Yesterday there was a rather important meeting at Cornwall Council. This meeting has pretty much sealed the fate of many of Cornwall’s public services that the Council is normally responsible for. Topics up for discussion yesterday included: toilets, shared services and the incinerator.
The vote on shared services, wasn’t even, when you get down to it, democratically decided by our councillors.
As Councillor Andrew Wallis points out over on his blog, the council’s services are up for sale. This is despite key tests not being met – such as the councillor responsible for resources (Currie) wasn’t actually fully consulted over the Cabinet’s plans to essentially privatise Cornwall’s public services. And a review of the plans by a panel called them, “A Leap of Faith.”
The whole thing smacks of short term thinking when Cornwall needs long term plans in place that look beyond making short term profits, like the short term profits of say selling Old County Hall massively below its value.
Cabinet Leader Alec Robertson gave his fellow Cabinet members two options when voting on the plans to put services out to tender – vote for them or don’t vote:
“If you do not like the option you have the option to abstain.”
To his credit, Councillor Kaczmarek voted against the measure, while Councillor Currie abstained – according to Councillor Wallis.
Why am I against privatisation of public services? I’m against it because it reduces accountability, only reduces costs over the short term and can easily lead to a decrease in the quality of public services because enterprises are only interested in profits.
By the time Cornwall’s local elections come round next year, it could very well be too late to stop this train wreck from happening. Don’t know who is in the current Cabinet at Cornwall Council? Check out this page and if any of them are your local councillor then I suggest writing to them and telling them of your displeasure and maybe not voting for them in next year’s local elections in Cornwall.
Meanwhile, I think this entire incident shows just how undemocratic having a single Cabinet vote on big, important issues is. What’s the point in having elected councillors if when it comes to key decision making they don’t get a vote on their electorate’s behalf?
I now have no confidence in the ability of Cornwall Council to properly manage this county. Those in power there are too short sighted and have no true interest in the well-being of Cornwall’s residents.