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31.8.14

Eurostat / Regional Statistics Illustrated

You can find interesting if depressing statistics for Cornwall and the UK illustrated here:

30.8.14

Karenza Cornish is for Everyone




Movyans-Skolyow-Meythrin - Working to provide bilingual Cornish/English language educational opportunities for children of nursery school age in Cornwall

31.7.14

A million signatures for self-determination

I support the initiative for the right to self-determination of the European Peoples to be formally expressed within the European Union as a fundamental human right and for its institutions to support all European Citizens and their nations should they wish to exercise this right. 

17.7.14

True devolution? Has localism merely meant passing power to unelected micro-quangos?

Professor Richard Batley, University of Birmingham (School of Government and Society) writes in the FT: “Constitutional devolution, convincingly argued, could be attractive in England, as well as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland . .. . Westminster seems not to appreciate that irritation at the centralisation of power and wealth in London is not confined to the Scots”.

A historical perspective is given by the LSE’s Professor Tony Travers: “At the turn of the 20th century, local government ran nearly all public services in Britain . . . Parliament, with an empire to run, busied itself dealing with the colonies, dominions and war . . .” He continued:

“By common consent, the UK is (now) a highly centralised country. Most taxes are set by the chancellor, while decisions that in most democracies would be made in town halls are handed down from desks in Whitehall . . . In countries as diverse as the US, Sweden, Germany and France, municipalities play a far greater part in democracy. . ..

“The northeast wisely rejected a toothless regional assembly in 2004. The current government, like its predecessor, has struggled to deliver “localism”, which has generally meant passing power from councils to unelected micro-quangos such as schools, clinical commissioning groups and local enterprise partnerships”.

Following an earlier contribution on devolution the writer asked, “Will it happen?” Philip Hosking answered: “It already has: in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London. If we want it enough we will get it”.

He continued: “There is much movement in English regionalist circles at the moment with Yorkshire First, Yorkshire Devolution Movement, Northumbria People, Hannah Mitchell Foundation and more besides.

“Perhaps now is the time to relaunch Mercian / Middle England’s aspirations for devolution. What with the referendum in Scotland I think England’s regions (plus Cornwall) together need to make a clear, coherent case for a decentralised England that's not just city regions, LEPs or government zone regions”. 

Taken from the Localise West Midlands blog.

As a general update on English regionalism, as well as the above group, mention should be made of the new North East Party formed only recently by  ex-labour man Hilton Dawson.

15.7.14

Lammoù Kalon e Palestinia Heart beats in Palestine ضربات القلب في جنين


With English subtitles.

26.6.14

The 'flaws' of French democracy

BBC News - The 'flaws' of French democracy: Is France a democracy? Most people would assume there is a straightforward answer - "Yes". After all, France has free and fair elections. However, there is more to a truly democratic society than elections alone, writes Simon Baptist of The Economist Intelligence Unit.

21.6.14

Thoughts on Brittany from Wessex

The Summer of Discontent - David Cameron would like to think of Scotland’s referendum as a little local difficulty.  Perhaps that’s why the mainstream media stay so quiet about the widespread discontent now simmering across Europe as our continent awakes to new possibilities.  Catalans are ignoring Madrid’s refusal to allow them a vote on independence.  Basques are thinking along the same lines.  Venetians have already voted for independence from Rome, in an unofficial poll, and are now agitating for the right to hold a real one.  Plaid Cymru’s leader has recently renewed the call for Welsh independence, proclaiming that ‘independence is normal’.

Mebyon Kernow has published a consultation document on establishing a National Assembly of Cornwall.  (Labour continues to brief against the idea.)  In Northumbria, a plethora of groups is staking a variety of territorial claims, with the regional political party model increasingly pulling ahead of the old mantra of ‘working within the Labour Party’, the ‘big red thumb’ under which so many live, that has so clearly failed to deliver.  The Wessex Regionalists, encouraged by the official flying of Wessex flags on St Ealdhelm’s Day, are beginning to draft proposals to put to the electorate in 2015.  Even the BBC is clumsily beginning to explore the deeper England of the future.

