Parliamentary sketch – Running to keep spinning
Keeping your plates spinning rather than falling to the ground is often considered “progress” in political circles.
But I can report encouraging progress on a number of fronts:
- Ministers have been receptive to calls for interim voluntary action at major ports to stop ships discharging pollutants which kill thousands of sea birds. I’ve approached the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, British Port Authorities and the International Maritime Organisation.
- I’m feeling more optimistic that a Cornish solution to bear down on the devastating incidence of Bovine TB in our livestock herds is possible; with more common ground between farmers and wildlife campaigners than most cynics thought possible.
- But fishermen in Mounts Bay and around the Lizard are still at their wits end dealing with the activities of large ships and tankers disrupting access to established fishing grounds. More work needed there.
- The Mercedes Curnow Foundation and I had a productive meeting with Dr Clare Gerada – President of the Royal College of GPs – in our campaign to better protect young women from cervical cancer.
- I voted against the “bedroom tax” – which contradicts the claim that we’re “all in this together”. I’m collating some appalling cases of, in my view, unacceptable injustice which I’ll be taking to Ministers.
- Health Ministers agreed to meet me and Professor Elizabeth Robb of the Florence Nightingale Foundation to discuss nurse staffing levels. Inadequate registered nurse to patient ratios are at the heart of many of the problems in the NHS in my opinion.
- Quietly, making important, though inevitably slow, progress in attempts to improve the still inadequate transport arrangements from Penzance to the Scillies.
- Blotted my copybook (again!) by voting against the Government on protections for farm workers, protection for gardens from development, protection for persons of “lower caste” and other matters.
- In a week when a student proved that an epistle from the economists’ “Bible” is based on an error, I will ask if excessive debt leads to contraction or contraction leads to excessive debt.
MP for the West Cornwall &
Isles of Scilly constituency of St Ives
22nd April 2013