27 February 2012
One of the arguments for a single authority for Cornwall – one council/assembly/parliament – is that Cornwall would then speak more strongly and more effectively with one voice for all the people of Cornwall; Cornwall knows best where the shoe pinches here and Cornwall should decide. However, the all-Cornwall unitary council isn’t working out like that.
It appears that Cornwall may not know best what Cornwall wants after all. Concerns, expressed soon after the unitary council was established, have come from people in north, east, and west Cornwall and I have explored before the beliefs of some that unitary Cornwall has replaced the ogre of London-centric with the home-grown ogre of Truro-centric; that we have new peripheries and a new centre. The old notion of onen-hag-oll Cornwall of the unitary council/assembly/parliament, of county/country/region, is challenged; Cornwall is redefined and envisioned as a collection of empowered neighbourhoods.
This throws up questions that no one is answering. What is meant by localism in a unitary county? How do we make it work? Who gets to decide what? Take difficult questions: affordable housing, the incinerator, and the Penzance/Scilly ferry. Who should decide such issues?
The political parties and organisations in Cornwall should work through these issues and give their answer to the question: Who gets to decide what?
Meanwhile, here are two interesting recent comments cut from longer pieces:
“…ever more centralising Cornwall Council…the Truro-centric nature of the authority” (Dick Cole, Mebyon Kernow, Cornish Guardian 8 February 2012, on selling former district council property)
“There is a perception in Cornwall that Truro always gets the cream” (Andrew George, Libdem MP, Cornishman 5 January 2012, on NHS dentistry)
Earlier posts about this
Disunitary 26 October 2009
A regular columnist wrote about the all-Cornwall unitary council “leaving the west to rot while millions are spent in Truro and Camborne” (Cornishman 26 May 2011)
“…an insidious, creeping but increasingly inescapable feeling that Cornwall Council feels it can impose cuts in west Cornwall because we are at the tail end of the county. That because we are remote, out of sight of Truro and far from the authority’s mid-Cornwall heartland, we can be imposed upon and fobbed off…” (Cornishman 20 October 2011)
“Many of the contributions from the public were asking why, in their opinion, the East of the county did not appear to get its fair share of expenditure yet paid as much if not more than the rest of Cornwall.” (Cornish Guardian 1 February 2012, in an account of a meeting at Launceston)