Wednesday, 19 December 2007


On Radio 5 this morning Nick said he would like to see a Referendum on Europe. In or Out, no messing about with referenda every time there is a new treaty, or a change in membership. Do we want to be in or not? Straightforward question. I can go on the doorstep with that.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Coalition talk

Let's hear a loud, clear 'no' to coalition talks. We have to work with the Tories down here, and they're just not on our wavelength. They may produce the odd national figure that seems reasonable, but when you get down to Councillor, activist or member level, they are still unreformed Thatcherites. So nip it in the bud straight away Mr Clegg, lets have nothing to do with them.


Phew! that was close. Nick came close to losing through being too cautious. Let's hope he learns a lesson and takes the brakes off. And make sure Chris and Vince are both right up front with you, Nick, we need their immense talent. What a team! I might even break my diet and put milk in my celebratory cup of tea! Ooooh sod it, I'm going to have a biscuit as well! Happy days.

Monday, 17 December 2007


Up early to deal with e mails from people worried about planning and dustbin collections,etc. Then up to Penair to listen to year 9's visions for the future of Truro. This class was a bit more fidgety than last weeks, with a number of people who clearly didn't want to be there, so they were a little more challenging. Still, lots of interesting ideas and we all survived. Had a couple of Furniss Coal Vouchers to deliver. I normally wait until I've got 6 or 7 to do, but in this cold weather I thought I better go out, even though I only had two customers. Then a nice run down to Malpas and back, in 37ish minutes. My running mate moaned quite a bit, along the lines that its alright for people who've lost weight and can magically go faster, but I don't listen, she's ten years younger than me and will soon catch up. Then I posted all my Christmas cards.

Sounds like a good days work to me, but my wife disagrees. She's barely talking to me. Seems I'm not entering into the Christmas thing properly or, indeed at all. (The Christmas cards weren't for family and friends just, you know, my ward) Still the result of the leadership election will be out tomorrow and a win for Clegg will surely put a smile on her face. Although sometimes, I wonder if she really cares either way, or at all?

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Can't blog today

Can't blog today, because tonight's Planning Committee is the issue of the day, and its been suggested that I should be very careful about commenting on live planning matters. Fair enough. One of the joys of a City Centre Ward is that we get lots of big applications, and to nights theme is Supermarkets, with Sainsburys and the Co- Op involved. So I shall quietly read the Officers reports today, go along to the Committee and listen to the Officers expert presentation, and to anyone else who wants to say a few words, and quite possibly chip in with a word or two myself.

More excitingly than all that, though, I've now lost one and a half stone and manged to do two sub eight minute miles, at Running Club, last night. We did more than two miles in all, but I got a bit slower. Yes, Running Club, I am that sad. But I'm the one strutting about with my shirt tucked in and my belt done up another notch. Oh yes.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

A small success

People who run sports teams do it for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they have a child in the team or they've always played themselves and want to stay involved. For whatever reason they do our community a big favour. The Police will tell you how good it is for young lads to be involved in organised sports, and the benefits in terms of health and being part of a team are obvious. But it's a thankless task for the organiser, and I have a lot of respect for the people that do it.

So it was good at Full Council to be able to reject the Councils plans to increase charges to teams wanting to use the Council owned pitches in Falmouth. The loss to the Council is £1000 per year, and the saving to the teams is only £6 per game, but it's a step in the right direction. A very small success, but Falmouth has some of the poorest wards in the Country and £6 could be the final straw, that makes someone call it a day. Perhaps next year we can agree to give under 18's the pitches for free.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Labour lies

Unseemly scenes on Lemon Quay last Saturday. Every year the Mayor holds a Charity Day where local charities take stalls in a marquee on the Quay. The Transition Truro team unfurled their banner for a photo opportunity and Labour PPC Dr Charlotte MacKenzie, who has attached herself to the Greens to their increasing dismay, caught hold of one end of the banner and despite much tugging couldn't be dislodged. Not while there was a camera there, anyway!

I only mention this small matter because Dr C is keen to be in my blog. I've published two of her comments, but had got bored of her by the third. So she's e mailed me at the address Carrick give me for Council business, complaining that I haven't published her comment! Dr C, this blog is not a platform for Labour lies. Best thing to do is to write you're views on a leaflet and, if you've got any activists left, and I hear you haven't, deliver them to the poor unsuspecting electorate and let them make up their own minds. Oh, they already have, haven't they, you always struggle to even come third in actual elections, don't you.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Young People

Nice start to the week, up to Penair School to talk to 14 to 15 year olds about what Councillors do and, more importantly, how the Young People would like to see Truro develop. We started off telling them who we were and then they gave us a series of presentations. Now I've been banging the drum for Young People and the need to involve them in the decision making process, for a little while, but I still found this lot impressive. The ideas presented to us included making Boscowan Park more attractive to a wider range of potential users, a Snow Park so that there is something to do in the winter, an Ark Pet Shop and Cafe on the Compton Castle site, move the Football Club to Pencoose Farm (been there, tried that), a Leisure Centre, and a shopping mall with an ice rink and glass roof on Garras Wharf.

These are all great ideas, several of which have already been put to us by Officers (at great ex pence) and Developers. There were no 'Green ideas' which is surprising for Young People. In the question and answer session we began to focus on housing. They do not want everything built on, they don't want Cornwall covered in housing, they like things as they are. But, I asked them, if we don't build more houses where will you live? We talked of Eco Villages and new Council Estates and had a great time. We Councillors probably learned more than the Young People, we're more ready to compromise, whereas Young People have a certainty about them. Perhaps one day when I'm retired from public life, I'll find myself having a cup of tea in the Ark Pet Shop Cafe, and I'll smile,knowing that our City is in safe hands.

Thursday, 6 December 2007


Interesting stuff at detailing the many appearances of Mark Prisk MP in Cornwall. I see what the Tories are trying to do here, but I think they're making a mistake. As 'Shadow Minister for Cornwall' Mark can come down and look after the various Tory hopefuls in the County. I met Mark at a lunch hosted by Sarah Newton, Tory PPC for Truro Falmouth. Now, from what I saw at that lunch Sarah has absolutely no personality or presence whatsoever. Do you remember the way the Doonesbury strip once represented a character, I think it was Dan Quayle, as a feather floating in the air?. That's Sarah. So although Mark is supposed to be mentoring and guiding her, he ends up completely overshadowing her. He engages with people in the room, while she sits playing with her hair. Most people probably think she's his Researcher.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Huhne = IDS

Nice post by Guido Fawkes on saying if we elect Huhne we'll be in the same position the Tories were in when they elected IDS. Makes sense to me.


Two votes posted off from here for Nick today. I had decided for Nick at the beginning of the campaign, having seen both of the candidates in action during the course of the previous year. But I have been more impressed by Chris than I was before the campaign, although his dodgy dossier and the whole LibDem for Chris style of campaigning have undone any good his personal performances on TV and the Radio have done. Still should Nick win, I hope he will accept that Chris has done enough to be able to pick his job and must be part of the new team.

