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10.2.08

Liberal Democrat Schizophrenia

On first impression the press release below from MP Andrew George looks like great stuff, we can all rest assured because Mr George is out there fighting for Cornwall and democracy, but then something just clashes doesn't it?

The councillors who control the county council and who are pushing through the undemocratic unitary authority are in the same party, the Liberal Democrats, as Mr George.

In the past another Lib Dem MP, Mathew Taylor, once explained to me that there is a "diversity of opinion within the party" when I questioned him about the virulent anti Cornish attitude of the Liberal Democrat councillor Doris Ansari.

Well isn't that great, so much variety of opinion in one party why do we need so many different political parties in the first place? It looks like the Lib Dems are, or at least want to be, all things for all people.

Mr George are you sure you are in the right party?

Taken from Cornwall 24: Unitary Authority is defective

The MP for the West Cornwall constituency of St Ives, Andrew George, told the Government’s Local Government Minister, Rt. Hon John Healey MP, that the Parliamentary order to create a Single Unitary Authority for Cornwall was “technically, legally and politically defective” and that he would do as he had long promised and vote against the order at the first opportunity.

Mr George was speaking in a Committee debate held in the Commons yesterday (7th February 2008). He told the Minister that he would have to do more to ensure that Cornwall could realise its ambitions to gain more power from Central Government and unelected quangos in the Government zone of the South West.

Mr George criticised the order for being legally defective – not having the power to cancel elections in Penwith this year, nor for other plans – technically defective, in that it failed to abolish Cornwall County Council along with District Council’s as previously promised – and politically defective - for failing to provide the structures to devolve powers to Cornwall, nor the internal structures to give local communities the ability to run their own affairs.

Mr George, who had voted against the Government’s Local Government Act – which creates the framework for unitary local government – at every stage last year, accused the Minister of producing a ‘minimalist’ regulation which failed to meet the ambitions of the people of Cornwall.

Mr George also poured scorn on the Conservative MP, Mark Prisk, from Hertford, who he accused of engaging in petty opportunism and putting Party tribalism above the interests of Cornwall.

Although the Minister indicated that he was prepared to back down on his plans to postpone Parish Council elections until 2013, Mr George did not feel that the Minister had gone far enough and that he would stick to his long held commitments, as he reiterated throughout the process, and vote against the order when he has an opportunity in Parliament in two weeks time.

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