In a few days time the UN climate talks will start in Bali (3rd - 14th December). Consequently December 8th has been called as a Global Day of Action to demand that world leaders take the urgent and resolute action that is needed to prevent the catastrophic destabalisation of the global climate.
Key to this call is that the world move towards a stronger emissions reductions treaty that is both equitable and effective in preventing dangerous climate chantge.
Many people from Cornwall are going up to the march in London, getting a National Express bus up from Newquay on Friday night, coming back over Saturday night, so if you want to join us - feel free!. Or if you live in East Cornwall there is a bus going up from Plymouth, leaving Bretonside at 6.30 am.
And of course, we'll be bringing Cornish flags along too!
For more information on the demo both in London and around the world, or for details of the Plymouth bus, check out the link above.
The above is taken from the Eurolang website.
What excuse does the BBC provide for this less than even handed treatment of the UK's indigenous minority languages? I think all Cornish TV licence payers have a right to know and should certainly ask. I don't think anybody is asking for 50% of programs to be in Cornish but is it right that the language should be relegated to the odd half hour on local radio? Have the Cornish public been asked about the cultural content of BBC productions broadcast in the Duchy?
The problem is not just the BBC but with the lack of independent media sources in the Duchy in general. National minorities, distinct cultural regions, indigenous peoples or whatever designation you want to use must be provided with a pluralistic media that allows them fair access.
It is in this vein that I am happy to reprint a letter produced by J Angarrack of the civil rights group Cornwall 2000.
ELECTION 2004: CORNWALL 2000 REACT TO WESTERN MORNING NEWS ASSISTING IN NORMALISING THE VIEWS OF ENGLISH SUPREMACISTS AND XENOPHOBES.
This short paper constitutes an analysis of the letters page of the Western Morning News daily newspaper in the ten week period leading up to the elections to the European Parliament of June 10th 2004.
The author is director of civil rights organisation Cornwall 2000. He undertook his investigation after Cornish minority rights activists had, for many months, been complaining that whilst they were experiencing difficulty in having letters published, the ethnic majority and those at the other end of the political spectrum appeared to be having little difficulty.
This paper is primarily intended to inform the Council of Europe's Advisory Committee to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities [FCPNM]. However, it will also be of interest to concerned individuals, academics and non-government organisations working in the field of minority rights. It will also contribute to the debate on whether the interests of free and representative expression, and therefore the democratic process, would be better served by Cornwall acquiring some form of independent news media.
2. CASE STUDIES.
3. THE UKIP FACTOR.
4. THE UKIP MESSAGE.
5. THE MISSING CORNISH DIMENSION.
1.1 As with most of the written news media in Cornwall, the Western Morning News [WMN] is part of the Daily Mail Group. The Daily Mail produces news articles that are sympathetic to those on the right of British politics. Its agenda is largely centralist, Anglophile, Royalist and Eurosceptic.
1.2 The WMN serves a population of approximately two million people over a catchment area extending through Cornwall, Devon and an indeterminate area to the east. The paper produces a Cornwall edition and describes itself as "Cornwall's only local daily paper". In many areas of Cornwall, the Daily Mail Group have acquired a monopoly on the dissemination of local/regional printed news matter.
1.3 The Cornish are a pre-English minority group constituting some 175,000 - 200,000 people mostly living in their historic homeland of Cornwall/Kernow. A recent survey by Plymouth University found that, if given the opportunity, over a third of pupils in Cornwall schools would identity as Cornish. Elements within the group strive to maintain their region’s constitutional position and the group’s unique social outlook, linguistic heritage and cultural identity.
1.4 UK Census 2001 carried a 'Cornish' ethnic group category. Some public authorities carry out ethnic monitoring of the Cornish. The Cornish language has been accorded international protected status. The Council of Europe has urged the Government to extend the cultural, educational and other benefits of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities to the Cornish.
2. CASE STUDIES.
2.1 The Press Complaints Commission [PCC] is the newspaper industry vehicle of self-regulation. The PCC has a Code of Practice which states: "The Press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to a persons race. In particular, newspapers must not publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted material". However, the Cornish experience of this organisation has given rise to a widely held belief that, as those responsible for determining whether a newspaper has breached the code rely on funding from the owners of the very same newspapers, it is a less than satisfactory vehicle of regulation.
2.2 The WMN often publish inaccurate, misleading and distorted information about the Cornish. This includes their social circumstances, historical background, economic profile and the constitutional position of their territory. Attempts to have these inaccuracies corrected rarely produce results.
2.3 There are also instances where WMN reports have removed the ethnic Cornish dimension. On other occasions deeds which cast the majority group in a less than favourable light are left out of reportage. I have highlighted examples of this practice in other publications, however, one relevant instance occurred in May 2001.
2.4 When reporting on a South West Regional Assembly meeting held in Exeter on May 19th the WMN failed to describe to its readers the scene of flag waving, UKIP leaflet distributing, elements shouting down panellists. When their `European Conspiracy` theme failed to win them any friends they resorted to aggressive heckling in the base language of the xenophobe, the homophope and the white supremacist. My letter to the WMN highlighting these events was not published.
2.5 A recent example of the WMN publishing material designed to denude the distinctive history of the Cornish, undermine their self-awareness and endorse an 'official' version of history which retrospectively backdates English hegemony over Cornwall occurred on 10 February 2004. Although the story centred on an Anglophile myth, my letter calling for the claims to be substantiated, and offering a correction of the misleading picture being presented, was not published.