Fire Brigade

Various Devon and Somerset Councils are grappling with a £1.8 million shortfall in the Fire Service budget. They propose that Ilfracombe go from full time to retained and for Plympton, Exmouth and Paignton to go from 24 hour full time cover, to retained at night. The Councils are blaming the Labour Government for the shortfall.

We've been having this discussion down here for the past year, ever since the LibDem controlled County Council proposed that Falmouth and Camborne Fire Station, the only two full time Fire Stations in the County, go from full time to retained. There has been a vigorous campaign from the West Briton to save the Stations, with many Independents, Conservatives and especially the Labour PPC for Truro Falmouth, a Dr Charlotte Mackenzie, making political hay. Dr C has been particularly vicous in her letters to the West Briton, saying its all LibDem incompetence and nothing to do with the Government. A quick trawl around the internet sees many Councils experiencing similar problems with the Fire Service, and all blaming the Government. Will Dr C put her hand up now and say she got it wrong and was just trying to get some cheap publicity? No, I don't think that's the way NuLabour does things.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Jogging again

A great run on Saturday and not just because the road to Malpas is so beautiful, but because it only took 37 minutes, another PB! (that's shorthand for personal best, a thing we runners say). And the satisfaction of standing around at the end waiting for my mates, who only 6 months ago were very much faster than me. Now they mutter about injuries, feeling a bit sick, etc. I try to look sympathetic. Not smug at all.

But can it last?. Will Hutton writes in this weeks Observer that most people who loose weight put it all back on again. He's joined weight watchers, but I don't think I'm enough of a team player for that. See I'm permanently starving and what reasons are there not to have a little mid morning snack?. Health?, that's a bit of a lottery. Being a bit quicker on a Saturday? nice but not that important. And I'll need more than a couple of inches off my waist to suddenly become attractive to women. It's more about self image anyway, so I'm doing it for myself and myself is increasingly thinking that a little mid morning snack is more fun than loose jeans.

And Christmas is coming.

Friday, 30 November 2007


This week it was announced that elections to the new Cornish Unitary Authority will take place in May 2009, not 2008 as originally planned. One of the odd side effects of this is that because Parish Council elections are to be brought in line with the Unitary elections, the next Parish Council elections will not be until 2013. So those of us elected to Parish Councils last year, and Truro City Council is a Parish Council, were signing on for for a 7 year term. I'm not sure that's a good thing at all.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Another tea break

You might ask what happened to lunch? no time to rest here, lunch time found me hurrying around delivering coal. When he died, in about 1880, Mr Furniss of Furniss Biscuit fame left a pile of cash to pay for coal for poor people. Well its still going and I look after west Truro. So my lunchtime spent out delivering coal vouchers, having established that they needed them, which in my book means making sure that they have chimney pots.

But back to the early part of the week. That was all taken up with the Railway Club Planning Tribunal. Monday preparing, Tuesday giving evidence and Wednesday fetching and carrying for our Barrister. We've done our best now and will have to wait until the end of January for the result. On the last day the Tribunal sat from 9.30 until 19.00 with just 45 mins for lunch. I spent my lunch break taking mirrors off the wall for an old lady who was moving. 'Oh and could you move the washing machine for me?' 'but its still connected' 'yes dear, here's some screwdrivers'. So there I am, in my Tribunal suit, scrabbling about under her kitchen unit with a leaky old washing machine. I don't think I've got the hang of this being a Councillor lark. Must learn how to say no.

Tea break time

Sunday saw us down at the Blue Bar in Portowan, for the Cornish leg of the Huhne Clegg Hustings Roadshow. A lovely day, cold but with clear blue skies and a nice bit of surf rolling in. Nick couldn't resist the beach and took the opportunity to 'get some sand on his shoes', as the late great Johnny Cash once sang.

I'm voting for Clegg, but I'm delighted that we have two really good candidates and that they took the time to come all the way down here twice during the campaign. They were asked what job they would give the losing candidate. Nick said 'a really big one', and I hope he meant shadow chancellor, a role in which Chris would be brilliant. Chris forgot to answer that one, but he would be mad to overlook Nick.

One thing they both must think about is how to give Vince Cable a prominent role. Both Clegg and Huhne supporters have been united in their applause for Vince and we must make sure that he continues to be a big part of the front bench team

Busy week

Well I hope somebody has noticed that I haven't posted all week. Reason is, I've been busy. Last Friday was 11 million takeover day, a scheme where Young People take over key roles in an effort to get their voices heard. I'd arranged for Young People to be Mayors of Truro, Falmouth and Pennryn and spent the day looking after the Truro Mayor's. It went really well, the Young people were great, they interviewed like old hands on Pirate FM and in the West Briton, and the feedback from the Officers they met has been very good. Everyone is keen to set up a Youth Council, as a means of getting Young People's voices heard in the Council Chamber and to enable the Council to communicate with Young People. On Pirate FM the Young Mayor said how surprised she had been that Officers had listened carefully and made notes, that it was that easy to get your voice heard. Well, it is if you're the Mayor!

I've got a pile of housework and post to get through, so I'll continue to bring you up to date, at the next coffee break!

Thursday, 22 November 2007


Nice run this morning. A combination of diet and exercise means I'm getting thinner and fitter, who knew that would work?, but running faster means we can't chat and I'm left with my own thoughts. So I was turning over a recent irony. No, not Huhne trying to label Nick 'Calamity' then saying he has no idea what his own staff are up to, and no control over what they send out. No, thoughts tend to be a bit more basic on a run. Because I'm dieting I'm watching the calories. At the Christmas Fare there was a guess the calories in this pile of cakes competition. Using my new expertise I made an educated guess and I won! The pile of cakes is the prize and they've been delivered today. Because I'm on a diet, I've won a pile of cakes. I think that's irony.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007


Once again Chris apologises for the actions of a junior member of staff, then repeats the same line of attack. I'm all for taking a more aggressive line with the other parties, but this is damaging us. Interesting that the head of Revenue and Customs resigned over a mistake made by a junior member of staff. No comparison of course.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Truro's Parade of Lights

Christmas kicks off in Truro with our Parade of Lights. The local school kids make the lanterns, with some help from artists, and parade them through the streets. Truro becomes a proper Cornish town for the night and at the end, in good celtic style, we burn all the lanterns.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Clegg and Huhne at the Christmas Fare

We had our Christmas Fair this weekend, and it went very well. It's nice when people come away from an event planning the extra things they are going to do next year!

Nick and Chris dropped in. I've already declared for Nick, but I'll admit that Chris won the first points by arriving early and staying the longest. Nick was on a very tight schedule, and it does annoy helpers when MP's are looking at their watches as soon as they arrive.

