No man has a right to fix the boundary of the march of a nation; no man has a right to say to his country, "Thus far shalt thou go and no further". Charles Stewart Parnell (1846-1891)
Europe is changing right now for the small nations. The Faroe Islands will be completely independent in 2009. Where did you hear about this? Not on the Beeb, that's for sure. Their population? Less than a quarter of Cornwall's. They are already outside the EU. Kosovo will probably be completely independent in the near future, thanks to the recent election. The Basque Country looks set to elect a pro-independence party, which has promised a referendum. Flanders and Wallonia seem set, if not for divorce, then for greater autonomy. The Channel Islands are talking independence and Montenegro is already there. There is going to be a referendum in Wales on greater powers for the Welsh Assembly. The SNP is going to have a referendum in 2010. Now more than ever it is time for Cornwall to proclaim its nationhood, the wall between us and this goal is only in the mind.
You may want to look at: A National Conversation
"Choosing Scotland's Future"... It is prefixed by the quote from parnell above.
In this light I would like to reprint an old letter sent by the The Center for World Indigenous.
I was please to receive your detailed message and reply to your important question on the "national" character of the Celts and more specifically the political identity of nations in the United Kingdom.
You will want to note that the Kernow has been "mapped" by our Bernard Q. Nietchmann Chair for Fourth World Geography Dr. Richard Griggs. The Encyclopaedia Britannica published the Griggs map "Fourth World: Resurgent Nations in the New Europe" as did the National Geographic Society in 1994. If you are on the map, you not only exist as a political and cultural identity, your people exist as a nation.
Fourth World: Resurgent Nations in the New Europe
Like the other nations presently under the control of the English, the Cornish are a bedrock nation that persists in their culture, political identity and their demand for recognition. As you know there are many thousands of what we at the Center refer to as Fourth World nations enclosed inside the claimed boundaries of more than 192 states. Like the Irish, the Isle of Man, the Scots and the Welsh there are more than 40 languages spoken inside and across the boundaries of European states.
Andrew Donaldson makes a strong case for the Cornish language and for Kernow itself in the Centre for Rural Economy Working Paper Series (#42, December 1999) noting:
Europe’s minority languages are described by European Bureau of Lesser Used Languages as “some of the oldest languages in the Western World” which also have “rich cultural, literary and folk traditions” (EBLUL). These languages belong to nations which have been termed "Fourth World" (Griggs, 1995), that is ethnic groupings which predate the formation of the current state boundaries and now exist with varying degrees of political, cultural and linguistic autonomy within established states. Encroachment of the state is seen as a key factor in the decline of many minority languages by Williams (1991), who terms these linguistic communities "stateless nations".
Kernow has a strong case for its own national political identity and we would endorse that claim.
On the matter of the UK’s hold on Kernow and its territory I would suggest that the English have no more claim on this territory and people than would France or Spain. Indeed, as the political question continues to arise throughout the world as pertains to the status of Fourth World nations located inside the boundaries of existing states we note that this is one of the most important political issues before the international community especially in the face of failed and failing states. A nation, as we all know from our understanding of the Latin is: A people sharing a common language, history, customs, language and culture. A state is a social or intellectual construct organized to standardize and universalise within specific boundaries a central power, set of laws, police power, sovereignty (word of god) and recognition by other states. A nation is an organic, cultural construct that derives its meaning from the dynamic, evolving and intimate relationship between a people, the land and the cosmos. That human beings have naturally grouped and regrouped themselves for more than 100,000 years in this fashion stands as strong testimony to the bedrock nature of Fourth World nations.
The grouping of a people in a relationship to the land and the cosmos constitutes them as a nation. This notion is further strengthened by evidence provided by recent DNA studies that demonstrate while human beings have a common origin over their migrations during the last 50,000 years their adaptations to land and cosmos in particular ecologic areas eventually become imprinted in their DNA. This then indicates that human beings migrate globally but become rooted locally...thus the distinction of nations and their cultures. This strongly reminds us that human beings need not become bigoted toward different nations claiming superiority one over the other. Since all cultures are differently conditioned by the environmental circumstances and the influence of the cosmos they can only be understood as different—neither superior nor inferior—ultimately all are human beings.
Organizations like the Center for World Indigenous Studies exist to support and advance the national character of Fourth World nations. In the end, the survival and continuity of a Fourth World nation depends on the vitality of a people’s culture and the determination of their spirit. The culture is more likely to be maintained even in evolved fashion if the relationship to territory and the cosmos is maintained. If a people are removed from their land (as is often the desire of a state) the ability to practice cultural ways is significantly hampered. If the relationship to the cosmos is obstructed (as occurs with organized, trans-state religions), then the ability of a people to speak their language and to know their own mysteries is undermined. Trans-state corporations are often the enemy of the Fourth World nation because they have nothing (no land, resources, no special knowledge), but wish to confiscate or otherwise steal the wealth and resources of Fourth World nations. Organized crime plays an important role in obstructing Fourth World nations by virtue of their single minded greed by illicit means for power and wealth they seek to corrupt Fourth World peoples. All of these obstructions exist and have come into being in only the last 400 years, and they now pose immense challenges to the continuity and security of Fourth World nations.
For these reasons, at least, Fourth World nations like the Kernow seek to affirm their national identity and to exercise their own power and wield their own wealth. At the moment, nations like Kernow have a United Kingdom serving as the prime beneficiary of Kernow wealth and power. If the Cornish wish to maintain this relationship, then that is their choice. If, however, the wish to change their political status then they are obliged to assert their national identity in the social, economic, political and cultural realms.
The Center for World Indigenous Studies