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: Penwith

Penwith District Council was an authorithy which covered the "top of the foot" of the peninsula. Formed on April 1st 1974 from a merger of the boroughs of Penzance and St Ives, the urban district of St Just and the Rural District of West Penwith. It was dissolved with the creation of the Unitary Authority of Cornwall Council on 1st April, 2009.

Gulval and Heamor

Gulval and Heamor are villages incorporated into the town of Penzance, Heamor retains its position as a Civil Parish.
A crowded field in 2009 (7 candidates) has been reduced to just three this year with Councillor Mario Fonk, who safely took this seat with 54.9% of the vote just facing challenges from the returning Pam Yeates of the Conservatives and Rose Smith of UKIP.
As the  missing candidates are mainly of the cnetre and left, it is unlikely that their voters will turn out fot the Tories or UKIP (though a few might) so I cannot see beyond a hold for Cllr Fonk here. The interesting battle will be for second place.

Prediction: Lib Dem hold

Gwinear-Gwithian and St Erth

Containing the three civil parishes of the title, seven candidates are chancing their arm this time. The sitting councillor, Conservative Ray Tovey, sadly passed away from a brain tumour in Septemebr of last year. Having won by only 65 votes from Independent candidate Sheila Furneaux, it was perhaps not a surprise that she won the subsequent byelection just 4 months ago. More surprising is that she won it by only 4 votes from another Independent, Michael Roberts, in the absence of a Conservative candidate.
Councillor Furneaux has obviously decided that 4 months in County Hall is enough and had no confidence of holding the seat so is not standing this time.
Lionel Pascoe is standing for the Conservatives and would probably the favourite here. An Anthony Pascoe has won here before and, given the penchant for going by middle names rather than first ones in Cornwall, it may be the same man.
Mr Roberts will be confident of his chances at this election with Councillor Furneaux now retired from the field but with the Liberal Democrats not too far behind in the byelection, their candidate, Yvonne Bates will be aiming to re-establish the party as main challengers.
For UKIP, Peter Channon will want to see how the UKIP surge is working in this area and his presence will not be welcomes by Mr Pascoe.
Labour didn't do well (to say the least) in 2009 but will feel some confidence in the vote share they received at the by election (in a low poll), so Michael Smith will be looking to move up the pecking order here, although the vote share will matter more.
Theresa Byrne is standing for the Greens but they don't really have too much hope here.
Making up the field is St Erth parish councillorAngelo Spencer-Smith as a second Independent candidate. A Positioning and Differentiation Strategist (I just looked it up and I am now more confused by jargon than ever), Mr Spencer-Smith is a volunteer for ShelterBox, which provides emergency shelter and life-saving supplies for people affected by disasters.

Prediction: Conservative hold (Gain from by election).

Hayle North

Some boundary changes here but not too major. Councillor John Pollard is defending his seat from 2009 and, given his good majority, he would appear to be safe enough. The conservatives are not running a candidate which seems strange but, given that Mr Pollard is Portfolio Holder for Localism, Sustainability and Devolution in the County Hall coaliton, maybe they are stepping aside. Less unstandable is the absence of a Liberal Democrat in ward they have won in the past.
UKIP's Lynda Chidell, a dedicated bridge player will have a strategy to pick up Tory votes and other disgruntled votes. Cllr Pollard's webpage, which mixes old and new news, has a message of support from the UKIP candidate for Hayle South, he may want to change that.
Labour's Tony Phillips (who stood in the old Hayle South last time) will want to lift Labour from its 2009 nadir and, with no other party vying for the centre-left vote, he will  be looking to re-establish Labour as a force in this area.