But I haven't changed my view. Chris has this sort of self aware thing most MP's have, I'm important and I know it, and here I am talking to a member of the public looking really concerned and interested. Is there a photographer? Nick seems more like a normal bloke and seems to be aware of people, other than himself. As we had a tight schedule I was trying to just introduce him to active party members. As we moved away from the Raffle Stall, Nick realised he hadn't been introduced to one helper. 'Hi I'm Nick Clegg, who are you?' 'I'm Rob's wife' 'oh, why didn't he introduce us?' 'Because I'm just part of the furniture'. I suffered for that later, but Nick won another vote. And several more when he bought some Marmalade from the produce stall.

The events of yesterday only confirm my view. Nick's a decent guy who connects with people easily. He's what we need

Friday, 16 November 2007

Toryboy 2

A special meeting of the full Council yesterday, to deal with an unexpected shortfall in funding for the Dracena Centre, Falmouth's new Youth Club. I don't generally pay much attention to what goes on outside Truro, but in my Young Peoples Champion role, I've been down there to meet youth workers, teachers, policeman, etc and they tell me there are real problems with young people, down there. Not many people who visit Falmouth for their holidays would realise that some of the poorest and most deprived wards in the country, are in Falmouth. They desperately need this Youth Club, which is going to be more than just a Club, but somewhere from which a whole raft of children's services can be delivered.

So how will the Tories react to a call for 230k extra funding?. Back in May they where going to cut budgets everywhere, but apart from one success in reducing the cost of works on The Moor, they seemed to have settled down and are doing pretty much what we planned to do. Well they did ask questions, very fair and sensible questions, of how the shortfall had occurred. But it was plain that their hearts weren't in it and they where going to support the Club. Then up popped Councillor Hill (Feock, Con) to inject some passion into the debate. Almost shaking with anger he demanded answers of the Officers. The Cabinet had known of the shortfall Friday evening, how had it taken three whole days to organise a meeting of the full Council? and why had he only received notice the previous evening?. Procedure's had'nt been followed. It was an outrage. He's a professional Accountant, which we all knew because he often mentions it. He went on for ages. They answered politely, the Mayor of Falmouth and the Leader even apologised! You see, this is where I fear that I might not make it as a politician, because I wouldn't have apologised. No, I would have suggested that he got off back to his cash flow projection and let us get on with what we think is important work. Or words to that effect.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Clegg and Huhne

One of the big downsides of being in a political party is fundraising. I'd rather give them £20 than have to do a jumble sale. But it doesn't seem to work that way. Perhaps I missed the meeting or just wasn't paying attention, but I've got stuck with organising this years Christmas Fair. And it's been a complete pain, and very nearly a disaster when I almost forgot to organise Traders Licenses, and with me being on the Licensing Committee, well you can imagine how bad that would have been. Thank you Licensing Department.

But having moaned my way through it, two phone calls cause a sudden change. 'Could Mr Clegg come to your Christmas Fair?' Why yes! that would be great. And then 'Could Mr Huhne come to your Christmas Fair?' oh yes, plenty of room. See the change from oppressed, irritated organiser to clipboard wielding 'I'm in charge Mr Clegg, step this way for photos, raffle tickets, and would you like a pasty Mr Clegg?'. Sometimes I embarrass myself. But I am in charge.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007


Christmas lights meeting a bit more eventful than expected. One of the main sets of lights that had been put up in Boscawen Street Monday evening, came crashing down Tuesday lunchtime, injuring two people, damaging a car and forcing QS to close for two hours. Unbelievable. For years people have been clambering up ladders and hanging the lights off whatever was handy. Now Health and Safety have stopped all that, and we've had to employ a major company to do it, at a terrific cost, which included £30,000 to test and renew the infrastructure, and we have our first major incident ever! Unbelievable. It's on the front page of the Western Morning News at if you want more.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007


Busy day today. Started with a nice little jog down to Malpas and back. Even on a damp autumn day it's great running along the Truro River, really beautiful. Actually the jogging's going well, down to 38 minutes for 5 miles. Well o.k 4.5. I'm not going to worry Paula, but I'm happy. And a bit thinner.

Then organising for 11million takeover day. I've arranged for young people to take over as Mayors of Truro, Penryn and Falmouth for the day. Finalised the itineraries today and it's looking like fun.

Now off to the BIDS meeting to organise Christmas lights etc.

Monday, 12 November 2007


Last week, as a Licensing Sub Committee, we heard an application from a club that wanted to extend it's opening hours until 4.30 a.m. The Police objected and sent along an Inspector,no less, who told us that after 3 a.m shifts change and there could be as little as 3 policeman on duty to cover the entire town, at a time when the club is emptying between 500 and 900 people out on to the streets. An incident elsewhere could mean that the police would be unable to respond to calls if there was trouble outside the club.

Before I was a Councillor I was completely in favour of 24 hour drinking, and would have said 'the demand exists, the Police need to change their shifts'. Now I find myself supporting the Police and listening to residents who object to the noise and nuisance. Have I abandoned my principles?, or am I responding sensibly to the concerns of the Police and the community I represent?

Thursday, 1 November 2007


A 1960's office building in New Bridge Street is being converted into flats, so I got invited along to the Chairman of Planning to look at the plans. In fact the developers had already been given permission by the Planning Inspector, against the Councils wishes, and we were only looking at a proposal to increase the number of flats from 8 to 10.

Having already lost an Appeal the Planners had no enthusiasm to fight this, and felt we had to accept it. But my main interest was slightly different. This building bridges a footpath into a small park and at night time seems to be regarded as a convenient toilet. This is a major nuisance for people, many of whom have to pick their way through this mess the next day, on their way to work. I suggested we ask the developers if they could improve the lighting or put in cameras, or find some deterrent,which would benefit the new residents as well as those of us that use the footpath. Reluctantly the Planners agreed to do this, although it seemed to be a novel and surprising suggestion to them.

I suppose it would help if we didn't close the public toilets at night, or would it? It seems people have no regard for anyone else these days and do what they want, where they want.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007


Some of the newly elected Councillors are struggling with the idea of public service. One particular Toryboy is coming in for a bit of attention. Already shown a red card for accusing, at a public meeting, another Councillor of failing to declare an interest, he's still not got the hang of decent behaviour. We get passes to the City car park, for use on Council business only. Toryboy took to parking his car there all day, whilst he went to work, saving himself some £40 a week. Fair enough he did campaign on lowering car park charges, he just forgot to say he would be the only beneficiary! And now he's been letting himself into the post room to read the morning paper. Saves a couple of quid, I suppose. We don't have an explanation for his actions, and there could be one, because he keeps cancelling appointments at the last minute, leaving officers sitting around fuming. Careful with his own cash,but he doesn't seem to mind waisting the Councils time and money.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Europe again

Last night Michael Palin visited the old East Germany, on his tour of Eastern Europe. For no particular reason he visited a toilet factory, that had been relocated from West Germany to Meissen, presumably to cash in on the prestige of that old porcelain producing town. In the course of her chat the lady from head office said that increasingly German men preferred to sit down, whilst having a pee. Why would they do that? have 'two world wars and one world cup' taken a terrible toll on German manhood? is it a 'Europeen' thing? where do Clegg and Huhne stand on this issue? what's going on?

