The Communion of Saints

The Communion of Saints
I hope there's room for me.

Welcome all - especially Mancunians.

Hello anybody lost in the blogosphere. Welcome to the ruminations of a politically left of centre, Man United supporting, blues loving, history-fixated, Catholic wanderer. Be warned, I am a bit of a curmudgeon.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Cornwall Council elections: Kerrier

Breage, Germoe and Sithney

Breage is a civil parish and village and the village is three miles west of Helston. In 2001, the population was 2,375. Germoe is a village and civil parish. Germoe village, the parish's main settlement is about five miles west of Helston and seven miles east of Penzance. In 2001, the population was 508. Sithney is a small village and civil parish a short distance from Helston.
At the last elections, the Breage division was close run race with Independent, John Keeling, winning with only 31.4% of the vote and a majority of 36 over the Conservative, Linda Taylor. The Liberal Democrats weren't too far behind and UKIP managed 16.7%.
Now a Conservative candidate, Councillor Keeling finds himself in a straight fight with UKIP, with the Lib Dems not nominating a candidate and no Independent. The UKIP candidate, Michael Kevin Mahon, who ran last time, will hope that this gives him the opportunity to claim the anti-Tory vote protest vote and run Councillor Keeling close, whether many of the Lib Dem and other centre-left inclined would use that opportunity is open to question. They may not turn out to vote. I suspect he would have had more chance in a more divided field. Mr Mahon has been a parliamentary candidate for UKIP, running in Falmouth and Camborne in 2005, and stood for the Breage and Crowan ward of the district council in 2007.
Mr Keeling was a district councillor for several years and will hope that his service will see him safely home.

Prediction: Conservative Gain (but a hold for Cllr Keeling).


Camborne is a town and civil parish in west Cornwall, it is at the western edge of a conurbation comprising Camborne, Pool and Redruth. The population of Camborne was 20,010 at the 2001 census. By 2007 the population had grown to 22,500. The population of the Camborne-Redruth urban area, which includes Pool and Illogan and satellite villages, is 39,937 making it the largest conurbation in Cornwall. The following settlements are in the civil parish: Barripper, Beacon, Bolenowe, Boswyn, Carwynnen, Coombe, Croft Mitchell, Higher Condurrow, Kehelland, Killivose, Menadarva, Nancemellin, Pengegon, Penponds, Reskadinnick, Rosewarne, Roskear Croft, Stennack, Tolcarne, Treslothan, Treswithian, Treswithian Downs and Troon. Camborne is located in what was formerly one of the richest tin mining areas in the world and was once the home to the Camborne School of Mines. The School of Mines moved from the centre of Camborne to Trevenson, Pool and is now a specialist department of the University of Exeter, based at Tremough Campus.
The Boundary Commission accepted the need to keep the Camborne divisions within Camborne town itaelf and these are the results:

Camborne Pendarves

An open seat with the Conservative Councillor David Biggs not defending the seat. Pendarves promised to be, like the other Camborne divisions, very interesting.
The Liberal Democrats are not fielding a candidate, indeed, they only have a candidate in Trelothan which, given they were the major party here a few years ago, is a stunning reversal. In the Camborne West division, Cllr Biggs managed to win with only 34.2% of the vote, but with a comfortable lead over the other parties due to a very split vote. David Atherfold has picked up the Conservative banner and will be hoping that the Tory vote will manage to be stable whilst the others fight amongst themselves.
For Mebyon Kernow-Party of Cornwall, John Ellery Gillingham is standing and will be hoping to close the gap on Mr Atherfold, but signs are not too good with the by elections for County and Town council seats showing theMK-PC vote slipping back as Labour re-establishes itself in the town. With no Liberal Democrat candidate, Mr Gillingham will hope to reap the votes but is not the only show in town.
The other show is Labour who, with its candidate, Trevor Chalker, will be hoping to mirror the success of Jude Robinson in the Camborne North by election and Robert Webber in the Camborne South town by election. On the face of it, Labour, with its vote collapsing in 2009, got its best vote in the old Camborne West division and Mr Chalker will have a chance of coming from behind and, with the help of former MK-PC and Lib Dem votes, taking this seat.
For UKIP, Harry Blakeley will hope that the west country sympathy with his party will translate into a good result in the election, much to the chagrin of Mr Atherfold.
There is no Independent this time so those votes from 2009 are also going to be crucial on election day. In theory, any candidate could win this seat and, if the Tories due to national and local unpopularity slip votes to the other parties, it could go either way and I am sure that it is the ex-Lib Dem votes that will prove decisive.

Prediction: Con hold - or Labour gain

Camborne Roskear

Won by Conservative Councillor Bill Jenkin in 2009 with a comfortable, for this area, 36.9% of the vote, the challengers for this seat were the Liberal Democrats with 19.4%. It is amazing then that they have no candidate this time. With the resignation of Independent Councillor Bill Jenkin, who was subsequently found guilty of sexual and common assault, a by election was called and won by former Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Camborne and Redruth, Jude Robinson, who became the only Labour member of Cornwall Council, having come from fifth place in 2009, with a shockingly low 10.7% (for this area) of the vote.
Just defeated in the by election were the Conservatives (27 votes behind) and their candidate, current deputy mayor Paul White, will see himself as in poll position to regain the seat on 2nd May. I think this is unlikely as the missing Lib Dem votes are more likely to go Labour's way, now they can see the party can win, than anybody elses.
MK-PC's candidate, John Rowe, returns but must realise that he is out of the race given that the MK-PC vote collapsed in the by election and is unlikely to return now when it is a two-horse race between Labour and the Tories.
UKIP have a dog in this fight with Tess Hulland and she might well appeal to the cussedness of Camborne voters and also gain on the national UKIP surge, but I see here as hurting the Conservatives more than anybody else.

