As already indicated, we need to explore issues of value as well as cost. What kind of Cornwall do we want?

Much of the above calls for a set of strong, interventionist policies which will deal ‘head-on’ with the many problems which affect the people of Cornwall in their daily lives. If we can articulate this to the public, it may attract voters who agree that under a Labour Council, resources will be used to address questions of local need. But the policies need to be carefully and properly costed, and their effects on Council Tax rates clearly identified, so that we are forearmed as to what they do (and do not!) cost.

It was suggested that such policies could perhaps be sold to the public on the back of the current urgent interest in climate change. As Extinction Rebellion themselves do not engage with political issues, someone needs to come up with a range of policies which would do much to achieving their aims, at least on a local scale, which is what we would be doing.

However, the point was also made that people living on very low or very marginal incomes may feel that climate change is not their greatest concern, and that we should also stress how Labour ‘green’ policies also involve traditional ‘red’ issues such as health, welfare etc. There is also the possibility that a greener Labour programme may attract some erstwhile non-votes, of whom, nationally, there are a great many.

As also indicated, such a programme implies the substantial empowerment (re-empowerment) of local communities, some of whom, notably parish councils, often find themselves bullied by big developers. One change in the law which would help here is if developers, not councils, had to pay the costs of appeals. Apparently many developments are allowed because local councils know that they cannot afford the costs of losing an appeal. There are also questions of the General Power of Competence of local councils not using their powers for ‘commercial’ activities.

Third, as someone pointed out, in many parts of Cornwall, ‘the work is not where the houses are’: one of the main reasons why (public and private) transport is the second highest source of GHG emissions in the county. Like other groups, we thought a fully-integrated, flexible, free public transport network to be essential to any attempt to ‘green’ the Cornish economy, and that one way to achieve this is to remunicipalise public road transport so that it better serves the needs of users.

We also briefly considered the role of education, especially for the need for more and better funded apprenticeships, and a ‘reach out’ to the university with a view to greater involvement in local communities.

Patrick O’Sullivan

28 March 2019