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

To Boldly Go

It says in The Guardian Diary, that Chris Huhne yesterday compared himself to the fictional President Bartlet, of the West Wing. Don't know if its true, seems a pretty presumptuous thing to say. Clegg would never say anything so pompous. But if he did compare himself to a fictional character, then Captain James T Kirk of the Starship Enterprise seems the obvious candidate. Beloved by women across the Galaxy, rushing about saving civilisations in trouble, going boldly where no man has been before. Phasers to stun, Mr Spock!

Monday, 22 October 2007

Why Clegg?

Having come out for Clegg early, I've been accused of going for style over substance, and told that I should wait until both candidates have declared their policies. That's a fair point, and here's why I'm voting Clegg. I met Chris earlier in the year, when he came down here to do a bit of canvassing and give an after dinner speech. A very capable and professional performance, but I have no idea what he said, in fact I had forgotten it 10 minutes after he gave the speech. At the spring conference I found myself with half an hour to spare between training sessions, so I wandered into the main Hall where Nick was Chairing a panel. I missed the training, and was engrossed for the next hour or so. Nick told us about new community justice panels being set up in in Taunton, jousted with the journalist from the Telegraph and treated questions from the audience with respect and humour. He seemed to know every ones name.

There are rough edges and Nick will take us out of our comfort zone, and maybe into places that a safer pair of hands might avoid. But we've done the safe pair of hands, we need someone that can deal with the press, someone that will embrace new ideas, and most importantly a leader that people will listen to and remember what he says. That's Nick Clegg

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Royal Cornwall Hospital

Moving with a speed previously unknown up at the Hospital, they have deleted the video I linked to in the previous post. A shame, but impressive. Perhaps the new Management are more efficient than the last lot. Implies that someone is reading my blog, though. Finishes off a bit of a poor week really. My motion that the City Council hold monthly surgeries out on the Farmers Market, you know, meet actual people, was defeated by the old dead party (Independents), and my piece on Radio Cornwall finally got broadcast at 7 o'clock Saturday morning. As if anyone is listening at that time.

Still there's the Rugby to look forward to. Mebyon Kernow's PPC sent me a Facebook invitation to join a group 'South African for the Day'. I don't know whats wrong with those boys, any proper Celt would enjoy the prospect of wallowing in glorious defeat. Nicking a grim one point win would be fine too. Go Phil!

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Royal Cornwall Hospital

The Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust has been named as the worst performing Hospital Trust in the country. The line coming out of the Hospital today is that the new management, that came in at the beginning of the year, are making improvements. But Nurses tell me that although the new management started out with a 'sleeves rolled up out in the wards' sort of approach, that's gone and management are locked away in their ivory tower, same as the last lot. Normally, at this stage, I would show you an amusing video from the Hospital staff, but they've locked it up so I can't share it. But you could look at it yourself if you went to Youtube and searched for 'Breach(Royal Cornwall)'. Enjoy.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Takeover Day

As Carrick's Children and Young people's Champion I have been busy working on Takeover Day, an initiative from The Children's Commissioner whereby he hopes that on the 23rd November Children and Young People will takeover important jobs and roles , throughout the country. The point of this is that there are 11 million Children and Young People, some 20% of the population, and we seldom hear their voice.

I've arranged for the Mayor's of Truro, Falmouth and Penryn to hand over their chains for the day. So the next step is to find some likely children. Sounds a bit like the old recipe ' first catch your child'. Should be a fun and interesting day, and you never know with kids, we might very well learn something.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007


Just as I begin to shake of my parochial ways and embrace up country as not a bad place, along they come meddling in our affairs. I was interviewed by Radio Cornwall yesterday, on an important local item, that was to run on the breakfast program. But Ming's ill timed resignation speech has meant that my item has been bumped off the program! Well that's it for me and up country.

Except for one comment on the leadership election. At Brighton Andrew Neil came at me with two mugs. One full of Clegg badges and one full of Huhne badges, which he was calling a straw poll. I picked Clegg and am sticking with that, he let me keep the badge, but that's not the only reason. This blog is officially coming out for Clegg. As if anyone cares. Perhaps Radio Cornwall would be interested?

Monday, 15 October 2007


They do have electricity up there, but the very expensive hotel wanted £10 a day for internet access. Anyway we were to busy to blog, being dragged around Newcastle from 9 in the morning until 10 at night by the inspirational leader of Newcastle Council, John Shipley, and his team of talented Councillors, especially Nick Cott, Gareth Kane, Gregg and young Harry and thanks also to the Officers. I'm occasionally accused of being a little parochial, and I admit, you'll never hear any criticism of Truro here, but what those guys are achieving up there is fantastic, and I'm more than a little jealous. But I've come back full of new ideas to try out down here, and I'll be sure to say that they're not all my own ideas, oh yes.

Late Friday night I went out with Cllr Anna Pascoe of Camborne, to check out the evening economy. Newcastle is the 8th most popular party destination in the world. And somewhere that fake tan counts as clothing. I thought I might be a little old, but there where ladies older than me wearing miniskirts. Everyone was really friendly and happy and the atmosphere was brilliant. What a place.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Young and Talented

Off to Newcastle today, to take part in the in the Leadership Centre's programme for Young and Talented Councillors. Those of you who have read my profile will, perhaps, query my qualifications, but on my Council I'm just a boy.

I'll endeavour to blog on arrival. I expect they have electricity up there.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007


Last night I attended my first Christmas planning meeting. Here in Truro we have just set up a Bids Board, that's where 1% of the business rate is diverted to a company,the Bids Board, to be used to improve the District. And the first thing we are spending money on are Christmas lights. Because Truro has so many of the big chain stores, who often don't contribute to community things, like lights, the burden of fund raising was falling on a smaller and smaller group of independent retailers, until we reached a point a couple of years ago when we had no Christmas lights at all! So Working for Truro was formed to set up a Bids scheme. And we are getting going just in time to set up the lights. Of course we won't please everyone, but it will get better and better, as we develop.

And we have real live Reindeer, pulling Santa in his sleigh through Boscawen Street. Roll on Christmas!

Takeover Day

To celebrate the United Nations charter on the rights of the child, the 23rd November is to be Takeover Day, when some of the 11 million children and young people in this country will get the chance to be in charge. As Carrick's Children and Young Peoples Champion I have approached the Mayor of Truro, and she has agreed to let a young person take over, and I'm waiting on replies from the Mayors of Falmouth and Penryn. It should be great fun, and an opportunity to highlight the position of young people in our society.