Prediction: Labour gain (hold after the by election)

Camborne Trelowarren

Based on the old Central division, Conservative John Stoneman won this seat with 33.4% of the vote and by only 3 votes over the Liberal Democrat's John Pope, who had been a sitting County Councillor. So it again leaves me stunned that the Lib Dems have failed to put up a candidate at this election, in a seat that they have pretty much dominated in recent years.
This will give a great boost to Zoe Fox, the returning candidate for Mebyon Kernow-Party of Cornwall, as she will see herself as the most likely person to gain the mass of Liberal Democrat votes, Only 11% behind last time (140 votes) she has to be the favourite to overtake the Conservatives. The success of Loveday Jenkins in the nearby Wendron by election will have boosted Ms Fox
Councillor Stoneman is a former district councillor and a town councillor so knows his area well and will be working to get out the vote. He will again be left worried by the UKIP with their candidate, Rob Laity. If Mr Laity picks up a strong mid-teens vote, Cllr Stoneman will be fighting and uphill battle.
For Labour, town councillor Adam Crickett will be hoping to emulate the success of the by election campaigns of the last couple of years and come from the back to take the seat. To do this, he will need to nip the campaign of Ms Fox in the bud and pick up the lion's share of the Lib Dem vote.
Also in the fray is the Green Party's David Everett, also a town councillor. He helps at the Shelter Box shop in the town centre and seems like an all round nice guy - but I think he will be an also-ran here.
I think it will be difficult for Councillor Stoneman to hold this division, given the unpopularity of the government, the presence of UKIP and a very strong threat from the Greens and Labour, the question is, who will win here?

Prediction: Too close to call

Camborne Treslothan

In the old Troon and Beacon division, Conservative candidate Morwenna Williams squeaked home by 41 voters over a tied in second place Anna Pascoe (Liberal Democrat) and Alan Sanders (Mebyon Kernow). With only 31.6% of the vote, she clearly owed her victory to a divided opposition who, with Labour, had a centre-left vote of 68.4%. I admire her for struggling on as I really cannot see her holding this seat.
Her slim hope lies in the fact that another 3 candidates have entered the race - a Green, an Independent and UKIP. I think it is the latter that actually spells doom for Councillor Williams as, if she cannot keep her vote above 28%, I think it is curtains and she had better start measuring and sorting out the colour scheme.
Green candidate and town councillor, Jacqueline Merrick, is unlikely to register too large a vote, but it will not be welcome to MK-PC's returning candidate Alan Sanders, as it eats into his potential vote.
Mr Sanders has to be the favourite to win here with the Lib Dems unpopular nationally and it will be a singular disaster for his party if he doesn't - the political winds could not be fairer for him.
Hoping to stop Mr Sanders is Ms Pascoe, who will have the whole of Camborne's Liberal Democrat campaign dedicated to her victory, and that is one powerful team. A former district councillor, Ms Pascoe knows how to gain a seat and she will be fighting very hard here.
For Labour, Robert Webber will be hoping to repeat the success of the Camborne byelections and come from the back of the pack to the front. The victor in the Camborne South town council by election, he comfortably saw off MK-PC. He too could win here.
For the Independent's cause, Nicholas Heather is the candidate but I feel he might not get too much traction in what is a fevered party campaign in this division.
So, I believe Councillor Williams is unlikely to win re-election, who will take advantage?

Prediction: gain by Liberal Democrat or Labour - or Mebyon-Kernow, I just think Ms Pascoe may have the ground game.

Camborne Treswithian

Mebyon Kernow are the theoretical defenders of this ward. Camborne South was won by Mebyon Kernow's Stuart Cullimore by a tiny 20 majority from the Conservative candidate, John Herd. With only 28.4% of the vote, Councillor Cullimore was a lucky man. Sadly, he is too unwell to continue in his post which is a big blow for MK-PC. In his place is town councillor Mike Champion, who came a creditable second in the old Camborne West division in 2009. Mr Champion understands the importance of local politics and recently criticised the town council for refusing to take over the running of the city centre toilets. His campaign for the Camborne North byelection was a disaster though and went down the pan (do you see what I did there?)
The Conservative hoping to wrest the seat from MK-PC is town councillor, and former Liberal Democrat, Jeff Collins. With a large Independent vote to fight for (17.6% in 2009) and no candidate, he will hope to take these votes and appeal to the disenfranchised Liberal Democrat supporters as well. Of course, despite being in a close third place in 2009, the Liberal Democrats are not standing - strange!
For Labour, veteran campaigner Steve Richards is sure to raise the dismal vote from last time (6%) and will hope to win over former Lib Dem supporters and MK-PC voters. A win is beyond Labour here, but a good vote will help the future cause.
Just to ruin the party for Mr Collins, UKIP have a candidate in Viv Lewis. It is difficult to measure how well UKIP will do, but polls suggest its votes will come overwhelmingly from former Conservative voters, so hurting Mr Collins's hopes.
Who will win here? It is a begger to be honest.

