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Budget and bodging?

September 1, 2014

Cornwall Council’s Adult Social Care department has problems.

Last I heard, the number of people needing support from the care system was rising at a brisk pace. In 2013 in response to the question ‘Is a flat rate budget sustainable over the next year?’ I was told by a senior council official ‘No.’

That was before the Lib Dems and Independents teamed up and cut the budget by about £11 million.

Now the department is about £11 million overspent – not surprising as Cornwall Council already spends less on elderly and disabled people than practically any other local authority in the UK.

Today, the Cabinet published their proposals for £196 million of cuts over the next four years. They make grim reading for anyone who cares about how we treat elderly, vulnerable and disabled people.

There seems to be a bit of confusion about the money allocated for the public health budget though and some are claiming that the council is plugging gaps in adult social care with money from public health.

Surely not? And probably just a coincidence that Felicity Owen the respected Director of Public Health in Cornwall for many years has resigned and is leaving today.

Illogan By Election Result 10 July 2014

July 10, 2014

Labour 129 11% up 1%

Tory 215 18% down 11%

Lib Dem 277 23% up 9%

Lib 121 10%

Green 50 4%

Ukip 13% down 10%

MK 217 18% down 7%

Interesting result, which shows you can’t tell too much from a local by election. The winner, David Ekinsmyth is a local parish councillor who has worked hard in the village for some time and that was probably the most important factor.

Good to see that turnout was up: last year 31%, this year 32.4%, which is impressive for a by election.

Fraudsters in West Cornwall

June 13, 2014

Please don’t be fooled by this scam.

My bank contacted me recently because my card has been used fraudulently. They did not ask for my pin number, ask me to give my cards back, open another account or transfer any money or hand any over.

They are the bank – it is their job to protect your money and that is what they did in my case by stopping my card, stopping the payments and passing it to the police to deal with.

That is what happens in genuine cases.

If anyone turns up to you asking for your card, account details or for you to transfer or hand over money they are fraudsters. Please let elderly relatives know about this.

Camborne let down

June 10, 2014

It was the Camborne Town Council planning meeting last night and the Mark Group applied for retrospective planning permission for stone cladding two houses in College Street, saying it was an embarrassing mistake and should not have happened but they wanted the planning consent through to ‘put it right’ and save any problems for the owners in selling up in the future.

I could not believe my ears when other councillors got ready to rubber stamp it so had a real go and proposed we recommend refusal of planning permission and ask them to remove the cladding and put the houses right (presumably they would have to give a refund too).

Camborne is a historic town and a world heritage site. On top of that, any company that specialises in these sort of treatment should know that it is totally unsuitable for traditional granite and cob construction and will increase condensation and damp problems in the house.

I am glad to say that others were persuaded and everyone except Colin Godolphin supported my proposal. He said it is fine in his flat, so he can’t see the problem (though that is a totally different construction).

Cornwall Council’s enforcement team has decided it is ‘not expedient’ to take action, which is a disgrace. I wonder if they would take the same line if someone mistakenly cladded one of the Georgian houses in Lemon Street? (Truro!)

It is not good enough and this kind of cover up could encourage other firms to do the same and say ‘oops’ once they have pocketed the money.

I think Cornwall Council is letting Camborne down by not making the Mark Group put this right.

Seismic shift in Cornwall

May 26, 2014

Across the South West, all of us in the Labour Party are delighted that our lead candidate, the impressive and hardworking Clare Moody was elected last night to represent us in the European Parliament.

From three Tory, two Ukip and one Lib Dem representative for the South West, we now have two Tory, two Ukip, one Labour and one Green.

Cornwall’s part of the European elections was counted separately at Wadebridge last night and, as ever, the electoral team: counters, officers and clerks all deserve a vote of thanks for the hard work to make our democratic process happen in an unimpeachable way.

The interesting part for us here is that we can now look at the results across Cornwall as a whole and see some really big shifts in voting patterns.