2.6 However relevant the above may be, this paper explores the ten week period leading up to the EU elections of 10 June 2004. As such, the period under review begins on 1 April 2004. During this period I submitted for publication a number of letters which addressed issues raised by the newspaper itself.
2.7 An opportunity to test WMN letter publishing policy arose on April 9th when a WMN feature writer accused the Cornish of being inter alia: socially bankrupt, unfunny, pathetic, ham-fisted and futile; the cause and source of irritation with supremacist attitudes and an identity that is both amusing for onlookers yet so completely unnecessary. Cornish letters of protest, clarification and defence were not published.
2.8 Another opportunity occurred on April 15th when a WMN feature writer adopted a supremacist posture by claiming that the actions of 'other' 19th century imperial powers were "unspeakable", whereas British imperialists acted out of benign paternalism. In the lead-up to European elections the constant vainglorious misrepresentation of Anglo-British history has important social and political implications for us all. However, my attempt to provide balance by offering an alternative appraisal was not published.
2.9 On 18 May 2004 the WMN published a letter from a prominent charity refuting one of the many United Kingdom Independence Party [UKIP] derived myths then being printed in the paper. My letter applauding this action and explaining that the UKIP is driven by a phalanx of similar myths that have xenophobia as the common denominator was not published.
2.10 On 19 May 2004 the WMN published a letter asserting that the proposed ban on hunting, a Right to Roam Act, speed cameras, increasing fuel costs, house price rises and salary discrepancies? are "European idiocies" which the public should "fight". My letter highlighting the fact that there is an increasing tendency in some quarters to blame 'outsiders' for perceived problems of our own making was not published.
2.11 In the week before the election I made one last attempt to explore a number of UKIP derived inaccuracies being printed in the letters columns of the WMN, in pro-UKIP news features run by the WMN and in prominent advertisements placed in the WMN by the UKIP. The issues were as follows: 1. Transfer of power to Brussels had been achieved without reference to the people. 2. The UKIP would deliver a crime free society. 3. That clogged roads, bad railways etc were the fault of immigrants, and that the UKIP would deliver a society free of overcrowding. 4. The UKIP would get rid of "red tape" and "human rights". 5. The claims that the UKIP would "restore" freedom of speech. 6. The UKIP postulations on people being "born free Britons". This letter was not published.
2.12 Letters from four other Cornish people along similar lines also remained unpublished. It should be noted that demand had previously led the WMN to establish a specific letters page entitled 'Cornish Issues'. This was withdrawn without explanation about two years ago.
2.13 When a Cornishman complained that the WMN printed too many anti-EU letters and too few pro-Cornish, pro-EU, letters the editor stated, "We never suppress any news, pro- or anti-EU" [April 6].
3. THE UKIP FACTOR
3.1 The fact that many letters offering corrections to a number of UKIP assertions [and others voicing alternative views to certain aspects of UKIP policy] remained unpublished was not due to any lack of space. In the ten-week period under review the WMN published 175 letters [some extending to 500 words] from 86 people supporting the UKIP stance. This is the sum total of letters that either specifically supported the UKIP or advocated withdraw from Europe on UKIP principles. I have included correspondence that originated from outside the WMN catchment area but excluded letters from self-declared UKIP supporters when discussing other issues. Copies of newspapers used in this survey are stored in libraries throughout Cornwall.
3.2 Of these letters, 31 people having two or more letters published were responsible for 119 out of the 175. Breaking the figures down still further, a mere eight people were responsible for 57 letters. Sometimes the same correspondent would have two letters published in one edition [May 4th for example]. Often the writers were allowed to repeat unchallenged arguments time and time again. One UKIP supporter had ten letters published over the period under examination, another nine. All in all, the pro-UKIP stance had more letters published than all other political parties put together.
3.3 Of the 31 who had two or more letters published, 9 gave addresses in Cornwall. To the best of my knowledge none of these people are active in the close-knit ethnic Cornish social, cultural or political scene.
3.4 There were the exceptions. In the ten-day period up to and including election day the paper published five letters that opposed the UKIP stance. This, however, must be viewed alongside the publication of 32 pro-UKIP stance letters during the same period. The paper also published the odd pro-Cornish letter - as long as it did not critically examine the UKIP message.
3.5 The onslaught on the senses was compounded by a series of WMN UKIP related stories and features that failed to subject UKIP presentation and ideology to critical in-depth analysis. Daily UKIP adverts in the WMN stated that they were the only people "telling the truth".
4. THE UKIP MESSAGE
4.1 Although the UKIP leadership portray the party as working for the entire population of the UK, one of the UKIP's main concerns is to preserve English cultural, economic and political domination of the UK. On June 8 a letter from the UKIP Chairman identified 'This England' magazine as the vehicle for UKIP aspirations. The 'This England' website pledges to defend the 'English Constitution'. The same letter acknowledges that the UKIP and the Daily Mail newsgroup share common objectives. Yet the Daily Mail says that it represents the voice of 'Middle England'. On 12 June 2004 the Mail branded as a "lunatic" the person responsible for steering public funds towards refugee, minority and other underprivileged groups. Sometimes code is used to disguise the covert aim of UKIP activists. A prime example occurred on May 31 when a UKIP correspondent spoke of who "John Bull" should be voting for. At UKIP meetings, while the talk is of "reclaiming Britain from Brussels", supporters wear 'England' logos. On May 4 a WMN UKIP letter declared, "Stand and be counted for England and show that the English are alive and will not be led to the scaffold without a fight".