Prediction: I honestly don't know - Mebyon Kernow-Party of Cornwall hold?

Carharrack, Gwennap and St Day
Carharrack is a civil parish and village, situated two miles east of Redruth in a former mining area.
The parish is of a rural/industrial character and is comparatively small in area. It is bounded to the north and northwest by St Day parish, to the east and southeast by Gwennap parish, and to the southwest and west by Lanner parish. Until 1985, Carharrack was part of the parish of Gwennap but it became a civil parish in its own right with the first meeting of Carharrack Parish Council on 28 May 1985.
Gwennap is a village and civil parish, about five miles  southeast of Redruth.
In the 18th and early 19th centuries Gwennap parish was the richest copper mining district in Cornwall and was called the "richest square mile in the Old World". It is the location of the Great County Adit, and once-famous mines such as Consolidated Mines, Poldice mine and Wheal Busy. Today it forms part of area A6i (the Gwennap Mining District) of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site.
St Day  is a civil parish and village, situated between the village of Chacewater and the town of Redruth. St Day is located in a former mining area (which included Poldice, Tolcarne, Todpool, Creegbrawse and Crofthandy) and St Day accrued considerable wealth from mining. The parish is at the heart of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape (a World Heritage Site) which also includes St Agnes, Chapel Porth and Porthtowan.

There has been a significant change to this division, with Lanner civil parish now joined with Stithian, it looks more like the ward represented by sitting Independent Councillor Mark Kaszmarek on the old district council. Cllr Kaszmarek has been a district and county councillor here for a long time and won very clearly in 2009 with 59%, his majority being a stonking 566. I don't know if it would have been quite as high on these boundaries but he is clearly the front-runner.
There are no Conservative or Liberal Democrat challengers this year which, given they have had councillors in this area in recent years, is fairly surprising. Last time, Cllr Kascmarek's closest rival was another Independent, John Thomas, who is standing in the new Lanner and Stithians division.
A former South Crofty Miner, Cllr Kaszmarek knows his area well and will realise the highs and lows of life, not least when exercising power. He has found himself in a battle with Lanner Parish Council over redevelopment plans for housing on the old Tresavean Mine complex. As the Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning, the nightmare of realpolitik has hit the good councillor in his own backyard (almost literally).
For the Green Party, Chris Garbutt will be hoping to represent the concerns about protecting the landscape and encouraging appropriate sustainable development in the area, their best hope is probably to come a decent second. They will undoubtedly be targeting Cllr Kaszmarek's senior membership of the local coalition in Truro, where, in 2012, he announced housing development over the next 20 years (48,000 homes) saying: “There will definitely be greenfield sites used as there is no option in certain circumstances,”
Labour's Rosanna Phillips will be determined to regain lost votes here and to challenge Cllr Kaszmarek over his senior role as a Cabinet Minister in the County Hall coalition with the Tories. A former candidate, she will have her own target in mind.
For UKIP, their Camborne and Redruth secretary, Dave Parker, is hoping to stake a claim to the affections of the electorate. I can't see him coming too close to winning though.

Prediction: Independent hold.

Constantine, Mawnan and Budock
Constantine is a village and civil parish, approximately five miles west-southwest of Falmouth. The parish of Constantine is bounded by the parishes of Mabe, Mawnan, Gweek, Wendron and the north bank of the Helford River. In 2001, it had a population of 1,705.
Mawnan is a civil parish bounded to the south by the Helford River, to the east by the sea, and to the west by Constantine parish. The population was 1,454 in the 2001 census. The main village, Mawnan Smith, is the place where the 'Owlman' has been sited - or, as the less hysterical of us would say, an Eagle Owl.
Budock, or Budock Water, is a civil parish and a village two miles  west of Falmouth. According to the 2001 census Budock parish had a population of 1,399. The parish includes the smaller villages of Lamanva and Treverva and encompasses 2,400 acres  of land. The hamlets of Bareppa and Mongleath are in the parish.
In 2009, Conservative Councillor Neil Hatton was elected with 71.8% of the vote and a majority over the Liberal Democrats of 925. A former district councillor, Cllr Hatton is in no danger here. The question is about who will come second which, with no Liberal Democrat candidate, is going to be between Labour and UKIP.
For Labour, Susan Webber will have a good opportunity to build up the party's position from the lowly 7.1% of 2009; with no Liberal Democrat, she will be hopeful of a decent vote share, but no more than that.
UKIP is fielding the wonderfully named Lomond Moonyean Handley, who hosts "Cornwall Calling" on TheSourcefm radio station. A cousin of famous naval diver, Lionel "Buster" Crabb, Ms Handley has previously been a Poole Borough councillor and and Dorset County Councillor. An interesting lady. She will hope to eat into the big Tory vote but her best hope is a decent second place.

Prediction: Conservative hold.

