12 February 2008

There is a disappointing tendency among some of the Liberal Democrats in Cornwall to ooze simplistic negativity: they make theirs the dismal party too often portraying Cornwall as a place where it is “always winter and never Christmas.”

This goes beyond the usual stuff from any group anywhere demanding their area gets the very best from central government and complaining if another does better. They appear shackled to a grievance agenda. I realise that party politics is about keeping things simple and partisan but it is dismaying that there are few attempts in Cornwall to explain the conflicting claims faced by any government trying to achieve fairness in the redistribution of national funds to very different parts of the country and to explain the full background to hard government funding, topics on which I have written posts to try to indicate the fuller story.

We should engage people in a debate about what is fair funding across Britain rather than presenting national decisions simplistically as only sources for local grievance, the usual nonsense of Cornwall hard done by, Cornwall singled out for disfavour. Of course placing Liberal Democrats against a presented uncomprehending, unfair, and faraway Labour (or Conservative) government encourages Cornwall voters to see the Libdems as the only party which can be relied on to advance their interests.

An approach which openly discusses what we might mean by the fair redistribution of national funding would enable people to understand better and to judge for themselves whether Cornwall is drowning in unfairness or by and large gets a fair deal. I think that understanding the whole story, and understanding the sheer difficulty of resolving conflicting claims and in getting to what is compossibly fair, would undermine the largely unfounded grievance agenda.

As a light antidote to Libdem gloom read the Vorsprung posts – and there are also the specific data rebuttals of grievance in many of the other posts. As well as the CEP report on nurses’ pay, Saving lives, these posts are among those which explore getting to fairness:

Education spending

Formula grant and local government spending

Health service funding

Always winter and never Christmas: The lion, the witch, and the wardrobe by CS Lewis.