4.2 In the ten-week period under review the WMN published a plethora of largely unchallenged UKIP derived assertions. Some correspondents had attempted to engender support for UKIP by appealing to Cornish sentiments, others pandered to the reactionary forces of English supremacism/nationalism. Nearly all strove to conjure up in the minds of voters the notion of some innocent Eden-like past when those diverse groups who inhabited Britain were ruled by a benevolent monarchy and a tolerant English-dominated Westminster Parliament which 'gave' the world the English language and spread 'freedom' throughout the globe.
4.3 Although the people of Camborne hold an annual festival in remembrance of steam pioneer Richard Trevithick, the Cornish were outraged this year when [according to the Chairman of the Trevithick Committee writing in the West Briton newspaper of March 11] the steam parade was prevented from going ahead after police refused a road closure order on grounds of safety. Six days before election day, and in order to attract maximum attention, the WMN published a full colour picture of last years Trevithick Day steam parade and underneath this picture a UKIP supporter was asserting that an "EU Directive forbidding the parade" had been issued.
4.4 On 27 April the WMN published a letter from a UKIP supporter who "feared for the homelessness that would ensue for many who would have to sell their homes to pay the inevitable taxes" when the EU force UK drivers to "drive on the right".
4.5 On the same day that a WMN headline declared "We are heading for an abyss for which there is no return" a UKIP supporter, while fearing for the demise of "our incorruptible monarchy" asserts that "continental jurisprudence is founded on slavery" [April 6]. Later another UKIP supporter writes "We must stop supporting immigrants already here and stop any more from coming in" [April 13]. A WMN feature writer then declares, "Maybe the English are doomed, but it is the ultimate shame if we roll over and allow the barbarians to overrun us"[April 24].
4.6 After a Eurosceptic writes "we are swamped with migrants" and "the Government want to appease every race except the English" [April 26] a UKIP MEP looked to Enoch Powell for political inspiration [May11]. A UKIP supporter declares that remaining in the EU is "nothing short of peeing on the graves" of those UK citizens killed in W.W.II [May 11], after which many UKIP supporters cry "retain our centuries old freedoms and liberties" [May 15]. Another asserts that the EU are plotting to ban "Women's Institutes and Mothers Unions" [May 15]. Another states that we should "fight the European idiocies" of speed cameras and increases in fuel costs [May 19]. To which another declares that the EU is nothing but "Gestapo totalitarianism at its worst" [May 27].
4.7 On election day the WMN published two letters of significance. One letter stated that the Cornish have a chip on their shoulder, are no different than anyone else, and after all, "we all live on planet earth". Next to this was a letter from a UKIP supporter equating Britain with England, and extolling the virtues of celebrating the English identity.
4.8 A WMN caveat printed daily on the inside front page states, "The WMN bears no allegiance to any political party but seeks to serve what it believes are the best interests of the people".
5. THE MISSING CORNISH DIMENSION
5.1 The few letters that opposed the UKIP stance often levelled their criticisms at UKIP jingoism and xenophobia. Others argued for continuing EU membership to assist trade, combat pollution or fight crime. Some concentrated on the harm support for the UKIP would do to the Conservative Party. A small number of WMN features also carried these messages. However, never once was the UKIP agenda examined from a distinctly Cornish minority rights perspective.
5.2 The fact that the UKIP wish to terminate EU membership was publicised. However, very little publicity was given to the fact that the UKIP also wish to increase spending on armaments, reverse the process of devolution and repeal the Human Rights Act 1998.
5.3 Yet international co-operation and regulation acts as a counterbalance to the excesses of an over-centralised state, devolution is a way for submerged nations and repressed regions to regain lost decision making power and the Human Rights Act 1998 [HRA], which is the domestic version of the European Convention on Human Rights [ECHR], constitutes part of the legislative apparatus the Cornish rely upon to acquire statistical visibility, cultural recognition and educational equality.
5.4 The ECHR has given rise to the Strasbourg Court stating, "Free elections and freedom of expression, particularly freedom of debate, form the bedrock of any democratic system. It is particularly important in the period preceding an election that opinions and information of all kinds are allowed to circulate freely". Bowman v UK 1998
5.5 Whose human rights are the UKIP going to denude and/or remove when they repeal the HRA? Which groups of people will be left with less decision making power when devolution is reversed? What would these same people say if German voters turned to a nationalist party that advocated isolationism, centralisation, a clamp down on minority rights and a major weapons building programme? Will the bloody and repressive history of these islands be allowed to repeat itself when an English dominated Westminster Parliament unrestrained by the moderating force of international law holds unfettered sway?
5.6 Although 50,000 people in Cornwall signed a declaration for a Cornish Assembly, and most reasonable people would support Cornish cultural and educational aspirations, it was still possible to travel Cornwall and see a Cornish Flag flying alongside a UKIP poster. It is not difficult to see why, when an ideology goes unchallenged, and important elements of the debate are kept out of the public domain, voters can become confused.
6.1 In the run up to an election, and from a catchment area extending to two million people, the WMN had allowed 31 people to dominate its letters pages. This gave an impression of a South West populace resentful of ‘outsiders’ and obsessed by fear of foreign influence.
