The following statement was published as a comment in reaction to the Western Morning News article entitled 'HARBOUR PLANS THAT SPLIT A TOWN IN TWO', published 6th April, 2011:
After publishing this comment I got an e-mail from the Northcliffe Group, as follows:
"Re: report abuse comment to moderate for thisisCornwall
From: Report Abuse
Thank you for registering with This is Plymouth. Unfortunately we have had to remove your comment on an article headlined 'Harbour plans that split a community in two' following a complaint that it contravened our rules, stating users must not post comments which are defamatory, false or misleading.
This is the comment that was removed:"
They then quoted part 1 of my comment (I had to post it in two pieces, as it was over 5,000 characters) up to the phrase "the WILL OF THE PEOPLE". The email finished with this:
"We would ask you please not to resubmit this content or discuss its removal on the site. You can see our terms and house rules at the foot of the home page. We will and do ban users who seriously or persistently abuse our rules. If we are made aware that you have breached our rules again, you can expect to be suspended from using the site.
We strongly support this site's community in maintaining high standards of participation. If you consider that a comment does not comply with our rules, please click the 'report abuse' link next to the comment.
This Is comments team"
It's one thing for a paper to ostensibly be so scared of lawsuits that they will not publish comments that call local government dishonest, but to threaten that people who discuss having their comments banned will be banned from commenting seems a little harsh. So much for the 'Free Press'. Perhaps it's a coincidence that my comment was also critical of the Western Morning News and its parent group. When I queried them over what part of my comment they found problematic, they replied with this:
"Re: report abuse comment to moderate for thisisCornwall / Free Speech
From: Report Abuse
Thank you for your email. The aspect of your post which caused concern was the following:
"Various cheaper and vastly less intrusive schemes have been offered as alternatives, but the Council was strangely fixated on 'Option A' and would give serious speculation to nothing else. It all looked very much like a 'done deal'. 'Evidence' of a 15 per cent increase on goods in the Scillies resulting from the alternative plan is a downright lie."
The wording of your comment implies corruption and dishonesty on behalf of the councillors who considered the decision, as such your comments pose a risk of defamation for which you, and we as the publisher, could be sued. Because of this your comments were removed."
After all, we can't have people going around implying that a local council in Britain could be corrupt, now can we?? The offending comment follows in full:
It should have been plain sailing.
But judgement, accountability and legality were lacking and the council's attitude was as unreal as a dream - costs spiralled from 42m to 62M in 2.5 years. The plan was to pay multi-national nuclear Big Business a fortune to destroy Penzance's beautiful seafront, and saddle taxpayers with a 25 year debt, added to their council tax. A splendid passenger/freighter would run virtually empty in winter, but still have to pay its own vast fuel bill.
To advance such an unfeasible, undemocratic and unlawful plan, in times of austerity, would seem, at best, perverse.
Democratic polls, taken at public consultations, as well public meetings and polls in local press have established that local people were united against the plan - excepting a clique of'interested parties'. A firm sense of solidarity and common purpose united Penzance like never before, with much humour at the expense of our silly local political 'masters'.
On Thursday, the grown-ups in central government finally told Cornwall Council to grow up and get real.
Relief swept the better part of Penzance when it was announced that our seafront and public purse were not to be butchered against our will by the despised 'Option A' and other, eminently sensible plans could finally be discussed and initiated. There was also some regret that irresponsible media, local government and our Chamber of Commerce had sadly swayed the minds of a certain proportion of folks who perhaps had not weighed the evidence fully. For a good news story, the media has gone to extraordinary lengths of distortion and paving the way for Big Capital to ride into town on a bulldozer.
The Route Partnership came into being, consisting of the nuclear construction giants Halcrow and Birse; together with the Duchy of Cornwall and the various limbs of local government. A bizzarely unnaccountable blend of officialdom and GLOBAL BIG BUSINESS. 'Thatcherism in Action'.
If the islanders were happy with their end of the plan, would they, as fellow Democrats, deny us Penzance folk the right to approve the plans for OUR end of the bargain?
Personally, I find terms like 'Battle of Battery Rocks' offensive. This is media 'stirring the pot' to sell papers - in what way does the press promote unity and genuine debate with an attitude such as this?
The Friends of Penzance Harbour was spontaneously founded in 2008 by a core group of deeply concerned locals and immediately recieved strong support from the community. This was particularly evident at the public 'consultation' exhibition in October 2008, where people were not amused at the vulgar, exhorbitant and unneccesary plans they were shown.