When people complain about young people hanging about on street corners or in the park, I say 'imagine if there were no pubs', and these conversations usually take place in pubs, 'what would we do after work?' Well we'd hang about on street corners making a nuisance of ourselves. And it wouldn't be long before some bright spark bought a couple of tins from the Off Licence and then we'd have the Police around. Young People just need somewhere safe to go. Takeover Day should be a fun way of highlighting their concerns.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Too Political

I recently asked the powers that be, at our local Council, if they could put a link to my blog in the 'getting in touch with your local Councillor' section. No, its too political, they said. Two points come to mind. Firstly, er yeah, well spotted, I'm a member of a political party, I stood in an election with a political agenda and am part of a political group on the Council. Your point is? Secondly, can my ramblings about Railway Club's, Football Club's, jogging, etc be considered too political?. As long as I keep off the Conservatives it's just community stuff. And the Tories are big boys, they don't mind.

I'm inclined to push this one a bit further.

Thursday, 4 October 2007


When I started on on my political career, all of 18 months ago, I knew as little about Seagulls as anyone else. But a month of knocking on doors in Boscawen made it plain to me that people and Gulls were not living together in harmony. Do something about the Gulls and we'll vote for you, they said. So I learnt about Gulls. They weigh a kilo, live 35 years, have no predators, they have 3 chicks a year, fly at up to 60mph and the population is growing at between 15% and 25% per year. They are moving into the cities in a big way. Out on the cliffs they are an endangered species. Try telling that to anyone with a breeding pair nesting on the roof, when the noise starts at 4 am.

So I got featured in the West Briton, front page of the Packet, Radio Cornwall phone ins and had lots of meetings, trying to get the District Councils to act together. We've had a survey done, by Dr Peter Rock the leading expert on Gulls, so we know how many there are, and tomorrow we are having another meeting. The plan is to run a series of Seagull Awareness events, starting in Feb. But why wait until then. Cornwall is the only place where Gulls attack people and that's because you upcountry people think it's entertaining to throw your chips at them. Well pack it in, its not helpful.

So far, not a single Gull has suffered as a result of my campaign. In fact several have taken to nesting on my roof. But the tide is turning, my feathered friends, and soon their will be some actions taken, although I can't be specific as to what they may be, at this exact moment.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Election Fever

This election fever has actually stopped me from blogging over the last few days. I don't have any inside knowledge, just a vague feeling that it won't happen. But I'm on my own, everyone down here is convinced and we're working towards a Monday or Tuesday announcement. I'm going along with the flow, nothing we're doing is wasted and it is focusing minds. So more leaflets tomorrow and a Friday planning meeting for the Postal Vote team. And several more days of feverish speculation.

Friday, 28 September 2007


Nice to receive two letters, today, from people in my Ward thanking me for a couple of things achieved over the past weeks. I may not have made any ones list of top 100 blogs, as if I care about upcountry people and their lists, mutter mutter, but the people down here are pleased with me. And that sends me off into the weekend, a happy and contented Councillor.


Our Organiser, having got election fever, had us out leafleting in Falmouth. I doubt that there will be a snap election, but Anna didn't want to risk being left with a pile of launch leaflets for Terrye Teverson, our recently appointed PPC, so she had us toiling all day. Fair enough, they have to go out anyway and we delivered near to 3000 yesterday.

In the evening I helped dish out the prizes for the Truro in Bloom competition. It's always a great event, because so many children are involved. So there was lots of noise and laughter throughout and the kids marched up and shook hands politely as they got their certificates. Then the older, deeply tanned, gardeners came up for their prizes, and the children clapped them. Followed by refreshments. A great evening and a credit to the Parks Department and Staff of the City Council, especially Richard and Kirsty, who do the organising.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Labour Mismanagement

Down here we're suffering from a good example of Labour mismanagement. Cornwall has been piloting a concessionary bus fare scheme, free travel for the over 65's. It's a good scheme and, of course, it's very popular with our large retired community. The districts were each given 600k to run the scheme, and five of the districts have made money out of the scheme. But no allowance was made for us having the County Hospital, being the main shopping centre and a major transport hub. So Carrick taxpayers have had to pay out an extra half million pounds!

Next year the scheme goes nationwide. So any pensioner down on holiday will get free travel. The population of Cornwall at least doubles in the summer. Will the shortfall double?, will we be paying out a million pounds for this scheme next year? we have no idea, but we'll have to pay it, whatever the cost.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all in favour of the scheme. It's a great scheme, but like so many of Labours plans it sounds great, but implementation is poorley thought out, everything falls apart when it comes to paying for it, and the taxpayers pay for the mess.

Monday, 24 September 2007

(Royal Cornwall Hospital) Summer Ball 2006

A lot of objective one money was wasted trying to set up a film studio in St Agnes. Who was to know that such a depth of cinematic talent existed up there at Duchywood.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

The History Boys

Went to The Hall for Cornwall last night to see the History Boys. The Hall is celebrating its 10th birthday this year, and is managing to pull some top productions down, and The History Boys is a top production. The young cast were brilliant and the themes completely relevant. I've heard of people going to see it two or three times, and I can understand that as there are so many ideas being thrown out, you need time to consider them to get the best out of it.

We've had a number of the lads staying with us this week, so it was odd to wander into the kitchen and see 'Posner' and 'Timms' having breakfast. Time to get off to school lads, I thought!

Friday, 21 September 2007

Praise from the Tories!

Last night as I arrived at the Licencing Committee John Dyer, the esteemed Conservative Chairman of the Council, was sat chatting with some other Councillors. 'Ah' he said, beckoning me over,'I particularly enjoyed what you said at the planning Committee last night'. He was referring to the business of the five Townhouses to be built on the site of one cottage. Oh no, I thought, what have I missed? was there to be an affordable element?, what have I done?. But no, he just seemed to approve of me stopping high density developments.

I never get any praise from my own team. Maybe I went to the wrong Conference?

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Back in the real world

Away from the drama of Brighton, its back to the Planning Committee for me. The major trend down here, and elsewhere I suspect, is for people to build houses in their back gardens, or to knock their houses down and build bigger ones. As we saw from the Football Club the green belt is to be protected, even though farms are uneconomic and farmers are desperate to sell. But anything goes on the so called brownfield sites, which includes back gardens.

So last night we have an application to knock down a cottage on a suburban site in Truro, and replace it with five townhouses. That's right, five, and all with the full support of the officers who were happy to brush aside inconvenient rules on amenity space and problems with parking and access. I was grateful for the support of the Tories and Independents in rejecting this overdevelopement. We may call ourselves a City, but we're a pleasant old fashioned market town, and I will do what I can to keep us that way.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Young Turks

The lunchtime news is still insisting that the main topic of conversation at Conference is the Leadership. It's not. But one interesting thing did come out, the strength of the what the press are calling the parties Young Turks. We do seem to have a number of very talented people coming through. Not just MP's either, the Leader of Liverpool City Council, Councillor Warren Bradley, spoke passionately and eloquently about his City at the reception Liverpool gave to celebrate being European City of Culture 2008. Any Council would want him as leader, and if he became an MP he'd give Nick and Chris a run for their money.

