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21.4.14

10,000 for the reunification of Brittany

Over 10,000 people marched in Brittany's historic capital on the 19th of April 2014 to demand the administrative reunification of Nantes and its surrounding department, Loire Atlantique, with the rest of Brittany.



The French administrative region of Bretagne minus Nantes and Loire Atlantique department.


Currently Brittany is divided between two bodies of regional governance: 4 departments are regrouped in the administrative region of Brittany, whilst the 5th historic department of Brittany, Loire Atlantique, is attached to the totally artificial technocratic Pay de la Loire region.

The historic borders of the Duchy of Brittany.


It's worth noting that Nantes and the Loire Atlantique department were separated from Brittany by the collaborationist French 'Vichy' government during the second world war.

The current French socialist government has promised to reduce the number of administrative regions and simplify local government by abolishing the departments. Breton campaigners have therefore seized the chance to powerfully restate their desire for a reunified Brittany in which the councils of the 5 Breton departments and the regional council are fused to form a single assembly for Brittany. Another alternative being touted by some French politicians is the creation of a Grande Ouest region much like a South West or Devonwall region for Cornwall but on a much larger scale.

Grande Ouest



16.3.14

Indigenous Tweets: Mapping the Celtic Twittersphere




Read more here.

I must admit that it's sad to see that there are no conversations in either Breton or Cornish between Brittany and Cornwall. 

20.2.14

Why is Cornish devolution politically incorrect?

A letter to my daughter and son-in-law in Scotland | openDemocracy: David Cameron encouraged the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland to contact their loved ones in Scotland about the independence referendum. Here a father in the north of England writes to his daughter and son in law in Scotland.

You can read the rest of Paul Salvesons letter here. It's a great letter that, with a healthy dose of sarcasm, makes the case for breaking Westminster's stranglehold on the rest of these Isles.

An external observer might expect that left-leaning Cornish autonomists and Northern English decentralist socialists would have more in common than most and enjoy a productive camaraderie. Sadly however this is far from the case. Whilst mention is made of Wales and Northern England - even Devon and Somerset find a place - not a jot in recognition of Cornwall. Nothing about our movement that is approaching its centenary. Not one word of the petition of 50,000 signatures calling for a Cornish assembly. Silence but for a chill wind blowing from the North.

Mr Salveson is aware of Cornwall and has clearly made the choice (on more than one occasion) to ignore us, but why? I'd really like to know. Why  is campaigning for Cornish self-determination politically incorrect in certain circles?  How are we seen by people that, normally, we might consider to have much in common with?  



10.2.14

Gwenno Saunders

Gwenno Saunders: This is Cymru Calling - welshnot: How do you feel about relative lack of attention that Cornish language/culture gets? 

I speak Cornish most days but I’ve spent very little time there over the years unfortunately so I don’t know if I have any authority to say. I’ve met a lot of Cornish speakers on twitter etc. and I’ve learnt that there are a lot of people out there who are putting a huge amount of time and effort into raising the profile of the language and culture but it’s completely underfunded and I think that’s a major issue.

There’s a massive problem in that the government in Westminster won’t acknowledge Cornish history, and that trickles down to local government. Cornwall has a distinct territory with borders that haven’t changed for over a thousand years.

There’s a close identification of the people with their historic territory and their unique way of life, and with their culture, language and law. The Duchy holds archaic power over the land and profits from it without paying corporation tax (which could be reinvested) so I think the fact that the Cornish language and the Cornish identity exist at all is just a massive credit to all those people who are dedicating their lives to their heritage and their language.

2.2.14

Brittany/Cornwall: what relations? Bretagne/Cornouailles (britanniques) : quelle relations ?


Here's one I just bought in from Coop Breizh that looks to be full of fascinating stuff for those interested in Brittany, Cornwall and the relations that exist between our two countries.

26.1.14

Redadeg 2014 - Run for Breton

From 24th to 31th May, from Morlaix to Glomel, 1500 km in Brittany !

The Redadeg, launched in 2008, is a relay race which takes place every two years.

Popular and festive, it crosses Brittany, day and night to symbolise the transmission of a lively, creative and dynamic Breton language, across the generations and territories.

To back the projects in support of the Breton language the kilometres are sold and the profits are redistributed. These new initiatives are selected based on application, they are very diverse and can relate to teaching, leisure, media, sport or culture but they all promote the use of Breton in social and family life. The race goes through the 5 Breton departments over 1500kms and crosses more than 300 municipalities.

