Tag Archives: cornwall

“Cornwall’s Liberal Democrats lead the doorstep fightback”

 

That’s the encouraging headline in today’s Guardian. And the timing couldn’t be better with everything to play for on 4th May in the local elections and the Manchester Gorton by-election.

In Cornwall …

… the tide appears to be turning.

The Lib Dems have won a succession of council by-elections in Cornwall and are now once again the biggest group on the council with 43 members, governing in coalition with the independents.

Lib Dem loyalists are buoyed both by the national party’s resurgence and by a report in the New Statesman claiming that Lynton Crosby, who helped the Tories into government in 2015, has warned the prime minister, Theresa May, that if she called a snap general election she would lose all the Lib Dem seats her party gained in Cornwall.

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The physical network behind surveillance – an extraordinary video about Cornish internet apparatus


The path to the beach at Porthcurno - geograph.org.uk - 1298346
The path to the beach at Porthcurno, Cornwall. The diamond-shaped sign indicates the presence of underground cables, of which there are many buried under the beach, this place being the landfall of many cables under the Atlantic Ocean. The small building houses the terminals of these cables.

Here on Liberal Democrat Voice, we often debate the subject of government surveillance. But do we ever consider the actual physical network of cables and buildings which underpin that surveillance?

Videographer Mark Thomas has published an extraordinary video on You Tube which shows cables, manhole covers, buildings and the like, to give a detailed picture of how the network, which presumably facilitates surveillance of data, works on the ground.

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“Devonwall” seat proposal – the government ignore Cornish pride at their peril

The Strand, Bude by paul walterThe Strand, Bude, Cornwall

On Wednesday I was lucky enough to be in a choir leading the singing of “Trelawny” in an ancient Cornish church. “Trelawny” or “The Song of Western Men” is the “unofficial Cornish national anthem” written by Rev R.S. Hawker. The congregation joined in with the choruses – most enthusiastically – and rapturous applause from “one and all” followed the song. It was a magical moment and reinforced that great feeling of community which one feels amongst Cornish people. There’s a real passion and pride about the Cornish nation.

The Boundary Commissioners and Theresa May should have been present at that church. I have a hunch that witnessing such strength of feeling, they would think again about their proposals for a “Devonwall” seat. The church in question is just south of Bude and part of the proposed parliamentary constituency of Bideford, Bude and Launceston, straddling Devon and Cornwall – or, I should say, Cornwall and England.

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St Ives referendum – Is this the way forward to stop seaside idylls being ghost towns?

The idyllic, but seagull-dive-bombed, seaside town of St Ives is holding a referendum, as the BBC reports:

On 5 May, the council will ask residents to vote on a new town plan, which includes a promise to restrict second home ownership.
If the vote is passed, new housing projects will get planning permission only on condition that the homes are reserved for people to live in full-time. Developers will not be allowed to sell the buildings to anyone who has a residence elsewhere.

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A model bobby and an extraordinary community tribute

west briton front pageVisiting Falmouth last weekend, I became aware of something extraordinary, the news of which I had missed earlier.

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By-election update: Lib Dems jump from 4th to 1st to take seat from Tories in Julia Goldsworthy’s Cornish battleground seat

ALDC Master Logo (for screen)There were five by-elections in principal authorities this week (Cornwall, Torridge, Barnsley and two in Cheshire West and Chester) and one deferred election in North Hertfordshire.

The Liberal Democrats jumped from fourth place to take a seat from the Tories in Illogan (Cornwall Unitary Authority). David Ekinsmyth won 23.8% of the vote for the Liberal Democrats; an increase of 10.1%. The Tories slumped to third behind Mebyon Kernow with both parties receiving 18%. The UKIP vote fell by 9.1% to finish fourth (13.4%), Labour came fifth (11.1%), …

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Opinion: We need a Cornish Assembly

Flag_of_CornwallYou won’t be surprised to learn that I am working day and night to win back Truro and Falmouth for the Lib Dems. You may also know that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the first time David Penhaligon was elected as the MP for Truro.

Yes, he was a liberal hero to many people across the Country, but if ever there was someone who stood up for Cornwall and the Cornish people it was David Penhaligon.

He knew that Cornwall has its own language and its own vibrant culture but he …

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Opinion: Henry Ford and the coalition’s ‘localism’

Brent Town Hall. Photo credit: stevecadman on FlickrFord famously commented that customers could have any colour they like as long as it’s black. It feels to me that at the moment we can have any localism we like as long as it’s blue.

Two particular events have provoked this thought. The first is that that council tax bills are about to go out and, under localism, a council cannot raise council tax significantly, including to protect services, without holding a referendum. However they can cut council tax and services without any such requirement. Furthermore, as councils have to pay for the referendum themselves, increasing council tax by a little over the limit is not financially viable. Therefore the referendum rules do not give local people more control so much as force councils to subscribe to Conservative ideas about the balance between services and taxation.

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A messy situation for Lib Dems over Devon and Cornwall police commissioner contest

It looks like the police commissioner contest in Devon and Cornwall could be about to get a bit messy for the Lib Dems, with the news that the Lib Dem leader of North Devon Council Brian Greenslade plans to run as an independent — even though the party plans to choose an official Lib Dem candidate.