6.2 Objective observers witnessed the WMN pandering to a feeding frenzy of claims that became more paranoid as time progressed. The superficial impression was one of overwhelming regional support for a xenophobic and regressive organisation that revels in the nationalism that fuelled centuries of inter-European mistrust, resentment and warfare.
6.3 Repetition of supercharged rhetoric created an alarmist atmosphere that was used to full advantage by the UKIP. A WMN June 8 full page feature on the UKIP had the writer stating, "Exceptionally, the letters column of the WMN have long shown the depth of feeling on this EU issue, and not just on the nationality/patriotic front".
6.4 By helping foster such conditions the WMN had been partly responsible for a general dynamic which encouraged people to gloss over disturbing aspects of UKIP ideology. In effect, the WMN had assisted in normalising the views of English supremacists and xenophobes.
6.4 William Hague is a former Leader of the Conservative Party. His comment that "English Nationalism is the most dangerous form of all forms of nationalism that can arise in the United Kingdom" is not without foundation [BBC Today programme 9 Jan 2000]. On the same programme Jack Straw said, "The English have used their propensity to violence to subjugate the smaller nations of Britain. Then we used it in Europe and with our Empire. So I think what you have in the UK is small nations who have been over the centuries under the cosh of the English".
6.5 The UKIP went from an average of 7% of the total share of the vote in 1999 to 16% in 2004. They topped the poll in many districts within the WMN readership area and doubled the number of seats in a SW England region that included Cornwall. The UKIP did not win any seats in Scotland and Wales
Cornwall 2000 is aware of the obligation upon Government, contained within the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities [FCPNM], to "ensure, within the framework of their legal system, that persons belonging to a national minority are not discriminated against in their access to the media". We note in particular the Advisory Committee's acknowledgement, contained in the Explanatory Report, of the "self-evident" right for minority groups to seek state assistance in creating their own forms of media. We trust that the Advisory Committee will find this report of value when considering its response to the Governments forthcoming Compliance Report.
Cornwall 2000 would welcome any comments on this paper.
CORNWALL 2000: CIVIL LIBERTIES/HUMAN RIGHTS
45 Higher Bore Street, Bodmin, Cornwall UK. PL31 1JS
Tel/Fax: 01208 76336
14 May 2004
© Cornwall 2000 [3335 words]
The document recommended that parties should receive 40p a year for each vote cast for them in the most recent General Election, as well as 20p for every vote in elections to the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and the European Parliament. It also suggested that parties should receive £10 of public funding for every donation of £10 or more.
However, only eligible parties will qualify for taxpayers’ money. And to be eligible, parties must hold two seats at Westminster or in the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly or European Parliament - and therefore genuine political parties such as Mebyon Kernow will be excluded from the arrangement.
Mebyon Kernow leader Cllr Dick Cole has condemned the content of the document as ‘undemocratic’ and claims that the move, if ever implemented, would further disadvantage small political parties. He said:
“The argument for the public funding of political parties has little support with the General Public and I am sure that levels of support for such reforms would decrease still further if the unfairness of the proposals under discussion were more widely known."
“It will be a disgrace if the main parties do not retreat from proposals which will further institutionalise inequality in Britain’s democratic system.”
At the last General Election, nearly 98% of votes cast in Cornwall, England, Scotland and Wales were for political parties which, at the time, would have qualified for public funding under this scheme (namely the Labour Party, Conservative Party, Liberal Democrats, SNP, Plaid Cymru, UKIP, Green Party of England and Wales, Scottish Socialist Party and Scottish Green Party).
Parties which would have been excluded from political funding include Respect and the Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern (both presently represented at Westminster with a single MP each), the old Liberal Party, Forward Wales (represented in the Welsh Assembly until May 2007) and, of course, Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall.
Cllr Cole added:
“Where is the fairness in these proposal? Why should parties such as the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, UKIP and the Greens all receive 40p per General Election vote – but not MK?”
In terms of public spending the parts of the UK which do least well are the English regions outside London and Cornwall. None of these figures are really that surprising; we should know that the UK, given its state, politics and culture, has never really worked well for the majority of working people.
The Killing of Cornwall by Kevin Cahill
Access Rights Unit
54 Victoria Street
London SW1E 6QW
T 020 7210 8916
F 020 7210 8388
21st November 2007
Thank you for your e-mail dated 16th September 2007 in which you requested an Internal Review of the department’s decision. The Department has now conducted a review of its decision and I would like to assure you that you have been supplied with all disclosable information that the Ministry of Justice held at the time, therefore there is no further information we have to provide to you.
The Freedom of Information Act provides a right to recorded information held but not to an opinion of what the Ministry believes the Duchy of Cornwall is or a clarification on a point of law. As such we have to inform you that the concerns that you raise on how the Duchy of Cornwall should be defined have to be dealt with outside the scope of FOI and can not be addressed in this review.
If you are unhappy with my findings you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire. SK9 5AF.
Access Rights Unit
I'd love to have a look at the undisclosable information they hold, but anyway where does one go to get an honest answer in relation to a UK constitutional issue? Do we have to go to court to get the truth?
Two forum threads on this topic: 1)Cornwall 24 & 2)This is NOT England
Stephen Timms (Minister of State (Competitiveness), Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) Hansard source
I have decided to appoint the new board members listed as follows.