Prediction: Independent hold

Hayle South

The field of seven last time in this division has been reduced to four this. Defending his seat is a town councillor and  former town mayor, John Coombe. Councillor Coombe easily won last time ahead of another Independent candidate, John Bennett, but only with a modest 36.5% of the vote.
The Tories are fielding no candidate and, given the disaster last time (last and 4.4%), neither are the Liberal Democrats.
Standing as a second Independent this year is town councillor and current deputy mayor, Graham Coad. A retired policeman of 33 years experience, Mr Coad will hope to claim the votes of Mr Bennett and take the votes of the unrepresented Tory voters.
UKIP's candidate is town councillor Clive Polkinghorne, a campaigner for the Harbour. He will have a a good base from last time when UKIP managed 14% in the old division. He will have some confidence here is the vote splits again and he picks up the Tory votes.
For Labour, town councillor Anne-Marie Vance is carrying the flag. A local campaigner, she will be looking to avoid last place and, given that she is the only obvious centre-left candidate, she may do quite well.

Prediction: Independent Coombe, but with some reservations.

Lelant and Carbis Bay

Part of St Ives council, Lelant and Carbis Bay Division was taken my Councillor Liz Penhaligon in 2009. A Conservative former district councillor, she had to face only an Independent (Graham Webster) and the Green Party last time.
Things are less clearcut this time as there are seven candidates in the race.
Not fielding a candidate in 2009, last time's Independent candidate, Graham Webster, is standing in the Labour Party's interest. Mr Webster has been a Labour candidate in the past and, somewhat like the situation at the other end of the county in Gunnislake and Calstock, it can be said that Labour 'sort of' ran in 2009. Stationer Mr Webster will have hope that Labour can do well here as in a byelection in 2001, the party managed to receive 287 votes in straight battle with the Greens (see below) and showed that it could do well against a Green candidate. Labour's candidate then, Terry Murray, is standing in St Ives East this time.
For the Greens, who were third last time, town councillor Maxine Armstrong, winner of the byelection with a very decent 372 votes, is hoping to repeat her success. It may be difficult as the turnout will be higher than the byelection, Tories may have voted for her to keep Labour out (and I suppose some might have done the same for Labour to keep the Greens out, but less likely).
For the Liberal Democrats, Howard Hollingsbee is hoping to re-establish his party as the main challenger but I feel he might find himself struggling in the crowded field on the left. Mr Hollingsbee's tweets suggest he is rather a disenchanted bunny with his party's leadership in Westminster.
For UKIP, Sandy Martin puts up a challenge on Cllr Penhaligon's right flank which may cause her some concern; if UKIP can get a vote in the high teens, with polling suggesting that the vote comes very heavily from Tory supporters, then the sitting councillor could be in some lumber.
For the Independent cause (whatever that happens to be), Richard Glanville is standing. I can find nothing about him but he may be an interesting spoiler.

Prediction: Conservative hold, I think.

Saint Ives

St Ives is a seaside town, civil parish and port; the town lies north of Penzance and west of Camborne on the coast of the Celtic Sea. In former times it was commercially dependent on fishing. The decline in fishing, however, caused a shift in commercial emphasis and the town is now primarily a popular holiday resort, notably achieving the award 'Best UK Seaside Town' from the British Travel Awards in both 2010 and 2011. In 2001, the population was recorded as 11,165.
Boundary changes look to have made both the wards very marginal, as opposed to one fairly safe and one not safe at all.

St Ives East

Councillor Joan Symons is defending this division which will be slightly less safe that last time when she beat the Green candidate by 200 votes. Originally a district councillor, Cllr Symons has a long pedigree of representing this area.
Her main challenger this time is the Green's town councillor Tim Andrewes, who came within 24 votes of taking the old St Ives North division at the last elections. The Greens seem to be in the ascendancy again in this area and he will doubtless by very disappointed if he fails to win this time with both the admistration in County Hall and the national government unpopular.
For the Liberal Democrats, Madie Parkinson-Smith has the uneviable task of avoiding a Green squeeze and returning the Lib Dems to a winning position. I feel she will struggle with this.
UKIP's Roy Britten will look to ride the UKIP wave to Truro,and has a base of over 11% to work on, but I see him being more of a spoiler here who will be deeply worrying Cllr Symons.
Labour's candidate is former town councillor Terry Murray who has to face the same danger of a squeeze faced by Ms Parkinson-Smith. It would be a surprise if he was not able to rebuild Labour's voter base to some degree, but the more successful he is, the less chance for Mr Andrewes.
Morag Robertson is running as an Independent; a campaigner on parking issue (some parking spaces in St Ives sell for tens of thousands of pounds), Ms Robertson founded Parking Action St Ives (PASTI - you see what she did there?). With parking in the area being expensive for everyone, she may well receive a decent vote.
If the Greens can't win this year, they never will

