Labour’s General Secretary in Cornwall

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Iain McNicol, General Secretary of the Labour Party, visited Camborne last week to join in campaigns and hold a Cornwall wide meeting to discuss Labour’s campaigns in Cornwall.

Members from across the county came to the meeting, in which Iain gave an update on national campaigns, discussed the importance of Labour representation in Cornwall and thanked activists for their hard work.

Iain said: “I’ve been out on the doorstep here most of the day and it is clear that people in Cornwall would benefit from a Labour government just as much anywhere else in the country – especially with the low wage economy locally. We are working to get elected, not for ourselves but to rebuild our NHS, to end the cost of living crisis for working people and to make sure that young people have a better future.”

Iain is pictured outside the Labour Party campaign shop in Camborne following the meeting with activists. It is thought that he is the first General Secretary of the Labour Party to visit Cornwall.

EU to rescue our beaches

It looks as if the scandal of South West Water discharging sewage on to one of our most wonderful beaches may soon be ended by the European Commission.

The West Briton is reporting that the commission is taking the UK government to court for not ensuring that discharged water is not treated.

Anyone who knows Godrevy loves it and that sweep of bay from the lighthouse to St Ives is without doubt one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Yet South West Water still uses it as overspill for sewage when old infrastructure cannot cope.

There have been ineffective noises from our MP and no action from government. Very good news that the EU is acting on our behalf.

Disconnecting

I’ve registered with the TPS and I have a phone that blocks numbers if I ask it to. Still the phone calls keep coming.

A request for a quote four years ago for replacement eaves and drainpipes (Anglian) has resulted in regular calls since then, in which I tell them I had the work done for a quarter of what they quoted.  Every time, they tell me they will not call again.  I think after three and a half years, they have finally stopped but who can tell?

But that is only a minor issue. I can block some numbers but they change as fast as I can block them.

Basically, having a landline is just a nuisance.

Final straw, 08456021111. No idea who they are but they called at 8.46am this morning (waking Steve up), 10.26pm last night and 10.15pm last night (while Steve was trying to sleep).

Looking at my phone today, they also called yesterday at

8.45pm

7.14pm

5.44pm

4.13pm

2.42pm

1.12pm

12.41pm

12.21pm

12.10pm

Enough. Checked on ‘whocalledme’ It is obviously a spam company, so I am not picking up. I checked on the Ofcom website but the only complaint I can make is to the data commissioner because I have opted out via TPS. But I have to inform the company first.

Here is the Ofcom website, there are several different avenues to complain so it’s obviously of use to some people. But not enough. It’s about time government got to grips with this. Communication is great but not when it is relentlessly being targeted by fraudsters and salespeople.

Anyway, That is it for me. My landline is disconnected.

Frank Dobson MP, a good friend to Cornwall

I spent Tuesday afternoon and evening mostly in the company of Frank Dobson MP, in a public meeting in Hayle about Cornwall’s NHS and a members’ meeting fundraising for a local Day Centre.

What a privilege. What a genuine, caring, hard working socialist and a good friend to Cornwall.

Frank was keen to come to Cornwall again, continuing his support over the years to local Labour campaigners and especially to our dynamic candidate Michael Foster.

Over the course of today, he showed that his knowledge of and concern for Cornwall’s unique health needs and issues has not faded over the years since he was Labour’s Secretary of State for Health in 1997 -98.

As the Minister for Health, Frank reversed the Conservatives’ decision to close four of Cornwall’s community hospitals, he made sure that we had a Health Action Zone to put more money into the areas where health needs were greatest, he introduced NHS Direct, which was great for people who could not always get to a GP easily and which has since been dismantled by the Lib Dem/Tory Coalition government and he abolished the NHS internal market introduced by Ken Clark during the previous years of Tory government.

And in 2011, when Labour members in Cornwall collected signatures to force a discussion on the hiving off of those same community hospitals to a community interest company outside the NHS, Frank was here to help present the petition and flag up the risks of outsourcing. That company is now trying to get back in to the NHS family before the hospitals are put out to tender again and possibly snatched up by a private company.

We were all pleased to have Frank confirm that the next Labour government will repeal the part of the Health and Social Care Act that is forcing contracting out, fragmentation and privatisation of our NHS, saving billions of pounds in the process that would be better invested in health care. But with the reservation that the last thing needed is another re-organisation and it should be done without interfering again in the structures of the NHS.

Concern for the NHS was a topical issue yesterday as the hospitals trust, based at Treliske, issued a black alert that continues today, having difficulty discharging people or admitting people. Cuts to community beds, cuts to social care, over committed GPs, our fragmented system and problems with hard pressed staff all putting the hospitals under unbearable strain.  This is obviously a bigger problem for people in Cornwall than most other places in the country as we have no alternative in easy reach.

