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31.7.07

The Condemnation of the CNLA by Cornwall Council

The Cornwall Council Condemnation of 'Cornish National Liberation Army'.

The Celtic League is an inter-Celtic organisation that campaigns for the social, political and cultural rights of the Celtic nations.

It was founded in 1961 by Celtic nationalists who saw the need for an inter-Celtic organisation with a political dimension in order to make the peoples of the Celtic nations more aware of their commonality of language, history and culture, to further the Celtic Nations' right to independence and to promote the benefits of inter-Celtic co-operation. The Celtic League is a peaceful organisation and does not condone any form of violence or criminal action. We note that a recent debate held by Cornwall Councillors and reported in the Western Morning News condemned the activities of the alleged ‘Cornish National Liberation Army.’ The newspaper reported that one high profile Councillor referred to the terrorist activities of this alleged organisation and that it was connected with Cornish nationalism. What terrorist activities subject of Council condemnation have been carried out by this alleged organisation please ? Many of us are Cornish and indeed Celtic Nationalists. You will be aware that the Scottish National Party now govern Scotland in a coalition government and that another Nationalist Party form a substantial part of the government of Wales. Indeed, the south of Ireland is now independent of the Westminster Government and Nationalists form a substantial part in the government of the north of Ireland.

Would Councillors suggest that these politicians are terrorists ?

Given a mandate, do your Councillors preclude the right of Cornish nationalists to take part in the government of the Duchy of Cornwall ?

What is the connection between Cornish Nationalists, their organisations and political parties with mythical acts of terrorism as suggested by members of Cornwall Council please ?

Have any of the Councillors who took part in the debate examined the underlying reasons behind alleged comments made by those claiming to be part of the so called Cornish National Liberation Army ?

Have any of these Councillors considered the real sense of resentment growing in the Cornish community regarding affordable housing, properly paid work, proper recognition of Cornwall’s distinctive Celtic heritage and a loss of a democratic voice in the government of Cornwall ?

Do any Councillors consider that the recent decision made to adopt a unitary authority against the democratic will of the small number of those granted the courtesy of an opinion (neither my family or neighbours were consulted in any form) has achieved little else other than to further disenfranchise a substantial number of Cornish people causing increased resentment towards the Council and government as a whole ?

Would you kindly draw this letter to the attention of Cornwall Council’s senior elected representative for the purposes of a reply to each and every point raised ?

We reserve the right to make this request and reply fully available to the public.Yours faithfullyMichael J.T. ChappellSecretary - An Kesunyans Keltek Scoren Kernewek

The Cornish Democrat invites all those interested to contact Cornwall Council

An Kessunyans Keltekscoren Kernewek (The Celtic League - Cornish Branch), Honorary Secretary: Michael John Tremayne Chappell, Kessenyans, Little Water, Goonhavern,TRURO, Kernow TR4 9QG

28.7.07

The Cornish Unitary Authority by MK

This in from Mebyon Kernow:

Dear friends


It has been a bad week for democracy in Cornwall with the announcement that Cornwall County Council's unitary bid has been successful. Mebyon Kernow now has much work. We have to campaign like never before to make sure that MK councillors are elected to the new Council (though we do not know for sure whether the elections will be in 2008 or 2009) and we also have to reinvigorate the Campaign for a Cornish Assembly.But in the short term (ie. the next couple of weeks), we need to get as many letters as possible published in the local press condemning the decision, bringing attention to the lack of democracy in what has happenned and the Lib Dem's betrayal of the Assembly campaign.I hope you will be able to take a few minutes to write a letter to the local press.


GOVERNMENT ACCEPTANCE OF SUPPORT BY PARTNERS AND STAKEHOLDERS !


In its letter to the Chief Executive of Cornwall County Council, the DCLG stated "the Secretary of State considers that ... the proposal would command a broad cross-section of support from a range of stakeholders, both public and private sector, as well as some support from the general public. She notes that whilst certain districts carried out polling which came down heavily against the unitary proposal, the climate in which the polls took place suggests that the results need to be viewed with caution."It is interesting how the Government notes the support from 'stakeholders' (unelected agencies, quanghos, etc) but largely dismisses the views of the people of Cornwall.By contrast, the Somerset bid for unitary status failed. In the letter to Somerset County Council, the DCLG stated "whilst the bid does command some support, representations from a range of stakeholders, both public and private sector, as well as the majority of views expressed by the general public, indicate that the proposal would not command a sufficient broad cross-section of support from a range of stakeholders. She notes that whilst the climate in which the polls were conducted suggests that the results should be viewed with caution, there was a high turnout and a very high percentage of voters opposed to the proposal."How can lack of support in Somerset be taken into account but not Cornwall?