Contrast this with the Conservatives. When they jettison Cameron where will they go? Back into the Thatcher past? Boris? there is no alternative, as they said once before, and they're stuck with him.

So let's no get cross with the press, they're just looking for a story, and the real story that's begining to emerge is the depth of talent in the LibDems today.


Got home from Conference last night. Had to come away early as we have Planning tonight and Licencing tomorrow, and we're pretty busy on the home front. I went along to the debate between Chris Huhne and Nick Clegg, which Andrew Neil was touting as an unofficial husting on the leadership challenge. He had a couple of mugs, one with Clegg badges and one with Huhne badges, I took a Clegg badge and watched Neil being filmed declaring Clegg the winner of the straw poll.

The room was packed, so packed that Huhne was told, 'sorry mate it's full' when he arrived, so there is interest in the debate. But Clegg and Huhne made it clear they only wanted to talk about policies and the direction of the Party. At one point the Chairman, from the Independent, tried to drag the discussion back to the leadership, but the crowd booed him. And having gone into the room wanting to see Clegg take over, I saw that Clegg and Huhne are doing great work on crime and the environment, and that it's better that they continue to build on that, rather than waisting energy on a leadership battle, just because the press say we should have one.

Later I heard Ming described as a statesman. So I think the consensus is that we're going to continue to support him. That's not a scientific poll, or a particularly informed opinion, but its about as valid as Andrew Neils straw poll.

Sunday, 16 September 2007


After a couple of frustrating weeks things are looking better. A bit of dodgy kerb that has been causing wheelchair users problems down by the Shell garage, has been fixed. Ming is moving towards a referendum on EEC membership. Its not that I'm anti Europe, just a bit unhappy about the way its gone over the last ten years. Its been thirty odd years since we joined and its changed from the original trading group plan. A referendum would clear the air.

And the Guardian says that curly haired men and black suits are in. So it's of to Conference with a success to boast about, in step with the Party Leader on Europe, my black suit on and my curly hair, well there's never much you can do with curly hair. I'll report back in a few days.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Truro City F C

Last night Planning Referrals considered Truro City's plan to move from their old ground, to a new 6 million pound development in Kenwyn, paid for entirely by their millionaire owner. Last June we managed to push this through Planning against the Officers recomendation, but only after seven hours of consideration, which included site visits and a public meeting. But last night the Committee members were like frightened rabbits, I saw one Tory approaching the Council offices turning and running back to the car park, when she saw the young footballers with their placards, only returning when she had another Tory to hang on to!

All week I've heard them moaning that this is the heaviest post bag they've ever had. So, some middle class nimbys know how to use a word processor! You're supposed to be community leaders, guys, not scared of you're post bag. Sometimes you have to make decisions that are for the greater good of the community, even if a small section are left unhappy.

Truro's young people need these facilities, we don't even have a Youth Club and Carrick don't have the money to do anything. Well, the Committee ignored the fact that we had spent seven hours on this, their questions, such as they where, betrayed their complete ignorance of the issues and after only 40 minutes, they voted to refuse the application.

Two members abstained, and how they can come to important meetings like this and not be able to make their mind up, is beyond me. But they're irrelevant. The 5 who voted to refuse permission comprised of one LibDem, three Conservatives and one Independent. Of these only the LibDem is a Truro member, the rest are spread across Carrick, and what do they care about the future of Truro City F C and the possibility of some facilities for the kids of Truro. As usual the Tories looked after their own, at the communities expense.

There where irregularities with some aspects of the evening, but that's not for discussion here. I'll take them up with Carricks Legal Department.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007


The meeting of the Parks Committee went along quickly enough last night. In truth the Parks Manager and his staff do such a good job, that there's not much for the Committee to do, other than rubber stamp his decisions. But at the end the Mayor raised the matter of people misbehaving on Furniss Island. The Island is a little patch of greenery in the middle of town, where office workers like to eat their sandwiches. But this summer it's been taken over by young people. They can be intimidating, but they don't actually pay any attention to me when I walk through. And they can leave a mess of food wrappers and bottles, which is annoying. But where else are they going to go? We have no Youth Clubs in Truro, the Bowling Alley and the Cinema are all that's on offer, and they cost money.

But things came to a head last week. Those that are old enough have been buying beer in the Co-Op and then selling it on. A late night party developed, and sometime after two o' clock, a lad was beaten up and windows smashed. Unfortunately Furniss Island is ringed by old peoples flats and the residents were terrified. So now the Police are increasing patrols and the Parks Committee is being asked to lop branches off trees and remove bushes, so that the CCTV can monitor the place.

All well and good, but we must be careful. Elsewhere in the country they are finding that moving the kids on is causing a big problem. They are gathering on School sites at night, and are out of sight. No one passes by, the Police Patrols can't easily see what they are up to. They become an easy target for drug dealers, and worse, and no one knows what's happening, until it's too late.

The Police in Truro do a good job. I think we can rely on them for some 'light touch' Policing. I hope we can leave the kids on Furniss Island, but clamp down on alcohol and late night antics. But better still, let's build a Youth Club so that Young People have somewhere safe to go and socialise.

Monday, 10 September 2007


At the Carnival I went and watched the Cornish wrestling, or wrasslin', tournament. Cornish wrestling is one of those things that's not that interesting to watch, for the ignorant layman, like myself, being very technical with quite complex rules and scoring, but in it's context can be very enjoyable. This tournament was held in the shadow of the Cathedral, on Cathedral Green, and watched by quite a large crowd, including the Bishop, many of them wearing Cornish tartan. But for me the most interesting thing was the Judges. Each bout is judged by three guys who walk around the ring carrying long sticks. They're called Sticklers. The scoring is so complex that it's not always obvious who the winner is, until the Sticklers detailed score sheets come in. Is this where the phrase 'Stickler for detail' comes from?

Sunday, 9 September 2007


Well, I managed to send the Carnival off in the right direction, and in roughly the right order, bringing an end to a busy week. Not an entirely successful week, not the result we wanted with the Railway Club and I got savaged in, but we live to fight on for the Club and if you can't take a bit of criticism, you shouldn't be in politics.

