The Cornish unitary authority scam


Last week, the Westminster government announced the creation of five new unitary authorities, which means in plain language that the district councils, standing below the county councils, are to be abolished. This includes Cornwall, where the Liberal Democrat leadership of the “county council” put in a bid for unitary status and got it approved by London.

The interesting thing here is that the Cornish Lib Dems are formally in favour of devolution, and have been for many years. As Mebyon Kernow leader Cllr Dick Cole points out, devolution was a cornerstone of the Lib Dems’ successful bid to win control of Cornwall Council in 2005. But pressing Westminster to surrender powers might have taken the Lib Dems out of their comfort zone, so what we have instead is a neat little bit of spin. Cornwall Council will indeed accrue extra powers – those of the existing district councils. It certainly won’t be taking powers off Westminster, not if central government can help it.

This really is pretty shabby, and it’s to be hoped that there is a serious mobilisation for a better deal. It’s quite recently that the district councils of Somerset organised a successful referendum to thwart the plans of the Lib Dem-controlled county council to turn Somerset into a unitary authority. It should be quite possible to organise something similar in Cornwall. The people may or may not want a Senedh Kernow with legislative powers, but at least they should be allowed to express a view.


  1. Worldbystorm said,

    July 30, 2007 at 11:51 am

    Seems to be a fairly typical Lib Dem M.O. The rhetoric at ‘national’ level seems to breakdown somewhat when push comes to shove…Where was I reading that they – for all the talk – were least open to any sort of coalition arrangements in the assemblies whereas Labour and the Tories, being the pragmatists that they are swallowed hard and went with it…

  2. Andy Newman said,

    July 30, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    Just to show how inexplicable british politics has become, a frind of mine who lives in Cornwall tells me there is one Tory councillor who is a member of the IWW and a socialist, who joined th Tories to get elected just becasue he hates the Lib Dems so much.

  3. February 19, 2008 at 10:05 am

    […] I know the supine Lib Dems who run the county council are trying to fob off the people with “unitary authority” status, in contravention of their own manifesto, but since when has their opinion […]

  4. Waldorf T. Flywheel said,

    April 8, 2008 at 6:03 am

    The Lib Dems in Cornwall, as everywher in the UK, will say and offer ANYTHING to ANYONE for their votes. Anyone from the Cornish movement who buys into their rhetoric need only ask “what is the Lib Dem national party line on this”? They’ll soon get the answer “there isn’t one”. Thinking voting for the Lib Dems will hasten devolution for Cornwall is like Turkeys voting for Xmas.

    Cornwall is a conservative county, that’s why Labour and MK have never won anything there, as they are too left wing.

    Vote Tory for, at least, a minister for Cornwall.

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