LACK OF PUBLIC SUPPORT


The reality is that the people of Cornwall do not support the unitary proposal, but the County Council has continued to claim public support based on spin, fabrication and misrepresentation. Printed below is a recent letter I sent out condemning the County Council's most recent submission to the Department of Communities and Local Government. It contains a few examples of the County Council misrepresentation.Having just read Cornwall County Council’s ‘supplementary submission’ to the Department of Communities and Local Government in support of their bid for a single unitary authority, I have to say I am very disturbed by their blatant use of misinformation and spin to fabricate a ‘broad cross section of support’ for their proposal. The County Council document states that it sought the views of the public through a MORI poll, focus groups and the distribution of information leaflets. But it fails to inform central government that the MORI poll was carried out in advance of the details for their bid being worked up and that 91% of those surveyed stated that "they would like more information on any proposal before making up their mind."The document also fails to include the full facts about the County Council’s disastrous leaflet consultation which did not even reach most homes and were returned by only 665 households. Interestingly, their incredibly biased leaflet still generated more opposition to the County Council’s proposal than support for it.Rather than acknowledge the widespread opposition to their proposal, their ‘supplementary submission’ prefers to note “the feedback we have received suggests that many people have not fully understood our proposals.”Considerable space in the document is used to rubbish the polls by four of the district councils and the sample survey carried out by North Cornwall District Council, which shows over 80% of respondents are opposed to the unitary bid. The County Council criticises the content of the material distributed by the district councils, though it was much less biased than their own material and they even had the nerve to “call into question the validity of the result.”The County Council claims that Restormel Borough Council did not vote to oppose the bid. That is completely incorrect and the Borough Council remains opposed to the ‘One Cornwall’ bid. They also claim that “many of the larger town and parish council have reacted positively” but the reality is that the majority of town and parish councils oppose the bid.


UNITARY COUNCIL WILL NOT BE A CORNISH ASSEMBLY


In its editorial, last Thursday, the Western Morning News stated "The remarkable has happened. After many years of campaigning for a Cornish Assembly, the county is to get the next best thing. Cornwall and Exeter are to become single tier authorities whilst Somerset's bid is rejected." We need to actively combat the lunacy that a single council for Cornwall is akin to a Cornish Assembly or a 'step in the right direction' - and blast the Lib Dem's for their claims that a single council will get more powers devolved to it.The Lib Dems claim that they would ‘give local communities more say,’ even though decision-making would be centralised to Truro and democracy would be weakened – not enhanced. They also say a single council would ‘create a stronger voice for Cornwall,’ even though the government has already made it clear that no extras powers would be devolved to unitary authorities.


Don't forget how Mr David Prout, the Director of Local Democracy at the DCLG, when visiting Cornwall, confirmed that a unitary authority would not be able to draw down powers from regional and central government and actually said that a “unitary authority will be a unitary authority” and that there were “no goodies” on offer.


There is some talk that given the coming abolition of the SW Regional Assembly and the shift of its powers to the RDA, some economic regeration matters may be devolved to a 'sub-regional' of 'county' level. But there is no evidence to suggest that Cornwall (unitary) will be treated any differently to, for example, Somerset (two-tier).


LIB DEMS HAVE BETRAYED CAMPAIGN FOR A CORNISH ASSEMBLY


And we must continue to remind voters that the Liberal Democrat MPs and councillors were elected in 2005 on a local manifesto which included a commitment to a Cornish Assembly. Upon winning control of the Council, they even published a list of priorities that included a pledge to “establish detailed plans for a Cornish Assembly” within their first year of office. They did not do this and by promoting a single council for Cornwall, they have undermined the campaign for a Cornish Assembly.As I said above, I hope you will be able take a few moments to write a letter to the press to push forward the views of Mebyon Kernow.


Thank you


Party Leader Cllr Dick Cole
Mebyon Kernow - the Party for Cornwall

25.7.07

What is Cornwall?

The Power Inquiry
Southbank House
Black Prince Road
London SE1 7SJ

12 of June 2007

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing to ask for your aid and advice on understanding one of the constitutional issues within the UK. I am a Cornish UK citizen currently working in Paris and my query relates to the relationship between the County of Cornwall and the Duchy of Cornwall. I believe it to be in the best interests of all residents in Cornwall to have a clear and complete description of the relationship between the Duchy and Cornwall, but obtaining this has so far proved impossible. I have, in the past, contacted the Duchy of Cornwall, Cornwall County Council, The Department of Constitutional Affairs and other government departments, none of whom have been able or willing to provide a comprehensive answer that addresses all the facts.

