The 2015 general election has shown clearly that Mebyon Kernow (MK), the nationalist party which styles itself the Party for Cornwall, has minimal appeal here. It has polled 5675 votes, 1.9 percent of all votes cast in Cornwall, 1.3 percent of all electors in Cornwall.

Yes, during the general election campaign period MK did not get the share of free media publicity that other mainstream parties did, especially in television – I think the party should get more television coverage – but the coverage of all parties in the local newspapers I saw was as even handed as possible. Of course, importantly every MK general election candidate had the right to a free-post delivery of a leaflet to all electors in Cornwall, 420 000 electors in all. The party’s messages reached voters. MK has been at this for many years now.

It was not lack of knowledge of what MK nationalism stands for that led to the handful of MK votes, the tiny percentage of all general election votes cast in Cornwall. The party has good candidates in its election forays, but people did not vote for MK because they do not like what it was selling, they do not agree with its incoherent and millenarian policies, they reject MK nationalism.

Let me say that again. The people of Cornwall have rejected MK nationalism. Time for hard thinking.

Salt in wounds, I fear. On May 7 MK also lost all three by-elections for Camborne town council seats it contested; and on the same day came bottom of the poll in the two unitary council by-elections. Even in local elections MK is not making headway.


11 May 2015

Brace yourselves for wailing and the gnashing of teeth again. After the Tory win in the general election the redrawing of constituency boundaries is probably back on. The Tamar metaphorically “multo spumantem sanguine cerno”. Well, foaming with Cornish nationalist soapsuds, more like.

The idea would be to make more equal the number of electors in each constituency, a reasonable aim given the large differences at present though population changes would mean inequality emerged again. Would we keep changing the boundaries to keep up with population changes? The move to more equal constituencies would probably disadvantage Labour.

It is also likely to mean a constituency that crosses the Tamar and is in both Cornwall and Devon. This is what dismayed nationalists last time – and not only them. Conservatives objected and sought only-wholly-in-Cornwall constituencies: see the post Boundaries 3.

However, I think there should be a change to a proportional system whereby the number of seats a party has in the Commons more closely matches the proportion of votes it gets. For example, after the election the other day the Tories have around 37 percent of the UK vote and 51 percent of the 650 Commons seats; the Greens got around 4 percent of the votes and 0.2 percent of the seats.

et Thybrim multo spumantem sanguine cerno: Vergil Aeneid 6.87 And I see the Tiber foaming with much blood

Related posts
Will Cornwall spill over? 7 July 2010
Boundaries 9 September 2010
Boundaries 3 17 September 2010
Boundaries 4 11 October 2010
Boundaries 5 24 November 2010

You got

A Tory prime minister

A Tory chancellor, a Tory home secretary, a Tory education secretary, a Tory health secretary, a Tory foreign secretary, a Tory agriculture secretary, a Tory defence secretary, Tories in charge of work and pensions, local government, transport, justice, environment, universities, planning, culture and sport…oh, and you got the bedroom tax and food banks

All propped up by the Liberal Democrats


There have just been two by-elections for Cornwall Council in the last week: in Illogan and in Mabe, Perranworthal, and St Gluvias. I’m focusing on the performance of Mebyon Kernow (MK), the nationalist party that brands itself as “the party for Cornwall”, because of the overblown self-description, the absurd characterisation of other parties, and because it has a political nationalist agenda for Cornwall.

The full results are here.

In Illogan MK came second and got 217 votes. Commendable, but it is only 6.0 percent of the electorate, that is the eligible voters. Last year in the main unitary elections MK got 290 votes, 7.7 percent. In Mabe etc this week MK came fifth and got 58 votes, 1.3 percent of the electorate. Last year it did not contest the seat. In both seats MK had good candidates.

I have used electorate figures because I think they best show the enthusiasm, or lack of it, of people for parties and their policies and offer a perspective on ideas of representativeness and mandate. The Tories have said a trade union should get at least 50 percent of its electorate voting in a strike ballot; neither in Illogan nor Mabe did turnout reach that. Anyway, add these votes up and this month MK has got 275 votes. That’s 3.45 percent of the two electorates. The results are a signal failure to rally people to the nationalist cause, a demonstration that there is not widespread and enthusiastic support for MK, a rejection by the people of Cornwall of the MK agenda. MK may call itself the party for Cornwall but it is the party Cornwall doesn’t want.

Note that the best any party did in share of electorate in these two by-elections was just over 9 percent.

I have been kind to MK. There has been another Cornwall Council by-election since the May 2013 unitary election. This was in Wadebridge. How did MK do? It didn’t. It didn’t contest the seat. I have excluded its 0.0 percent here from the total results; throw that in the pot and MK’s proportion sinks further but let’s gently leave it at 3.45 percent.

In the 22 May 2014 EU parliamentary elections the southwest, which includes Cornwall, elected six members. These are the results for Cornwall.

