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.