Crowan and Wendron

Crowan is a village and civil parish, about three-and-a-half miles south of Camborne. The River Hayle rises near Crowan and flows through the village. In the 2001 census, Crowan had a population of 2,375. Crowan Churchtown is not the largest settlement: there are villages at Praze-an-Beeble, Nancegollan, Bolitho and Leedstown and a hamlet at Black Rock (on the B3280 road four miles south of Camborne and five miles north of Helston. The hamlets of Carzise, Clowance Wood, Drym, Fraddam, Gwinear Downs, Horsedowns, Nine Maidens Downs, Noonvares, Paul's Green, Releath, Townshend and Tremayne are also in the parish.
Wendron is a village and civil parish, three miles north of Helston.
In 2009, the Wendron division was won by Independent Councillor Mike Clayton with only 31.7% of the vote but, due to a very divided field of challengers, he had a majority of 194 over Mebyon Kernow's Dr Loveday Jenkin. Councillor Clayton sadly passed away in September 2011. In the subsequent by election, Dr Jenkin with 36.4% of the vote ahead of the Liberal Democrats on 22.3%. Despite this increase in their vote from 2009, the Liberal Democrats are not running this time. This will no doubt add to Councillor Jenkin's re-election hopes.
Dr Jenkin is as close to party royalty as Mebyon Kernow-Party for Cornwall gets: her parents are key figures in Mebyon Kernow's history and she was elected a party leader in 1990, in which position she served until 1997. A former European and Westminster parliamentary candidate, Dr Jenkin was also a district councillor for Crowan ward. A lecturer at Camborne School of Mines, a bard of the Gorsedh Kernow and chair of the Cornish Language Fellowship. Impressively, her children were raised speaking Cornish as their first language (I suspect she may have have been too).
Picking up the Independent mantle is David Knight but the by election does suggest that he is unlikely to win this time with voters seeming to turn away fom the Independent that time. However, there is no reason why a different Independent (given the nature of the beast) should not do better. A higher turnout may see him pass Dr Jenkin.
For the Conservatives, their byelection candidate Linda Taylor returns. She managed to increase the party vote to 19.4% (from 15.5%) and, with no UKIP candidate here and the lack of a Liberal Democrat, she will be looking at a solid second place.
Labour's Jackie Harding is stepping up here and will, like the others, hope to gain from the lack of a Lib Dem candidate. Labour were disappointing at the by election, increasing its vote only to 6.8% (from 3%), so Ms Harding will be aiming to do much better than that and get the vote into three figures and the percentage into two.

Prediction: Mebyon Kernow hold

Carn Brae and Illogan

The Boundary Commissions recommendations were to base the three divisions (Four Lanes, Pool and Tehidy, and Illogan) within the boundaries of the two parishes.

Four Lanes

Based, with Pool and Tehidy division, in Carn Brae civil parish, between Camborne and Redruth. An area which includes old mining communties.

Defending the division is Conservative Councillor Peter Sheppard elected in the then Carn Brae North division with 38.7% of the vote, with the Liberal Democrats 118 votes behind on 28.2%. Candy Atherton, former Labour MP for Falmouth and Camborne came third for her party with 22.6% of the vote.
As already has been seen, the Liberal Democrats have abandoned much of the area in election terms and are not fielding a candidate this time, which will be welcome news to several candidates in this race.
For Cllr Sheppard, this was always destined to be a tough defence as it is not a natural seat for the Tories and with their 2009 popularity long gone, Labour will be hoping to bounce back and grab this seat.
For Labour, Matthew Brown will be confident of taking advantage of the lack of Liberal Democrat opposition. With Labour concentrating its efforts across this area, and the Liberal Democrats obviously targeting in very few places, it will be hard for Mr Brown but he must hope to get close as winning here would be a real sign of Labour revival.
Also looking to take advantage of the Liberal Democrat non-appearance is former district councillor, town councillor Paul Holmes, a member of the Liberal Party (those that did not merge with the Social Democrats) who came fairly close to winning in the Illogan division in 2009. As the only Liberal Party candidate in the county, Mr Holmes will doubtless have a good campaign on the go and he is a real threat to Cllr Shepherd.
For Mebyon Kernow-PC, town councillor Chris Lawrence will be hoping to be the natural candidate of those on the centre-left, a very crowded place in this division. MK did once have a district councillor in this area but I am not convinced that Mr Lawrence will take the winner's podium here.
It would all look fairly promising so far for Cllr Shepherd if it wasn't for UKIP's Derek Elliott threatening to take votes from the right. Not a particularly local man, I do not know how hard he will be campaigning, but any votes lost to him just adds to the pressure on the Tory.
I just can't see Cllr Sheppard holding on here and he could probably only win with a really divided vote and he with less than 30% of the vote.
If Labour won here, they'd be on the way to double figures at County Hall, I reckon it might be beyond them, not least due to other target seats.

Prediction: Liberal gain


Illogan is a village and civil parish , two miles  northwest of Redruth. Originally a rural area supporting itself by farming and agriculture, Illogan shared in the general leap into prosperity brought about by the mining boom, which was experienced by the whole Camborne-Redruth area; since then, times and the economic circumastance have changed for the worst. In 2001, the census recorded a population of 5,585.