(consult the route map and the municipalities crossed by clicking on Route)



The Redadeg defends the idea « Brezhoneg ha plijadur » ! « Breton language and pleasure » ! You can run with your family, friends or colleagues, in disguise, with music, follow the race on foot, or on roller-blades, in pushchairs or on bikes....organise some entertainment or take advantage of the local festivities, concerts, theatre, stands, breakfasts....organised according to the time and place of the race passing. The main idea is to take part, to be seen, to have fun and it’s also the opportunity to hear, to use and to make Breton be heard!

The baton, symbol of the Breton language, carries a secret message, it is passed from hand to hand and is read at the finishing line.

For the start of the 4th edition in 2014, the race will leave from Morlaix on Saturday 24th May and arrive in Glomel on Saturday 31st May in the middle of the International Festival of Clarinettes, Gouel an Dreujenn Gaol.

The Redadeg is an event which is uniting, sporting, cultural, popular and festive all at the same time.

The Redadeg is an event with a strong media (in Brittany and elsewhere), economic (direct and indirect) and cultural, impact.

This is one Cornishman with a dream. Imagine, one day, the Redadeg starting in Cornwall before crossing the sea, as once did the Breton language, to continue its route in Breizh. 

25.1.14

Hypocrisy? France and its regional languages


The French language is sacred to France, which is why the latest move to recognize the country's other native tongues has again run into obstacles. But is Paris finally about to drop its "double standards" and officially accept France's regional languages?  

Protecting the French language is so important in Gallic culture that the country has an official body tasked with keeping creeping Anglicization at bay.

Yet at the same time France is home to over two million speakers of several regional languages, which successive governments have appeared reluctant to protect and promote in the same way. 

Needless to say this stance of "one country one language", which dates back to the French Revolution, has led to accusations of double standards.

Although France made the symbolic move to sign the European Charter of Regional and Minority Languages - originally drawn up in 1992 - Paris has never ratified it. It has been a source of discontent in regions like Brittany, the Basque country and Corsica.

This week French lawmakers took another crack at it, reopening the long-standing debate over the issue of France and its apparent refusal to accept its regional languages.

But once again ratification of the document seems decidedly doubtful because it collides with a sacred and founding notion of the French Republic, a campaigner from Brittany tells The Local.

“In France the Republic is singular, indivisible and must have only one language, or so the thinking goes,” Yann An Aod, a leader of Kelc'h Sevenadurel Gwened, a Breton cultural promotion group said. “The regions interest the country’s leaders, but only from a cultural point of view, as a place to visit as a tourist.”

For An Aod the current debate is somewhat hypocritical. France seeks to promote its language throughout the world, he said, but barely lifts a finger to protect its own cultural diversity at home.

“In France we are told we must have one centre of power and only one language, it’s that way of thinking,” he said. 

France lagging behind most of Europe

The French now number 66 million, and among them there are over 2.2 million speakers of regional languages like Breton and Corsican, according to a recent survey carried out by FLAREP, an organization that promotes the teaching of these languages in state schools. France’s border region near Germany, including the department of Alsace, counts over 750,000 speakers of Alsatian, among its population.

The strong grassroots support for regional languages saw tens of thousands of protesters take to the streets in 2012 calling for Paris to ratify a charter, which most other European countries have been happy to adopt. 
Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom are among the 25 nations that have ratified that pact. France, Italy, Russia and five other nations have not gone further than the largely symbolic act of adding their signature.

The problem for speakers of Breton, Basque, Alsatian and the like is that the same barrier remains in place. France’s top legal advisor, the Counsel of State (Conseil d’état), said in March 2013 that the charter would introduce “a fundamental inconsistency into the constitution.”

President François Hollande promised to show that France has moved on. In his 2012 campaign he vowed to finally officially adopt the charter, but that promise, like others he has made, does not look like being kept.
But there are some who still hold out hope.

“In the end the ratification of the charter is inevitable,” Fulup Jacq, head of the Public Office of Breton Language told newspaper Le Figaro. “It springs from a fundamental movement in society.”

The proposal that provoked a heated debate in parliament this week includes an effort to work around France’s attachment to its language. The proposal would accord no “collective rights” to the speakers of regional languages, though it would still offer to promote and protect them, French daily Libération reported.
 