In many ways, across many countries, this is looking to be the hour.  And in France, the stakes could not be higher, with a new regional map about to be imposed, one a lot worse in many areas than the current one and consequently already leading to vigorous action against the Paris regime.  The best that can be said about it is that it could actually have been worse still.  Relief?  Well, no – revolutions often kick off when expectations that events are finally moving in the right direction are cruelly dashed, revealing how real reform has never even been on the agenda.  The one thing leading Parisian politicians all seem to agree upon is that there must not be a region that covers Brittany, the whole of Brittany and nothing but Brittany, whatever the Bretons think.

Brittany is a kind of Scotland.  Each has a Treaty of Union with its larger neighbour, the one in 1532, the other in 1707.  Although both were the result of bribes and duress, these treaties guaranteed the continued existence of certain historic national institutions and the freedom of local folk to make at least some of their own decisions.  The concessions won by Scotland have grown to the point where it may even put the Union behind it.

Brittany has fared much, much worse.  French revolutionaries ignored the treaty and, abolishing the Breton institutions, launched two centuries of systematic persecution that has never fully abated.  In 1941, the collaborationist Vichy regime redrew the regional map of France.  Brittany, traditionally five départements, was reduced to four, with the ancient ducal capital of Nantes attached to an artificial ‘Loire Country’ region, where it remains to this day.  The Paris technocracy won’t be budged from the view that a single region with two large cities – Nantes and Rennes – just won’t work.  Try it and see then.  You know, like Edinburgh and Glasgow, Cardiff and Swansea, Bristol and Southampton.  No.  That’s too empirical by far.

François Mitterrand of the Parti Socialiste came to power in 1981 pledged to decentralise power.  There were bold changes.  Elected regional councils, and the abolition of tutelage, the system whereby local decisions could be blocked or reversed by the departmental Prefect acting as guardian of the centralist interest.  But the boundaries of the regions remained unchanged.

Now another ‘socialist’ President, François Hollande, has grasped the nettle.  France’s 22 regions are to be reduced to 14.  ‘Socialism’, one would think, is about society.  And society is made up of communities, intermediate powers between the centre and the individual that need to be cherished.  Not so for Hollande, ever true to the Jacobin ideal that the job of the State is to nip community in the bud, in the name of the one true community – itself.  So the claims of Basques, Catalans and Savoyards to separate regional status continue to be ignored.  Those of Alsatians, long recognised, are to be overturned.  Small but distinctive regions like Auvergne, Limousin and Picardy are likewise to be abolished.  In the one piece of good news, if the reforms do happen, the two half-Normandies are (as we predicted) to be re-united at last.  The result will be a single region with two large cities, Caen and Rouen.  Yet by a stroke of the same pen, Brittany is to remain partitioned.

Does it make any sense, other than in the terms of continuing Parisian supremacy?  Of course not.  But any questioning of the new arrangements is to be suppressed.  The new law will make it impossible for a département to choose to change the region in which it is placed.  You will have the identity that Paris decides that you will have.  Having your own, real identity is a threat to the unity of France and that would never do.  Why is that, when a France divided, along traditional lines, would be so much more pleasant and interesting than the dull conformity of a united one?  It’s a French thing, the wholly irrational foundation of the supposedly rational Republic, as indivisible as the Holy Trinity.  There are questions you just don’t ask because the mental capacity on the other side just isn’t there.  Those in the UK who remember Labour’s regional White Paper from 2002, Your Region, Your (Lack of) Choice will find all this refusal to engage in debate irritatingly familiar.

Hollande already has a good deal of Breton fare on his plate, put there by the Bonnets Rouges – ‘the Red Caps’ – a movement recalling a 17th century tax revolt with constitutional issues thrown in.  Like all successful reform movements, the new Bonnets Rouges cross class lines, combining traditional autonomist thinking with the aspirations of a new generation of entrepreneurs for whom a more distinctive Brittany is just part of the real world of 21st century economics.  It’s a point we’ve often made about Wessex – that we simply have to get our act together as a region for marketing purposes, building a ‘brand’ with a reputation for quality and reliability.  Otherwise we shall have Labour’s alternative thrust upon us – our cities, with their hinterlands, set against each other within a British/English framework that allows London to tax the fruits of our efforts and then give us back what we beg for nicely.

