Lib Dems get into election mode
CORNWALL's Liberal Democrats launched their election campaign with a clear message – we'll get the basics right.
Current Lib Dem councillors and those who will fight for seats at the local elections on May 2 turned out in Bodmin last Wednesday for the start of the party's election drive.
They also welcomed the national party's president, Tim Farron, MP.
He spoke openly about his party's pledge, welfare reforms, the economy, press regulation and the current happenings at County Hall.
He said his party would run Cornwall Council "more intelligently and more efficiently" than the current Conservative-Independent-led coalition.
"We don't take anything for granted here," he said. "Although we've been in opposition [in Cornwall] it was the Lib Dems who made sure the council tax didn't go up.
"People's most obvious relationship with the council is the bill that lands on their doormat and in tough times we understand the importance of keeping it low."
He wanted his party to tackle big local issues such as car parking charges and make sure rubbish was collected.
He added: "It's very easy, when in opposition, to make promises, but we've already made things happen [council tax freeze].
"The focus on recycling is a big issue for us, not only good for the environment but also for saving money. Every little bit more we can recycle means the council pays less in landfill tax. It's about the intelligent running of the authority."
He was unconcerned about Lib Dem Cornwall councillors who had quit the party recently, as Conservative members had also left their group. He said he has a "very tight and hardworking team" in Cornwall.
As Lib Dems and Conservatives work together in Westminster, many of the key battles for seats on May 2 in Cornwall will pit them against each other.
Mr Farron said: "I disagree with the Tories at least as vociferously if not more so than I did three years ago.
"There's a big difference between agreeing to work with someone and agreeing with them."
On the local elections, he added: "I don't want to make any predictions as to how we'll do but I certainly expect us to go forward. I am positive that across the Duchy we will make gains."
Jeremy Rowe, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Cornwall Council, said: "We will get the basics right – we will make repairs to roads, we will make sure your rubbish is collected – it's about getting that message across."