The new appointments will all be for a period of three years. I have also decided to re-appoint Nick Buckland for a further period of three years. The appointments will begin on 14 December 2007 and will expire on 13 December 2010. I have placed further details of the new appointments in the Library of both Houses. They were all made in accordance with the code of practice of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.
Biographies for those appointed
Ellen Winser—After 25 years in the City where she was the first woman to be taken into partnership by a London firm of stockbrokers (James Capel and Co.) and one of the first women members of the Stock Exchange, Ellen went off long distance sailing with her husband in 1990. In the next five years they visited 40 countries and sailed 50,000 miles. On return Ellen became involved with a variety of organisations in Cornwall and was also chairman of Liontrust Asset Management plc from 1996 to 2004. She is now Chairman of the Governors of Truro College and is also Chairman of the Trustees of the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, a governor of the University of Plymouth and a director of Pendennis Shipyard Ltd. She was Chairman of Sutton Harbour Holdings plc from 1997 until earlier this year and was a director/trustee of Cornwall Care Ltd. for eight years. She became a Deputy Lieutenant for Cornwall in 2003.
Brian Robinson—Has a track record developed in the financial services sector initially as an underwriter and then switching to marketing where he played a key role in the merger of Eagle Star Insurance and Zurich Financial Services. More recently he has turned his efforts to the SME sector, starting a Marketing and Risk Consultancy in 2002 and a Credit Management Software Company in 2004.
He was elected to the Forest of Dean District Council in May 2007 and was appointed Chairman of the Corporate Scrutiny and Review Committee and in December he joins the cabinet with a portfolio of Efficiency and Finance. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute and Chartered Institute of Marketing.
Nick Buckland—Has spent 20 years working as a senior manager in the UK IT industry, mainly for US companies. In 1996 he took a career change taking an interest in a number of activities. He holds a number of non executive directorships in a variety of companies including a veterinary clinical pathology laboratory, an integrated marketing company, an IT integrator and a rural tourism company. He is Chairman of Tamar Science Park and is Managing Partner of an IT headhunting organisation, and sponsorship management consultancy. He represents the RDA on the Devon and Cornwall Learning and Skills Council and is a member of the BERR Technology Strategy Board. He is an observer on the Regional Science and Industry Council.
He also sits on the boards of Finance Cornwall, Finance South West, Cornwall Enterprise and is a Governor of Plymouth University. He has a BSc in Mathematics, is a Fellow of the British Computer Society, the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications and the RSA. He is also a member of the Chartered Management Institute, the Institute of Directors and the Royal Institution. He is a Chartered Engineer, Chartered Information Systems Practitioner and a European Engineer.
Supplied by The Government Says: http://www.thegovernmentsays.com/
Many of these police actions are illegal and constitute intimidation of non-violent activists who are fighting for what we take for granted in Scotland. We are well aware of the use of such tactics by the state to try to hinder and stifle dissent, but it is only by opposing them that progress can be made.
We condemn the suffering caused by the British State to these individuals, their families and friends, but applaud the courage of these people in standing up for their convictions.
The British State, and the British Crown itself have, for centuries, taken Cornwall's minerals, labour and wealth, without reimbursing it or its people. This is why Cornwall continues to have the lowest GDP of any part of the UK, despite the vast wealth that has come out of it.
We do not consider Cornwall to be part of England, whatever the Establishment may continue to claim. We point out the example of Wales, where despite centuries of cultural and political repression, the British were forced to concede it is not part of England after a long struggle. While we appreciate that the regions of England, such as its northern parts, have immense economic and cultural issues, we state categorically that Cornwall is a national issue, like Scotland, Wales or Ireland, not a "regional" issue, like that of Yorkshire.
We recognise that while certain Cornish do believe themselves to be English, that we have the equivalent in certain Scots, and that in both cases, the facts of history, language and even law are against them.
We believe that the only solution to Cornwall / Kernow's problems is self-determination, and proper recognition of its language and culture. We note that Whitehall and John Prescott disgracefully ignored 50,000 signatures for a Cornish Assembly.
Until Cornwall / Kernow, and the Cornish are recognised for what they are, none of their major problems will go away.
Scottish Socialist Republican Movement
Wednesday, 21 November 2007
Full story here: Salute the Cornish Nationalists
The following is from This is Cornwall blog. In 1969 Daniel Cohn-Bendit faced the authorities by declaring : "We are all German Jews!" Similarly those who sympathise with Cornish independence aspirations could say: " We are all Cornish terrorists." Lech Walenska confronted the Polish Communists with Solidarity. The Cornish motto is "One and All" and indeed that says it all.
Posted by alanindyfed
This follows the resignation of two further Romanians from the group, which brings the remaining members below the threshold to be recognised as a group of the European Parliament. This means that allowances for group, status as a group and other privileges are all now withdrawn.
Speaking in Strasbourg Mr Smith said:
"When I first heard last week that this was in the offing I was delighted, though reports since indicated that the members of the group would find a way to hang onto their budgets. Now apparently this is not the case and this Nasty Group is no more."
"When the news was officially confirmed by Vice President McMillan Scott the reaction of the Chamber was clear, collapsing is the most popular thing this group has done, and we are all glad to see it fall. Clearly the Parliament should have all views represented, the best way to counter prejudice and lies is to argue with them, but after today's news the MEPs formerly of this group will not have common resources to fund their campaigns and I'm glad to see it."