EU electorate in Cornwall: 407 477
Turnout in Cornwall: 146 960 valid votes, 36.1% of the electorate

UKIP won 2 seats in the southwest, won 36.7% of the EU valid votes in Cornwall, won 53 943 votes in Cornwall

Conservatives 2 seats, 25.7%, 37 698 votes

Liberal Democrats 0 seats, 12.1 %, 17 840 votes

Greens 1 seat, 11.2%, 16 398 votes

Labour 1 seat, 11.0%, 16 122 votes

AIFE 0 seats, 1.7%, 2530 votes

English Democrats 0 seats, 0.9%, 1323 votes

BNP 0 seats, 0.8%, 1106 votes

The MEPs elected for the southwest are: William Dartmouth (UKIP), Julia Reid (UKIP), Ashley Fox (Conservative), Julie Girling (Conservative), Molly Cato Scott (Green), and Clare Moody (Labour).

The full list of candidates is at
European elections 2014: Southwest candidates.

UKIP United Kingdom Independence party
AIFE An Independence from Europe party
BNP British National party

Mebyon Kernow (MK), the Cornish nationalist party, did not contest these EU elections.

The 2009 Cornwall EU election results are here.

A year out from the next general election let me draw attention to the forecasts from Electoral calculus. They suggest that the Conservatives will hold their present three seats in Cornwall and win the three now held by the Liberal Democrats.

Look at Electoral calculus here.

Of course, a year is a long time in politics …

Final update.
Nominations have closed for the the six seats in the southwest in the 22 May 2014 elections for the European parliament. These are the candidates standing, with current MEPs noted. The candidates are in the order that their party has decided.

An Independence from Europe

Adrian ROMILLY, Cliff JONES, Arnold BRINDLE, Wayne Peter TOMLINSON, Andrew WEBSTER, Giuseppe DE SANTIS

Ashley Peter FOX (MEP), Julie McCulloch GIRLING (MEP), James CRACKNELL, Georgina Susan BUTLER, Sophie SWIRE, Melissa MAYNARD

English Democrats

Green Party
Molly Scott CATO, Emily Rachel McIVOR, Ricky KNIGHT, Audaye Khalid ELESEDY, Judy MACIEJOWSKA, Mark CHIVERS

Clare Miranda MOODY, Glyn FORD, Ann Margaret REEDER, Hadleigh Vaughan ROBERTS, Jude ROBINSON, Junab ALI

Liberal Democrat
Graham Robert WATSON (MEP), Kay BARNARD, Brian George Felton MATHEW, Andrew Paul WIGLEY, Jay Oliver RISBRIDGER, Lyana Patricia ARMSTRONG-EMERY

William DARTMOUTH (MEP), Julia REID, Gawain Howard Wilkinson TOWLER, Tony McINTYRE, Robert Lee SMITH, Keith Montgomery CRAWFORD

Two candidates live in Cornwall: Jude Robinson (Labour) and Robert Lee Smith (UKIP).

The election is 22 May 2014 and the results will be announced after 10 pm on 25 May 2014 (after the Italian voting is over).

The regional EU site with parties and candidates is here.

2009 European election results statistics for the Cornwall part of the southwest

POST UPDATED 23 April 2014

UPDATE 8 September 2013 Since the election a Conservative councillor has joined the Independents: see here. On 5 September 2013 the Liberal Democrats won Wadebridge East in a by-election; the seat was formerly held by an Independent. The figures below (votes, percentages, number of candidates) are as at the election but the seats are for the current date.

The full results for each of the unitary wards are here.

These are my unofficial summary results for the parties with the 4 June 2009 results in parentheses; seat numbers for the present are as changed and as at now:

Liberal Democrats 37 seats, 23.0 percent, 89 candidates, 32 355 votes
(2009: 38 seats, 29 percent, 119 candidates, 48 187 votes)

Independents* 36 seats on the unitary council, 21.9 per cent of the votes cast, 90 candidates stood, 30 893 votes
(2009: 32 seats, 24 percent, 112 candidates, 39 807 votes)

Conservatives 31 seats, 24.3 percent, 103 candidates, 34 191 votes
(2009: 50 seats, 34 percent, 123 candidates, 57 115 votes)

Labour 8 seats, 8.1 percent, 68 candidates, 11 383 votes
(2009: no seats, 3 percent, 60 candidates, 5698 votes. One seat won in a subsequent by-election.)

UKIP 6 seats, 15.1 percent, 77 candidates, 21 306 votes
(2009: no seats, 4 percent, 28 candidates, 6350 votes

Mebyon Kernow (MK) 4 seats, 4.8 percent, 26 candidates, 6824 votes
(2009: 3 seats, 4 percent, 33 candidates, 7290 votes. One additional seat won in a subsequent by-election plus two defections to MK.)

Greens 1 seat 2.6 percent, 23 candidates, 3667 votes
(2009: no seats, 2 percent, 16 candidates, 3139 votes)

Liberal Party no seats, 0.1 percent, 1 candidate, 143 votes
(2009: 0.6 percent, 9 candidates, 945 votes)

* I have included in the Independents in 2009 and 2013 both the candidates who described themselves as Independent on the ballot paper and the few candidates who did not put any political description on the ballot paper.