Prediction: Green gain

St Ives West

In the old St Ives North division, Councillor Joan Tanner squeaked in with a majority of only 24 votes over the Green candidate. She only received 27.6% of the vote to win and wins the award for least popular candidate to win a seat in Cornwall in 2009. Her division should, theoretically be slightly safer this time, but I wouldn't expect that to save Cllr Tanner, formerly a district councillor, originally elected as an Independent.
Hopeful of victory this time is town councillor and current mayor, Ron Tully. He came within 200 votes of winning the St Ives South division last time and will probably have a slightly smaller majority this time. It will be a real blow for him and the Green Party if they cannot win - the last two times he stood in the district and county elections, he managed 26.3% of the vote - he needs to break that ceiling if he is to win.
For the Liberal Democrats, Lester Scott is running but he will be somewhat non-plussed by the appearance in the race of former Liberal Democrat district councillor, Andrew Mitchell, who is running as an Independent. It will be tough for Mr Scott as he will face a push for votes from the Greens and Mr Mitchell and he will be happy to hold a decent vote share.
For UKIP, a commited activist William Guppy returns to the fray, aiming to receive enough votes from unhappy Tories and others concerned about 'Europe' to push his way to the top of a potentially very split pack.
Labour's Malcolm Hurst will simply be hoping to build up the Labour vote and not be squeezed as they so tightly were in 2009.
Cllr Tanner is seeing her vote base increasingly cut from under her and will need all the local recognition she has to hold on.

Prediction: Green gain (the Tories could struggle to be second)

Marazion and Perranuthnoe

Marazion is a civil parish and town ,situated on the shore of Mount's Bay, two miles east of Penzance and one mile east of Long Rock. Marazion is a thriving tourist resort with an active community of artists who produce and sell paintings and pottery in the town's numerous art galleries. the 2001 census recorded a population of 1,466.
Perranuthnoe  is a civil parish and a village,situated on the east side of Mount's Bay approximately one mile  east of Marazion and four miles east of Penzance. The parish includes the villages of Perranuthnoe, Goldsithney, Perran Downs and part of Rosudgeon.
In 2009, the Conservative candidate, Sue Nicholas, won the division with a rather modest 34.6% of the vote over an Independent candidate, Jane Howells. Having been in field of 5 candidates then, she is only facing two challengers this time, from UKIP and the Green Party. Once again, the Liberal Democrats are failing to field a candidate in a seat where they should have a strong vote base.
UKIP have nominated Glyn Owen who must be confident of increasing the UKIP vote from last time (12.9%) and, in a narrow field, challenging for the Independent and Tory voters.
The Greens have put up Peter Williams, who runs an organic B&B in St Ives. He will hope to corral the Lib Dem vote and appeal to Independents.

