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Cornwall and the EU Repeal Bill

This post was previously published on Cornwall Reports  4 July 2018. Things are now moving at a break neck speed to…..nowhere! except possibly a general election or second referendum.

I am reposting this article because it is vital that people understanding the threat to our democracy that  this bill poses. The new Trade Bill – Liam Fox’s baby – is also a thoroughly anti-democratic attempt to shut down parliamentary accountability for laws passed by ministers that promote corporate interests, not ours. 

On 26th June, a group of policy experts came down to Cornwall to give a briefing on the impact of the EU Withdrawal Bill which has just been passed in Parliament. The Repeal Bill Alliance takes no side in the debate about leaving or remaining in the EU.  Their two-fold aim is to uphold democratic accountability along with a ‘high standards UK’ – the protection of existing rights and regulations, the devolution settlements and the Good Friday Agreement, once we leave the EU.

Jane Thomas, their spokesman, made clear her desire to reach out to local voluntary organisations in Cornwall, as well as farming and fishing community, who have concerns or questions about the impact of the bill. Contact details are given at the bottom of this article.

During the briefing it became apparent that what the bill claims to do and what it threatens to do, are two very different things. Continue reading “Cornwall and the EU Repeal Bill”

A View From The Chair

A VIEW FROM THE CHAIR

Having chaired the Cornwall Progressive Alliance (CPA) for six months, I have gained a fair idea of the CPA’s potential as well as the hurdles facing it.  In this article I try to summarise the current state of affairs and to consider how, practically, the CPA might now help to improve politics in Cornwall.

The CPA was born of the idea that the progressive or centre-left parties had more areas of policy agreement than disagreement and should therefore work together to achieve political success.          I shall return to this below but, because some have questioned the meaning of ‘progressive’ and ‘centre-left’, I would first like to explain which term I prefer for the values and principles of the CPA. Continue reading “A View From The Chair”

A Progressive Alliance Green Perspective

It’s up to Labour and the Liberal Democrats to take the lead in getting Parliamentary representation for people who don’t want the Conservatives back in next time

post by Richard Clark – Mid and East Cornwall Green Party Spokesperson for the St Austell and Newquay constituency

The meeting in Penzance on 22 February 2018 gives a glimmer of hope for the future, but it is only a flickering gleam as things sit, a long way from the furnace of all that is blue and depressing that some of us would hope it to be.

Although the narrative around progressive discussion is welcome we have to accept that recent moves behind the scenes and more recently also at PMQs on Brexit Continue reading “A Progressive Alliance Green Perspective”

Progressive alliance and democratic renewal

Some of you may know that, wearing a separate hat, I am also campaigning for constitutional reform. Why does this matter? Because our democracy is in a serious state of disrepair. Whether we are Labour, Green, Libdem or MK, we urgently need to understand that as Graham Allen ex Labour MP says “make our democracy work or possibly lose it”.

Labour in particular needs to take this message on board because Brexit changes everything. Labour fails to understand that it is playing a dangerous game of poker with an opponent who has the power to change the rules of the game at every point (viz resurrection of electoral boundary changes before next election). And power is what this is all about. Our democracy is being rigged. It is no longer just about a broken election system but an EU Withdrawal bill which includes a massive transfer of power from Parliament to the Executive. Be in no doubt, this will eviscerate our parliamentary democracy if the bill passes in its present form.

It is just not good enough for us to ‘carry on campaigning’ for the NHS, for Labour, or whatever party we support; or disability rights, welfare rights, the environment, as though nothing had changed. This is increasingly a form of collective denial. We busy ourselves with good causes and fail to see the political earthquake taking place beneath our feet.  Our right to vote, petition, demonstrate, means nothing in a sham democracy that sees real power exercised by the few-and that is what is happening now, quietly, without too much fuss. In a very British way.

I urge you to read this article and join the cause for a citizens convention on a new, modern constitution fit for the 21st century. A written constitution directs the work of government – and not the other way round as in the UK. It must be ordinary people who come together to agree and decide the rules by which we are governed. Not constitutional experts, not politicians or political parties. It must be ‘For The People, By The People’. If we really want to #TakeControl then this is the way forward.

Labour is in the best position to do this – but slowest to take up the cause. Liberal Democrats, Green Party, MK have long arrived at this point. Will Labour  have the courage, vision and leadership to embrace this most important of issues and join the cause before it is too late?

Record of public meeting 22 Feb #Penzance #Cornwall Progressive Alliance

Note: Cornwall Progressive Alliance is one of many local progressive alliance initiatives supported by Compass, the London based Think-Do tank  who have an individual membership base in Cornwall

Panel members

Mike Tresidder     (Mebyon Kernow)

Emma Bray     (Women’s Equality Party)

Ian Flindall     (Green Party)

Andrew George   (Liberal Democrats)

Chair  David Levine

Fifty people attended the open public meeting at St John’s Hall Penzance to hear from a panel of speakers drawn from centre-left parties.

The meeting was interactive with many members of the audience airing issues, asking questions and challenging each other as well as members of the panel

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Among the key issues to emerge were the following:

Continue reading “Record of public meeting 22 Feb #Penzance #Cornwall Progressive Alliance”

How do we make our MP’s more democratically accountable?

This is a late reminder of the public meeting tomorrow at St Johns Hall Penzance 7pm – but it is also to throw out a couple of ideas which we may or may not have time to talk about.

Local Vote Swap site

The first is a local initiative for a local online vote swap site. This is purely at the ideas stage and may or may not happen. More ambitiously, the originator of this proposal (who lives in Cornwall) also suggested combining it with a “constituency multi-party based college”, one which “would include representatives of the minority leftish parties -Greens of whichever hue and MK basically“. Continue reading “How do we make our MP’s more democratically accountable?”