The plan was to bury a small beach, rock-pools and sea-bed in thousands of tons of concrete - this for freight sheds and a lorry turning circle. The historic listed peir was to be breached and the war-memorial overshadowed by a toilet block. The proposed terminal building was a kitch hutch with all the character of a portaloo. It would also have obscured promenaders views of Mounts Bay - thus diminishing the towns worth and attraction to tourists and locals alike.
Various cheaper and vastly less intrusive schemes have been offered as alternatives, but the Council was strangely fixated on 'Option A' and would give serious speculation to nothing else. It all looked very much like a 'done deal'. 'Evidence' of a 15 per cent increase on goods in the Scillies resulting from the alternative plan is a downright lie. Ironically, it was the sheer bloated expense of the scheme itself that led to its governmental rejection...
Any disharmony percieved to exist between the little islands and the big island can be squarely laid at the door of the capitalist press lobbying for their elitist pals in big business. Though many Scilly islanders have excessive wealth, the working class there presumably have some concept of how media corporations and multinationals attempt to control peoples perceptions and beliefs, so as to dominate their economic life.
What the Western Morning News calls 'suspected quibbling', the rest of us call adhering to such procedures as The Penwith Local Plan, the Aarhus Convention, and, more to the point, the WILL OF THE PEOPLE.
Then in December 2009 the scheme was soundly thrown out by the 'Strategic Planning Committee' in a legal and Democratic vote.
The relief of Penzance was shortlived however. The Council 'politically cleansed' the Planning Committee! They re-shuffled it and repopulated it with 'tame' councillors. To make it harder for us to attend, the planning meeting was held in Truro - I'm barely skimming the surface here when it comes to listing abuses of the Democratic process. To make matters worse, the belicose Councillor Hicks, Head of Transport, saw fit to liken Penzance folks to nazis, scum-bags, incapable of rational debate, etc. etc. he even made it into Private Eye, twice (though admittedly once was for a police authority expenses thing). He was the 'mastermind' who wasted 45,000 pounds plus expenses of OUR money on the ludicrous 'scoping of Falmouth' as an alternative ferry port!!!
Around this time the True Fiends of Penzance took no bribes whatsoever, but propagated 'Option A' like it was going out of style... Their main platform seemed to be based on the discredited 'trickle-down' economic model. They seemed unaware that even the labour for the scheme was not going to be local, let alone the profit-sharing, which was going to the nuclear Big Boys Halcrow and Birse.
No government would support a blundering mastodon of a scheme that bloated from 42 to 62 million in a couple of years - they have more sense, even in times of economic boom. The fact that we as a nation swapped one corrupt government for another is neither here nor there. Those who do not like 'the cuts' should perhaps get organized against them.
Whilst hacking back survival services to the most vulnerable, Cornwall Council was prepared to borrow another 5 million - at high risk, but Westminster still pointed out the extreme folly inherent in 'Option A' - just as the sensible People of PZ had been doing for some time! As for 'reducing the price tag by 26 million' this is simply hogwash - look at the governments own figures!
It was in a frenzy of wrath that Councillor Hicks attacked central government for spoiling his uber-plan - perhaps Graeme should stop insulting everyone in sight and quietly admit that his plan was simply wrong and has been rejected by both Penzance and Westminster because most of us can plainly see that - 'Option A' was just plain wrong. Hicks did everything he could do, to override democratic accountability and bulldoze his plan through, but he forgot to reckon with the will of the general public.
The powers that be hate it when People Power actually works...
THE AARHUS CONVENTION - The UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters – the vital legislation for citizen-groups attempting to protect their local area from so-called ‘development’: http://www.unece.org/env/pp/
http://www.savetheholyheadland.blogspot.com/2010/02/test-do-not-publish.html - RESIST CARDIAC ARREST
March for Justice for Smiley Culture - next Saturday
Saturday 16 April, Assemble 12 noon
Southbank Club, 124-130 Wandsworth Road, London SW8 2DL.
The Campaign for Justice for Smiley Culture has called a demonstration to New Scotland Yard on Saturday, 16 April. It has received massive support from communities around the country, and has the potential to be very big.
The families and supporters of many of those who have died in police custody will be marching. We should also bring along others who have suffered brutality at the hands of police, whether through racist stop and search or being beaten up on a student demonstration. United we can bring change.
Over the next week we can spread the word through our campaign and community groups. Let's make this a march that the police can't ignore.
Join the Facebook group for the Campaign for Justice for Smiley Culture.
Do you really trust American arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin with your Census Data? Apart from providing the torturers at Abu Ghraib & Guantanamo Bay Camps, they’ve just been given a Billion Dollar biometrics contract with the FBI!
All Power To The People!