If we look at the Duchy of Cornwall website we see the following claim:

“The Duchy of Cornwall is a well-managed private estate which funds the public, charitable and private activities of The Prince of Wales and his family. The Duchy consists of around 54,764 hectares of land in 22 counties, mostly in the South West of England”. No mention of a relationship with the county and territory of Cornwall here or anywhere else on the site. Yet if we check the government website for Bona Vacantia we find the following:

“If the company's last registered office and the asset was in the Duchies of Cornwall or Lancashire its assets fall to be dealt with by Messrs Farrer & Co, Solicitors, of 66 Lincolns Inn Fields, London WC2A 3LH. The Duchy of Cornwall comprises the County of Cornwall. The Duchy of Lancaster comprises the Counties of Lancashire, Merseyside and parts of Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Cumbria. Further details as to the precise boundaries of the Duchy can be obtained from the Duchy Office, 1 Lancaster Place, Strand, London WC2E 7ED (tel: 020 7836 8277).”

It seems no coherent description of the Duchy is available. In the book "The Cornish Question" by Mark Sandford that was published by the Constitutional Unit, School of Public Policy, University College London in 2002 it states that - "The existence of the Duchy of Cornwall was once of constitutional significance, but is now essentially a commercial organisation" Considering that this commercial organisation is the largest landowner in Cornwall and claims to be nothing but a private estate and company, you would think it reasonable to expect there to be an official date of change-over from an official body of constitutional significance into a purely private commercial organisation.

In the Cornwall Submarine Mines Act 1858 it states that the Duchy of Cornwall is a 'territorial possession' of Britain. So, sometime between 1858 and the present day, a territory of Britain transformed into a private commercial organization, when, if at all, did this happen? A court case in 1828, A trial at Bar (Rowe v. Brenton) it was affirmed that everything connected with the Duchy is "of public interest", and "all the Kingdom should take notice". Quite rightly so considering the Duchy of Cornwall is a territory of Britain. Yet when Cornish MP Andrew George raised questions on the 16th June 1997 about the affairs of the Duchy he was told that there is an injunction in the House of Commons that prevents such questions being raised, how can this be? In The Annual Accounts of the Duchy of Cornwall 1998, it states that `- "Accounts are prepared in accordance with instructions issued by H.M. Treasury. The Duchy's primary function is to provide an income for present and future Dukes of Cornwall. The Duke is only entitled to the net income" This means the Treasury deals with the Duchy as if it were a government department. So how can the Duke of Cornwall be the owner of a private estate?

In the 19th century the legal arguments of Duchy officials, defeated the Crown's aspirations of sovereignty of the Cornish foreshore. The Duchy of Cornwall argued that the Duke has sovereignty of Cornwall and not the Crown.

On behalf of the Duchy in its successful action against the Crown, which resulted in the Cornwall Submarine Mines Act of 1858, Sir George Harrison (Attorney General for Cornwall) makes this submission.

That Cornwall, like Wales, was at the time of the Conquest, and was subsequently treated in many respects as distinct from England. That it was held by the Earls of Cornwall with the rights and prerogative of a County Palatine, as far as regarded the Seignory or territorial dominion. That the Dukes of Cornwall have from the creation of the Duchy enjoyed the rights and prerogatives of a County Palatine, as far as regarded seignory or territorial dominion, and that to a great extent by Earls. That when the Earldom was augmented into a Duchy, the circumstances attending to it's creation, as well as the language of the Duchy Charter, not only support and confirm natural presumption, that the new and higher title was to be accompanied with at least as great dignity, power, and prerogative as the Earls enjoyed, but also afforded evidence that the Duchy was to be invested with still more extensive rights and privileges. The Duchy Charters have always been construed and treated, not merely by the Courts of Judicature, but also by the Legislature of the Country, as having vested in the Dukes of Cornwall the whole territorial interest and dominion of the Crown in and over the entire County of Cornwall. This would suggest that Cornwall (the county) is a Duchy.

In my opinion these are questions that should be deemed important enough to be answered by someone in authority, whether that authority is a Government office, Cornwall County Council or Duchy of Cornwall office, after all, claiming a national territory and making it your own private business is no small affair - on a par with opening the newspaper this morning to find out that Richard Branson suddenly owns Gibraltar as a private business concern - and then reading that it was once a UK protectorate but now it belongs to Virgin - as the only official explanation for the change over. So it is to the Power Inquiry I turn to for aid and advice on this subject. The exact relationship of the Duchy to the territory of Cornwall and the influence the Duchy has within Cornwall are matters of clear public interest, please help in getting to the bottom of this constitutional puzzle.

