Sorry I have been quiet for the last few days, but I have taken some time out from Blogging. The reason is post Strategic Planning my Blog was subject to some abuse. Some of this was very personal on my parentage, and how I had been bought. As normal these people did not have the courage to put their name to the posts. I might have respected them alittle more, but I have no time for people who try to hide behind anom.
I have always tried to write the blog in an open and honest way. Trying to keep you informed of how life as a Cornwall Councillor is. You may not agree with what I write, but this does not give you the right to personally abuse me.
Happily I am now back and will be blogging away like normal.
After an interesting Town Council meeting yesterday, I went to the pub for a quick pint. During the discussion Twittergate was mentioned. Not in a real bad way, just how it may have come across. (points I have already accepted). We got chatting about various issues in and around Porthleven when one of those I was sitting with started to talk about the various Political Blogs that are in Cornwall.
He said he enjoyed reading mine (and some other bloggers). He made a point about you should add more about what you do in Porthleven and Helston South. It was a good point, and one that I will try to address. I have in the past blogged about some of the more strategic roles I do and how they will/might effect those in my area. I have not deliberately missed out talking about Porthleven, but will try and explain why I don’t always.
The reason is that a lot of questions, issues or complaints are in a personal nature or sensitive in their nature. I am sure people who have confided in me would not like their problems/issues aired in such a public way. One major role of a Councillor is keeping confidence of what you are told. It’s a part of the job I take really seriously and would not ever break unless some ones life depended on it.
I am also not the type of person who talks about myself in the “look at how good I am”. It’s not in my nature to do that. Sure, I like some one to say thank you for the hard work you are doing, but I can live without it if needed. I am always at the end of a phone, e-mail or come knock at my door. If I am out or in meetings leave a message and I will get back to you. I can’t wave a magic wand and instantly solve it, but I will try to get some answer for you.
Anyway, I hope that explains my position on this matter and in future I will try and add more about more local stuff. I just don’t want to say “met someone in the street and had a chat”. I can tell you if I pop out for a pint of milk it will normally take me half and hour. The shop is only 2 mins walk away. Even my son said whilst out for a walk this weekend “Dad , why do you talk to everyone?”
My number one priority is helping those in my Ward. The Strategic work comes second.
Just over a month ago I started to recycle properly (old blog). I started off as keen as mustard, making sure everything was put in the multitude of bins I have. Friday came and it was Recycling Day. I placed all my containers out with some pride of how good I had been.
It was only when I went to collect the empty boxes I noticed some had not been emptied. All the glass, tin, milk containers and paper had been emptied. The plastic was not even touched. The plastic in question was the meat and other like plastic containers you get in supermarkets. I thought this is what recycling was all about. Making sure plastics are not just dumped into the ground.
I was later told it was the wrong type of plastic. I know from my Chemistry lessons that there are many different types of plastics, but surely they must be all recyclable. How wrong I was. I ended up with another bin bag full of rubbish to be collected and thrown into landfill.
My first real foray into recycling was a disappointment. Sure they took other items away and in turn they wont end up in landfill. Why does it seem we are only playing at recycling. If its the wrong type of plastic, then make though law the manufactures use the right type that can be recycled. At a basic level plastic is plastic to most people.
I ended up throwing out another bag full of rubbish. Imagine all the other homes that are doing this. That’s a lot of rubbish to be dumped into a large hole in the ground.
I will continue to recycle, but I am met with some disappointment every time I throw another plastic item into the waste bin.
Allowances, always a tricky subject, even trickier when you have to justify it to the general public. Today at Full Council this subject was up for discussion post an independent review. They recommended that due to the nature of the workload there should be a increase in the basic allowance from just short of 12k to 14,600k. Roughly a 20% rise.
I have blogged before on what I think. I will spare you from me repeating myself. I will just give you the link for you to refresh yourselves. (Debate Pt 1
Anyway, 3 hours were spent discussing this. I threw in my 10p’s worth along the lines of ‘if you want younger people involved you will have to make the allowance attractive to them so they can afford to live’. It seemed to have hit the note with others (Jeremy Rowe
) who like others had some sympathy with my points.
I feel that people may have been inclined to accept the recommendations if the current economic situation was better, and we were not about to have a General Election. The Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Parties are both fighting for hotly contested seats here in Cornwall and were not about to give the other side any opportunity for points scoring.
Part of the recommendations did say that we may look at this again a year or so. What should happen is allowances awards should be made by a independent panel and taken out of the hands of the Councillors who at the end of the day will be seen as voting (or not) for a pay rise themselves.
I am sure this issue will keep coming back because Politics gets involved. I do wonder sometimes how much a hindrance Politics is, and how much it slows down any decision.
I was looking forward to this weekend as for once it was going to be a quiet one. Nothing really planned. It was going to make a nice change from running around.
So far so good. That’s until about 7:30 last night (Friday) when my car was hit. My car was not the only car to be hit. At least another two others had the same treatment. Now accidents happen. I can deal with that. It’s part of life. This accident could have been avoided. Why, well the person should not have got into the car. Why, well the police were called and the driver was breathalysed. I am sad to say that they did not pass this. On failure they were arrested.
4 cars in total have been wiped out. I had the hassle of going though the insurance last night and most of this morning is something I could have done without. The insurance company have been great. A replacement car is being sorted. They have waved my excess (so I get all the money). So it seems at this stage I am not out of pocket. I might change my tune after they offer me the settlement. Insurance Companies are not well known for giving out decent payments.