The results are here reproduced from Cornwall Council’s website:

Name of Party Number of votes
An Independence from Europe 2,530
British National Party 1,106
Conservative Party 37,698
English Democrats 1,323
Green Party 16,398
Labour Party 16,122
Liberal Democrats 17,840
United Kingdom Independence Party 53,943

making a total of 149,960 votes and a turnout of 36.14% with 318 spoilt papers.

The big question now is what does this mean for the general election next year?

Let’s leave aside Ukip. It remains to be seen whether a party with policies that would deliver big tax increases for everyone except the well off (lower tax for them) could deliver the same swing in a parliamentary election. Protest is one thing, government is quite another. The Green vote is also fairly consistent at European elections but has never translated in to support at the General.

You never know – but the much more interesting question for me is what has happened to the rest of the votes.

The Conservative vote was down in Cornwall but even further down were the Lib Dems. Cornwall is supposed to be their heartlands. Even I would admit that, although they have almost completely disappeared from our neck of the woods (Camborne, Redruth and Hayle constituency, Falmouth, west Cornwall generally), they are stronger in other areas.

Even so, their vote over the whole of Cornwall was only slightly more than Labour’s.

The share of the vote is Lib Dem 11.6%, Green 10.9% and Labour 10.7%. That is over the whole of Cornwall, remember – where the Libs have three parliamentary seats. Labour has none at the moment, having lost ours in 2005, but we are only a whisker behind them.

In the last European election, the year before the last General Election, the Lib Dems polled 29,436 so their vote plummeted by nearly half this time. Labour polled 8483 in 2009, so ours almost doubled.

We know from talking to people on the doorstep that many centre and centre left voters are appalled by the Lib Dems’ treachery in joining the Tories in government. So far, local elections results – in West Cornwall especially – have shown a shift away from the Lib Dems. The next test will be the General Election in 2014, when those angry voters have the opportunity to cast their votes for Labour.

The other big difference in parliamentary elections is the personal factor. Graham Watson, the Lib Dems’ MEP in the South West, was well known, hard working and probably did not deserve to lose his seat. But people vote for the party, not the person.

When it comes to Westminster, voters often balance up their choice of party with support for a person. Party policies are a big part of the choice but they also want to sure they get an effective, hard working MP, who will take their concerns forward rather than being a yes man or woman to government.

In Camborne, Redruth and Hayle, we have Michael Foster: a very different kind of politician, who has recently come in to politics, driven by the desire to work for change in this part of Cornwall. Both the Lib Dem candidate and the Conservative MP are political insiders, who have made careers in the corridors of power and party offices.

It is going to be very interesting in this constituency. The three Lib Dem MPs may well be seeing the writing on the wall and contemplating losing their seats to Conservatives. In Camborne, Redruth and Hayle, we can stop the whole of Cornwall turning blue.

Michael is working to win in 2015 and the local Labour Party is right behind him.

Vote Labour today – here’s why

May 22, 2014

The Labour Party’s European manifesto is here but the chapter headings say it all for me.


Of course, if you want to vote for people who are poor attenders at the European Parliament, failing to represent you or your values but trousering hundreds of thousands of pounds in expenses for stuff like anti European websites, then Ukip’s the party for you.

Personally, I want people like Clare Moody representing us, fighting for workers rights as she has done all her adult life, campaigning on issues that matter.

I am proud to be part of the Labour European team supporting Clare and I know that if elected, she will carry on working with me and the local party to represent our communities at the European Parliament.

Voting goes on until 10pm tonight – please use your vote wisely, vote Labour.

The Next Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Camborne

April 11, 2014

Nominations for the next Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Camborne were taken at the Town Council meeting last night.

If the current Deputy Mayor of Camborne, Cllr Graham Taylor, had been prepared to accept a nomination, Labour members would have supported him. Unfortunately, he had decided to stand down, due to personal circumstances.

I nominated Cllr Trevor Chalker for the role of Mayor. Trevor was elected last year to the council and has been a real asset, bringing his business experience and his passion for fairness and honesty. It was disappointing that he did not win that vote but he was then nominated and supported for the role of Deputy Mayor.

Cllr Colin Godolphin won the vote for Mayor of the town next year. Colin has been a councillor for many years and is also involved in local organisations.

I wish them both well for the year ahead.


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