A vote on the proposal is set to take place in the coming weeks but the battle between France and its regions will no doubt rumble on a lot longer.

4.1.14

French eco tax mobilises new generation of Breton red caps

French eco tax mobilises new generation of Breton red caps | World news | The Guardian: But Troadec is not stopping with the campaign to abolish the eco tax. He is pressing for the transfer of real economic clout to Brittany. "We want devolution like you have in the UK. France is the most centralised state in Europe," he says. Although there is a regional parliament which sits in Rennes, "we have no institutional power over our own economy or culture".

18.12.13

Yes Kernow

In the run up to the referendum on Scottish independence, and to show support for Scottish self-determination, the name of this blog has been changed to Yes Kernow.

We would like to invite comments and articles from those interested in the futures of both Cornwall and Scotland. The independence referendum - won or lost - will have many ramifications for the governance of the rest of the UK and, therefore, Kernow.

Let's ensure Cornwall's voice is heard in the forthcoming debate on the future of the UK.

15.12.13

Wealth inequality in the United Kingdom and Cornwall's solution


Just a few words to add that this inequality is undoubtedly due, in part, to the centralisation of the UK in and around England's capital city. Being run as an English county with decisions that count for us taken in distant uncaring London has seen Cornwall become one of the poorest regions in the European Union qualifying successively for Objective one and Convergence funding. Time to change direction I think.

Almost all modern democracies have decided to decentralise power in one form or another and produce units of democracy smaller than that of the so called nation-state. From the states of America, through the lander of Germany to the devolved nations of the UK; power should no longer be the express privilege of those residing in state capitals.

Democratic empowerment, economic regeneration and the protection of cultural specificities are the generally recognised benefits provided by regional autonomy. So the question is why devolve power to Cornwall and not some larger South West or Devonwall region. For regional autonomy to work you need a collective sense of destiny. You need an identity for the region you wish to devolve power to. If Prescott's North East government zone had had a little more pertinence to peoples actual identities then perhaps the outcome of the referendum would have followed those of Scotland and Wales. The Cornish exist and an increasing number of people in the Duchy, and beyond, are ready to affirm their national identity as Cornish rather than English or British.

A Chinese eclipse

So China has sent a probe to the Moon. An impressive feet and I salute the men and women of reason whose dedication and genius made it possible. 

However when you control 1.35 billion - dozens of nations and languages - with a totalitarian state allowing the ruling elite to centralise wealth and dispose of it as they see fit then things seem a little less impressive. 

Much harder would be to achieve the democratic assent of a majority of citizens to pursue a space exploration programme.

1.12.13

Two things to do today for Cornwall

Two things to do that won't take more than 5 minutes! How could you possibly not bother. 

1) Petitioning The UK Prime Minister and Cabinet to create a Cornish Assembly.  

 Sign this petition - Create a Cornish Assembly - and then circulate it to everyone you know.

A law-making Assembly for Cornwall 


Cornwall is an historic nation with its own identity, culture, traditions and language. We believe the people of Cornwall have the same democratic right to self-determination as the residents of Scotland and Wales. 

In 2001, over 50,000 individual declarations calling for a Cornish Assembly were presented to 10 Downing Street. But the Government, which had delivered devolution settlements to Scotland and Wales, ignored the declarations and refused to consider demands for greater powers for Cornwall. 


Cornwall deserves better. 


It is our view that the unequal constitutional relationship between the various nations and regions of the UK need to be addressed. And we believe that this should include meaningful devolution to Cornwall. We call on central government to work with the people of Cornwall to formulate a detailed proposal for a law-making Cornish Assembly, which can then be put to the electorate in a binding referendum. 


Call for Cornish National Minority Status.

2) This is inspired by a mail received from  the Cornish branch of the Celtic League: As a result of our many communications, at 3:46 p.m. today, Monday 25th November, 2013, Stephen Gilbert MP asked Westminster Government Ministers when the Cornish, with their own language, identity and culture, will be included in the Council of Europe's framework convention for the protection of national minorities (FCNM). We have thanked him and this forms but part of our ongoing Campaign! Please continue to email your representatives be they MPs, MEPs, Lords or Councillors with this simple message and encourage anyone who cares about Cornwall and her people to join us and to do the same!: "I support the call for the British Government to allow the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities to be applied to the Cornish people." Your MP and other elected representatives can be emailed free from here: https://www.writetothem.com/

Read more on the Cornish national minority here: The 2nd Cornish Minority Report prepared for the UK government and the Council of Europe's secretariat for the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

29.11.13

46% of kids are Cornish in 2013

If I have a remark to make then how regrettable it is that there seems to be no possibility of being Mixed/Cornish, Asian/Cornish or Black/Cornish? Our culture is not exclusive and has no basis in race. Whether they accept it or not, all the inhabitants of the Celtic peninsula are the custodians of Cornish culture and identity. Our culture can and should be cherished and shared irrespective of race or religion.

