Serving South-East Cornwall

Like so many I was greatly saddened to learn of the death of our former MP Colin Breed.

Colin and I became friendly when I was the Commanding Officer of HMS Raleigh where he and his wife Janet were frequent visitors.

Colin took a great deal of interest in the training of our recruits and in particular he always commented on the sense of purpose and values we were able to encourage in young people from very diverse backgrounds.

Despite our different political allegiences, there was little to separate our beliefs and values. I last saw Colin a couple of months ago when we had a coffee together and spoke about the need for a more effective MP in SE Cornwall who would better empathise with the concerns of local constituents.

This chimes with the points Cllr Jim Candy made (Cornish Times May 15). Having met Anna Geldard, Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate it’s clear to me that we are fortunate to have a Labour candidate who demonstrates she has the intellect, commitment, empathy and passion to make her an outstanding servant of our community.

David Pond


Letter is correct

Mr Tim Smith’s letter headlined “Lib Dem’s claim is false and disingenuous ” (May 1) is entirely correct.

Whilst there are undoubtedly MPs of all parties who underperform in terms of representing their constituents, Scott Mann is the last person to fall into this category.

The comments of Mr Maguire (who by all accounts has a very undistinguished political career so far) are typical of the Lib Dem style of campaigning throughout the country.

The strategy is to make nasty (usually false) personal attacks on opposing candidates without any positive coherent narrative as to what the Lib Dem’s actually stand for.

Adrian RBJohnson

Constantine Bay, Padstow

An opportunity to explain

Thanks for the name check in last week’s letters page Jim Candy, and for giving me the opportunity to explain the significance of the data underlying that local election.

Labour was delighted to increase its share of the vote in the ward by 11 per cent and heartened by the fact that the Liberal Democrat vote share decreased by 16 per cent. These are the statistics which indicate the likely outcome here in the general election. It’s understandable that Jim and Colin Martin are so dismissive of independent, electoral calculus polling for this constituency when it currently has Labour winning here at the next election.

The Liberal Democrat vote in South East Cornwall has collapsed from a high of 19,170 in 2010 to 8,650 in 2019. The Labour vote has steadily increased over the same period. Which brings me directly to the Liberal Democrat values which both Jim and Colin were lauding in their articles last week.

Following an indecently short period of reflection on those values, the Liberal Democrat leader jumped in with Tories to form the coalition government of 2010 to 2015. This enabled them to unleash austerity on our public services, impose £9,000 tuition fees and even use the Liberal’s own Vince Cable to oversee the flogging off of Royal Mail at a shockingly low price.

NHS waiting times, crippling tuition fees and undelivered mail are just a few of the on-going problems which stem from the political choices made back then.

Sally Sweeney


Overlooking the consequences

Mr Candy (Liberal Democrat - Cornwall Council) writes to support the case for a Liberal Democrat MP in South East Cornwall at the next election.

Like many Liberal Democrats, Mr Candy overlooks the fact that the consequences of his party's disastrous decision to form a national coalition with the Conservative Party from 2010 to 2015 still impacts residents in Cornwall to this day. The effects of so called austerity measures introduced at the time caused, and continues to cause, real harm to Cornwall residents. Many voters will not trust the Liberal Democrat Party because of this.

The fact of the matter is that the Labour Party came second to the Conservative Party in South East Cornwall at the last two general elections, with the Liberal Democrats trailing in third place.

The Liberal Democrat Party will never be in a position to form a national government.

In order to achieve much needed representation at Westminster for South East Cornwall at national Government level, in what Mr Candy states is likely to be a Labour led government, I urge residents to support the local Labour Party candidate.

This is the only way one can make a positive decision for change at the next General Election, and at the same time rid our country of an unjust Conservative Party in government.

Philip Brown


A forgotten part of the country

Jim Candy’s recent letter seems to suggest that the recent by-election in Looe west, Pelynt, Lansallos & Lantelglos, is somehow indicative of a Lib Dem victory at the next General Election. How wrong can one person be!

Historically a Liberal Democrat stronghold with over 60 per cent of the vote, this area saw the Lib Dem’s physical vote collapse by nearly 53 per cent in the latest by-election.

