George: Cornish devolution: Focus on the practical rather than the rhetorical
After speaking at last night’s BBC Spotlight “More Power for the South West” debate at the Eden Project, West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, has called for Cornwall to receive its fair share of devolved autonomy.
Mr George, who has consistently campaigned for more powers to a Cornish Regional Assembly and is a founder and Vice-Chair of the Cornish Constitutional Convention, said, “The BBC’s own analysis from the debate tonight is confusing and a little simplistic. They talk of ‘regions’ when they either mean Government zones or television broadcast areas rather than ‘regions’ in the sense that there is a settled community of interest and some internal integrity.
“The broadcast debate also clearly shows a sharp division between those who already recognise that the UK is an over centralised state and that devolving power is about letting go rather than holding in for dear life. Many seem to have become more fixated on words, like ‘Assembly’, rather than on what practical role a more powerful Cornish body (call it what you will – State, Government, Assembly, Council?) will actually do.
“Any more powerful body for Cornwall should be able to prepare an economic strategy without Whitehall getting in the way, provide the drive to make Cornwall the most environmentally sustainable place in the UK, decide how many homes are built, how to achieve more homes for locals, decide if it should and how to restrict the number of second homes, plan all of its health and social care, integrate its transport services, ensure parity of tax and support for in town and out of town retail businesses and much more.
“Hopefully this is another important step on the road to a more powerful and effective accountable body working in the best interests of Cornwall’s community, environment and economy.”