Antisocial behaviour in Truro

So another week passes and the people sleeping rough in Truro have not received the help they need. Antisocial behaviour has escalated into a stabbing. What have these unlinked but totally unacceptable incidents got in common? Cornwall Council’s lack of grip and getting their priorities right.

During the same week that Cornwall Council leaders are defending spending more than £500,000 on a risky bid for Truro to be the EU Capital of Culture in 2023, without even securing agreement from the Mayor, a fellow LibDem Cornwall Councillor.

We all support investment in Cornish culture and tourism. Record numbers of tourists visited last year with even more anticipated. Additional investment from the Government since 2010 is significant, £750,000 for the Cornish language alone. Last week, another £100,000 was announced to start a Cornish Culture Fund.

Yes, Cornwall Council is having to make savings, like most other public services, to deal with the record national debt racked up by the last Labour government but that does not excuse them. All elected representatives have to make tough choices, but the LibDems who are the largest group of councillors are failing some of the most vulnerable people in Cornwall, as well as everyone else effected by the resulting criminal activity.

Amongst other things, disproportionate cuts to Cornwall Council’s ‘Supporting People’ funding that helps vulnerable people sustain their tenancies in private and social rented homes have contributed to the present homelessness and anti social behaviour.

So come on Cornwall Council, get your priorities right, stop wasting money and don’t further cutting services that could prevent rough sleeping and crime in Truro. If you really want to help Truro, reverse the planned cuts to Supporting People and spend your considerable resources working more effectively with partners including the Police and NHS to keep people safe.

Donald Trump

Every country is entitled to set its own immigration policy, control its own borders and do what it thinks is in the best interests of its citizens’ safety. On those issues, no nation should interfere, but the UK has an obligation to speak out and to be a critical friend to the USA because of the ramifications of the President’s Executive order for the internal stability and security of our country and the rest of the world. The order undermines what our Prime Minister said so eloquently in her speech to Republicans of both Houses of Congress last week in Philadelphia about the need not only to defeat Daesh on the battlefield, but to defeat its ideology.

The Executive order is not only wholly counterproductive in combating terrorism and the narrative of Daesh, but could worsen the situation, playing into the hands of those who would see more terrorist atrocities, not less. Those sympathetic to Daesh will link the order to abhorrent recent events—most notably, the burning of a mosque in Texas and tragic shootings at another mosque in Quebec, Canada.

I was delighted that our Prime Minister and President Trump pledged to renew the special relationship between the UK and the USA—a relationship that has proven beneficial for both countries. The uniqueness of the special relationship has meant that the Prime Minister has rightly conveyed her concerns to the President’s Administration, with some success.

If this strategy of calling for a sensible review of the order is to continue, we cannot possibly have a constructive discussion with the President unless we maintain close relations. For this reason, I think we should welcome President Trump to the UK, so that we can engage in meaningful dialogue with our closest ally in the hope of a change of stance.