EFA home: http://www.e-f-a.org/home.php
Click on the screenshot above to see our video explaining what you can do to help our campaign today. This is the newsletter of Unlock Democracy, the campaign for democratic renewal run by Charter 88 and the New Politics Network. If you would like to unsubscribe from this mailing list, click on the link at the bottom of this email. Citizens Convention Bill for constitutional reform - Please act urgently! Today the annual Private Members' Ballot took place in parliament. That means that 20 MP's names were drawn out of a hat (see list below) - and they will get the chance to promote a Bill (new law) of their choice. We want them to promote our Citizens' Convention Bill. We have proved through our campaigning that constitutional reform is possible - the Sustainable Communities Bill has now become an Act of Parliament; giving local authorities the chance to have more power devolved to them to allow local people to take control over their own affairs. Tens of thousands of people (including you)have helped make campaigns like this possible therefore, we now need your help to mobilise support for the Citizens Convention Bill, a Bill that has the potential to deliver the radical constitutional reform our country and political system so badly needs. A large amount of lobbying will influence an MP's choice - but it needs to happen quickly before the make up their minds. The MPs have been sent a copy of the Bill. Could you please urgently:
If your MP is on the list, please write asking him/her to 'please adopt the Citizens Convention Bill'. And could you please ask all your local friends, work colleagues, club members, faith communities, hamsters, goldfish and any other local contacts you may have to do the same. Lobbying by constituents is the most powerful! Write to the TOP SEVEN MP's selected in the ballot (as they get most parliamentary time) - calling on them to adopt the Citizens Convention Bill as their Private Members Bill.
If you are feeling energetic please write to the all the twenty MP's selected in the Ballot calling on them to support the Citizens Convention Bill. The MPs selected are as follows (top seven in bold):
Michael Fallon, Sevenoaks (Conservative)
Sharon Hodgson, Gateshead East and Washington West (Labour)
Andrew Miller, Ellesmere Port and Nelson (Labour)
Julian Brazier, Canterbury (Conservative)
John Heppell, Nottingham East (Labour)
Stephen Crabb, Preseli Pembrokshire (Conservative)
Nigel Griffiths, Edinburgh South (Labour)
Mark Lazarowicz, Edinburgh North and Leith (Labour)
Keith Hill, Streatham (Labour)
Tim Yeo, South Suffolk (Conservative)
Julie Morgan, Cardiff North (Labour)
David Howarth, Cambridge (Liberal Democrat)
Michael Mates, East Hampshire (Conservative)
Simon Hughes, North Southwark and Bermondsey (Liberal Democrat)
Derek Conway, Old Bexley and Sidcup (Conservative)
Peter Wishart, Perth and North Perthshire (Scottish National Party)
Justine Greening, Putney (Conservative)
Anne Snelgrove, South Swindon (Labour)
William Cash, Stone (Conservative)
Gordon Prentice, Pendle (Labour)
You can use the same format of letter for each MP. Send your letters (1st class if you can please) in separately stamped envelopes to : MP's Name, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA. Each letter must be sent separately otherwise they will not be delivered. Sorry we don't make the rules! We are not enclosing a 'standard' letter as individual ones are more influential. However, the following points may help you:
We are at a crucial juncture in British politics, constitutional reform has been put back on the agenda in a big way, What's important is how this is done: the decisions as to how to devolve power and influence must not be top down: they need to be taken jointly by government in co-operation with citizens and civil society if the outcomes are to be the best. The Citizens' Convention Bill sets up a process that will make that happen.Every letter makes a difference - but please act now as we are working in a limited timeframe. Thank you.
Campaigns Director, Unlock Democracy
Unlock Democracy, 6 Cynthia Street, London N1 9JF
Tel: +44(0)20 7278 4443
Fax: +44(0)20 7278 4425
Could our politicians, the Cornish Constitutional Convention, CoSERG, our MP's etc, engage with Unlock Democracy to campaign for greater powers for our Cornish communities?
The New Zealand Government is using its Suppression of Terrorism Act 2002 to arrest members of the Moari community, in an attempt, some people are claiming, to break up what has become quite an effective language, political and cultural revival.
Last month the police raided the houses of Moari political and language activists and arrested a number of is members. The excuse of the police was that these Moari's were engaged in terrorist activity, after a group of hunters stumbled on an IRA style training camp in the countryside.
With these powers, the police have been able to raid activists from the Maori community, confiscating property such as books and computers, and arrests and holding individuals for extended periods. Surprise, surprise the police have not been able to make the charges stick and the majority of those arrested will have to be released.
For a number of Cornish political and cultural activists in Cornwall, this sounds like an all too familiar story.
Email Annette King - Minister of Police in New Zealand at firstname.lastname@example.org to make your feelings known.
For all of you who bought a copy of the last issue of Cornish World, took out a subscription, used a business advertised in Cornish World or made sure that the magazine was prominently displayed in your local news outlet – I owe you a pint.
The last issue of Cornish World saw a 38% increase in sales and was the best-selling issue in the magazine’s 12-year history. The magazine now has more subscribers than ever before. The future of Cornish World is looking secure as the magazine goes from strength to strength. This success is only down to people who appreciate a good Cornish magazine that puts Cornwall and its people first.