Please do not hesitate to contact me by post, telephone or e-mail if you need any further information and I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely

The above is a letter sent to the Power Inquiry/make it an issue to date un answered.

I would invite all those interested in getting an answer to the question to contact The Duchy of Cornwall and The Department of Constitutional AffairsJust try and see how open and cooperative our government and establishment is.

Notes:


1) This definition of county in the Complete Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd Ed 1989 p. 1044. Whence county was gradually adopted in English ( scarcely before the 15th century ) as an alternative name for the shire, and in due course applied to similar divisions made in Wales and in Ireland, as well as the shires of Scotland, and also extended to those separate parts of the realm which never were shires, as The Duchy of Cornwall, Orkney and Shetland. Part definition of the term County.

2) The Duchy charters which are still law turned all of Cornwall into a Duchy.


3) Taken from Cornwall County Councils website: In the 19th century the legal arguments of Sir George Harrison, Attorney General to the Duchy of Cornwall, defeat the Crown's aspirations of sovereignty of the Cornish foreshore. The Duchy that Cornwall argues the Duke has sovereignty of Cornwall and not the Crown. During the same case, Parliament defines the Cornish as "aborigines".

On behalf of the Duchy in its successful action against the Crown, which resulted in the Cornwall Submarine Mines Act of 1858, Sir George Harrison (Attorney General for Cornwall) makes this submission. That Cornwall, like Wales, was at the time of the Conquest, and was subsequently treated in many respects as distinct from England. That it was held by the Earls of Cornwall with the rights and prerogative of a County Palatine, as far as regarded the Seignory or territorial dominion. That the Dukes of Cornwall have from the creation of the Duchy enjoyed the rights and prerogatives of a County Palatine, as far as regarded seignory or territorial dominion, and that to a great extent by Earls. That when the Earldom was augmented into a Duchy, the circumstances attending to it's creation, as well as the language of the Duchy Charter, not only support and confirm natural presumption, that the new and higher title was to be accompanied with at least as great dignity, power, and prerogative as the Earls enjoyed, but also afforded evidence that the Duchy was to be invested with still more extensive rights and privileges. The Duchy Charters have always been construed and treated, not merely by the Courts of Judicature, but also by the Legislature of the Country, as having vested in the Dukes of Cornwall the whole territorial interest and dominion of the Crown in and over the entire County of Cornwall. This legal case again would suggest that Cornwall (the county) is a Duchy.


4) Taken from Cornwall County Councils website: In 1969-71 Kilbrandon Report into the British constitution recommends that, when referring to Cornwall - official sources should cite the Duchy not the County. This was suggested in recognition of its constitutional position.

5) Taken from Cornwall County Councils website: In 1863 the Duchy of Cornwall Management Act confirms that the Duke possesses seignory and territorial rights befitting a king.

6) Taken form Cornwall County Councils website: In 1889 (1st April) Cornwall county council is created by the Local Government Act of 1888. This act however does not do away with the Duchy or state if Cornwall is a county of England.

Historic quotes and maps below.

Many of these maps by cartographers such as Gerardus Mercator(1512), Sebastian Munster(1515), Abraham Ortelius and Girolamo Ruscelli, are contained on these BBC website Maps of Cornwall : http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A10686710

Treaty of Brétigny: "John, by the Grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, Earl of Anjou, confirmed the aforesaid; and Richard, King of Germany and Earl of Cornwall, in like manner, confirmed the aforesaid".

The 15th century Croyland Chronicle states "In order zealously to carry out the same, he sent the venerable men of God, brothers Egelmer and Nigel, his fellow-monks, with relics of the saints, into the western parts, namely, Flanders and France. To the northern parts and into Scotland he sent the brothers Fulk and Oger, and into Denmark and Norway the brothers Swetman and Wulsin the younger; while to Wales, Cornwall and Ireland he sent the brothers Augustin and Osbert".

1485 : Polydore Vergil, an Italian cleric commissioned by King Henry VII to write a history of England, states that "The whole country of Britain is divided into four parts, whereof the one is inhabited by Englishmen, the other of Scots, the third of Welshmen, the fourth of Cornish people ... and which all differ among themselves either in tongue, either in manners, or else in laws and ordinances."


1509 : King Henry VIII's coronation procession includes "nine children of honour" representing "England and France, Gascony, Guienne, Normandy, Anjou, Cornwall, Wales and Ireland."

1531 : From the court of King Henry VIII, the Italian diplomat Lodovico Falier writes in a letter that "The language of the English, Welsh and Cornish men is so different that they do not understand each other". He also claims it is possible to distinguish the members of each group by alleged "national characteristics".