Isolated from who?

Aren't we often told that due to our isolated location autonomy would be impracticable? To me it seems, along with Brittany, we are at the heart of the Atlantic arc - probably one of the busiest shipping/trading zones in the world. If we are isolated then it is from the centres of power in Paris, London and Madrid who have failed to develop our potential and squandered money on themselves.

27.11.13

Taking on the Duchy by Dr John Kirkhope

During the course of my Ph. D. research I made a number of Freedom of Information Requests. In some I succeeded in getting the information I requested in other cases I did not. 

There was one matter which related to a record held in the National Archive which was marked closed and which the National Archive refused to open in which decision they were supported by the Information Commissioner. I decided to pursue the matter to a Tribunal hearing. I had no realistic prospect of success; I was interested, as a lawyer, to see how the process worked.

Of course, like everyone I have heard of the term “the establishment” but had no personal experience of it. Immediately we arrived in Court on the first day it was made clear to me what the expression meant. We were three, my legal executive, my barrister and myself. I lost count of the number of lawyers employed by those opposing us. They included a QC a further two barristers and I don’t know how many solicitors including the regular attendance of a solicitor from the firm which represents the Queen. The court was also attended by a number of senior civil servants. The witnesses they called included three Knights of the Realm. In summary matched against us there were nineteen people. Indeed there was hardly enough space to include all those attending. The case was originally scheduled for two days but in fact extended over three. During the course of the case there was discussion, albeit theoretical, about whether I was in breach of Parliamentary Privilege and could be imprisoned.
I have no knowledge of what the cost of the hearing was given the resources which the other side devoted to defending the case. Suffice to say we the tax payers paid the bills not the Duchy or Duke of Cornwall. After the case was completed I was told via a third party that someone in the Cabinet Office stated “I had no idea how much trouble I had caused” and my barrister was informed in the gentle round about way these things are done maybe he would think carefully before taking on a similar case.
I discovered from this experience there is an establishment which is peopled by anonymous men in grey suits. Furthermore even though my case was in many ways trivial and stood no realistic chance of success if you take on the establishment and specifically the Duke of Cornwall the establishment can and will deploy resources against you which an ordinary private citizen cannot hope to match. Finally I will admit the experience was intimidating and not one which I shall forget quickly.
John Kirkhopes new book - An Introduction to the Laws of the Duchy of Cornwall, The Scilly Isles and Devon - is now available in all good bookshops.

24.11.13

The BBC does regionalism in England

Perhaps, after ferreting around in some of my posts on English Regionalism, the BBC journalist Nick Tarver felt inspired to write this: Could areas of England leave the UK?

That's as positive as I'm going to get about the article I'm afraid. A torn flag, the menace of secession from the UK, stereotypes in lashings and a total lack of any substantive discussion on decentralisation, federalism or greater local democracy leaves me wondering what exactly is Nick Tarver trying to achieve?

Mr Tarver thinks it appropriate to use a photo of a Cornish pasty for an article that treats our desire for greater self-determination. Okay, could I suggest then a picture of a haggis for the Scottish referendum, a plate of curry for an article touching on Indian political issues and a big fat joint for anything he might write about Jamaican republicanism. With BBC employees free to use such crude stereotypes at least the age old we-know-what's-best attitude that emanates from the shrivelled heart of empire would be less timid about pronouncing its name.

Ridicule is indeed a potent political weapon. Does this explain then why one of the most notable developments in English regionalism in recent times is strikingly absent from the article? Either Mr Tarver is completely incompetent or he has deliberately decided to exclude any mention of the Hannah Mitchell Foundation. Another example of that old connivance between Labour and the BBC? A Labour project being lampooned with stereotypes whilst being portrayed as secessionist under a torn St Georges flag on a BBC website! No, that would never do would it.

Am I lacking a sense of humour? Perhaps, but more importantly is the BBC lacking decent unbiased journalists? Which problem do you think is more important?

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