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Cllr Dick Cole celebrates 20 years as leader of Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall
At the Mebyon Kernow National Conference on 4th October 1997 , Dick Cole was elected the Leader of the Party for Cornwall . Two decades on, Cllr Cole continues to be a prominent public figure who is still at the helm of MK and serving his local parish of St Enoder on the unitary authority.

Commitment to Cornwall

Speaking on behalf of MK’s ruling National Executive, Deputy Leader Cllr Loveday Jenkin has paid tribute to Dick’s work as Party Leader. She said:

“Dick’s long-standing commitment to  Cornwall  and its people is extraordinary. He has been at the heart of so many campaigns and it is truly remarkable that he has found so much energy to battle for Cornish communities over such a significant period of time.

“It is inspiring how hard he has worked as the leader of Mebyon Kernow and as a proactive local councillor. We are extremely proud of the work that he has done pushing for meaningful devolution to  Cornwall  , fair funding for  Cornwall  and its public services, as well as his interventions on a host of planning, housing and other matters.

“It is disappointing that so much of MK’s pro-Cornwall agenda has not found favour with the other political parties in Cornwall and Westminster, but we are determined to continue to campaign with Dick to secure a better deal for one and all in Cornwall.”

A strong voice for Cornwall

Earlier this year, Dick was listed at no. 3 on the “Cornish List” of the top 50 people who “lead the way in campaigning on Cornish issues” and “flying the black and white flag for Cornwall .” The list was prepared by the Cornwall Live website (for the Cornish Guardian, Cornishman and West Briton newspapers).

He has certainly been at the forefront of numerous campaigns for a better deal for Cornwall  , its communities, economy and environment.
  • A life-long advocate for greater self-government for  Cornwall  , Dick wrote the Declaration for a Cornish Assembly, which was launched by MK in 2000. This was signed by over 50,000 people and presented to  10 Downing Street  in December 2001. In more recent years, he also authored the policy booklet “Towards a National Assembly of Cornwall.”

  • He was the founding vice-chairman of the cross-party Cornish Constitutional Convention, and one of the spokespeople for the Keep Cornwall Whole campaign group which campaigned against the imposition of a “Devonwall” parliamentary constituency.

  • Dick was a member of a working group, which produced reports in 2000, 2011 and 2014, and successfully argued that the Cornish should be recognised as a national minority.

  • He has also been involved with a wide range of campaigns on planning and housing matters. These have included pushing for a more sustainable housing target and a stronger focus on the delivery of genuine affordable housing for local families.

  • Dick has never been afraid to stand up for the best interests of local communities. As a strong advocate for the China Clay Area, he actively opposed the proposals for an incinerator and so-called eco-town for more than a decade.

  • During his leadership, he has also ensured that MK members have been active in numerous campaigns to promote social justice and oppose austerity, and to protect  Cornwall  ’s public services, such as the National Health Service and local government services
A respected local councillor

First elected to Restormel Borough Council in 1999, he was re-elected in 2003 and 2007. During this time, he balanced his civic duties with his work as an archaeologist (Cornwall County Council). When Cornwall Council was created in 2009, Dick stood down from his employment, so that he would be able to stand for the new authority. He was subsequently elected in 2009, 2013 and 2017.

In the most recent local election from earlier this year, he polled 1,090 votes, which equated to a vote share of 83%. His majority of 947 was the largest achieved by any candidate in Cornwall, and this was his fifth consecutive local election contest in which he polled over 75% of the vote.

A community champion

In his time as a councillor, Dick has been particularly well-known for the active support he has given to local groups in his division. He has been personally responsible for more than forty successful grant applications, both large and small, which has secured over £570,000 for St Enoder Parish Council and other community groups.

These projects have included the construction of new community buildings, improvements to existing village halls, as well as the purchase and installation of new play equipment and skate parks.
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Published on 3rd October 2017.
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