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MK Annual Conference


The Party for Cornwall is looking forward to the General Election

Mebyon Kernow councillors and activists from across Cornwall descended on the Public Rooms in Bodmin on Saturday (21st November) for their last Party Conference before the General Election.

It was an upbeat gathering for the Party for Cornwall with members celebrating a positive year, which included the election of three councillors to Cornwall Council and a good showing in the European Elections.

MK Leader Cllr Dick Cole thanked party members for their hard work over the last twelve months, especially the 33 candidates who stood in the local elections – MK’s largest-ever slate
of candidates. He told the meeting:

“Make no mistake. It was a massive achievement for MK to get three councillors elected to serve at County Hall – something not achieved by a host of political parties including Labour, UKIP, the Greens and others.
“And thank you to everyone who backed our brave decision to contest the European Elections. It has paid dividends to our cause. To achieve 7% of votes in Cornwall, while being excluded from television air-time and much meaningful publicity, shows that MK is in a stronger position than ever before.”

Looking ahead to the General Election, Cllr Cole spoke about the “immeasurable damage done to politics” by the Westminster expenses scandal and called on MPs found to have abused the system to be banned from office for life.

He told party members that the challenge in coming months would be to prove to the general public that a vote for Mebyon Kernow will breathe desperately-needed fresh air into Cornish
and British politics.

“We are involved in politics because we care about our local communities and because we want to win a better deal for Cornwall. Politics to us is about public service – it is
about doing what is right.
“People do not join MK to become an MP in some safe seat or to build a career or to put their personal interest ahead of the needs of local people. Our politics is about hope for
the future – not cynicism in the present.”

The afternoon session included speeches from a number of MK’s prospective parliamentary candidates.

Joanie Willett, who will be standing in the North Cornwall constituency in the 2010 General Election, told the meeting:
“Cornwall has been marginalised by the London-based political parties. We have witnessed and experienced the inadequacies of recent Labour and previous Tory governments. Closer to home, it has been staggering to see how the Lib Dems have run
roughshod over the people’s wishes over the past four years.
“This neglect is compounded by the recession, the continual erosion of public services, the lack of affordable housing and the often damaging roles of quangos. “We do not need self-serving politicians disinterested in democracy. We do not need
overpaid and transient civil servants chasing the next lucrative job. Cornwall needs people who know what they are doing and can make the right decisions – decisions
based on the needs of Cornish communities. She said that the only party that will stand up for Cornwall was Mebyon Kernow.
“We have to be brave, bold and be prepared to fight against the odds. When Mebyon Kernow takes to the streets we want people to look and listen and join us. While we need to recognise that we have made great steps as a political party, we need to remain grounded in active campaigning on the issues that are affect thousands of ordinary people.”

Cllr Loic Rich, the prospective parliamentary candidate for Truro and Falmouth, meanwhile told Conference that Mebyon Kernow could make serious headway if party members and
supporters worked even harder in their local areas.
“As members and supporters, the future is in your hands. People are actively voting for us. Not reluctantly and not as a protest. They are excited about our message. They notice how hard we work.
“We, above anyone else, can make Cornwall a better place to live. We fight for Cornish industries, for Cornish culture, for Cornish housing and for stopping the constant loss
of public services across the Tamar.
“And let there be no doubt. We are the only Party committed to a Cornish Assembly.”

One theme addressed by many speakers was the recession and associated economic problems. Party Leader Cllr Dick Cole, who is standing in the St Austell and Newquay constituency at the General Election, said:
“We are in the worst recession since the mid-1950s.The terrible reality is that it is ordinary people who are losing their jobs and suffering the very real consequences of this downturn. And perversely, it is now the banks, bailed out with taxpayers’ money, that are still refusing to lend to small businesses while paying themselves and their consultants vast salaries and literally billions in bonuses.
“Recent Party Conferences have seen the main London parties position their troops for the upcoming General Election. Each has tried to out-do the other in coming forward with proposals for severe cuts to public spending, job cuts in the public sector and reductions in service provision.

“From a Cornish perspective, it is right that we should be worried. Cornwall already gets a raw deal from Westminster. Our hospitals, schools and vital public services receive less funding than other parts of the UK. In terms of average earnings, productivity, Gross Value Added and Gross Domestic Product per head, Cornwall is in the bottom ten percent of UK areas.
“Positive progress is being made in many areas, but cuts in government expenditure could fall hardest on areas like Cornwall. Harriet Harman, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, has already made the public statement that the slump will hit ‘peripheral’ areas like Cornwall the hardest.
Cllr Cole pledged that Mebyon Kernow will continue to campaign for Cornwall’s fair share of public investment to protect local services and jobs.

Dick Cole 07791 876607