1538 : Writing to his government, the French ambassador in London, Gaspard de Coligny Chatillon, indicates ethnic differences thus: "The kingdom of England is by no means a united whole, for it also contains Wales and Cornwall, natural enemies of the rest of England, and speaking a [different] language".
1603 : Following Queen Elizabeth I's death, the Venetian ambassador writes that the "late queen had ruled over five different 'peoples': 'English, Welsh, Cornish, Scottish ... and Irish'".


1616 : Arthur Hopton [later ambassador to Madrid?] writes that "England is ... divided into three great Provinces, or Countries ... speaking a several and different language, as English, Welsh and Cornish".


Two forum threads on this topic: 1)Cornwall 24 and 2)This is NOT England.

Wealth Statistics

People in London, the South East and South West of England own 2 trillion pounds worth of assets.


This disproportionate amount of wealth is not solely down to high house prices, as people here also have a high share of the nation's savings at 46 percent. In contrast, the Scots and Welsh collectively own just 10.6 percent of national assets, despite comprising 14.2 percent of households. This is despite the fact that the Scots have amongst the highest levels of savings.

Two-thirds of personal wealth is in the hands of the over 55s, while the under 35s own less than a tenth.

23.7.07

Is Cornwall Viable to Go it Alone?

Dispelling Groundless Scaremongering Myths. I now publish an account by Cllr W. Gwyn Hopkins on the myths perpetrated by irresponsible politicians. We live in a world where all countries are interdependent to varying degrees.

The FIRST MYTH is that Plaid Cymru wishes Wales to become “independent” in the strict sense of the word, i.e., “isolationist”, not engaged in trading with any other country and having no relations with them – “separatism” as our name-calling opponents brand it, with the deceptive purpose of alarming people. This is absolute nonsense. On the contrary, we believe that it is in Wales’ long-term interest to aspire to a “self-governing” status equivalent to that of Malta (population 379,000) and Cyprus (759,000). Both these small countries are members of the EU, the Commonwealth and the UN. They are, of course, very much interdependent with respect to other member states of these organisations. However, they are often referred to as “independent” countries, where the word “independent” is understood to be used as a short, convenient “label” to describe their particular “self-governing” status. This is the accepted legal word for it and in this short paper we use the word “independent” and “independence” in this sense. Plaid Cymru would not dream of trying to impose independence on the people of Wales even if it was possible for it to do so. No political party can do that – it can only happen if, and when, the people of Wales vote for it in a referendum. It is obvious that, at present, the majority of the people of Wales are not in favour of this option (and may never favour it) so that as far as we are concerned “it is on the back-burner”. However, there is a dire need for a political party dedicated to fight for the interests, well-being and prosperity of the people of Wales that gives its undivided loyalty and attention to Wales, unfettered with competing demands from parent parties based at Westminster. Plaid Cymru alone fits this bill, fully justifying its name “The Party of Wales”. The “British” parties most certainly do not.

The SECOND MYTH is that Wales is too small to be independent. As there are 53 independent countries in the Commonwealth with 32 of them (60%) having smaller populations than Wales (2.9 million), this assertion is clearly absurd. Moreover, these 32 countries have become independent from the UK since 1960 and none have since campaigned to revert to their previous “dependent” state nor have any asserted that they cannot afford independence. The same is true of other small states that have in recent years become independent from other imperial powers such as Lithuania (from Russia) and Slovenia (from Serbia).

The THIRD MYTH is that Wales cannot afford to be independent. This myth is often perpetuated in London daily newspapers (published solely for an English readership) and displays a classical imperialist mentality with the clear implication that Wales is subsidised by England. It is never accompanied by any evidence other than one or two highly selective figures that, in isolation, appear to support the myth. There is certainly never any attempt to show a comprehensive, detailed and objective balance sheet of all resources flowing into and out of Wales.

The only attempt to examine the Welsh Economy in a thorough, authoritative, objective and detailed manner was conducted by Edward Nevin, former Professor of Economics at Swansea University (not a member or supporter of Plaid Cymru). It covered the period 1948 – 1962 and the final report, entitled “The Structure of the Welsh Economy” by E. Nevin, A.R.Roe and J.I.Round, was published in 1966. It totally demolished the claim that Wales is subsidised by England and there is no evidence that this position has since changed in any significant way. On the contrary, there would be very significant financial benefits for Wales if it became independent. Like the Irish Republic, the people of Wales would almost certainly choose not to possess exorbitantly expensive nuclear weapons (Trident renewal alone will cost £25bn+) nor have a costly navy or air force and would maintain only a small army for internal security, saving almost all our annual tax contribution of about £2bn to the current UK defence budget. This policy would also mean that none of our young men and women would lose their lives in illegal, disastrous wars on other people’s soil, such as the Iraq war.

