Friday, 1 April 2011

Cornwall Council's idea of strong strategic leadership - throwing their toys out of the pram

Yesterday came the news that the Government has rejected the proposal for the new Isles of Scilly link. Not only that, but they were utterly scathing of the bid, calling it 'very poor value for money'. In response, today Cornwall Council has pulled out of the whole scheme.

There has been considerable debate on the plans for the new larger vessel and the associated harbour works in Penzance. There have also been questions about why the Duchy of Cornwall was not contributing more.

And there is probably a valid debate about why the Government continued to encourage the scheme only to then deride it in such terms. It would be wise for the Council to publish the full details of every communication they have had from the Government in order to back up their case.

But what is not sensible, in my opinion anyway, is for Cabinet Members Graeme Hicks and Alec Robertson to throw their toys out of the pram in quite the manner they have. Cornwall Council is meant to be about strong strategic leadership - and on this issue, whether or not you agree with the stance taken, they have done so.

Until now.

Cllr Hicks has said that Cornwall Council wants nothing more to do with the Isles of Scilly link project and it should be up to the Government to deal with the issue from now on. That is a complete failure of leadership and brings into question whether Cllr Hicks is the right person to remain in charge of transportation projects within Cornwall if he spits his dummy this badly every time something doesn't go his way.

The right way forward is to accept the verdict of the Government and to work on alternatives. The Steamship Company, even though they were named as the preferred bidder for the new project, seems happy to get on with the new reality. Cornwall Council should be too.

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