Here’s how This is Cornwall reported it earlier this week:

Lib-Dem turns independent in battle for top police post

Councillor Brian Greenslade, once Devon County Council leader, will be an independent candidate at November’s election for a US-style police and crime commissioner for Devon and

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Stephen Gilbert MP writes… The Pasty Tax is unfair, unworkable and unenforceable

There’s an awful lot that we, as Liberal Democrats, should be proud of in this year’s budget: the uplift in the personal allowance that takes almost 2million of the lowest earners out of income tax; the support for small businesses to help stimulate growth and create jobs; and measures to give a helping hand to aspiring home owners.

But, there’s one measure which I’ve been unable to accept. Not just because it’s politically unpopular, but also because I believe Osborne has – on this occasion – got it wrong. I’m talking, of course, about the VAT extension to hot food dubbed …

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Dan Rogerson MP writes… The crusade to protect the Cornish Pasty

As the national political debate around the Budget moves on, one specific proposal is continuing to dominate both the headlines and my inbox – the so called ‘Pasty Tax’. The Chancellor’s proposals to change the VAT arrangements on hot food could see the tax being levied on pasties for the first time. The Treasury are currently consulting on the idea, and there remain some uncertainties that will need to be clarified.

I certainly understand the logic behind making sure that VAT is charged on hot food in places like large supermarkets to stop them undercutting local cafés and takeaways. But aside from the inevitable pasty puns in the press, there is serious concern across Cornwall.

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Happy Saint Piran’s Day!

A very happy St Piran’s Day to all our Cornish readers!

The website of the St Piran Trust says:

Many people have claimed many things but nothing is sure, we can only ponder on who was St Piran, where he came from, how he arrived on our shores. One thing is sure. St Piran lives on in the hearts and minds of the Cornish people here in Cornwall and around the world.

Legend: The heathen Irish tied him to a mill-stone, rolled it

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Dan Rogerson MP writes… Welcoming help with water bills in the South West

This week, as part of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, details of a Water Bills Rebate Fund were announced, with a £50 rebate to be provided on water bills for households in Cornwall and other South West Water areas from 2013-14. Along with fellow Liberal Democrats, I have long campaigned on getting a fair deal for bill payers in Cornwall after the botched privatisation under the Conservatives in the 1980s left us with the highest water bills in the country, and following 13 years of complacency about the issue under the last Labour government. As such, this rebate is fantastic news …

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Top Cornwall Conservative councillor defects to Lib Dems

Jeremy Rowe’s blog has the news:

Jan Powell, the widely respected Chair of Cornwall Council’s Health Committee, has joined the Liberal Democrat Group at County Hall. This has been as a result of the continuing disintegration of the Tory-led administration at the Council and also the work the Lib Dems have been doing locally and nationally to protect the NHS from Andrew Lansley’s controversial ‘reforms’.

Jeremy reproduces Jan’s letter explaining her decision, which concludes:

There has to be openness and transparency in everything we do and consultation must mean exactly that. Over the last 12 months there has been a marked contrast

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Baroness Judith Jolly’s maiden speech

In recent months, LDV has been bringing its readers copies of our new MPs’ and Peers’ first words in Parliament, so that we can read what is being said and respond. You can find all of the speeches in this category with this link. Earlier in January, Baroness Jolly of of Congdon’s Shop in the County of Cornwall, made her maiden speech in the House of Lords during a debate on the NHS. Her words are reproduced below.

My Lords, I start by thanking noble Lords kindly for the warm welcome that I have found since my introduction on Tuesday-from Members opposite as well as from my own Benches. Advice about my speech was to keep it simple, but most of all to keep it short. I extend these thanks to members of staff who have been exceptionally helpful in all manner of ways. I must say that I am not without trepidation. My introduction by comparison was easy, as once in my robes I was but an actor. Today, I feel somewhat naked without them, particularly in such eminent company.

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Cornwall Conservatives veto Clegg visit

Local councillors and campaigners are flabbergasted after Conservative-run Cornwall Council decided to prevent Nick Clegg from visiting a key regeneration site in the county.

The Lib Dem leader had been due to visit the Heartlands Project, part of a rundown old mining area which is due to be transformed using a multi-million pound Lottery grant.

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Daily View 2×2: 28 January 2010

Smoke trails against a black skyGood morning, and welcome to Daily View this morning. 24 years ago, 28 January saw the NASA Challenger disaster.

It’s the date of the death of Henry VIII and the beginning of the Diet of Worms. (If they went to that sort of effort, I hope they lost a lot of weight!)

197 years ago today saw the first publication of Pride and Prejudice and in 1958, Lego bricks were first patented. Today’s bricks still mesh with the original 1958 system.

Birthday bunny hops today go to novelist David Lodge and hobbit-actor Elijah Wood.

2 Big Stories

Boris Johnson to stand down as chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority

Over to the Guardian for today’s first story.