The current issue of Cornish World is out on the shelves (or hidden behind other ‘Cornish’ magazines as seems to be the case) and has some pretty good stuff for anyone with a passing interest in Kernow. The main feature in this issue profiles all the groups actively campaigning to put Cornwall on the map while another excellent feature by renowned historian Craig Weatherhill offers a new insight into the real location of the Battle of Hingston Down; the last great battle between the Celts and the Saxons.
They used to race lifeboats in Cornwall, you know. These races drew thousands out to view the spectacle, and skulduggery, of turn of the century life-saving vessels outpacing each other. This, along with a feature on how Falmouth is becoming a port with a future once again, makes Cornish World the best read on Cornwall. Plus there’s all the usual stuff like news, views, food and drink, Kernewek, Cornish dialect, poetry, wildlife and great photography.
A new optimism is sweeping Cornwall and Cornish World, be part of it.
Cornish World is an independent publication that puts Cornwall and its communities first. The media in Cornwall is pretty bad with most of the publications being owned and controlled by media groups such as the right wing Northcliff group (Daily Mail say no more) who care little for our small nation. Cornish world is the only exception and for this it needs all our support. Buy it, circulate it to friends and family and leave it in waiting rooms across the Duchy. Why not us a Cornish World gift subscription this Christmas?
7th November 2007
The Chief Constable,
Devon and Cornwall Constabulary,
The apparent toleration of unequal rights in the English legal system
It is contended that the British public has been denied the otherwise worldwide constitutional or statutory public right to enforce compliance with the principle of equality before the law upon those "performing functions withinthe public administration".
This is not merely a republican aspiration since, the Constitution of the Monarchy of Sweden, Chapter 1 Article 9,provides, "Courts, public authorities and others performing functions within the public administration shall observe in their work the equality of all persons before the law and shall maintain objectivity and impartiality".
Without offering any explanation to the Cornish Stannary Parliament inrespect of applications made to the European Court of Human Rights of April 2006 and to the European Court of Justice of July 2007 concerning attempts to have introduced into the domestic law of the United Kingdom the United Nations right to an enforceable guarantee of equality before the law as laiddown in the Universal Declaration, Article 7, have been rejected.
The rejection of equality before the law, it would appear, was based on anunchallengeable interpretation of the opt outs from fundamental rights by the government of the U.K. in respect of the Revised E.U. Treaty and Article36 of the European Convention of Human Rights. (undisclosed written commentsby member states).
This omission of equality before the law, which can now be classified as intentional, since, it fits in with the exclusion of Article 13 of the Convention ("right to an effective remedy for violations by persons acting in an official capacity") from the Human Rights Act. In the UK, emphasis is given to the rule of law.
Without being subjected to the discipline of equality before the law, the rule of law was, as is well documented, successfully applied in South Africa to maintain Apartheid, an internationally condemned system of privileges for all the component parts of the group in power based on inflicting upon an indigenous people the deprivation of their human, intellectual and property rights.
Around the globe, most legislatures are subject to equality before the law. This would mean a legitimate public expectation of a statement of reasons to explain and justify any exceptions. The evidence suggests there is a tacit acceptance, by those acting in an official capacity in the UK, of the convenience of: 'no law is good law ', for those in power.
"The Guide to Legislative Procedures" published by the Cabinet Office,October 2004, reveals at para. 14.6 that consideration will be given to: "the nature of the legislation and the potential impact it may have on Duchy(of Cornwall) operations and / or privileges". Duchy of Cornwall operations and privileges are not itemised.
Lack of information, or silence, clearly prevents the public from determining whether or not they are directly or indirectly the victims of racially discriminating operations or privileges, and therefore, they are effectively blocked from taking action for the repeal or abolition of any alleged illegal operations or privileges, under Article 14 (Compliance) of EU Race Directive 2000/43/EC.
It would appear that the operations and privileges of the Duchy of Cornwall are commercial and constitutional. On behalf of the heir to the throne, they include income from, intestate estates, bona vacantia, the acquisition of the assets of bankrupt companies in Cornwall, (supported by the "rights, property and profits" of the Crown Proceedings Act 1947, section 40 (2g) and exceptions under section 120 of the Supreme Court Act 1981 ); the private right to exercise the King's Writ and Summons of Exchequer and Attachments in Cornwall; the ownership of the Stannaries and foreshore of Cornwall as territorial possessions; (Cornwall Submarine Mines Act 1858) the exemption from calling elections to the Duchy of Cornwall Council and no obligation to provide affordable housing or cultural support in Cornwall, an operation performed by the Crown Estate in the remainder of the United Kingdom.
The Duchy Estate has achieved the appearance of economic independence through state aid in the form of authority to claim a private income from territorial possessions in Cornwall for the heir to the throne to reinvest in Anglo-Saxon England with the ultimate objective of avoiding the imposition of statutory taxation on the English national majority which would provide an income subject to public accountability as is the case with the Crown Estate.
The feudal legacy of the Duchy of Cornwall was inaugurated by charters of 16th , 17th and 18th March 1337, and confirmed as the only exception in the Civil List Act 1760. It apparently still operates the privilege of the selective application of racial equality rights in order to suppress the national identity of the indigenous Cornish people.
Questions arise in an attempt to establish whether or not the heir to the throne is in fact authorised to oppose Human Rights, a subject on which he has been widely reported.
Are undefined and unwritten operations and privileges, unsupported by publicly stated reasons for their extent and use, evidence of a secret constitution? If so, would that constitute a conspiracy?