There are six large reservoirs in Wales dedicated to supplying England with many millions of gallons of free water daily – an act of state-sanctioned theft. An independent Wales would surely negotiate a fair price for this absolutely vital resource. This would equate to a very substantial annual income. All taxes collected in an independent Wales would go to a Welsh Treasury. These would annually include several £billions in taxes from many large business and industrial organisations based here. An illustration of the extent of this benefit is the fact that £2.5 billion in combined annual taxes are now paid by the “Chevron” refinery in Pembroke and the “Total” site in Milford Haven to the London Treasury (see Western Mail 12/10/2006) - instead of to a Welsh Treasury. Furthermore, it is no accident that all of Western Europe’s small independent countries are considerably more prosperous than Wales – Luxembourg, Norway, Ireland and Andorra are just four of more than a dozen examples. These countries would probably enquire as to the mental state of the questioner if they were asked whether they can afford independence. We are very confident that an independent Wales would become equally prosperous.

Gwyn Hopkins 12/5/2007

21.7.07

Back to the Flag but which Flag?

Back to the Flag, but which Flag? In the blog British Nationalist Watch, Nicholas Morgan proposes that the flag of Wales be flown 365 days a year at every public building in Wales, and that no Union flags should be flown there.

Every true nationalist, and indeed Welsh man or woman, would agree with his suggestion.It is not appropriate to follow Gordon Brown's wish that the Union flag be flown at every public building in the UK, particularly as Wales is not reperesented on the Union flag. The countries represented include only England, Scotland and Ireland. Therefore, to fly the Union flag in Wales is to remind people of the domination of the London-based government over Welsh Affairs. We do not need to be reminded of this fact which has no basis in our view of reality.

The reality is that there are four nations in the British isles, and some would say five if Cornwall is included. If that is so, how can there be such a thing as a "British" nation? Britain is but a grouping of interdependent nations. Even the term "The British Isles" is suspect, as one of the nations comprising Ireland is not British. As I said in a previous post, to my knowledge there is not one Union flag being flown in the Irish Republic today.So let us examine and reflect on this spurious term "Britishness", which has been coined to mean the indentification of some with the unethical union of British nations in these islands.

There is an idea of Britishness but it means little to the loyal people of Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Cornwall. Nevertheless, we must face the fact that it means a great deal to those who cling to the past, to the glories of the Empire, and support the policies of politicians who send out men and women to fight in vain foreign wars a la Thatcher and a la Blair/Bush. These ill-conceived adventures should not concern the people of Wales and Scotland, for they have no interest in imposing democracy on other sovereign nations and otherwise interfering in their affairs.

Wales and Scotland seek their place in Europe, in the European Union, which is the real arena for discussion, on decisions to be made and actions to be implemented. We must all consider exactly where our loyalties lie, and to whom we give our allegiance, to Wales or to Britain - it cannot be to both. If one gives allegiance to Britain one is rejecting the fact of Welsh nationhood and paying fealty and homage to the British establishment and all its ramifications. Yet if one claims to be an English nationalist and rejects the term "British" one follows an authentic course. More and more we see the flag of St George being flown in England, and good luck to them, I say. Let us reclaim our inheritance. The Welsh are the true British.

Alan in Dyfed

12.7.07

Unitary Authority - a gamble too far

CoSERG (Cornish Social and Economic Research Group) says that no one should be surprised that the Government’s plans to abolish a tier of local government in 13 ‘counties’, including Cornwall, has been met with considerable skepticism when these plans include the culling of local councillors leading to a loss of local representation and democratic accountability.

A representative of CoSERG said, “Such scepticism is apparently not shared by our Liberal Democrat MPs. For them this is a historic opportunity to obtain ‘substantial’ devolution to Cornwall as well as greater powers for town and parish councils. It is also the ‘best chance’ for the devolution that a survey tells them has the support of over 80% of key groups in Cornwall (West Briton, 21 June).

This is indeed welcome evidence of support for the devolution of power away from the South West Regional Development Agency and the secretive and unelected South West ‘Assembly’ at Bristol and Taunton. But the problem is that this is not what the Government is offering.”

CoSERG believes that what is on offer is a re-organisation of local, not regional, government and that there is no promise of special treatment for Cornwall (unless they and others have missed something). They say it appears that our MPs are reassured by a promise from a Government Minister that after a unitary county council is in place then there might be ‘real and meaningful devolution’. However, the research group believes what we are being asked to do is to put our trust in a nod and a wink from a Government Minister that only our MPs have been witness to.