In direct contradiction to his manifesto, Boris Johnson has decided he doesn’t have time to be a writer, a mayor, and a Police Authority chair, and so something had to give.

Tory Troll has a bunch of handy quotes and links on the story.

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Cornwall Tories accused of ‘duping’ charity choir

ThisIsCornwall.co.uk has the story:

THE Conservatives in Cornwall have been accused of “duping” a charity choir into taking part in a Christmas carol concert to raise money for party funds as well as charity.

Members of Helston Chamber Choir were delighted when they were invited to sing at the festive event next week, believing it was in aid of St Julia’s Hospice, part of Cornwall Hospice Care, alone.

However, when promised publicity material and tickets failed to materialise, and then e-mails went unanswered, the choir investigated further – only to find the concert was also raising cash for the Tories in West

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Liberal Democrat victory in St Austell Bay by-election

John Oxenham after the St Austell Bay by-election countLib Dems in St Austell and Newquay are celebrating another win: John Oxenham has been elected Liberal Democrat councillor for St Austell Bay in the first ever Cornwall Council by-election.

This comes two weeks after their victory in the Newquay South by-election.

The result this time – with an estimated swing of 13% from the Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats:

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Guardian asks Lib Dems, “When did you stop beating your wife?”

The Grauniad, bastion of liberal values. But also a newspaper which today gives vent to a number of unsubstantiated smears against the Lib Dems in an article by Steven Morris – Liberal Democrats accused of dog whistle politics over Gypsy claims – which buys hook, line and sinker into the spin from Labour and Tory HQs.

The Grauniad’s story focuses on Islington (though cheerfully throws a few other snide half-truths into the mix to legitimise turning a local issue into a story for a national newspaper – of which more later), and the recent proposal by Islington Labour party to consider locating a site for travellers and gypsies in Highbury Fields, the borough’s premier open space. The Lib Dems in the area have campaigned against the idea, arguing that Highbury Fields is unsuitable as a location for any development, including new travellers’ sites. Agree or disagree with the local party’s position, but it’s an entirely consistent view.

What’s most definitely not consistent is Islington Labour leader Catherine West’s spin. Here’s how the Grauniad presents it:

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Lib Dem MP attempts to create devolved ‘Cornwall Assembly’

A few months ago, Lib Dem Voice highlighted North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson’s attempts to create a new Cornish bank holiday on 5th March, St Piran’s Day. Well now he’s taken up cudgels again on behalf of the county, but this time with a more serious and far-reaching proposal – by introducing a new bill which would take power from Whitehall and unelected regional quangos and pass it to the new Cornwall Council, effectively transforming the new Council into an Assembly similar to that in Wales.

Dan’s Government of Cornwall Bill was presented in the House of Commons yesterday, …

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Taxpayers helping to fund Tories’ Cornwall electioneering

Last month Mark Prisk, Tory MP for Hertford and Stortford, got himself into hot water with the Commons authorities for breaking Parliamentary rules in relation to political campaigning. Now Mr Prisk is in trouble once again – indeed, perhaps it’s time to refer to his repeat offences as ‘Prisking’? – this time for using taxpayers’ money to drive to Cornwall in pursuit of his fictitious role as the Tories’ ‘Shadow Cornwall Minister’.

The Western Morning News has the story:

THE Conservative Party’s “shadow Cornwall minister” has defended using taxpayers’ money for trips to the Westcountry. … From July 2007

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Tory ‘fictional minister’ broke Parliamentary rules

As the BBC reports here, Tory MP for Hertford and Stortford Mark Prisk has been publicly rebuked by the Speaker of the House of Commons for for breaking Parliamentary rules in relation to political campaigning.

Parliamentary rules state that MPs are not allowed to use their role as a Member of Parliament to undertake activity in other constituencies, in order to prevent Parliamentary casework being used for party political campaigning. But speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Lib Dem MP Matthew Taylor asserted that Mr Prisk was guilty of using the invented title of ‘Shadow Minister for Conrwall’ …

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Lib Dem Cornwall council leader to quit

Under a somewhat misleading headline, Leader quits after critics’ abuse, the BBC reports:

The leader of Cornwall County Council David Whalley is standing down as a councillor, complaining of personal attacks against him. Mr Whalley made the decision just weeks before the start of a new “super-council” which will unite district councils and the county council.

The headline implies that Cllr Whalley has been hounded out in some way – I don’t know the politics of Cornwall well enough to comment (though I do know how heated have been the debated about unitary status), but Cllr Whalley’s quoted comments don’t …

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Lib Dem MPs call for 5th March Cornish bank holiday

From the Business Cornwall website comes news that the five MPs who represent Cornwall, Lib Dems all, have joined forces to campaign for St Piran’s Day to be made a public holiday:

North Cornwall MP, Dan Rogerson, will today table a House of Commons motion welcoming a move by Bodmin, St Columb and Penzance Town Councils to make the day a staff holiday. MPs have signed up to signal their support for Cornwall’s “unique heritage, language, culture and aspirations”.

There will be celebrations all over Cornwall on March 5, including marches in Bodmin and Truro and events in many other

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