Frank Dobson is retiring from Parliament in May but has lost none of his passion for politics and for campaigning for the many, not the privileged few. He told members that we might just now be learning what one subsidiary company of HSBC is up to but HSBC has hundreds more subsidiary companies based in other countries and between them, our banks have around 1600 of these companies, which are closed books to those of us who work hard and pay our taxes. It was clear how strongly he felt about injustice, inequality and those who cheat the system.

It was a great privilege to spend this time with Frank. He has given a lot of thought to our most valued public service, to the needs of Cornwall and to the future of our country.  He will be a loss to Parliament when he stands down in May but I hope he has a long and happy retirement with his family, he certainly deserves it.

 

 

Close Encounter of the Yellow Kind

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The Lib Dems have not been much in evidence in Camborne, Redruth & Hayle since Julia Goldsworthy was sent packing by the electorate in 2010, so it was especially galling to have one barge into my back garden yesterday, complaining about the gate

Yesterday was bad. I have the lurgy. As every carer knows, there is still stuff to do. The elephants had trampolined on my body but there I was, feeling like sh*t and emptying it from the cat litter tray when in she bowled and handed me two letters and a leaflet. If I had realised she was from the Lib Dems, I might have breathed harder.

Indoors, when I had finished and had a look, I found some shabby, dishonest communications – reading them was worse than sorting the cats’ excrement.

They are campaigning against things they voted for with the Tories and then asking me to vote Lib Dem in the election next year. Next year?  Is that wishful thinking by the Lib Dems that they still have a year to enjoy the trappings of power.

Or is that the leaflet was printed last year and they have so little help, it has taken them this long to deliver it? Was that woman an endangered species – the last Lib Dem activist in Camborne & Redruth wearily plodding around the constituency?

The election is actually 94 days away and the Lib Dems have reappeared at the last minute to campaign against police commissioners – a mad, money wasting idea they voted for in parliament.  It would not have happened without the Lib Dems.

Julia Goldsworthy, their candidate, claims that Labour supporters are switching to Labour to kick the Tories out – she must be off her rocker.

And this, I quote:

“We all remember the last time the Tories were in government by themselves. Massive water bills, cuts to key services, brutal job losses for Cornish people like you and me.”

It sounds like a good description of Cameron’s government, the one the Libs Dems have slavishly supported and kept in power. It does not mention the decline in living standards, the unprecedented attacks on the poor, the disabled and the vulnerable, the crisis in the NHS.  Even worse than when the Tories governed alone.

And:

“Only with the support of Labour voters here, can I protect….”

Having worked in the Treasury earning a fat salary for four years, advising on the massive cuts to key services that Cornwall has suffered, Julia is back, asking for Labour votes.

As the Falmouth Packet’s Skipper put it: In Camborne & Redruth –

“The Lib Dems face an uphill battle, and I am being kind when I say that”

And to cap it all – red lettering to try and mislead people into thinking it is a Labour leaflet.

We all know that the Lib Dems do not specialise in honest campaigns.  I could not resist, however, adding one or two home truths to this particular rubbish.

To learn more about a candidate, who is presenting his case honestly, really opposing the Tories and will stand up for Cornwall whatever it takes, have a look at this website, his Facebook page MichaelFoster/CRH or call the Labour Office on 01209 612031 and ask for Michael Foster.

Policy or values?

This is my response to someone who approached me about compiling a list of responses from candidates on policy issues. Good luck to anyone who wants to do this but it’s not for me.

For me it is about values and direction of travel rather than individual policies and I feel we lose something by reducing everything to responses on topics and policies or discussions about statistics.

I detest the Tories and what they stand for: support to the strongest, crumbs from the rich person’s table to the weak or vulnerable. They have their view even if they dress it up and they stick to it. That is where the fight is.

The focus on a policy by policy approach just leads us to the Lib Dems, the scavengers in the dustbin of politics. Promise by promise they go after votes (and promise different things to different people). We’ve all seen where that led: once they had a chance of grabbing power they went for it and had no principles or values to stick to so they ditched everything that they had promised to stand for. Now they are making a new set of excuses and promises but I doubt that people will be fooled again.

Good riddance to them. The struggle is between right and left, the vested interest of the powerful and the rest of us, working and exploited people. Always has been, certainly will be as far as I can see in to the future and now more than ever we need to acknowledge that and decide which side we are on and fight for it.

I would add this as well: if the Labour Party has some policies that people do not like, I would still advise voters to think very carefully about whether you are prepared to ditch the values that have always stood up for fairness and justice, the NHS, our responsibility to the weak and vulnerable and opportunities for all and go in the opposite direction over one single issue.