France proclaims its values, supposedly universal, to be liberty, equality and fraternity.  It honours none of these because in every case they are applied in a partisan way by a State that cannot understand why it, as the judge of them, should be bound by them too, even to its own disadvantage.  There is no liberty for conquered nations, their once treaty-assured rights trampled underfoot.  There is equality for those who think, speak and act French and an unconscious, sneering hatred for those who demand to be different.  There is fraternity only in the sense that Big Brother is watching you and legislating you out of existence.

Is the French Republic sustainable on such terms, in a broader Europe that is keen to appear just and civilised, two things that France is not?  Its ruling class, stuck in the 18th century, remain in denial about the new Europe now emerging around and below them.  Happy to embrace as their national anthem a bloodthirsty and dishonest hymn of racial hatred, while treating attacks on the communities that form the building blocks of the French State as normal, reasonable behaviour.  Those who believe these psychopaths are ready for the chop deserve the support of freedom-seekers everywhere.  Why abolish regions to save money when you think how much could be saved just by devolving 99% of the central State?  France, one and indivisible; the sovereignty of the Crown-in-Parliament.  Call it what you will, centralism is a common enemy.  So bring on the real revolution: the sooner France has proper regions with recognisable names and boundaries, and proper, regionally-rooted powers, the sooner Wessex and other English regions can point to their example.

Taken form the Wessex Regionalists blog. 

3.6.14

Time for solidarity with Brittany NOW!

The Breton press are reporting that in France's regional boundary changes proposals there will be no Breton reunification, the current Breton region will stay the same while it is proposed that southern Brittany/ Loire Atlantique is retained by the Pays de Loire region.

However, the debate is not over. Apart from numerous negative economic side effects the move will act to undermine the growth of Breton-medium education in Loire Atlantique.

Breton leader Christian Troadec said: "This is a new blow to the reunification of Brittany.. political courage would have been, under the land reform, to have an immediate end to this separation decided by the Vichy regime and Marshal Petain. Nantes in Brittany... has been claimed and reaffirmed by the Bretons in the five departments at every visit, every survey!

"The future of Britain has again been decided by technocrats in an office in Paris... Paris has once again butchered Brittany.. With 5 departments, we would have counted more than 4.5 million people and could talk to other European states or countries like Scotland, Catalonia, the German landers ... Our economic development capacity would have seen a tenfold increase. Our jobs and our standard of living too."

To help oppose the move and to support reunification please write asap to Mr Hollande: http://www.elysee.fr/ecrire-au-president-de-la-republique/

You can sign the petition on the Bretagne Réunie website here:  http://www.bretagne-reunie.org/soutenir/signez-la-charte/

Equally you can contact the collective 44=BZH and ask how you can help: http://44breizh.com/

28.5.14

Election results from Brittany

In Breizh (Brittany) with three separate election lists for Breton parties (Christian Guyonvarc’h, heading the open list made up of Union Démocratique Bretonne (Unvaniezh Demokratel Breizh) (UDB) non/members of the party; Christian Troadec heading the joint Parti Breton, Mouvement Breton et Progrès, Alliance Federalist Bretonne, Breizh Europa list and the Breizhistance/Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste list), the share of the vote was good overall, but no MEP was elected from any of the lists. 

Breizh shares its European parliamentary constituency with areas of West France, outside of its traditional territory.

Already talk can be heard of a Breton democratic front for the regional elections to come. 

Text provided by the Celtic League and map from Geobreizh

14.5.14

Spoilt for choice in Brittany's European election

Whilst in Cornwall we won't have the chance of voting for a Cornish party in the forthcoming EU elections, in Brittany - also buried in a much larger European constituency - things are quite different.

Three lists are running that can be classified as autonomist or independentist. 

The first is from MK's sister party, the Union Démocratique Bretonne. The open list, headed by regional councillor Christian Guyonvarc'h, includes personalities from outside the UDB's membership. Their slogan is: "I vote Brittany for a social Europe".


Next we have Nous te ferons L'Europe. This list includes the Parti Breton, Mouvement Bretagne et Progrès, Alliance Federalist Bretonne, Breizh Europa, and is spearheaded by Christian Troadec of Bonnets Rouge fame.


