News Update

Posted on: 27th September 2018

Of course we must respect the Brexiteers’ referendum victory. Those 17 million of the 66 million people in this country.

Apparently “Brexit means Brexit” is as much of an explanation as we deserve. We must ignore the catastrophic impact. Pretend the humiliation of the Prime Minister at last week’s EU summit is merely proof she is right.

That’s right, isn’t it? Apparently democracy and freedom of expression stopped after a Brexit Referendum. If you can’t admire or congratulate our supreme Leaders for their wisdom you must remain mute. Or endure the wrath of the triumphal victors.

However, that wasn’t the sentiment expressed by the audience at my packed Brexit panel debate on trade in Penzance recently. Most had the audacity to question the wisdom, to highlight the extreme risks.

New customs and single market barriers between the UK and EU after Brexit will be augmented by loss of rights to trade under 759 EU agreements with the rest of the World. Massive uncertainty. Few plausible answers. Hedge funds now betting on the collapse of sterling. Not good.

Many who attended came with preprepared entrenched views. Others expressed appreciation to the expert panel.

As we move towards either 1) chaos, 2) a general election or 3) a public vote on the final deal I’ll be arranging further panel debates. Look out for these.

People kept asking if I invited the local MP? Of course I did. And – just like he did during the referendum when I arranged events/debates – he refused/was unable to attend.

Good news. The Liberal Democrat Conference passed my policy motion to clamp down on industrial-scale tax loopholes used by second home owners. Currently decimating many of our local communities and to the detriment of thousands of families in housing need, legitimate holiday businesses which play by the rules and public services which struggle on threadbare income.

Conservatives penalise the poor if they’re deemed to “under occupy” their council home with the bedroom tax but reward the wealthy if the under use a second home with massive tax loopholes.

The campaign is so strong even some Conservatives now admit it’s unfair. Labour too have adopted a policy. Though they don’t yet understand the distinction between holiday and second homes.

Important progress. I’m confident we’re winning.

Farmers deserve effective help to combat the still growing problem of bovine TB in cattle. But the Government’s policy of shooting badgers risks making the situation worse.

Six years ago I went to the widely respected Professor Rosie Woodroffe (Zoological Society of London) to ask her to help launch the UK’s first community-led badger vaccination project here in west Cornwall. She was outstanding then; always adhering to the principles of evidence based policy making.

The project was progressing well until the Tories took over after the 2015 General Election. Things have gone backwards. With an expanded cull and cuts in vaccination (not helped by a world-wide shortage of the BSG vaccine).

We must get on top of this problem. But we won’t while Conservative Ministers pursue their counter-productive policy.