The defending candidate is Conservative Councillor Terry Wilkins, who was elected with only 32.8% of the vote but a majority of  a reasonable sounding 89 votes over former Liberal councillor Paul Holmes (25.6%). The third-placed Independent candidate, Graham Ford, was only 95 votes behind (25.1%).
With Mr Holmes standing in Four Lanes and no Liberal Party candidate, the Liberal Democrats candidate, former district councillor David Ekinsmyth, will see himself as the main challenger. In the old division, the Lib Dems only managed 9.9% of the vote but if they can take Mr Holmes's and Mr Ford's vote, they might well be in with a chance. Added to this, parish councillor Ekinsmyth will surely gain from the fact that there are very few Liberal Democrats standing in the area and he will have a good team around him.
Another hoping to gain from the lack of a Liberal Party candidate will be Labour's Linda Moore; Labour would argue that Mr Holmes's votes were more from Labour people and, given the area, they may have a point, but in the battle to best the Conservative, perception is everything.
For Mebyon Kernow-Party for Cornwall, Stephen Richardson will hope to soak up the centre-left vote as well and the party has some hope here as he won an Illogan parish council by election in 2010 by 187 to 77 votes for Labour in a two horse race. A very small turnout just a month after the General Election, but it may well help him
The divided vote last time was a real bonus for Cllr Wilkins and he would hope to gain from it again. His problem is that the Independent from last time, Mr Ford, was formerly a Liberal Democrat district councillor and his voters would most likely not be natural Tory supporters, especially at this time of national unpopularity for the party. Another problem for him is the UKIP candidate, Don Armstrong, who is likely to undermine Cllr Wilkins's vote base.
Mr Richardson received a bit of a boost in receiving the endorsement of former Lib Dem district, county and town councillor, Terry Rowe. It is going to be a tough fight and could be a three horse (Con/LD/MK-PC) squeaker.

Prediction: Mebyon Kernow-Party of Cornwall gain (but don't write off the Lib Dems)

Pool and Tehidy

If you were ever to doubt the depths of Liberal Democrats hopes for the Camborne/Redruth area, you only have to come to this division which, theoretically at least, has a Liberal Democrat councillor. Kim Willoughby was elected in 2009 with a jaw-droppingly low vote share of 27.8% - an example of Cornish political fissiparousness at its most extreme. Only 26 votes ahead of Independent candidate Diana Cousins and 78 votes ahead of the Conservative Pam Rowett, this was, by any standards, a psephologist's dream (or nightmare). Indeed, there were only 159 votes between first and last.
Last time, there was a candidate from the Liberal Party but, along with the Independent and Lib Dem, they are not represented this time.
So, the Conservatives, third placed last time but only a few votes behind, are probably seen as the main challengers. Their candidate, Clive Bramley, will doubtless be less than happy that his hopes of victory hindered by the entrance of a UKIP candidate into the race.
Labour came last in the old division and might be seen as least likely to win, but not with these candidates, in this seat at this time. Former district councillor for the area, Malcolm Moyle is standing and he will be hopeful of gaining votes from all parties since 2009. Labour's decline has shown, through local by elections, to have been arrested and if anybody can show this, it'll be former mayor Mr Moyle. Still a local town councillor, he is has a better than decent chance of being a Unitary one as well. For UKIP, Brenda Blakeley will be hoping to pick up the votes of those unhappy with the main parties and may do fairly well. Her husband, Harry, is standing in Camborne Pendarves. Although she might well gather a good number of votes, I think she and her husband will be returning to a quieter life after 2nd May.

Prediction: Labour gain


Helston is a town and civil parish at the northern end of the Lizard Peninsula, approximately 12 miles east of Penzance and nine miles  southwest of Falmouth. Helston is the most southerly town in the UK and is around 1.5 miles further south than Penzance. In 2001, the town celebrated the 800th anniversary of the granting of its Charter, making it the second oldest town in Cornwall after Marazion. The town population in the 2001 census was recorded as 9,780.
There have been a number of changes in the divisions here, but they  have been fairly 'voter-neutral'. Labour doesn't seem to put people up around here and, whilst I accept the importance of targeting, I do think all parties should give people a chance to at least to express their support, or otherwise.

Helston North

At the last election, Conservative Alec Robertson was elected with a comfortable majority over a divided opposition. For Councillor Robertson, it was a great election where the Conservatives won more seats than they could have expected and he became first leader of the unitary authority. A plan to partly privatise key council services led to the resignation from the cabinet of Conservative colleague Cllr Jim Currie and a council vote of no confidence in Cllr Robertson, who quit as Conservative leader and was replaced by Cllr Currie (who says the one that wields the knife rarely wins the prize?) who then became the new leader of the council.
Cllr Robertson again faces Independent candidate Phil Martin who came second in 2009. A former district councillor and the present chairman of Sithney Parish Souncil, he will be aiming to benefit from the unhappiness with national and local politics to give him a bigger vote this time.
The Liberal Democrat candidate, Mollie Scrase, will have the knowledge that Liberal Democrats have won here in the past to encourage her campaign. She has a long way to come back from though as the Lib Dems were third last time.
For UKIP, Leonie Gough is the candidate and, as with most places around the country, one can only guess at her chances of success. As ever, it is the Conservatives who would much rather they went away but Mr Martin may equally regret another place for protest votes to gather.
If Cllr Roberston's vote falls much under 40%, he could be in trouble.