CoSERG asks the question, “If the Government seriously intends to devolve powers to a much-needed Cornish Assembly with real powers and if it wishes to include meaningful devolution to parish and town councils then why doesn’t it just say so – openly, honestly and publicly? They go on to say, “Until we have this promise – and in writing – we should be extremely wary of throwing away what limited local democratic accountability we do possess. Centralising local government on Truro in the hope that this may – at some unstated time in the future – bring devolution seems a gamble too far.”

CoSERG states that it believes that it is naïve to put our faith in reassurances from a Government that has no track record of devolving power away from regional bodies; in fact it has consistently done the opposite. Instead we should be demanding ‘real devolution’ and a proper reform of local government that draws powers down from the ‘county’ level in advance of agreeing to abolish a tier of local government.

The research group believes that what the Lib Dems are asking us to do is support a blank cheque, based on vague assurances rather than concrete proposals and ask, “What will our MPs and Cornwall County Council do when we are saddled with unitary local government and the Government refuses to act on its ‘assurances’?”

( For a free copy of the democratic case against the local government re-organisation currently on offer email CornishSocEconG@aol.com ).

8.7.07

Please take time to read this - It is all true

Please take the time to read this. It is true. Many of you know me quite well. Some of you will like me and some of you will not. Whatever, I am a Cornishman first and foremost and my land is Cornwall which I love so dearly.

Today I have received several telephone calls and am growing increasingly fearful. One stated it was from a friend (whom, I know not). I was told: 'Mike - you are going to be arrested. Look out for yourself.' Shortly afterwards and with my wife distraught, I received a further telephone call from a member of the Cornish Stannary Parliament and Cornish Branch of the Celtic League (I leave him un named other than to say it was NOT Jack Bolitho). He had already been arrested and his home searched much to the upset of his parents who suffer with cancer related illnesses. His 'Our Future is History' book (available in any high street bookshop) by John Angarrack was seized together with other general Stannary and Celtic League papers. He was questioned at length because he had dared to telephone Jamie Oliver's Restaurant and declare who he was and then ask some simple questions. Oliver has of course, been subject of some recent threats announced through the press. John Angarrack's book was introduced into evidence and reference made to the cover picture showing a dagger through Cornwall. He was questioned about every piece of paper, none of it being unlawful. My name and several others were mentioned. My name appeared on the Celtic League paperwork. After being fingerprinted and DNA sampled he was released from police custody on bail. Am I going to be next? I do not know. This is a fear I have to live with for being Cornish and being an 'activist' albeit one who only employs legal and lawful means. Even though I am a retired police officer, I now know for sure that we live in a police state. If any of you should be arrested, please be informed of the following advice:

SAY NOTHING - NOTHING - TO THE POLICE ON ARRIVAL AT THE POLICE STATION, DEMAND TO SEE A SOLICITOR AND SAY NOTHING UNTIL YOU HAVE SPOKEN WITH ONE. THIS IS YOUR FREE AND LEGAL RIGHT

This arrest and my fears follow on from press reports and the like in Cornwall which contained alleged threats against Jamie Oliver, Rick Stein and others. This is the price we bear for being Cornish in our own land. No one cares and the Campaign for Racial Equality do not recognise me. I am a member of many Cornish and Celtic Organisations and of CND. I do not condone violence of any sort. I should be obliged if you would circulate this statement, attach it to internet boards etc. Open speaking is the best policy in my opinion. That said, I do not wish to speak to the media about this at this time.

Mike Chappell

Secretary of the Cornish Branch of the Celtic League

(for our aims, objectives and methods - all peaceful and democratic - please see the Celtic League website)

Devonwall police - are they part of the problem

One of the most ominous comments in relation to the emergence of reawakened direct action in Cornwall recently was the statement from Devon and Cornwall Police that they are to set up 'a task force to investigatethe threats'. 

What substance there is to the statements from the body which issued the direct action statements, the Cornish National Liberation Army, remains to be seen. However, nationalists throughout the Celtic countries do have experience and a proven track record of 'British Police Forces' adopteding a heavy-handed approach to Celtic nationalism generally, particularly when they have no real leads to pursue.

In Mannin when (the third spate of) direct action occurred in the late 1980s local police actively assisted by incompetents from theUnited Kingdoms Special Branch invariably 'swooped' on the wrong people. Indeed at that time they initially targeted Irish expatriates unsure, or perhaps unable to accept, that Manx people were so frustrated by the sell-out of their country that they had decided to act.

The same scenario unfolded in Cymru were despite the sustained harassment for more than a decade of activists in both the constitutional nationalist and language scenes little progress was ever made by Police (againassisted by British agencies such as Special branch and MI5) to apprehend those involved with Meibion Glyndwr.

