Reduced numbers of candidates in future elections will make it easier for those parties to use their vastly superior resources to greater effect - at the expense of independent candidates and smaller political parties. Fewer councillors mean larger electoral districts with more households. More households to visit individually and provide with expensive electoral literature. On top of that the London lot will have fewer candidates to find meaning that it is more likely that we end up in Cornwall with more councillors who will be taking their orders direct from London rather than the people of Cornwall.

All of this is before you look at the thing rather more objectively as Bernard Deacon has done here.

So how does this illustrate my frustration with Cornish politics?

Well - the first and obvious thing is the sheer undemocratic nature of the decision combined with the felling of "Why is it Cornwall, yet again, that is being treated so appallingly by our Westminster masters?"

But more frustrating than that is the way that MK has no power to prevent this kind of attack on Cornwall. What adds to the frustration are the reasons why MK has no power to act and the way that people still expect it to act - even when they are part of the reason why MK does not have the power in the first place.

Let me explain - so that I can be shot down in flames and totally vilified by everyone - what larks!

MK have no power to do anything to stop this because they are a political and electoral  irrelevance - even less relevant than the Lib Dems, and probably still less relevant than UKIP in Cornwall. I don't mean this to sound harsh - just objectively realistic when you consider the number of votes that MK would receive if there was a general election tomorrow and MK had its deposits funded so it could stand candidates.

MK has just four Cornwall Councillors and has never managed to retain a deposit in a general election. If you took Dick Cole's personal vote out of the equation the party would struggle to achieve 1% of the vote in Cornwall.

Until MK, or any other political party, can ever begin to be able to challenge the dictats of Westminster it has to achieve massively more electoral support than it currently gets - surely that's just an obvious fact. A political party exists to win power to be able to give effect to its policies. Anything other than that makes it a pressure group at best. MK has an excellent record of achievement if you judge it through the prism of a pressure group - but as a political party it is failing.

Westminster will listen if it is forced to listen because of a concerted electoral challenge to its power - this is how UKIP have been successful and we are facing Brexit. If you have no electoral challenge then (as a political party) you have no challenge - end of story

But just as galling is the way that Cornish politicos still turn to MK and expect it to act and expect it to lead the fight against attacks on Cornwall.

Why is it galling? Because although the expectations and demands are always laid on MK they are very rarely backed up with the very thing that MK needs in order to lead the fight - votes!

How many people who voted tactically a few months ago for Corbyn's Labour party are now turning to their local Labour party and demanding that they do something in the same way that the demand is made of MK - not many!

How many people are turning to the likes of Andrew George or Dan Rogerson - because they are such champions of Cornwall - and demanding that they lead the fight against this - not many!

So we are in the bizarre situation where miracles are expected of MK and yet the votes go to the Westminster parties because one of them might possibly be slightly less bad than another of them.

That is my frustration in a nutshell. We have a failing Cornish political party - MK - which could and should do better. At the same time people in Cornwall deny MK the very things it needs, give those things to Westminster and then demand that MK does something about the end result.

If we are ever to get out of this seemingly hopeless situation we need a Cornish political party that behaves like a political party and a population that is prepared to vote for it - even it seems like a 'wasted' vote in the first instance.

Otherwise we are all doomed to continuing unwanted hyper-development, poor quality jobs and the eradication of Cornish culture.