Prediction: Conservative hold.

Helston South

With Helston Central now re-arranged out of existence, the defending councillor, Independent Judith Haycock is defending this division. In 2009, Councillor Haycock polled very well, gaining 50.2% of the vote and a 272 majority over the Conservative candidate. A former district councillor, Ms Haycock has been returned unopposed in the past, but that is indeed a thing of the past. This time she has four other candidates standing against her.
For the Conservatives, Tanya Dyer is standing. Ms Dyer has stood in Helston before, as an Independent in a byelection hoping to defeat the Conservatives (Helston North, November 2007); Cornish politics are really fascinating with the party political clothes swapping. There used to be an Independent Helston North district councillor called George Dyer, I guess they may be related.
Another Independent is standing in the person of  James Buchanan, who has ambitious plans for the town and its future, I would point you to his webpage Best of luck with that Mr Buchanan.
For the Liberal Democrats, town councillor John Martin is running. It was a John Martin who stood for them in the Wendron byelection, doing particularly well, coming from fifth to second. If it is he, he knows how to mount a decent campaign.
For UKIP, local man Scott Blandford is running a vigorous campaign with regular leafleting and canvassing. He keeps everybody up to date on his Facebook page (I miss the old days). He will pull in a decent enough vote, I should imagine.
In the end, I think Councillor Haycock should hold on.

Prediction: Independent Haycock hold

Porthleven and Helston West
Porthleven is a town, civil parish and fishing port near Helston. It is the most southerly port on the island of Great Britain, and was originally developed as a harbour of refuge, when this part of the Cornish coastline was recognised as a black spot for wrecks in days of sail. Nearby Loe Bar was particularly infamous, with swimmers and surfers being warned off the area to this day. In 2001, it had a recorded population of 3,190.
Joined with Helston West ward.
The Porthleven and Helston South division was another of the Cornish squeakers, with Independent Andrew Wallis beating his Conservative opponent by only 17 votes with a 31.5% vote share.
The Liberal Democrats should have high hopes here and will be confident that their candidate, Richard Goedegebuur, can overtake Cllr Wallis. It will be tight and much will depend on where the votes that went for the other Independent from 2009, Maurice Pascoe, will go. The Conservatives are represented by Liz Lane, a woman who appears to love all things 40's and jive. I don't think she is going to win here, even with a decent enough Tory vote last time, but if she did, it would brighten up County Hall.
Stephen Gough is the UKIP candidate, husband of Leonie Hough in Helston North. The UKIP vote will be fascinating in a close contest and I am not sure what it will do here.
The truth is, I am not at all sure what will happen here but think it is between Cllr Wallis and Mr Goedegebuur.

Prediction: Independent hold (but Lib Dems close behind)

Mabe, Perranarworthal and St. Gluvias

Mabe is a village and civil parish , the village is situated one mile west of Penryn. Mabe parish is bounded by Stithians and St. Gluvias to the north, Budock to the east, Mawnan and Constantine to the south and Wendron to the west. The parish lies at the eastern edge of the Carnmenellis Granite intrusion. It is surrounded by several working and closed quarries. The Argal and College reservoirs lie to the south of the village.
Perranarworthal is a civil parish and village. The village is about four miles northwest of Falmouth and five miles southwest of Truro. Perranarworthal parish is bordered on the north by Kea parish, on the east by Restronguet Creek and Mylor parish, on the south by St Gluvias and Stithians parishes and on the west by Gwennap parish.
St Gluvias is a civil parish and village. The village is now a suburb on the northern edge of Penryn which is situated two miles northwest of Falmouth.
In 2009, the Mabe division (as was) had 7 candidates, which helps explain the tiny vote share of 29.9% which carried Conservative Councillor Chris Ridgers to victory. His majority of 80 is quite decent under those circumstances.
There are only 5 candidates in this division and the main challenger is undoubtedly the Liberal Democrat candidate, John Ault, County Councillor for Rame from 2005 to 2009. The Lib Dems had a bad year here last time and will be quite confident of a bounce back, not least with the Independent field having been reduced from 3 to only 1. Mr Ault is the Chair of the Electoral Reform Society and is completing a PhD researching the impacts of political campaigning and works as an associate political history lecturer at the University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus. I could write a lot about this man, but I won't - given his pedigree, he really should know how to win here, he did write the book!.
Standing as an Independent is Christopher Jackson who will hope to unite the non-party feeling in the area and sneak a victory, but I think it is very unlikely that he will do it in the circumstances of this election.
For Labour, experienced candidate Betty Ross, mother in law of former Falmouth and Camborne Labour MP Candy Atherton will be aiming to take Labour's vote out of the depths and make a good showing in this division. She faces the danger of being squeezed here which, given Labour's tiny 5.6% last time shouldn't be a concern but, with a good lead nationally, Labour really should be well into double figures (percentage wise) here.
UKIP's Michael Keogh is the one most likely to undermine Cllr Ridgers's hopes for survival, and a good vote here will be poison for the Tories.

