Cornwall Council democratically deposes undemocratic leader

Around thirty people demonstrated outside County Hall today, on the day councillors were debating a motion of no confidence in the council leader, Alec Robertson. The lively protest, organised by Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance and Penwith Anti-Cuts Alliance, had lots of placards. There were chants of ‘no ifs, no buts, no public service cuts’, ‘no council sell-off, it only helps the well-off’ and ‘Alec, Alec, Alec, out, out, out’.

Robertson has been responsible for the undemocratic way in which he and his cabinet have tried to sell off council services to a private company.

Many of those present at the demonstration then went into the public gallery to hear the debate. In a turgid discussion which went on for over an hour and which was largely irrelevant the only sensible intervention was from Ruth Lewarne, Liberal Democrat councillor for Penzance East. She explained the need for a secret ballot and that the concept had originally been introduced to stop people from being intimidated which, she argued, might still be relevant today. She also brought the discussion away from personalities and brought it firmly back round to the political issues at stake.

The votes were counted and the result came at about 12:35. There were 63 votes in support of the motion to remove the leader and 49 votes against. According to security, Robertson has already left the building and told them he will send someone to collect his things this afternoon. In other words, he will not be back in any capacity.

This result is a clear indication that this plan has been firmly rejected by Cornwall Councill following a petition signed by over 6000 people in Cornwall. The councillors will now elect a successor. It is hoped that any new leader will scrap these plans at least until after the next election in May next year.

This is a victory for those ordinary people that were prepared to stand up and campaign against these privatisation plans and for democracy.

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About penwithanticutsalliance

Penwith Anti-Cuts Alliance campaigns against the cuts, privatisation and job losses we face both from the government and Cornwall Council. The government says we must pay off the debt in five years but our national debt was greater in proportion to the population in 1948 when the National Health Service was created and now it is being used as an excuse to destroy the health service. Comparisons to credit card debt are meaningless. Even if we do agree that we need to pay off the deficit, £120 billion in tax is either evaded (fraud), avoided (loopholes) or not collected (the last government sacked workers in HMRC, the government department that is reponsible for collecting taxes) each year according to the PCS civil servants union. This equates to three-quarters of the debt. If Corporation Tax (on businesses) was returned to the level it was at in the 1980s (when Maggie Thatcher was Prime Minister!) that would cover the rest of it. There would be no need to make one single cut. We could also stop invading other people's countries and not replace Trident, our redundant, outdated nuclear weapons system (which will cost around £20 billion). Instead we are seeing our health system privatised and starved of funds (£20 billion 'efficiency savings' or cuts), comprehensive education broken up and privatised (academies) and thousands people losing their jobs, suffering a pay freeze, having their pensions raided or being moved onto lower benefits or off benefits altogether. This is a nasty vicious government and they need to be stopped. They are also a weak government and they can be stopped. The biggest trade union organised demonstration in British history (between 500,000 and 750,000 people) and the fantastic strikes on 30 June when 750,000 public sector workers walked out and 100,000 took part in rallies and 30 November when 2.5 million were on strike is fantastic. Now we need to go further and stop the government in its tracks and maybe bring them down. Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance (cornwallanticutsalliance.wordpress.com) has taken up the challenge across Cornwall and Penwith Anti-Cuts Alliance is active in the Penwith area around Penzance, St. Ives and Hayle in the far west of Cornwall. We have organised a protest and petition hand-in to local MP Andrew George over the health and social care bill, taken people to the marches and rallies organised by Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance, organised a protest and birthday celebration at West Cornwall Hospital on the occasion of the 63rd birthday of the NHS, campaigned against the cuts to West Cornwall Hospital and against the closure of the Remploy factory in Longrock. We meet every other Monday at 7pm in the Crown pub at the bottom of Bread Street in Penzance. For more info, or to join us, email us at pzanticuts@hotmail.co.uk, leave us a message on our facebook group page or a comment on this site.
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