These examples are worth recalling at this time because if the weight of publicity which the recent CNLA statement has generated (primarily due to the so-called celebrities threatened) leads to 'Devonwall' police harassing political and language activists then we need to ensure that there is sustained scrutiny of the police actions from the other Celtic countries.

We don't have to look far outside Cornwall to find examples of the activities of 'heavy handed plods'. Across the Channel in Brittanythe French police have been running amok harassing nationalists for years.

The Bretons appreciate the targeted support they get from the other Celtic countries and we must ensure that similar support is available to any in Cornwall unfairly targeted if Devon and Cornwall Police overstep the mark. Perhaps prior to launching its task force the Devon and Cornwall Police should consider its own position. In relation to Cornwall and the problems the indigenous population are aggrieved about, is the 'Devonwall force' part of the problem rather than the solution? We referred to the situation in Wales (above). However since the days when the North Wales force (with their little helpers from MI5) went round bugging phone kiosks things have moved on. The current Chief Constable, Richard Brunstrom, is a breath of fresh air, he has identified and more crucially spoken out about the threat to language and community in his force area. Perhaps it is too much to hope that the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall might look behind the recent statement by the CNLA to ascertain the depth of anger that many good Cornish people feel at the way their country is being treated. Finally, Cornwall has a separate national identity. Why has it not got its own distinct police service? Indeed when the 'county' forces were merged to 'Devon and Cornwall' why was alphabetical precedence ignored?

J B Moffatt

Director of Information Celtic League

When books are seized............

I have read both of John Angarrack's books: Breaking the Chains and then Our Future is History.

I read them whilst I was still a serving police officer in the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary. I happended to be in the Crown Court at Truro when the Stannary v English Heritage case was being heard. As a result of what I saw and heard during that case and later what I read in John Angarrack's book, I a Cornishman born and bred and of many generations of Cornish people finally 'came home to Cornwall.' I became a Cornish 'activist' when I retired from the police.

Now, a member of a perfectly legal organisation has had his 'Our Future is History' seized during a police search and referred to in an evidential interview. I am now convinced that we are in a police state and part of the agenda is to destroy the Cornish. the Welsh and Scots have been lucky. They just made it. We are referred to as racists because of our beliefs and treated as criminals. I and many others will not give in though. We do all we can within the confines of increasingly draconian laws to see justice and liberty for our nation of Kernow.

7.7.07

Cornish Culture Eroded

Cornish culture eroded in favour of South West of England.

As Councillors, many long winded and often tedious documents pass our way. A lot of them are generated by faceless quangos such as South West Regional Development Agency – SWRDA – which now impose themselves on us, so often overruling the democratically elected representatives of the people. These bodies say they ‘consult’ us but so often the consultation simply consists of one quango rubber-stamping the work of another. Such is the nature of the unelected dictatorship imposed on Cornwall by the so called SWRA, SWRDA and URC.

The other day a document came our way called ‘A Cultural Infrastructure for the South West’ in partnership with the usual alphabet soup of quango’s. Beneath its leaden prose and second rate thinking is hidden a very sinister intent. The document seems to establish a ‘South West Brand’. Now, to destroy a peoples collective identity, it is important to destroy their culture and if possible, their language. For these things underpin the collective conscience of any nation. In our opinion, this document does this to the Cornish identity and culture. First it defines cultural sub-regions and in doing so, cuts Cornwall in half by lumping South East Cornwall with Plymouth and leaving West Cornwall on its own. This on its own is an act of cultural vandalism against Cornwall and her people. As you read through the document, the cultural icons they pick on in Cornwall are such things as Eden and the Tate Modern, essentially metropolitan culture which would be as at home in London or Bristol.

Where is the Cornish Gorseth, Cornish choirs, Padstow ’obby ’oss, Flora Day, St Columb Hurling, the Cornish Language and all the events so quintessentially Cornish? And why is there only 1 Cornish body in the list of consultee’s? This document is a totally top down approach, a piece of cultural vandalism intent on imposing the values and culture of a metropolitan elite on Cornwall, and marginalising if not destroying our own culture. Of course, there are those who will hold out the begging bowl on the banks of the Tamar in the hope of a few crumbs of grant funding. We think however, the whole document is only fit for the shredder.
Yours sincerely,

Cllr Stuart Cullimore Camborne/Redruth Branch Chairman Cllr Alan Sanders Camborne/Redruth Branch Vice Chairman and Cornish BardCllr Mike Champion Camborne/Redruth Branch SecretaryCllr Helene Cullimore Camborne/Redruth Branch Treasurer