Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Newbridge Lane - Have Your Say

Newbridge Lane Playing Fields, Truro - Public Consultation       CLICK

Leaflet         CLICK

Monday, 6 June 2016

Eurosceptic Yes: Brexit Delusion No

I don't like the waste, bureaucracy and remoteness of the European Union. I am also concerned about the effect of immigration on our country. 

I have always been against the UK joining the Euro.

BUT I am voting In. Here is why:

1. Angela Merkel, who comes up for re - election next year, can't and won't offer us a better deal than Germany has. We will need all sorts of deals with the EU post Brexit. We will not get anything significant at all without a substantial budget contribution to the EU and our agreement to the continuation of freedom of movement.

2. We all hate regulation but many of the costly regulations are those that guarantee workers' rights. Are we really going to junk these? Do we really want to have two sets of regulations- for those who trade with the EU and those who do not.  The reality is that we would probably argue for 10 years post Brexit and our new regulations would not look a lot different.

3. Leaving will destabilise the UK by encouraging another Scottish Referendum and making life incredibly difficult for Northern Ireland  (the Republic of Ireland joined the EU when we did and it is not proposing to leave). A call for an all Ireland referendum could be the starting point for the dissolution of the UK , new borders would then have to be created and our status in the world would be diminished.

4. If we are In, our veto over new joiners gives us some leverage in the EU that we would not have if we had to accept freedom of movement post Brexit.

5.  If we vote to leave we will act against the advice and without the support of 19 of the G20 countries. The only country that actively wants us to leave is Russia.  This is a country which has just announced the creation of three divisions (30,000 men) to "defend" its western border with Estonia, Latvia and Finland and is run by a former member of the KGB.  A country that could have stopped the Syrian refugee crisis years ago but chose to make it worse.

6. It is a myth that new trade deals would be easy to negotiate. Places like India and China want us to agree to allow them to do more outsourcing and to bring in guest workers to the UK to work in their businesses. How would that help our immigration statistics?

7. The City of London is a huge part of our economy. Why knock it for a very uncertain gain?

8. In an uncertain world the EU helps knit us together. Yes, it is fragile but that is no reason to be reckless as to whether Brexit will smash it up. The US is increasingly isolationist. NATO is very important but in the EU we should also help ourselves.

9. The EU remaining 27 members decide our exit terms. Any marriage or business partnership dissolved in that way would not end well. There is no certainty that we would even get our territorial fishing rights back if we wanted to continue to export fish tariff free to the EU.   We would also have to agree quotas with the EU to conserve fish stocks and because of transitory fish movements. 

10. Being in the EU has been brilliant for inward investment to the UK and has helped us to be the world's 5th biggest economy. A strong economy helps fund our public services.

Brexit is a dangerous delusion. 

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Parking Survey

Click here for PARKING SURVEY

These were the results of the Council's Parking Survey. They were discussed at a meeting of the Transport Portfolio Advisory Committee in May. I suggested that we look first at what might help the three towns most badly affected by parking problems, rather than the Council working up proposals for all nine towns at the same time at great expense and which may suit nobody. But this was rejected.

Proposals are now being worked up for all nine towns. On 29th June Truro councillors will be told what are the proposals for Truro.

The total exercise, including working up these initial proposals, but not implementing is to cost £250,000.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

What went wrong if the Council has a high risk due to very poor contract tendering procedure

Questions that need answered:

1. Why did the position get worse rather than better if it was flagged by Audit as a concern in 2014?

2. Is there a pattern to the problem, a specific department, contractor etc

3. Has an assessment been made about the likely risk to the Council?

4. As EU thresholds have not been complied with, could this cause collateral damage in other areas that the Council deals with the EU?

5. How confident should members feel that the situation is now being remedied?

6. When will the Audit Committee look at this to ensure the problem is fixed.

If the Council has 'no money' it would be a complete dereliction of duty to spend money contesting legal challenges of its processes for awarding contracts.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Malabar Community Litterpick and BBQ

Malabar residents of all ages helping out!  Thanks to all who helped with the Litterpick last Saturday and also to Laurence Reed of Radio Cornwall who gave up his Saturday morning to help too.

Thanks to the County Arms for providing the bacon butties and to Laurence Reed

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Council with 'no money' decides to find £250,000 to give councillors a payrise

It was the quickest decision I have ever seen the Council make by a very long way. It resembled a bank robbery. Councillors stood around, some shouting and others in shock. Cllr Wallis called for a vote without debate and more than half the councillors supported him. They did not want to hear anyone speak a few home truths. For example, why allow anyone to refer to the Chief Executive's evidence which implied that we were a lot less efficient as members of a Council than Barnet.

The rises (which do not take effect until the next Council in 2017) range between approximately  4% and 28%. For example, backbenchers will receive 13.6%, the Leader of the Council, 15.1% and the Deputy Leader, 21.2%.

Some councillors (mainly the Chairmen of Portfolio Advisory Committees) were considered to receive too much as 'an extra responsibility allowance' as they did not have much extra responsibility, so the overall rise for a councillor receiving that allowance (assuming he remains in post after the next election) , is smaller.

There now appear to be another 12 councillors who are to receive special responsibility allowances - a combination of introducing allowances to help all those chairmen mentioned above who have not much responsibility and the formation of a new committee.

New committees unfortunately seem to be a bit of a growth sector for this Council (see previous blog).

The Panel recommended these increases to help make standing for the Council more accessible to people who do not have other means of supporting themselves. This is a good ambition, although difficult to achieve, as many candidates will be put off by the fact that they can be thrown out at the next election. So, it is best not to be too dependent on the money.

 If councillors actually shared that ambition, and did not think it was just a good excuse for a pay rise,  they would respond to my challenge to make the Council more efficient. Members who are trying to hold down a job or look after children are seriously disadvantaged as against retired councillors who do not have the same pressures on their time - and therefore appear to be happy to take up endless time sitting in meetings, productive or otherwise.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Cornwall Council: A bureaucrat's dream

This is how Cornwall Council will select how many members it wants in the forthcoming boundary review.  This diagram excludes the consultants who will also provide evidence.