Prediction: Conservative hold

St Just-in-Penwith

St Just is a town and civil parish that lies along the B3306 road which connects St Ives to the A30 road. The parish encompasses the town of St Just and the nearby settlements of Trewellard, Pendeen and Kelynack; it is bounded by the parishes of Morvah to the north-east, Sancreed and Madron to the east, St Buryan and Sennen to the south and by the sea in the west. The town of St Just is the most westerly town in mainland Britain and is situated approximately 8 miles west of Penzance along the A3071. St Just parish had a population of 4,690 in the 2001 census.
In 2009, Independent Chris Goninan was elected with a comfortable majority of 283 over the Liberal Democrat candidate and 51.4% of the vote. Not standing this time, he leaves the field open to five new candidates.
Once a Liberal Democrat division, their candidate will hope that the disappointing results last time might be reversed and town councillor and current mayor, Sue James, will have some confidence here.
Aiming to replace Councillor Goninan as an Independent is town councillor Kevin McFadden and, given a history of voting Independent in local elections, he should be Ms James's main challenger.
The Conservatives only managed to take 10.5% of the vote last time but, with an open seat, they will hope to do well here and their candidate, David Lenaghan, has a job to do.
Labour has selected Kirsty Pritchard in an area that has not been promising for them and, having achieved 15% in 2005 (they didn't put up a candidate last time), will hope to be able to get close to that vote.
For UKIP, local artist Adrian Guy Smith is standing. A 'spiritual ruralist', his artwork is pretty stunning, whether that will help in the election is somewhat more doubtful.

Prediction: Liberal Democrat gain


Ludgvan is a civil parish and village 2 1/2 miles northeast of Penzance. The parish includes the villages of Ludgvan, Crowlas, Canon's Town and Long Rock. It is bounded by the parishes of Towednack and Lelant to the north, Madron and Penzance to the west, by St Erth, St Hilary and Marazion to the east and by the sea to the south. Morvah parish is also in the division.

Won in 2009 by Independent Councillor Irene Bailey, the seat is now an open one as she has stood down due to ill-health so the division has been vacant since last November.
Hoping to succeed Cllr Bailey is former district councillor who chaired the council, Roy Mann, who lost by 115 votes last time. Formerly an Independent county councillor, Mr Mann stood last time, as he does this, as a Conservative.
The Greens took third place last time and have selected Ian Flindall as their candidate who will hope, in the absence of another candidate form the left of the spectrum, to poll better than the 13.2% last time. With not Lib Dem candidate this time, he may well  achieve a decent vote.
Returning for UKIP is psychologist Robert Smith, a near neighbour of Mr Mann. He was UKIP's candidate for Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner coming a not disgraceful fifth with 8.3% of the vote. Mr Smith is the son-in-law of the late Labour Cabinet minister, Peter Shore, who was fervently anti-Common Market. His wife is standing in Newlyn and Mousehole and his mother-in-law is standing in Penzance Promenade.
I think he will be Mr Mann's main challenger and it should be interesting

Prediction: Conservative gain

St Buryan

The centre of this division, St Buryan is a civil parish and village, which is situated approximately five miles west of Penzance. St Buryan parish encompasses the villages of St. Buryan, Lamorna, and Crows-an-wra and shares boundaries with the parishes of Sancreed and St Just to the north, Sennen and St Levan to the west, with Paul to the east and by the sea in the south. There are 6 parishes in this division.
In 2009, Councillor Bill Maddern took this ward fairly comfortably over the Liberal Democrat candidate. A former district councillor, Cllr Maddern starts this race as the clear favourite who will have some concerns about his majority due to the presence of an Independent candidate.
On the face of it, the challenge from the Liberal Democrats is hampered by the good result that the Greens achieved last time when they received 20.2% of the vote and the Lib Dems' Frank Blewett will be hardly more pleased by the return of a Labour candidate. But he will hope that the Independent may help him by eating into Cllr Maddern's vote.
First time Independent candidate, Howard Bliss, runs the StBuryanVoter blog. Serving in the RAF as both a regular and reserve from 1975 to 2004, he and his wife run the Lower Treave Caravan and Camping Park. A critic of the local Liberal Demcrats for pushing through the 0% Council Tax rise, thus causing cuts to services, Mr Bliss is hoping to win over unhappy Lib Dems and Tories.
The Green Party's Peter Hardy can feel some confidence here as the Lib Dems are not popular nationally but he will have to put in a good campaign.
For Labour, regular candidate Juliet Eavis is standing. Labour have managed to have a decent vote in past elections but whether they are putting in much of a campaign here is the question, with more promising targets a few miles away in Penzance.
All in all, I can't see Cllr Maddern losing this.