Prediction: Liberal Democrat gain

Mullion and Grade-Ruan

Mullion is a civil parish and village, situated on the Lizard Peninsula approximately five miles south of Helston. Mullion civil parish encompasses the church town (now known simply as Mullion) and four smaller settlements: Mullion Cove and Predannack to the southwest; Trewoon and Meaver to the east. Mullion is bordered by the parishes of Gunwalloe and Cury to the north, Grade-Ruan to the east, Landewednack to the south, and by the sea to the west. In 2001, the census recorded the population as 1,986.
Grade–Ruan is a civil parish on the Lizard peninsula, ten miles south of Falmouth. It is a rural parish bounded to the east by St Keverne parish and by the sea; to the west by Mullion and Cury parishes; and to the south by Landewednack parish. In 2001, the census recorded the population as 1,070.
Formerly an Independent district councillor, Caroline Rule was elected in 2009 as a Conservative. She has returned to the Independent banner for this election after resigning from the Conservatives "as a matter of principle" when a zero percent budget was voted through in March of this year (yep, just a few weeks ago). She remains Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration, which is sort of bizarre if such an economic disagreement exists.
In 2009, the Mullion division's main challenger was the Liberal Democrats who had 30.5% of the vote (to Councillor Rule's 45.1%) so I find their decision not to stand quite baffling, but par for the course in much of Cornwall.
Picking up the Conservative banner, and technically defending this seat, is local hotelier, Alfred Mesropians. Concerned about the impact of the economy on tourism , Mr Mesropians is keen to promote the delights of Helston and the Lizard Peninsula. He has stood for the Conservative Party before and will be keen to take the Conservative vote back from Cllr Rule, but I think he knows how difficult his task will be.
The only other candidate comes from UKIP: Nina Sutherland is a trustee of the Mullion in Bloom Association and has strong views on Europe (obviously, she is UKIP) and against what she sees as creeping privitisation of the NHS - she has also 'liked' David Icke and, given that I remember his claim to be Jesus Christ on the Wogan show and his conspiracy-theory laden history since, it makes me think she is better off losing.

Prediction: Independent gain (Cllr Rule hold)


Redruth is a town and civil parish. It had a population of 12,352 in the 2001 census. Redruth lies about 9 miles west of Truro, 12 miles east of St Ives, 18 miles north east of Penzance and 11 miles north west of Falmouth. Camborne and Redruth together form the largest urban area in Cornwall and before local government reorganisation were an urban district. The boundaries of the divisions match those of the Town Council.

Redruth Central

This division was claimed by the Conservative candidate, Mike Eddowes, in 2009 on a low vote share of 30.4%, enough to give him victory, by 8 votes, over Independent, Len Pascoe. Both district councillors at the time, it was a very tough fight. With 7 candidates in all, the spread out field was a blessing for Councillor Eddowes.
There are only three candidates standing this time : Cllr Eddowes for the Conservatives, Raymond Webber for Labour, and Wally Duncan for UKIP.
The only byelection since 2009 was a town council byelection in Redruth South in 2010, won by the Liberal Democrats over Labour. The Liberal Democrats aren't standing in this Division, or anywhere in Redruth, so this is no real guide. Mebyon Kernow-Party of Cornwall aren't standing this time either, or the Liberal Party.
With no other claim on the centre-left vote, Labour's Raymond Webber will hope to give Cllr Eddowes a run for his money. The question is where will Mr Pascoe's old vote go, and that will be the decider in this election.
UKIP's Mr Duncan will be looking, as with most of the other UKIP candidates, to ride the popularity that the national party presently has. There is no history here so we shall have to see. Cllr Eddowes won't be pleased by his presence.
Whilst it is an area Labour would do well in other parts of the UK, it might just be beyond them here on this occasion (less than 10% of the vote last time), not least with Redruth North being the real target in Redruth.

Prediction: Conservative hold

Redruth North

This seat was always a banker for Labour in the district council days and they held the County Council seat until the elections of 2009, so the loss of the division to Independent, Lisa Dolley, in that election was a blow for them. The long time Labour councillor, (Robert) Stephen Barnes, is back to try and regain the seat this year.
Councillor Dolley was originally elected as a Liberal Democrat district councillor and may hope that the absence of a Liberal Democrat candidate this time will help her, although town councillor Mr Barnes could hope for the same. She is one of two Standalone Independents (not a member of the Independent Group that shares control of the council with the Tories). Laundress Cllr Dolley is the Member Champion for Design (I have no idea what this means).
The Conservatives have no candidate this time either and the right-wing mantle is being claimed by the UKIP candidate, Ann Wood.
Labour  had its best vote share here in Cornwall in 2009, 28.6%, so should really be secure in gaining this seat, but it rather depends an whether they have managed to build on the party's national popularity (against 4 years ago) and unhappiness with the Con/Ind administration in County Hall. Although Cllr Dolley is not a member of the Independent Group, voters may not make that distinction.

Prediction: Labour gain (if not here, then where?)