On the bright side the PPC planning meeting went well. Terrye is proving to be a hard working and determined PPC and is gathering a good team. We're ready for the election, whenever it's called. Friday night, on the way home from the Carrick Meeting,I called in to the Old Ale House where the Young Liberals were having their first meeting. I lurked near the back, not really qualifying for entry, and it was great to see so many keen young people becoming active in the Party. There was just one moment, when one of them said he had attended a meeting and 'there was me, and like, the rest where over 70!'. I coughed politely, for I too had been at that meeting. But I don't suppose there's much difference between 51 and 70! Anyway great to see them meeting up, and I look forward to seeing them getting some campaigning going.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Railway Club

Bit of a hitch with the hearing. the morning went well and at two o' clock I settled down to give my evidence. Three hours of legal wrangling over aspects of my evidence, ended with the hearing being adjourned until late November. I can't go into any detail, as we are mid hearing, but it wasn't a great day, sat at a little table on my own, while people argued about what I was saying. I had to stay there even during short adjournments!. Anyway, that's what happened, so no more about this, until November.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Off We Go

September arrives with a bang - an important and busy week ahead. Today we meet with the Barrister to discuss the Railway Club Appeal, then off to interview people who will speak up for the Club at the hearing. Tonight we've got a full session of Truro City Council. Tuesday sees preparation for the hearing and dealing with my in- tray, then Wednesday and Thursday are taken up by the hearing itself. I really hope we can do a proper job for the people at the Club, they don't deserve all this hassle. Squeeze in a quick meet with the Twinning Committee Wednesday night and the Police Liaison Committee Thursday night.

Friday sees a meeting with the PPC and then the start of negotiations with County over the Unitary. That's likely to be a bit unpleasant, but we must pull together to make sure there's no disruption in the delivery of services.

Saturday is Carnival day and I've managed to get myself put in charge of marshaling the floats and seeing that they go off in the correct order and on time.

So a busy week with one or two potential banana skins!

Saturday, 1 September 2007

First Month Done

That's a month of blogging now and whilst it seems generally well received, there has been criticism of the content and, indeed, style. And now some tips on improving my image. Seems I should :-

1. Run slower
2. Learn to play the guitar
3. Support Wolves.

If I ran any slower it wouldn't be running. Many years ago I ran in a 10k race. I was pottering along when I heard this slap slap noise behind me. Then a little old lady wearing green flash plimsolls overtook me. 'Keep going, you're doing well' she said. That was a low point.

I spent a summer trying to learn to play ' a horse with no name'. I just can't. I can sing Pulp's Common People at Karaoke. Well I reckon I can, anyway.

Supporting Wolves is out of the question. A. It's near Birmingham and B... well A's enough. Actually I've started going to Truro City. Non league football and a taste for real ale! really I'm not as dull as that makes me sound. But it's fun. An easy walk to the ground, meet a few people and chat as we watch. And we sing 'Oh Truro' to the tune of 'Amore' and 'We are Truro, no one likes us and we don't care'. In fact, probably most people are mildly indifferent to us, but it doesn't scan so well.

Anyway thanks for reading.

Thursday, 30 August 2007


Last word on Cornish Nationalism, for the moment. The very wonderful Kneehigh theatre are touring this autum with 'Blast', a story of Cornish direct action, and will be at a village hall near you, as long as you have the good fortune to live in Cornwall or the, rather more debatable, good fortune to live in Devon. Tough on the rest of you, but it's your own fault.

The full list of dates is on

Wednesday, 29 August 2007


I've had a couple of anonymous comments on the Newlyn post I put out yesterday. I've published them, but don't intend to publish anything else marked anonymous. If you don't have the balls to put your name to a comment, your views aren't worth reading.

Candy Atherton a good MP? After she visited South Crofty tin mine and asked when COAL production had stopped there, we realised how much she knew about, or cared for, Cornwall. It was then just a matter of time before she packed that big carpet bag of hers, and headed back to Islington.

Signs of Cornish Nationalism aren't hard to see. St Pirans flag flies everywhere these days. The English Heritage rose is generally painted over with the Piran emblem. Graffiti on signs or on walls or even across the road itself, are commonplace. Usually saying 'hope your second home burns' or something similarly cheery. When the Loving Cup of England visited Truro on its tour of the cities of England, in the run up to St Georges day, it was met by an angry flag waving crowd who didn't want it here. I could go on, but take a look at the Cornwall24 website if you want more.

Oh no! I'm dealing with more than one subject in my post! the other anonymous will be tutting! bet he doesn't like exclamation marks either!

Tuesday, 28 August 2007


Down in Newlyn last night for the tail end of the Fish Fair. Couple of pints in the Dolphin, enjoying the party atmosphere. But as today's relates, there's an air of despair settling on this great Cornish fishing port. There are not many places like Newlyn left now, it's still a working port and people live and work there. Most people were drunk last night, but there was no trouble, you can't start a fight in the pub that your Dad and Grandad drink in, and if you do, it's soon sorted.

But the Government is grinding on with legal action against some skippers who went over their quotas, and this could destroy the fragile economy of the town. They don't deny that they broke the law, but they want fair treatment and proportionate fines. This wouldn't happen in France or Spain. A couple of years ago LibDem MEP's campaigned to protect the name Cornish Pasties, so they could only be called Cornish if they were made here. The French Government held the whole thing up whilst they consulted the people of the Cornvoi region. Maybe they would one day in the future want to make pasties - their position must be protected! Can you imagine our Government taking such an interest?

Years ago when South Crofty, the last Cornish tin mine, closed some graffiti appeared on the wall. 'Mining scat, fishing scat, what's a Cornish boy to do?'. The answer seems to us to be that our Government doesn't care. Take away what a man does, and you take away what he is. May be this is part of the reason for the upsurge in Cornish Nationalism, that we've seen lately.

There's growing resentment down here. In the past the LibDems have done great work representing the people of Cornwall and we must make sure that we continue to speak up on behalf of Cornwall and it's people.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Bad Days, Good Days.

Yesterday started well enough. A nice run along the river to Malpas, in the Cornish sunshine, what better way to start the day?. Then pay a few bills, not fun but necessary and off to a meeting to discuss negotiations for the new Unitary Council. That's when things started to go downhill. A really grim meeting. The gulf between District Councillors and County Councillors is huge and a great deal of bitterness exists. It doesn't help that County hoards information and can't bear to tell anyone anything. A nice guy had come down from Portsmouth to give us the benefit of his experience, he's been involved in setting up and running Unitary's, but all he got was moaning and scepticism. It was annoying, when he told us the elections would be in May 2008. Last week we were told by a source in County May 2009. Who knows what's going on. All I know is that it's going to be a struggle to get right and we need to start working now.

And then the Planning Committee. Carrick send an agenda several days in advance, at a cost of about £4 for postage. Its a couple of hundred pages, but its got to be read. Its important to the people involved. But several of the Condependant ( conservatives calling themselves independents) like to keep it all as a surprise for the night. So they constantly ask questions and the Officers patiently answer 'that's covered on page 126' or whatever. It means a 2 hour meeting stretches to 3 hours while they catch up. Perhaps it's me that's the fool for being diligent.

But today's a better day. 3 minutes faster on my run and 3lbs less on the scales. Even better, two mentions in the local papers and a snippet on Radio Cornwall. One was for raising £5000 for Macmillan, in a rally Nick and I did earlier in the year, and the other described how we've found, almost intact, the old stables and parcels office buried within the Railway Club. They've just extended over the years, covering up the old 19th century building with bits of cladding and breeze blocks. But it's still there. The funny bit was that when the Conservation Area was marked out they deliberately left out the Railway Club. But now the County Conservation people are very interested. Which might help in our fight against Wainhomes.