Prediction: Conservative hold


Penzance is a town, civil parish and port, the most westerly major town in Cornwall and is approximately 75 miles west of Plymouth and 300 miles. Situated in the shelter of Mount's Bay, the town faces south-east onto the English Channel, is bordered to the west by the fishing port of Newlyn, to the north by the civil parish of Madron and to the east by the civil parish of Ludgvan. In 2001, the census repported a population of 21,168.
The economy of Penzance has, like those of many Cornish communities, suffered from the decline of the traditional industries of fishing, mining and agriculture. Penzance now has a mixed economy consisting of light industrial, tourism and retail businesses. However, like the rest of Cornwall, housing remains comparatively expensive, wages low and unemployment high. House prices have risen 274% in 10 years, the fastest rise in the UK.The fishing port of Newlyn, which falls within the parish boundaries, provides some employment in the area, but has also been greatly affected by the decline in the fishing industry over the last 30 years. In the 2004 index of deprivation Penzance is listed as having 3 wards within the top 10% for employment deprivation, Penzance East (125th most deprived in England) Penzance West (200th most deprived in England), and Penzance Central (712th most deprived in England). 18-31% of households in the parish are described as "poor households". The Penzance East Ward also has one the highest unemployment rates in Cornwall, stated as 15.4%.

Penzance Central

Penzance and the environs had some remarkably close election in 2009, with victories on small vote shares. Penzance Central is a classic example of this with Liberal Democrat, Tamsin Williams with only 30% of the vote, winning by 14 votes over the Conservatives on 28.9%. In September of last year, Councillor Williams quit the Liberal Democrats for Mebyon Kernow-Party of Cornwall. She has decided not to defend the division.
This will be a cracker of a campaign with six candidates standing and a really battle for victory.
For the Liberal Democrats, Penny Young is standing and she will  be not too pleased to be facing ex-Lib Dem town councillor, John Moreland, who is standing as an Independent candidate. I wonder if she is the mother of wonderful poet and satirist, Murray Lachlan Young, who is from Penzance (I think his mother is called Penny).
For the Conservatives, Michael Rabbitte is the candidate and he may regret stating in his election address that he has spent the last 28 years in London. He will be hoping that the Lib Dems slip here enough for him to win, but that would require no slippage from the Tories and that seems unlikely here right now.
UKIP are fielding Peter Mates and he will be looking for a big boost to the already good vote UKIP has here, the problem may be that UKIP has been a strong voice in the area for a long time with candidates (normally called Faulkner) getting good votes shares. It possibly means that there may be less of a swing to UKIP than in other parts of the country.
For Labour, long-time campaigner and candidate Cornelius Olivier returns again and this time, given the unpopularity of the national Coalition, Labour being back from its 2009 depths and Lib Dem no longer the party of protest, Mr Olivier knows he should win this time - if not now, then when? Labour are certainly campaigning hard here.
Muddying the waters is the MK-PC candidate and town councillor, Phil Rendle. Mr Rendle has stood for the party in Penzance before and will hope that the unhappiness with Truro and Westminster may help him to pull in a good vote and have a shot, in a divided field, to win the seat.

Prediction: Labour gain

Penzance East
A real blow to Labour here last time as their candidate, John Payne, was defeated by 25 votes at the hands of the Liberal Democrat victor, Ruth Lewarne. Another amazing vote share of only 30.4% winning a division.
Councillor Lewarne now faces five challengers, three from the centre-left and two from the right. A town councillor of many years, Cllr Lewarne will know her battleground well but her challenge is coming clearly from the Labour Party and she may well need to try and attract Tory votes to keep Labour out - it is a bit disingenous then to have people campaigning on the argument that only a vote for the Lib Dems can keep the Tories out (trust me, this has been happening), when the Tories start from fourth place last time. Voters aren't daft and don't like being treated as such - but I still admire the chutzpah.
For Labour, Tim Dwelly is the standard-bearer; a business man who promotes 'workhubs' (basically, providing offices wherever they are needed). An impressive campaigner, Mr Dwelly is facing a mini-storm of criticism on political blogs which suggests he must have people worried.
For UKIP, longstanding campaigner and regular candidate, Mick Faulkner is running again, he must feel like a man with whom political history has finally caught up. He must believe he has a chance but I just feel, as I pointed out above, that the UKIP vote has ridden fairly high here so will get less of a boost than in other places. I still think he will finish strongly though.
For the Conservative candidate, Angela Elliot, she must simply be hoping to hold up her party's vote as neither the make up of the division nor the dynamics of this campaign are good for her.
For Mebyon Kernow-PC, blogger Rob Simmons is standing, but I think it is not the campaign for this young  man and he will see any of his potential vote being targeted by the Lib Dems and Labour. The same goes for the Green candidate, Michelle Paine.