Last, but by no means least, we have Breizhistance - indépendence et socialisme - and Frances Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste forming a list on the radical left. They are campaigning for a 'Europe of peoples and workers'.



With the redrawing of Frances regional map on the table pro-Breton parties will need to make a big impact in all forthcoming elections, which leads me to wonder if 3 separate lists will not dilute the vote and confuse people. Who will I vote for? Well Breizistance seem to have a blind spot when it comes to the existence of the Cornish question and that's not for want of reminding them.

2.5.14

Ukip in a flap over Cornish recognition.


Amongst the outpouring of happiness and positive responses we note with interest the embittered and bigoted remarks made in social media and elsewhere by the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), whose self-appointed and blinkered local spokespersons appear to show complete ignorance of the differences between the Council of Europe and the European Union.

More on Ukips incompetence and incoherence can be found in the article linked to above. Yes indeed; they don't even know the difference between the European Union and the Council of Europe. For them, it all boils down to 'johnny-foreigner' sticking his nose in and making it difficult for bosses to exploit workers and for the conservative establishment to hold on to the reigns of power.

The European Union



The Council of Europe


OK! So, one more time then. It's the Council of Europe who produced the framework convention for the protection of national minorities (FCNM) under which the UK government has decided to recognise the Cornish. 

Wouldn't it be good - just for once - if you could all be honest about why you don't like the EU. Have the courage of your convictions - some guts lets say - and explain why you are against the UK's membership of the EU. It's nothing to do with democracy in reality is it? 

The EU is not perfect but neither is the UK, and it's Westminster that has a far greater influence over our lives. The EU's parliament is elected - more or less - proportionally by us. The European Council is made up of European heads-of-state (or government) who are elected by us. The Council of Ministers is comprised of ministers from our democratically elected governments. The European Commission is made up of people appointed by our democratically elected governments. The EU also has a written constitution which enshrines the rights of citizens and the principle of subsidiarity.  Not perfect, plenty of room for improvement, but not the dictatorship Ukippers would have us believe. 

Compare that to the UK where we have an unelected head of state resulting in an unhealthy concentration of executive and legislative power in the hands of the government. Our upper chamber - 50% of our Parliament - is unelected. There is no written constitution or bill of rights. Unelected quangos litter the land. Our electoral system is anything but proportional or representative. Power is centralised in London with only Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and...ummm...London enjoying any kind of devolved government.

Does any of this bother your average Ukipper? No, of course not, because if truth be known they'd probably be happy with an British dictatorship as long as it wasn't shared with European "foreigners".

1.5.14

An update on English regionalism

The Yorkshire Devolution Movement now has a new website and seem to be managing to get increasing press coverage.

The Yorkshire Devolution Movement is an independent pressure group set up in 2012 to campaign for a directly elected regional assembly for Yorkshire. It has no party political affiliations but is open to working with those who share our aims.

A new regionalist political party - Yorkshire First - has been created in time for the EU elections.

Yorkshire has a larger population than Scotland and an economy twice the size of Wales, but with the powers of neither. We support the devolving of powers to the least centralised authority capable of addressing those matters effectively – within Yorkshire, the United Kingdom and Europe.

Devolve Deliver is a grass-roots campaign from Labour members. 

The UK is one of the most centralised countries in the developed world. This holds us back. Join our campaign to devolve powers to regions and local areas and help us all deliver a better future.  

Northumbria People is a regionalist blog from Hilton Dawson. There is talk of a new Northumbrian party in the offing.

Why is the North East expected to make do with some sort of hotch-potch, spatchcock, papering over the cracks instead of having real power, real devolution, real democracy here ?

Autonomous England  started out as Mercian regionalists on Facebook only to change name later.

Autonomous England is a loose confederation of activists who seek to radically alter the way England is run, both democratically and economically. We aim to create an England which is not ruled from outside or above but instead governed by its people, regardless of their race, gender, creed or sexual orientation.

To keep an eye on all such developments, as well as older more established regionalists, I've set up this twitter list imaginatively named: Regionalists

Kan Etrebroadel al Labourerien - The International in Breton




 

Kan Etrebroadel al Labourerien
 

War sav! tud daonet deus an douar !

kent mervel gant an naon, war sav

Ar skiant a gomz hag a lavar

Reiñ an diwezhañ taol-chav !

