Wise leaders are able to foresee the long term consequences of their actions and don’t let wishful thinking cloud their judgement.

This week marks 20 years since the invasion of Iraq: Back then, both the Labour Government and Conservative MPs told us that our soldiers would be welcomed with open arms by Iraqis; that human rights would be improved; that the whole world would be made safer by the removal of weapons of mass destruction; and that democracy would flourish across the Middle-East.

If they had followed the example of Cornwall’s Liberal Democrat MPs and examined the evidence calmly and rationally, they would have known that a bad outcome was far more likely.

Likewise many politicians (including all of Cornwall’s Conservative MPs) promised that after Brexit, we would have cheaper food, lower energy bills, well-funded public services and a thriving economy. Clearly that’s not what we’ve got. Of course, those politicians will blame all of our problems on COVID and the war in Ukraine, but the uncomfortable truth is that the UK has fared worse over this period than other comparable economies. So, if Brexit isn’t to blame, then either our Government’s response to these global issues was worse than others, or Britain was more exposed to them in the first place. Remember, Russia first invaded Ukraine in 2014, and experts told the Government in 2016 that the country was not adequately prepared for a pandemic. Have our political representatives been distracted by something else since 2016?! The idea that Putin wouldn’t expand his invasion of Ukraine; that a pandemic would never happen; and that Brexit would boost our economy, are all examples of Government by wishful thinking!

Sadly too many MPs and Councillors think they’re elected to be cheerleaders for the team captain. As a Liberal Democrat, I believe the job of an elected representative is to burst the bubble of this wishful thinking by asking difficult questions, regardless of which party is in power.

Weak Councillors and MPs invite bad behaviour from Government ministers. The Home Secretary expects Conservative MPs to support her Illegal Immigration Bill, even though she has admitted that the law itself will be illegal!

The proposal to change Cornwall Council’s Governance takes this abuse of power a step further by making it harder for Councillors to block decisions made by the Mayor, and making it impossible for Councillors to vote a poorly-performing Mayor out of office.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for the Government to give Cornwall the powers and funds offered in the devolution deal, without the requirement to have a Mayor running the Council.

Constructive criticism leads to better decisions so, whilst others sit quietly on the sidelines, I will never stop asking difficult questions.