Just over a year ago, this blog identified two particularly important strands ahead in 2015 which offered exciting opportunities for the development of Cornwall.
Now, in the early days of 2016, what happened to that exciting potential? Unfortunately, very little.
The first strand featured the 2015 General Election, which saw all of Cornwall’s six seats identified as marginal. With demands for a Cornish Assembly gathering pace after the publicity around the Scottish Independence vote and wider European trends towards greater devolution, some had high hopes for a record number of votes for Mebyon Kernow. In the end, MK’s performance was exceptionally disappointing, with their number of votes virtually flat lining from the previous Westminster election. This outcome, plus the total wipeout of the Liberal Democrats, who had pledged to push towards their own version of a Senedh Kernow resulted in what could construed as the wider population of Cornwall turning away from those parties who were prepared to offer varying degrees of what pro-devolutionists would have you believe is what Cornwall wants. So what happens now for devolution in Cornwall, and does Cornwall really want it?
I still firmly believe the answer to that question is “yes”. Cornwall does want further devolution in terms of housing, healthcare, heritage, education and transport. The problem is that the Conservative party (and even Labour for that matter), will never remotely consider anything other than lip-service devolution to Cornwall unless groups come together with one voice to campaign for the same type of devolution. Until everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet – as they have been recently in Catalonia – nothing will happen.
The second strand last year was the green light for the enabling development for the Stadium for Cornwall. The situation here is presently far more positive – and indeed the territory of Cornwall is closer to having it’s own stadium (or, if Truro City FC’s development at Silverbow finally gets underway – stadiums). We now need to see, in 2016, the last hurdles to be cleared so that work can actually begin. This is now more vital than ever because if Cornwall wants to build on it’s present status as County Champions in rugby union, they need a Premiership standard stadium as the vultures threatening the closing off of promotion from Rugby Union’s championship to the Premiership. This, plus the ability to host top level American Football, Rugby League and concerts needs to get underway in with great urgency.