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New Devonwall constituency is a 'sad day for democracy'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 14, 2011

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Residents, businessmen and politicians have reacted with dismay to news that plans to create a so-called "Devonwall" constituency will go ahead.

Boundary commissioners yesterday confirmed that Devon and Cornwall will lose one MP between them in the plans to slash the number of MPs from 650 to 600.

Officials have opted to create a new seat straddling the border to include Bude in North Cornwall and Bideford in West Devon, in a move that has been described as "a sad day for democracy and for Cornwall".

The Boundary Commission for England opted against crossing the border at the River Tamar to create a constituency that includes Plymouth and Saltash. But the plans to bring Bideford and Bude together instead have been met with fierce opposition in both counties.

Trevor Johns, mayor of Bideford, said: "I feel strongly it's not the right thing to do. The Conservatives are manipulating [boundary change] to gain an advantage. We get on well with Bude – I go on civic visits there. But I don't want the boundary broken down."

Peter Moores, his counterpart at Bude, was more measured. He said he didn't believe Cornwall Council or Westminster was offering much support to his town, and suggested some co-operation between the two towns could be helpful.

"I know there are lots of people in Cornwall against any change, but there is no 'them and us' rivalry here," he said. "It may help us to work better with Bideford on economic issues."

However, he accepted that many of his fellow councillors and Bude residents would not agree with his views.

Patricia Moore, who owns the Atlantic Diner in Bude, was one such resident.

"It just seems to me as if it's a way of saving money on the Government's behalf," she said. "Giving MPs more work for a bigger area that they don't really understand.

"You're going to get someone from this area who doesn't really understand Bideford, or vice versa. There are divides between Devon and Cornwall."

She said blurring the boundary would create resentment, particularly for the Cornish, and foresaw the creation of the new seat causing "major problems".

Jane Maynard, President of Bideford Town Chamber of Commerce, said she wasn't concerned that the "Devonwall" seat – provisionally called Bideford and Bude – would cross the border.

But she was worried that the changes would mean an MP would have less time to dedicate to individual towns in such a wide rural area.

The "Devonwall" issue has been hugely controversial from the outset, sparking the Keep Cornwall Whole Campaign. Hundreds took part in a demonstration against the plans on the Cornwall banks of the Tamar last year.

Adam Killeya, the Lib Dem councillor for Saltash who led the cross-party Keep Cornwall Whole campaign, said: "It's a sad day for democracy and for Cornwall; although South East Cornwall has fortunately been spared."

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  • accom  |  February 24 2012, 5:46PM

    Go Devon! Go Cornwall! Cymru am byth! Och Aye!

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  • Dewnansek  |  December 02 2011, 1:35PM

    Both Devon and Cornwall should retain their traditional boundaries, and this should be reflected in parliamentary constituencies if at all possible. Devon has a unique and proud history (as do our Cornish bretheren), and although we have many things in common with our neighbours we also have our differences. I believe that Devon deserves its own dedicated representatives, and I would be just as unhappy if we had to share constituencies with Dorset or Somerset. Devon has a history that entwines with Cornwall, including mining ( both had their own Stannary Parliaments), celtic origins and unique character. However the key term here is unique. We have much in common, but we are not the same. Keep the flags and counties seperate.

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  • Big_Ger  |  September 25 2011, 9:59AM

    Of course, there is never any need to vote MK. May as well vote Communist or Labour.

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  • Doitdreckley  |  September 22 2011, 1:38PM

    Don't know particularly what BIg Ger is on about (no change there!) but 50,000 in support of a Cornish Asseembly and 55% of the electorate wanting one (MORI) appears to show a tad more support for Cornish 'nationalism' than he is willing to accept. Most people are 'nationalists' Big Ger in one way or another, just depends on the geographic boundaries.

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  • Big_Ger  |  September 22 2011, 10:19AM

    Well if you think my pointing out the failures and fallibilities of Mebyon kernow is "promoting" the party, then it's no wonder they never get anywhere. With friends like you who needs enemies! Oh, and I suppose this "OCD" thing is another of your cheap insults? The nationalist movement is doomed to failure by its total inability to engage and persuade people, their first last and only technique of dealing with those who may disagree is insult and threaten. Long may they continue to fail as a result of their deeply unpleasant nature. (Which is yet another reason why they constantly fall out with each other too!)

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  • Cornishman78  |  September 22 2011, 12:02AM

    @Big_Ger Whilst being aware that you appear to sadly suffer with OCD Big_Ger, why are you continually promoting Mebyon Kernow - The Party for Cornwall at every opportunity? They are very approachable and easy to join via their re-designed and innovative website which you seem to have had a hand in reinvigorating.

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  • Big_Ger  |  September 20 2011, 10:07AM

    No need to vote Mk anywhere, old fruit!

  • Doitdreckley  |  September 20 2011, 10:03AM

    Good point Big Ger. The same Andrew George who is Vice Chairman of the Cornish Constitutional Convention and who has campaigned for a Cornish Assembly and against Devonwall and south west regionalisation. No need to vote MK there.

  • Big_Ger  |  September 20 2011, 9:10AM

    http://tinyurl.com/5t9wd3x" Thanks for the link Homerjay, it's good to have my words repeated at youtube, especially when I was proved totally correct, (as usual!) There is a blog by the apt name of "thevillageidiot" from Cornwall, Stephen pointed the way to it for us I believe, so it would not be too abstruse to link the two. The blog belongs to Simon Reed, freelance writer, journalist and researcher. From his Blog we find; "In 2007 he joined Mebyon Kernow the party for Cornwall he stood in 2010 as the General election candidate for St Ives." Fair play to him! Mind you he was soundly beaten into last place by no fewer than 6 other candidates, including by the Greens, UKIP, and the "Cornish Democrats" (who didn't seem to exist before or after the election!) Jonathon Rodgers (Cornish democrats) got 396 votes, Simon Reed Mebyon Kernow came in last place with 387 votes. (0.8% of votes.) For every one vote he got, Andrew George got 50. For every one vote he got, 117 went to other parties. To be fair he has now left Mebyon Kernow, (for health reasons.) So if Simon wants to repeat my (proven correct) posts from here on his silly little snide youtube shows, he's more than welcome. I like being shown to be right. You couldn't make it up!!

  • Doitdreckley  |  September 19 2011, 4:51PM

    Pity the poor MP then who has the Cornish pasty association saying that they want European funding for a marketing project and the pasty makers in Devon asking why they don't have the money.