Such is the situation in Cornwall and the paralysis that has afflicted Cornish society, evident by decades of voting for the same political parties, Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, and expecting a different outcome.
The Cornish, unlike their Welsh and Scottish counterparts, have yet to gain control over centralised decisions that affect Cornwall. Local councillors prepared to have Cornwall remain subservient, content begging for crumbs off the top table, rather than make the case for a devolved Cornish Parliament.
Devolved legislation in Wales includes:
Health and social services
Cornwall has no devolved primary legislation.
Housing has been a major issue in Cornwall for many years, exacerbated further by the rise of second homes, holiday homes and bolt-holes, that have increased pressure on the Cornish housing market, inflating house prices beyond affordable and the availability for local people.
Tenants in privately rented accommodation are evicted through ‘accelerated possession’ (also known as a Section 21 ‘no-fault’ eviction) and made homeless.
In Wales, the Welsh Parliament has given local councils power to raise council tax on second homes. By contrast, Cornwall Council’s pleas for similar powers has been denied by Westminster.
Cornwall does have an urgent need for more affordable housing. However, as Bernard Deacon explains, (The land’s end? The Great Sale of Cornwall) ‘All too often “affordable” seems to be used as a smokescreen to divert attention from the central facts of unsustainable growth’.
‘Once we dive into the murky waters of affordable housing need, calculations of disposable income, mean household size predictions and the like, we’re in great danger of drowning from too much detail! The whole ‘debate’ then gets shunted into a technical siding and the context – the requirement to accommodate a population rise caused almost entirely by net in-migration – is lost to sight’
Cornwall Council’s ‘Local Plan’ was formally adopted in November 2016 supposedly ‘Providing a positive and flexible planning policy framework for Cornwall up to 2030’. In truth, the number of houses built in Cornwall is determined by Westminster under its ‘National Planning Policy Framework’ (NPPF).
Professor Philip Payton (Cornwall: A History) ‘The failure to devolve housing and planning meant that Cornwall would remain powerless to address what by the second decade of the twenty-first century had become the greatest threat to its future – a developer-led growth strategy which promised ever more housing and a spiralling population’.
The political parties at Westminster are determined to ensure the political status quo is maintained in Cornwall.
Only Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall, actively campaigns for a Cornish Parliament with primary devolution similar to that of Wales and Scotland.