Thankfully no one was injured. Its all material damage. We can only thank who ever might be watching up there for that. Its just a hassle to sort everything out when the person who caused this could have just walked home or even got a cab. I guess if they go to court they will have to now.
Anyway, here are some pictures of my former car. RIP Mr Mondeo.
I for one has had enough of the snow. It was fun for a short period, but that novelty soon wore off. Today, Monday was my first chance to get beyond my town and carry out the job I was elected for.
First meeting of the day was to formalise the first Helston and Lizard Community Network meeting. That was to take place this Wednesday. There are 21 Town and Parishes in this network, plus 7 Cornwall Councillors. Each of the Town and Parishes will have one delegate on this network. So 28 people all with a voice. I hope it will work, but I have a feeling that trying to get 28 people to agree is going to be difficult to say the least. I guess time will tell. Sadly this meeting has been cancelled and now rearranged for a later date. Maybe a good idea considering only 3 of the 7 Cornwall Councillors were able to make this pre meeting anyway.
It was then over to Camborne to finalise the Agenda for the next Licensing Act Committee. I was there in my role of Vice-Chair of this said Committee. The purpose of this meeting is again to formalise the Agenda. All meeting have to be structured with Agenda’s. This gives a clear purpose to the meeting and allows you to make decisions in a logical way. Without these it would turn messy and I believe you would never get anything done. Also, as these meetings are Public we must inform them no less than 7 days of what’s going to be discussed.
So it was not an exciting or action filled day, but you have to do the groundwork before you have the debate.
Well I said at the beginning of the week it was going to be busy. How right I was, but not for the reasons I first thought. Instead of being busy with different Committees I have been busy with keeping warm, building a family of Snow People, sliding down hills on various homemade “sledges” and having a inter-neighbour snowball fights.
Yes, it would seem I have had a lot of fun, and to a point I have. Especially as my 7 year old was taking part with me as well. Now its not so good. The snow we do still have is more like ice.
People are finding it difficult in getting around. People are stuck at home. We always seem to struggle when we get a good dousing of snow. Is it because we only really get it bad every few years? I think its over 10 years since we had snow like this.
As for schools being shut. That’s all well and fine (not saying their wrong), but some people who have to get to work are finding it difficult to arrange child care and then having to deal with employers who are saying “you must get to work”.
The main roads are clear, but its the other roads that are not. I am not saying we should salt all roads as I don’t think that’s feasible. The question is, should we have huge levels of salt stockpiled every year just in case? Is that cost effective? If we got snow at this level more frequent, then maybe we should. (I hope we wont get snow like this every year). I have heard people trying to score political points on gritting. It’s a shame they do this as you have to ask yourself, would they do any better?
I liked the snow when it first came, but now I wish it now all went. I think I am going to be disappointed as from what I hear from those who do the weather guessing game are saying more is on the way!
Finally I would like to thank those in Highways who have worked tirelessly in trying to keep the roads open. Good work.
Well I am back, sorry for the slight lull in blogging, but why blog when you have nothing to say!
Anyway I have certainly hit the ground running post break. First part of the day was taken up with Health Scrutiny.
As I have blogged before, I was against the Upper GI Cancer treatment moving. I have to say I was pretty shocked to find out that they had moved it anyway, and it moved on the 1st Jan. That’s before we were even officially back. What’s the point in Scrutiny when they just ignore its decision. Saying that, the PCT still has the final say and not Scrutiny. I personally (and why I voted against the move) don’t think it’s a good decision for Cornwall.
A few hours into this meeting and I had to leave. This was because some issues appeared that needed sorting out as my role of Vice-Chairman of Licensing and Chairman of Parking. Looks like I will be doing a Call-in radio program this Friday on Laurence Reed. I will be there for a couple of hours answering questions. It will interesting due to the nature of the issues surrounding parking.
What I would like to see from those who are saying charging and parking issues are wrong or unfair are feasible solutions. It’s ok saying you don’t like it, but why not come up with the solution. You never know we might even adopt it. It’s easy saying make it free, but the revenue from Car Parking charges pays for services. If we gave free parking, then it would be a minimum 6% rise on the Council Tax. Or even if we made it really cheap; what services would you like cut? You see the solution is not simple. Call it a challenge, but help me come up with a fair and cheap system for everyone to benefit from.
All in all a very busy day for my first day back. I think the next few months are going to be extremely busy.
This is going to be my last Blog of 2009. Lots has happened, mostly good. I like to quote a line from a film. “It’s been emotional”
Right, now onto the reason I am Blogging. Recycling, How easy is it really? I always tried to do my best, but previously I lived in a flat and really did not have room for all the containers. Now I live in a bigger place where I can stored the multitude of containers.
So as from today I am going to try and recycle everything. I want to see how much rubbish I can’t recycle. Already, I have filled one of those blue boxes to about half. One day and already half! Saying that, I have been grocery shopping.
So lets see how I on. I plan to monitor it for January and then evaluate it to see how I am doing. I may even weight it (sad I know)
Just to let you know. I live with just my 7 year old son (he is not here all the time) and me. So no huge family.
Happy New Year!
I would like to wish every who keeps a tab on this Blog a very Merry Christmas. I know for some this period can be hard financially and emotionally. I just hope no matter what you are doing you will enjoy it.