I was interviewed live (when I say live it was 7:30 am so marginal) on Radio Cornwall about Christmas Lights in Penzance yesterday morning, and prior to the interview I spoke with one of the assistants, who asked me a series of questions I think as a bit of a trial run, one of which was ‘how can you justify spending £18,000, as Penzance does, when there are cuts to social services etc', well first thing the town does not have responsibility for the areas that the question was implying, but that was not the point, so I gave the question a little more though and this is what I came up with:
All government be it national, regional or town & parish has only one job to do, and that is to make life better for people, quite simple really, this is achieved in a verity of ways, at a national level we have a National Health Service no one would argue that this makes peoples life better, the Police Force this makes life better for the vast majority, welfare, state pension, road & rail network and so on.
At a regional level its Social services, local roads, fire service, schools, planning waste disposal etc.
At a town & Parish level it’s different again, we do not have to supply any big services in fact we have no statuary duties to do anything, so the small amount of money that we have is used to truly make life better for people, here in Penzance we run a Park with children’s play area, an Art Gallery, skateboard park, we support The Golowan Festival and many others, we run allotments, we organise events or assist others with theirs and we help with Christmas Lights. All things that directly make life better for different groups within the community.
So, why all the arguments?
I think it’s because a lot of Councillors and MP’s have forgotten the reason they are there, to make life better for people, we currently have a financial crisis, and cuts have to be made we are told, so look at what you are doing apply the test is this making life better for people, do all levels of government at this time, need to be spending millions on peripheral things, that would be nice to have or would benefit few, but are not making peoples life’s better? That’s not to say they cannot be done at a future date, its just now is not the time.
So to end Penzance will have Christmas Lights, not just because the town Council is paying but because of all the volunteers in Mousehole & Newlyn who do a brilliant job in raising the money for the lights in those parts of the parish, to the traders in Causewayhead who pay for the lights in that part of the town and this year the Town Council are organising a big event for the switch on Saturday 26th November from 11 am – 6.30 pm, we will have Bands, Choirs, Christmas Craft and Produce Market, Lantern Making and lots, lots more, because it makes life a little better for people.