I can no longer keep quiet about the activities at County Hall. As democracy appears to have fled the place, I truly can’t keep silent.
I have lived in Cornwall all of my life and intend to remain here for quite some time to come. Yet I’ve always had an interest in the workings of local democracy due to the jobs that my parents have held over the years. I’ve inadvertently (through my parents’ careers) been exposed to the thinking – often not rational – of one sector of the previous district councils and now Cornwall Council.
You may remember in July that I mentioned about the Cabinet’s plans to make some of the county’s public services “shared services” i.e. private companies would run them. Well, things haven’t gotten much better since then.
Despite the efforts of councillors such as Andrew Wallis, drastic measures are having to be taken to stop the Cabinet’s abuse of democracy on a local level. I say abuse, because ignoring the majority vote on the subject of shared services seems nothing but abusive when they ignore elected representatives.
With the no confidence vote on council leader Alec Robertson due on 16 October, I hope that this individual who has actively ignored what the majority voted will be ousted. The council needs someone fresh in charge, who fully understands the needs of the entire community of Cornwall.
I worry whether the idiots – who allowed for the shared services BS to get as far as it has – will get into office next year come the time for Cornwall’s council elections in May. Should my current councillor, one John Dyer (Conservative), run yet again I will be voting against him and encouraging others to look elsewhere for local leadership.
And I agree with the view put forward by councillor Jude Robinson that the case for shared services/joint ventures is not strong enough. I’d also say the reasoning behind notions from the cabinet suggesting there will be no job losses is extremely far fetched. Why? The companies put forward for the ventures have said they can save money on our services, which have already been stripped back in the last few years.
Plus, private companies exist to make a profit and I think it is philosophically unsound to expect to make a profit from running things such as children’s services and public libraries, which are there for the betterment of the people (and there’s no way private companies will operate these services and not expect to make profits for their share holders).
Finally: I think the way to obtain and retain councillors is wrong. I think councillors should be paid a living wage and not allowed to have other employment while an elected councillor so that people from a more diverse range of backgrounds in the county can become councillors. This would mean having full-time councillors who can properly and fully devote their time to ensuring that the county gets the local government it needs: a representative one that isn’t filled with early retirees and is around to make sure that fully-informed decisions are made efficiently and without other distractions.