And now my evening meeting has been cancelled, so an evening off when the sun is shining. Oh, and my son did well with his GCSE's, so it'll be Chinese takeaways all round! Best not go near the scales tomorrow.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Newquay Fire

With hoax Great White Sharks and an all too tragically real fire, Newquay's been in the national news this summer. But down here we've been talking about the Fire Service for a while now. The LibDem run County Council has a budget overrun of a million pounds, which is a result of the Government's decision to pay firemen more (quite rightly) but not give the Council any extra money to pay for this rise. This cost has to be covered so how do we want to do it? Put it directly on the council tax or lose full time jobs? The proposed plan was to reduce Falmouth and Camborne, the only two fire stations which have 24 hour full time staff, to retained firemen at night time. It was already a pretty unpopular plan, and now there's hell up.

But a couple of points need making.

Firstly the cuts haven't taken place yet, so they have no bearing on the tragedy in Newquay.

Secondly, this was the worst hotel fire in the UK for 32 years. Do people really want us to double expenditure so that every town has full time crews and the best equipment, and then wait another 30 years for it to be used. If it's about saving lives, cutting the speed limit to 20mph across Cornwall would be cheaper and very much more effective.

A lot of the problem is that we have such massive population jumps in the summer. Newquay has a winter population of 20,000, but a summer population of 100,000. How can our infrastructure cope without Government support? Is it fair to ask local residents, many of whom are not involved in the tourist industry, to pay for this extra cost?

And why am I, a Truro Councillor, making these points? Well despite Radio Cornwall appealing on the hour every hour for David Whalley, LibDem Leader of the Council, to come and answer listeners' questions, nobody from the County Council could or would come forward, leaving the opposition free to blame the LibDems for the tragedy.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Council Tax Collections

Figures are out for uncollected Council Tax for 2004/05. Here are the numbers and rankings for the Cornish Districts, for 03/04 followed by 04/05

149..... North Cornwall...... 701,000 .......1,176,000
226..... Carrick ....................804,000 ..........796,000
243..... Restormel............... 634,000 ..........718,000
256 .....Caradon.................. 494,000........... 676,000
286 .....Kerrier.................... 733,000........... 526,000
327 .....Penwith................... 277,000........... 356,000
351 .....Isles of Scilly............. 19,000.............. 22,000

Totals for 03/04 0f 3,662,00 and for 04/05 of 4,270,000

What does all this mean. Well the residents of Carrick and Kerrier have benefited from improvements in collections, but something shocking seems to be going on in North Cornwall. I've alerted LibDem Councillors up there to this, and they are asking questions.

But there's still a awful lot of money outstanding, just as we seem to be needing to cut budgets. And could it be about to get worse? In 2009 we go Unitary. The total outstanding for all of Cornwall puts us on a par with Southampton, also a Unitary, and ranked 32nd. But the population of Southampton is only half that of Cornwall, making the average debt per Southampton resident twice what it is here. There is a very real danger that people might take their eye of the ball, during the reorganisation, and we could end up with double the debt here, and a whole load of budget cutting as a result.

Lets make sure we keep a careful eye on this one.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Amarillo (Royal Cornwall Hospital)

Well they may be umpteen million pounds in debt, but they heven't lost their sense of humour. Way to go Doc!

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Tories criticised by Police

Inspector Mark Richards has criticised the Tory PPC for Truro and Falmouth, ex Wimbledon Councillor Sarah Newton, after she put out a press release showing big increases in crime locally. Amongst other stats she claimed robbery had increased 25%, but Inspector Richards said this actually meant an increase from 12 incidents to 15 in the year. He went on to say this is one of the safest Districts in the Country, and accused the Tories of scare-mongering.

We carried out a survey in the Barrack Lane area of Truro last year, and were surprised to find crime topped peoples list of worries. Barrack Lane is a pleasant, almost suburban, part of the City. So I went to see Inspector Richards. He couldn't remember the last time they had dealt with a crime in that part of town and asked me to try and reassure people that they lived in a very safe part of the country. That's called having a working relationship.

But it seems that with the wheels coming off the Tory campaign wagon, they're resorting to trying to scare people into voting for them. Here's a tip Sarah, next time talk to local people who know what's going on. Or better still, bugger off back to Wimbledon.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Railway Club

I've been working on the railway, all the day long. Or so it seems as I rush about gathering evidence for the Planning hearing. It can all get a bit impersonal, just filling out forms, typing out statements, hurrying to get stuff done in time. Or it was until my wife looked over my shoulder, as I was typing out details of a young lad, 8 years old, suddenly diagnosed with leukemia. The people at the Railway Club had collected £500 to help out the family, who are really in turmoil. All great evidence of the Clubs community spirit, to be typed out and sent off to the Barrister. Until my wife said 'Oh that poor lad. He's in the class below ours, his brother is in our class, they are really struggling, it's a desperate desperate situation'. Real people. People ask why I'm a Councillor and I always joke ' the money and the glamour'. But here's the reality. I can fill out forms and deal with Barristers, or whoever, for people who either can't, or have other priorities. Sometimes it's a privilege.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Being 50

I've put on weight! I can't believe it. I ran five times last week, and proper running, five miles each time, that's from my house to Malpas and back. Well four and half at least, certainly not less than four. So I approached the scales with some degree of confidence. How can I have put on a pound? It's hard being fifty.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

The Railway Club

For those who don't know Truro, the Railway Club started life about 70 years ago as the Great Western Railways Staff Club, but now is more of a Social Club, occupying a ramshackle old building by the Station. Over the years many people in Truro have been touched by the Club, they run all sorts of activities for the elderly, have several youth football teams and do loads of charitable stuff for local people, but now it's under threat. The nice people at Wainhomes want to knock it down and earn another million building flats. Are they offering proper compensation?. Course not. We've knocked them back at three Planning Meetings so far, but they've appealed to the Planning Inspector in Bristol and it's going to be all or nothing at big a hearing in City Hall on 5th September. But we are gathering support, lots of dignitaries turned out at an exhibition of Railway memorabillia they opened on Friday. The Mayor of Truro, Chairman of Carrick Council, Lady Mary Holborrow and assorted Councillors, including myself, all came to support. No sign of Joan Bayez and surely this struggle is right up her street. There's never a folk singer about when you need one. Anyway the Club needs all the support it can get so make a note in your diary to come along and give us some support on the 5th.

Off to see the Simpsons movie tonight. My teenage son has consented to me accompanying him, on certain conditions. I have to pay for the tickets and the popcorn and mustn't try to talk to any of his mates, should he meet any. And definitely don't mention I'm a Councillor. Not cool apparently.