The BNP and English Democrats contested the 2009 elections but not the 2013 elections. The 2009 results were: BNP 0.2 percent of the votes, 4 candidates, 363 votes; English Democrats 0.05 percent, 1 candidate, 81 votes.140 762.

The total number of votes cast was 140 762. The electorate was 422 379. Turnout was 33.3 percent.

The winners

The winners are UKIP and Labour.

UKIP put up very many more candidates than four years ago and has polled well, its vote trebling. However, its 15 percent of the votes won it only five percent of the seats but it came in second place in several seats. It is impressive that the party could put up so many candidates. It will be interesting to see how UKIP performs at the council, whether the party on the ground expands, and whether its present electoral success leads on to more or whether it is a temporary rise.

The Labour party in Cornwall has come back from the dead. In 2009 it won no seats. This month it has won 8 seats and 8 per cent of the votes. That is a signal turnaround. The party can build on this. It is impressive that Labour was again able to put up so many candidates. The only gloom is the loss of Jude Robinson, a good councillor, who had won her Camborne unitary seat in a by-election; Labour’s foothold in Cornwall is fragile still.

The losers

I shall write a separate post on MK and these elections shortly but for now let me record that for Mebyon Kernow (MK) the results are a standstill disappointment. Compared to 2009 it has more or less stood still on seats and votes, had slightly fewer candidates, and its vote share has risen by around half a percentage point. MK is not making headway.

The Libdems, Conservatives, and Independents have lost 48 000 votes between them on 2009 and their share of the vote has fallen substantially too. They have lost chiefly to UKIP but are still the largest blocks on the council by far.

The candidates standing for the 123 seats on Cornwall unitary council in the May 2013 elections are listed by Cornwall Council here. There may be minor changes by the shut off date for withdrawal of 10 April.

UPDATE 16 April 2012: There are 478 candidates standing: 103 Conservatives, 91 Liberal Democrats, 90 Independents, 76 UKIP, 68 Labour, 26 Mebyon Kernow (MK), 23 Greens, 1 Liberal (hat tip to Andrew Wallis’s arithmetic here.)

The nationalist MK which calls itself the party for Cornwall is contesting only a fifth of the unitary council seats, less than at the last election in 2009. The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Independents have fewer candidates than in 2009, UKIP, Labour, and the Greens have more.

The results of the last unitary elections, 4 June 2009

Conservatives 50 seats won on the unitary council, 34 percent of the total unitary vote, 123 candidates stood, 57 115 votes in total

Liberal Democrats 38 seats, 29 percent, 119 candidates, 48 187 votes

Independents 32 seats, 24 percent, 112 candidates, 39 807 votes

Mebyon Kernow (MK) 3 seats, 4 percent, 32 candidates, 7290 votes

These parties did not win any seats at the election:

UKIP 4 percent, 28 candidates, 6350 votes

Labour 3 percent, 60 candidates, 5698 votes

Greens 2 percent, 16 candidates, 3139 votes

Liberals 0.6 percent, 9 candidates, 945 votes

BNP 0.2 percent, 4 candidates, 363 votes

English Democrats 0.05 percent, 1 candidate, 81 votes

I have included in the Independents both candidates who described themselves as Independent on the ballot paper and the candidates who did not put any political description on the ballot paper.

Since the election there have been a few changes of allegiance and a by-election win by Labour and by MK. The council website says that the council currently comprises 48 Conservatives, 37 Liberal Democrats, 29 Independents, 6 MK, 1 Labour, and 2 with no specified political affiliation.

Elections for the 123 seats on Cornwall unitary council fall in May and the parties and candidates will be preparing their manifestos.

Now’s the moment to highlight an issue that I have raised several times before: a living wage in Cornwall.

I think a lead should be taken by the unitary council and no employee of the council should be paid below the living wage, currently £7.45 an hour. For the council to bring all its low employees up to the living wage will add a vast sum to its wages bill in a time of austerity and straitened funds. However, with political will and skilled management this can be achieved, not over night but by phasing over time, with no resultant cuts to jobs or devastation to services. Last October, in a decision reversed the other day, the council voted to spend £300 000 raising councillors’ pay.

Additionally, the council should ensure as far as it can that every contractor and subcontractor adheres to the living wage for people employed on council premises and council work.

Decent pay for all should be the council’s determined ambition.

Back to the election manifestos
I should like to see every party and every progressive candidate in Cornwall promising to bring in the living wage for council employees and require it for others working on council premises. This is an important moral and economic issue on which we should judge the parties and candidates before voting. Low pay costs us all as it has to be topped up with tax credits and benefits. Low ‘unliving’ pay at Cornwall Council costs us all money.

It is not enough to promise. Parties and candidates should set out how they would achieve this. The practical details of investigation and implementation, including a flexible timetable for all the process, will be a measure of their seriousness about the living wage.

The council is only the start but its adopting the aim of a living wage for its employees would be an encouraging signal to the rest of Cornwall.

Let’s hear from the parties and candidates.