Redruth South

Councillor Graham Hicks, the Independent Councillor, has been synonymous with this seat for many years and has represented it as a district, County and Unitary councillor. Not being on the ballot paper, this year has the potential to be a game changer.
Defending the Independent mantle is town councillor and former mayor Ian Thomas who, whilst he will not expect to receive the 60.8% of Cllr Hicks in 2009, will at least have a reasonable hope of appealing to the independent tradition of the local voter.
There are no Liberal Democrat or Conservative candidates standing so their votes are up for grabs. Hoping to gain the lion's share of the Lib Dem votes and a number of former Tory supporters is Labour town councillor and deputy mayor, Will Tremayne. Labour did disastrously last time with the vote being 4.6% (55 out of 1,197 votes cast, shocking), so, with no other party challenger for the centre-left vote and Labour on the up nationally, they cannot fail to do much better.
For UKIP, Ray Wyse is the candidate but he seems to be very difficult to contact or find out anything about . Local Blogger, Mark Ellis, has been running a blog for Redruth South for the unitary elections and has had little joy in getting much response from Mr Wyse or UKIP. He appears to be a paper candidate. He might still get a good protest vote though.
In response to questions placed by Mr Ellis, it would appear that Mr Thomas would be more firmly on the right of the political spectrum - anybody using the phrase "living the life of Riley" in reference to welfare reform knows a 'dog-whistle' when he uses it. To be fair, he seems a committed, charitable and reasonable man. Which is just as well, as he is likely to win this seat.

Prediction: Independent hold

St Keverne and Meneage

St Keverne is a civil parish and village on the Lizard Peninsula. The Cornish Rebellion of 1497 started in St Keverne. The leader of the rebellion Michael An Gof(the "smith" in Cornish) was a blacksmith from St Keverne and is commemorated by a statue in the village. Before his execution, An Gof said that he should have "a name perpetual and a fame permanent and immortal". The 2001 census recorded the population as 2,107.
Includes parishes of Gweek (pop 581), Cury  (pop 388), St Anthony-in-Meneage (pop 171),Manaccan (pop 299), St Martin-in-Meneage, St Mawgan-in-Meneage.
In 2009, the then St Keverne division elected Independent, Pamela Lyne, as the councillor with a tiny majority of 16 over the Conservative, Stephen Sobey. Of the other 5 candidates, the only other with a significant vote was former district councillor Walter Sanger, who was in third place with 18.6% of the vote. Councillor Lyne, a former district and county councillor, passed away suddenly last July (2012) and in the subsequent by election was replaced by Mr Sanger, this time standing as the Conservative candidate. He won by a clear majority over the Liberal Democrats candidate, Nicholas Driver, with 52.8% of the vote cast.
There is no Liberal Democrat or Independent candidate this time so Councillor Sanger is up against UKIP, Labour and Green candidates.
For UKIP, experienced candidate Brian Bailey will hope to improve on the 13.4% from the by election, but it seems  unlikely that his vote will increase enough over that received by UKIP's Sandy Martin then to  seriously threaten Cllr Sanger.
From the left, Labour's Ann Round will just be hoping that the lack of a Liberal Democrat, who managed 26.4% at the by election, will help here to raise Labour's standing from the dismal 2009 figure and above the hardly better by election figure of 4.92%.
Challenging this hope is IT consultant Dominic Brandreth for the Green Party, who will doubtless be trying to attract disenfranchised Lib Dems and the independently-minded. He could do well.
Despite the political splits in his party at County Hall, I suspect that Cllr Sanger will be safe enough this time with a comfortable majority.

Prediction: Conservative gain (hold from by election)

Lanner and Stithians

Lanner is a village and civil parish, about 2 miles (3.2 km) southeast of Redruth. The population of Lanner civil parish was 2,493 in the 2001 census.
Stithians, also known as St Stythians, is a village and civil parish. It lies in the middle of the triangle bounded by Redruth, Helston and Falmouth. Its population (2001) is 2,004.
The parish is mainly agricultural, lying south of the Gwennap mining area and north of the quarrying areas of Rame and Longdowns.
Very much a new division, the 'defending' candidate is Councillor Neil Plummer, elected as an Independent in 2009 for the old Stithians division, Cllr Plummer defected to Mebyon Kernow-The Party of Cornwall in August of 2010 and is still registered on the Council website as a member of the group. I guess standing as an Independent makes one more likely to win in this area.
Cllr Plummer has been an Independent district and county councillor for this area for a long time and should feel confident of winning this seat.
Discomfiting him are three other Independent candidates. The first of these (in strict alphabetical order) is James Biscoe, a Stithians parish councillor, followed by John Thomas, a Lanner Parish counciller, and Stithian Parish Council chairman, Peter Tisdale, all of whom are actively campaigning in this election. It is difficult to see who will break out of the pack. Mr Biscoe stood for the district council in 2007 against Cllr Plumber. Mr Thomas stood in the old St Day and Lanner division in 2009 and managed a fairly respectable vote share (20.8%), but was well beaten by Cllr Kaszmarek; he is a former Liberal Democrat district councillor for the old St Day, Lanner and Carharrack ward.
For Labour, Laura Eyre is standing and will be lucky to be heard over the din of the campaign. Labour do not do well around here but, following 2009's disaster, she can at least hope to increase the vote.
UKIP has architect Bob Mims as a candidate, he is the honorary secretary of the Hayle Model Railway Club. I know nothing else about him but I would guess he will receive a fair number of votes although the various Independents will be scrapping for every elector.
For Cllr Plummer, this is an interesting battle which he should win, although his 'independence' may well be questioned.

Prediction: Independent Plummer hold

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