Ret eo teuler ae bed-kozh d'an traoñ

Mevelien paour war-sav, atav !

Greomp evit mad dezhi he c'haoñ

Bezomp mestr lec'h bezaň esklav !



An emgann diwerzhañ zo

Holl war sav hag arc'hoazh

Na vo er bed met ur vro

Da vihan ha da vraz



Etrezomp na n'eus salver ebet,

Na pab, na doue, na den all !

Ha deomp hon unan a vo ret

Ober amañ ar gwir ingal

A-benn harzh laeron bras da noazout

Derc'hel ar spered en e blom

C'hwezomp hon c'hovel pe 'vefomp boud

Ha dav d'an houarn keit m'eo tomm !



Ar stad a zo fall, pep lezenn kamm

An deog a wad ar paour-kaez den

Deverioù d'ar re vras n'eus foeltr tamm

Gwirioù ar paour-kaez zo ven

Awalc'h eo dindan vestr kastiañ

Al lealded c'houlenn traoù all

Dindani vefomp holl memes tra

Gant deverioù droejoù ingal.



Ken hudur en kreiz o brazoni

Hon mistri

war an holl labour

Deus graet biskoazh nemet ransoniñ

Laerezh poan ar micherour

Rag en prez kloz an dud didalvez

Kement vez krouet vez teuzet

Goulennomp vo rentet hep dale

D'ar bobl kaez ar pezh zo dleet !



Holl micherourien ha kouerijen

Memproù a labour er bed-mañ

Ar bed-mañ zo d'al labourerien

An dud didalvez diwarnañ

Deus hon c'hwezenn gwelit int lard mat

Na pa deufe ur seurt brini

Un deiz ar bed paour-mañ da guitaat

An heol zalc'ho da lugerniñ.



Garzh ebet ken kreiz-entre pep bro

An holl dud breudeur war ar bed

Ar brezeloù diot er blotoù

Dav d'ar re vraz c'hoazh mar bez ret

Evite na n'afomp biken ken

A-vilieroù d'en em drailhañ

War sav pa 'mañ ar skiant o ren 
Deomp vo ret terriñ pe blegañ.

An Internationale

Laket en brezoneg gant Marcel Hamon

29.4.14

Blaming Immigrants...

Well done Swansea. Some inspiration for Cornwall perhaps.

26.4.14

Une bonne nouvelle pour le peuple cornique

Bonne nouvelle. Le Gouvernement britannique a annoncé aujourd'hui la reconnaissance du peuple cornique (Cornouailles britannique) en tant que minorité nationale sous la "Convention-cadre pour la protection des minorités nationales" (article wikipedia), convention signée et ratifiée par la quasi-totalité des États européens sauf la France, la Turquie, la Grèce (consulter la carte).

 • • •
The UK Government have announced today that the Cornish people will be officially recognised as a national minority under the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

Dick Cole, leader of Mebyon Kernow- the Party for Cornwall, said: "This is a fantastic development. This is a proud day for Cornwall…. A lot of people have been working for many years to get Cornwall the recognition other Celtic people of the UK already receive.”

UK Communities Minister Stephen Williams added: "This is a great day for the people of Cornwall who have long campaigned for the distinctiveness and identity of the Cornish people to be recognised officially. The Cornish and Welsh are the oldest peoples on this island and as a proud Welshman I look forward to seeing St Piran's Flag flying with extra Celtic pride on 5 March next year." => Consulter l'annonce de l'Alliance Libre Européenne

--
Union Démocratique Bretonne
02 96 61 48 63 • udbcontact@udb-bzh.net • http://udb-bzh.net • 4 rue Menou 44000 Nantes
L'UDB est membre de Régions et Peuples Solidaires (RPS) et de l'Alliance Libre Européenne (ALE).

Unvaniezh Demokratel Breizh 
02 96 61 48 63 • udbcontact@udb-bzh.net • http://udb-bzh.net • 4 straed Menou 44000 Nantes
Un ezel eus Rannvroioù ha Pobloù Kengred (RPK) hag Emglev Libr Europa (ELE) eo UDB.

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. 

Twitter

50 things you didn't know about Kernow!

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