Cornwall and her people have a lot to contend with day to day: low wages; high unemployment; house prices beyond the reach (and then some) of the ordinary hard-working Cornish person; the usual misrepresentation of who they are and where they are; crass overdevelopment in our towns for the benefit of others, (not the folk of Cornwall but the folk from Anytown, England); visitors who, not content with their idyllic holiday, feel the need to spout the virtues of their ideal i.e. a ‘nice hotel’ built smack-bang on the cliffs of one of West Cornwall’s stunning vistas, thinking that would be better than fields, burras and an unspoilt view of the Atlantic looking toward the Scillies!
Wading through that mire, is tough enough but made particularly tougher when you suddenly find yourself fighting a fellow countryman – the enemy within.
There are in Cornwall today, certain folk who are regarded by many, myself included, as Quislings. There is a long antecedent in Cornwall – types like John Kessell, who in the 1549 Anglo/Cornish War betrayed his employer Humphrey Arundell by supplying the English Army with the military plans of the Cornish forces of whom Arundell was Commander. Others of that period included Sir William Godolphin. Later; the oft sung bishop, Sir Jonathan Trelawny, relayed Cornish Stannary Parliament proceedings to the English Parliament in London.
In terms of today, of the many, one sticks in my craw more than most. Councillor Graeme Hicks.
Years ago as an Independent councillor in Redruth, Hicks stood by the people and fought for them, giving them a voice, making changes and generally being, what a good local boy turned councillor ought to be.
Fast forward to the juggernaut that became the unwanted Unitary Authority and suddenly, the Hicks we all knew and loved, turned in to some festering monster, dinged up behind a desk at Duchy Hall with a new title and a bewildering, new outlook. The new ‘Cabinet Member for Transportation and Highways’ was to become a figure of hate, particularly in West Cornwall.
Of the many things he is responsible, (these days, his abuse and strange descisions, flying in the face of Kernow, history and heritage, seem to know no bounds!) most will associate him with the ferry-link debacle in Penzance. Not content with abusing the electorate and those who dared to disagree, he rode rough-shod over democracy – when plans for his farcical Option A were rejected by the Council’s own Planning Dept. (an overwhelming majority of Cornish residents had objected), he smacked them through again, though this time to be, somewhat, suprisingly granted. ‘Surprisingly’, as the same people had objected yet again!
More abuse toward the electorate followed and it finally came to a head a few months ago when the Department for Transport refused to fund the by now maniacal Hicks’ and cronies’ plan.
The whole farce cost the rate-payer of Cornwall £724,606.32!
Broken down, it looks like this:
ECI contractor (design preparation) £463,507.96
Legal & internal consultancy £227,326.81
Other Costs £33,771.55
(All history of the above can be found online)
Curious to know what those ‘other costs’ included.
So, how does this make Cllr. Hicks a Quisling? Good question!
What turns a man who fought and spoke for Cornish folk in his ward? A man who seemed to want to make their lives better and to see a better environment surrounding them and no doubt had the same outlook for the rest of Kernow? How does the same become what has been described above? What happened?
Presumably with the foundation of the UA some councillors were give a set of cloth ears as standard, (with Hicks at the front of the queue). Perhaps being given a grandiose title and being part of a ‘cabinet’ went to their heads?
Or maybe something else…
I’m not saying any councillor including Hicks was tapped by a certain jug-eared secret monarch of a certain Celtic Nation but I bet I know what’s in his biscuit tin…