All posts by Marc Cornelius

Brexit and the NHS

The Vote Leave campaign believe that the UK will save money if it leaves the EU.  They say that they would spend the money saved on the NHS!

Sarah Wollaston, a GP and the Tory health committee chairwoman, has announced she will now vote for Britain to stay in the EU because Vote Leave’s claim that leaving will free up £350million a week for the NHS ‘simply isn’t true’.

Would you trust statements about the NHS coming from the Vote Leave campaign if you knew that at least six of the campaign’s committee members are in favour of privatising the NHS?

Michael Gove (co-convener Vote Leave) has called for the dismantling of the NHS.

Matthew Elliott (chief executive Vote Leave) – is the founder of the Taxpayers Alliance which has long argued for the break-up of the NHS and private competition in healthcare.

Dominic Raab (campaign committee member Vote Leave) has advocated privatising the NHS.

Steve Baker (campaign committee member Vote Leave) – in 2013 praised healthcare provision for the working classes in Britain before the NHS.

Douglas Carswell (campaign committee member Vote Leave) has called for the “denationalising” and privatisation of healthcare provision in Britain.

Dan Hannan (campaign committee member Vote Leave) has called for the dismantling of the NHS, calling it a “relic”.


Schubert the Sheep

Schubert the Sheep [Desktop Resolution]

That’s Schubert the Sheep sitting in the pulpit on the left – he’s the mascot of the Two Moors Festival (2MF). The photograph was taken on Saturday night in Exeter cathedral at a superb 2MF concert where I was helping out as an usher,  ticket collector and general factotum. Apologies for the scaffolding in the background, but if you’re from South Molton you’ll be very used to scaffolding!

The concert consisted of some Sibelius, a Bruch violin concerto and Beethoven’s Eroica symphony, featuring Polish violinist, Agata Szymczewska, , the Orchestra of the Swan, and the young Israeli conductor Gad Kadosh.

The Two Moors Festival  is held every October and features a variety of concerts and events which are held across Devon. For details of the current programme and the story behind the festival have a look at their website or their blog.  For the Twitterati amongst you look for #2mf.

I know that many people aren’t ‘into’ classical music, but take a look at the programme on their website. You might be surprised at the choice on offer (or that was on offer!).



Glad or Sad?

Catching the bus to Exeter on Saturday afternoon I was glad (or should that be sad?) to see that student behaviour hasn’t changed a great deal since I was at university. The statue of General Sir Redvers Buller at the junction of Hele Road and New North Road had three strategically placed traffic cones on it. Perhaps they’re a semi-permanent feature as Google Streetview also shows them?

If it hadn’t been for the cones I wouldn’t have known who the statue was of, or its history. So some good has come out of a student prank.

Leaning Tower of South Molton

LEaning Tower of South Molton
Apologies for the picture – it was taken from the top of a bus with an iPhone

I’m not sure how many people have noticed that the small clock tower on top of the Guildhall has a distinct list to it.

Apparently there’s a plumb bob fixed inside so that it can be seen if the tilt is getting worse. Let’s just hope that someone looks at it on a regular basis – and by regular I mean every month or so and not every ten or twenty years!

Vandalism Update

According to the police neighbourhood team website the South Molton policing team have received information regarding the flower shop vandalism and, in time honoured fashion, are pleased to say that a local male is assisting with enquiries.

Traffic Noise in the Town Centre

A large number of people have complained to me about the speed of the traffic along Broad Street late at night and early in the morning, and the noise and vibration that results – particularly from the larger vehicles.

One solution would be to implement a 20mph limit in the whole of the town centre – and ensure that is enforced. That would take a long time to implement and the county council would doubtless say they haven’t got enough money to do it (couldn’t the Town Council  help out here?). There might be a quicker solution.

Whilst browsing the Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) on the county council website I came across one* which states that there is a maximum weight limit in operation along Broad Street. In the part of the TRO which lists roads where heavy commercial vehicles# are not permitted it says this:

“Broad Street – from a point approximately 100 metres east of its junction with Church Street to its junction with New Road”.

That’s more-or-less from the beginning of the Enhancement (near the sorting office) to New Road. Perhaps the police could enforce the existing regulations?

* The County of Devon (Various Streets, South Molton) (Traffic Regulation) (No 2) Order 1993

# “Heavy commercial vehicle” means any goods vehicle which has an operating weight exceeding 7.5 tonnes

Dire Straits

Dire Straits – not the band but the state of the roads in Devon!

In  May 2014 Devon County Council produced a report called  “Extreme weather resilience report:  Devon” in which they highlight the problems caused by the severe weather of the last two years.

In essence the County Council don’t have enough money to get the roads into the condition they were in prior to 2012 – let alone improve their condition.

Here are some quotations from that report (my highlights):

“Devon [has] 13,000 kilometres of highway network, the biggest of any authority in the country. . . 52% of the network is unclassified roads connecting villages, hamlets and individual properties to the main [road] network. . .”

“[I]t is clear there is a need for a series of interventions including the decommissioning of some parts of the [road] network and bringing other parts up to a safe standard. . .

  • Invite community self-help to maintain and repair the highway asset,
  • Managing demand for the service by downgrading or stopping up parts of the network and by managing expectations and levels of service.”

“The unclassified road network needs to be reduced in size and the remaining network made safe with additional funding. This will involve a combination of new maintenance methods and greater community involvement.

I’m wondering what form this “decommissioning” will take, which roads will be affected and what the “greater community involvement” will consist of. I’m also intrigued as to what “new maintenance methods” might be. It’s basically not good news at all.