In stark contrast, the Labour Party was the only major party to increase its actual vote. I was really proud of the positive campaign the local party ran, and to have increased our number of votes by 46 per cent in just four short weeks bodes well for our constituency wide campaign.

South East Cornwall Labour have been out door knocking three times a week over the past 18 months now, this will soon ramp up to daily sessions, we have a strong active campaign team and there will be no party working harder than us to win the next General Election.

All polling and tactical voting websites show Labour as not only being the party to take on the Tories but also predicting that Labour will actually win in South East Cornwall at the next General Election. For a constituency that has been left behind for far too long, I will welcome a Labour MP as part of a strong Labour government. This change will bring the desperately needed hope to our forgotten part of the country.

Gemma Brinkley


A poll or an election result

May I suggest that Cllr Candy revises his knowledge of polls and statistics, following his piece in the Cornish Times May 15. The figures he is utilising as recent polling information for the South East Cornwall constituency are in fact the vote share figures for the Looe West by-election and therefore do not give a valid overview of the constituency as a whole. Quite rightly described by Sally Sweeney was a more accurate poll of voting intention, one where samples of voters are taken from the 15 wards that make up the entire constituency, rather like the more impartial Electoral Calculus poll.

The latest results from Electoral Calculus show Labour running a close second to the Conservatives with the Liberal Democrats coming in third (Con 32.3 per cent, Lab 30.4 per cent and Lib Dem 17.7 per cent). It is impossible, as Cllr Candy has, to draw a legitimate conclusion of voting intentions across the constituency when you negate to include strong Labour areas such as Calstock, Rame & St Germans, Liskeard and Torpoint.

Although Cllr Candy’s polling and statistics are incorrect I do hope that his prediction of a national Labour victory is! It would be a positive step forward for change if South East Cornwall chooses to join that victory by voting in their first Labour MP to join the new government in important decision making.

Louise Ladd


May Tree Festival

I live in the village of St Germans, and one of the highlights of our year is undoubtedly the St Germans May Tree Fair weekend. It’s a time when the community gets together to enjoy live music, tug-of-war, stalls and more. The weekend is full of fun; among the highlights are the mock mayor election on Saturday night, and the procession of the May Tree from the recreation ground to the pub on Sunday afternoon. Musical entertainment on Sunday afternoon and evening includes Jono, musicians from Livewire, The Tyrns, Bagas Crowd, Landrake Brass Band and Black Friday.

A friend commented recently that now is the season of festivals, and there are a plethora. We’ve just had a run of wonderful May festivals in our towns: LostFest, Callington May Fair, Saltash May Fair and Millbrook’s Black Prince Flower Boat Festival.

We wouldn’t have these wonderful community events if it wasn’t for the dedication of the committee and volunteers that help make them happen, to whom we are very grateful.

In St Germans it was this spirit of community-sufficiency that created our excellent community shop, and continues to operate it (thank you shop volunteers!).

In Cornwall most villages are lucky to have a plethora of community groups in the area, from gardening clubs, twinning associations, sports groups, hash harriers, WIs and U3As. Each of these groups relies on the generous donation of time by key members. The more people who are prepared to volunteer, the lighter the load becomes. If you belong to such a group, do think about whether you could help more.

Volunteering can be for just a few hours once in a while; for example stewarding at a local festival, or it can be more onerous. Volunteering should be fun and life enhancing, and worked around your strengths; I’m a musician, so love my voluntary teaching shift at Livewire, but would never have the patience to be a treasurer or secretary. Each person has a different gift to offer and every voluntary hour will be gratefully received. You’ll find it a great way to make new friends. And together we can work towards community-sufficiency.

Do come and join us in St Germans on Sunday, May 26, for the May Tree Fair. Make sure you wear an oak leaf on your hat (traditionally anyone without one would be dunked in the fountain) and do please bring cash for stalls and to throw into the bucket.

The May Tree Fair starts with stalls and games at the recreation ground just below the station on Sunday, May 26, from noon. A procession of the decorated May Tree at 3pm will lead revellers to music and dancing at the Eliot Arms into the evening.

Lizzy Stroud

St Germans