So many places to go (so why keep coming back to Cornwall and annoying us?) So many people to see. Although of course in Cameron’s case, if he sees people he doesn’t actually fancy talking to them, unless they wear a blue rosette or have been thoroughly vetted, or have lots of money to donate, or are under five.
Anyway, they’ve been promising all sorts of goodies.
Let’s list some of them.
On April 9th in North Cornwall Clegg promised GP consultations on the internet (paid for by selling off unused NHS assets – like hospitals?) In fact this was a small part of a pledge of serious cash – £8 billion for the NHS.
On the 20th he was back again. The promises were flowing thick and fast now.
- allowing Cornwall Council to charge double council tax on second homes
- cheaper petrol
- public sector pay rises that match inflation (which, as inflation is now zero, means no pay rise. Dammit!)
But Cameron comprehensively capped this at Penzance today by offering to ‘build a stadium’, presumably not personally, although that might be a more useful occupation than his current one. There was ‘some money available’ he told us. And a stadium would have a ‘transformative effect’ as it will bring ‘hotels’ in its wake. That’ll be good. Haven’t got any of those in Cornwall.
This was all part of a ‘Plan for Working People in Cornwall’, which must have lost a word as it surely should have read ‘Plan for Hardworking People in Cornwall’. Not only will we have a stadium, and lots of hotels for the small price of voting Tory but 15,000 jobs, 33,000 apprenticeships and 5,000 primary school places. Although he didn’t spell out who these were for.
Odd that the Government could have funded a stadium years ago but they wait until two weeks before an election before it’s announced.
Now that the coalition twins have decided that money is no problem let’s give them our own modest wish list. For some more meaningful pledges how about
1. Action to combat the de-Cornishization of our communities, for example by
- investing in social, not ‘affordable’ housing which has been redefined so loosely as to lose all meaning
- introducing a Cornish National Planning Policy Framework that could plan to meet local need not developers’ greed
2. Signing up to a Charter for Cornish Democratic Renewal which might include
- a genuine Cornish Assembly with powers at least equal to the Welsh Assembly
- the abolition of Cornwall Council and restoration of accountable local government
- proportional representation for local elections3. Recognising Cornish integrity by
3. Recognising Cornwall’s status and integrity by special treatment, such as
- proper funding for local services, the equivalent of the Barnett formula. This would go some way to repay the centuries during which Cornish resources have been leached from our land.
- action, not lip service, on the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. David Cameron could make a start by referring to Cornwall as the UK’s fifth nation.
- a pledge not to re-impose the Equal Constituencies Bill, which would destroy the significance of the Cornish border and make the struggle for Cornish devolution even more difficult. Cameron could issue a public apology for his patronising and ignorant comment that ‘It’s the Tamar, not the Amazon, for heaven’s sake‘. While Clegg could do similar for refusing to whip his Lib Dems to support the amendment to exclude Cornwall from this Bill, thus shamefully denying it the rights given to the English county of the Isle of Wight.