Prediction: Labour Gain

Penzance Promenade

Won with, for Penzance, a decent share of the vote of 37.8%, Independent Councillor Sue Pass did well here in 2009, but is not defending this division. Stepping in as an Independent is former Penwith Council Chef Executive, Jim McKenna. Since being made redundant, Mr McKenna has been involved in supporting the building of affordable homes for first-time buyers, helping Penzance Radio to extend its coverage, and donating £5000 a year, for twenty years, to groups or individuals hoping to help locals to help themselves. To support himself, he works as a consultant.
The Liberal Democrats have selected Daniel Garside, who will be pretty confident that he can be victorious in this local seat now Cllr Race has stepped aside, building on a 29.6% vote share from last time. A campaigner for a fair car-park deal for residents and business in the town, Mr Garside will have a strong team working for him.
Also hopeful of taking this seat David Miles of the Conservative Party. With 20.4% last time, he might  have a chance of coming up the outside to take the seat, but I would doubt it very much. I hope that the Conservatives are campaigning hard here (for their sake) as it is a place they need to be challenging for. This won't be helped by the UKIP campaign of Elizabeth Shore who may gain a lot of votes or it might be that UKIP is fairly old news in Penzance for the reasons I have expressed above. Mrs Shore is the widow of the late Labour Cabinet Minister Peter Shore, committed anti-Common Market man and leadership contender. She is the mother of Tacy Smith who is standing for UKIP in
For Labour, John Kirman is the sacrificial lamb because, even with what should be a certain vote growth after 2009, the party's focus is on the other two Penzance town seats.
If Mr McKenna has the campaigners, he could win this seat, but I suspect Mr Garside will win the street war.

Prediction: Liberal Democrat gain

Newlyn and Mousehole

For Penzance, a very good result for Councillor Roger Harding with a vote share of 49.6% but, in a split field, a majority of 581 votes. By any standards, very impressive but mostly delivered by the inability of any of the other 4 candidates to break free of the pack.
I don't believe that Cllr Harding will find the circumstances quite so inimicable on this occasion.
Mebyon Kernow came second last time, but are not fielding a candidate this time. UKIP's Tacy Smith is the one who would hope to benefit from unhappiness with the Conservative Party and will be looking to have a good boost here but see my above comments on this for the other Penzance divisions. She may well attract votes from the left as she is the daughter of the lale Labour Cabinet Minister, Peter Shore, who was a fervent opponent of the Common Market.
Caroline White is standing for the Liberal Democrats and will hope to at least achieve second place, although I think there is a fair chance that she might struggle with that. She will doubtless hope to pick up MK votes from last time.
For the Labour Party, a seasoned candidate in Nicholas Round is standing again; he will be targeting the MK votes but will also be hoping to take votes from the Lib Dems to give Labour a higher place this time.
Also running is the Green candidate, Heidi Worth, who I think well be squeezed out here.
Making up the field is Nigel Davis as an Independent candidate, about whom I know nothing.

Prediction: Conservative hold.


  1. Interesting Blog, thanks for your insights.

  2. Thank you Mr Coad, sorry you didn't win Hayle South, it was always going to by Cllr Coombe. Good that you tried though.