Under the title "A sharp little piece of honesty getting under Whitehall's skin" The Sunday Times article of 28th October 2007 reveals that Assistant Commissioner John Yates of the Metropolitan Police has declared, with regardto his: "oath of allegiance to the Queen,- there were four guiding principles, fairness, integrity, diligence, impartiality".
These principles do not appear to be enforceable by the public as a statutory right and sadly, equality before the law is conspicuous by its absence. Thee vidence suggests that equality before the law is officially outlawed as being incompatible with a secret constitution.
May I respectfully enquire as to whether it is nevertheless possible to consider that the four guiding principles of the Assistant Commissioner may constitute sufficient authority for the Devon and Cornwall Police to implement the right of suspects to self-identify? Are the appropriate operational procedures in place to enable individual police officers to faithfully record, and have stored for statistical reference, all declarations of Cornish identity, ethnicity or national minority status that may be affirmed by a member of the public? This would support parallel attempts by other official bodies in Cornwall.
Thank you for your time and patience.
Colin F. Murley,
Stannary Information Officer.
However, most of the constitution does exist in the written form of statutes, court judgments and treaties. The constitution does have some unwritten sources, though, including Parliamentary conventions and the royal prerogatives. The bedrock of the British constitution has traditionally been the doctrine of parliamentary supremacy or parliamentary sovereignty, according to which the statutes passed by Parliament are the UK's supreme and final source of law. It follows that Parliament can change the constitution simply by passing new Acts of Parliament.
The Statute Law Database is a good place for finding all the various constitutional documents for the UK but I can't find the Charter of Pardon.
The UK Statute Law Database
I found with great interest your website, the SLD, and I think it is a great tool with which UK subjects can investigate the labyrinth that is the UKs' unwritten constitution.
I have one small request I hope you can help me with. I could not find in your data base or anywhere on the Internet the Charter of Pardon 1508 which I believe has never been rescinded.
The 1508 Charter of Pardon is still on the statute books as was confirmed in the House of Commons in recent years. In 1977 the Plaid Cymru MP Dafydd Wigley in Parliament asked the Attorney General for England and Wales if he would provide the date upon which enactments of the Charter of Pardon of 1508 were rescinded. The reply, received on 14 May 1977, stated that a Stannator's right to veto Westminster legislation had never been formally withdrawn.
I would be very grateful If you could provide me with directions as to how to find this charter in your data base or on another government website.
Thank you for you kind remarks regarding SLD.
I regret that there is no record on the Statute Law Database of the Charter of Pardon 1508. Neither is it mentioned in the Chronological Table of the Statutes (published by HMSO) which lists all known statutes of the Parliament of England, whether or not repealed. This is what we would expect to find if, as the title would suggest, the document was a Royal Charter and not a statute.
I'm afraid I can't assist you as to where you might find it on any other government website. If you wish to find a copy of the document, you might try the Cornish Studies Library at Cornwall County Council http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/, or alternatively you could try The National Archives , details below.
The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey,
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8876 3444
Sorry I cannot be of any further assistance in this matter, if you require any further information regarding SLD please do not hesitate to contact me. Kind regards,
Two forum threads on this topic Cornwall 24 and This is NOT England
The Council of Europe
The aims of the COE are:
- to protect human rights, pluralist democracy and the rule of law;
- to promote awareness and encourage the development of Europe's cultural identity and diversity
- to find common solutions to the challenges facing European society: such as discrimination against minorities, xenophobia, intolerance, bioethics and cloning, terrorism, trafficking in human beings, organised crime and corruption, cybercrime, violence against children;
- to consolidate democratic stability in Europe by backing political, legislative and constitutional reform.
The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of 1994 entered into force on 1 February 1998. Thirty-nine States are currently Party1 to it including the UK Although not the only instrument to be developed within the Council of Europe relevant to the protection of national minorities, the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities is certainly the most comprehensive document in this area. Indeed, it is the first ever legally binding multilateral instrument devoted to the protection of national minorities in general. The Framework Convention sets out principles to be respected as well as goals to be achieved by the Contracting Parties, in order to ensure the protection of persons belonging to national minorities, whilst fully respecting the principles of territorial integrity and political independence of States. The principles contained in the Framework Convention have to be implemented through national legislation and appropriate governmental policies. It is also envisaged that these provisions can be implemented through bilateral and multilateral treaties. The main operative part of the Framework Convention is section II, containing specific principles on a wide range of issues, inter alia:
- promotion of effective equality;
- promotion of the conditions regarding the preservation and development of the culture and preservation of religion, language and traditions;
- freedoms of assembly, association, expression, thought, conscience and religion;
- access to and use of media;
- linguistic freedoms:
- use of the minority language in private and in public as well as its use before administrative authorities;
- use of one's own name;
- display of information of a private nature;
- topographical names in the minority language;
- learning of and instruction in the minority language;
- freedom to set up educational institutions;
- transfrontier contacts;
- international and transfrontier co-operation;
- participation in economic, cultural and social life;
- participation in public life;
- prohibition of forced assimilation.
So what do the Cornish have to do with all this you might be asking? Well lets examine the opinion of various organisations including the COE.
First we could start with our very own Council for Racial Equality in Cornwall who has this to say: http://www.crec.org.uk/index.php/Main/Constitution
'Cornwall' - Cornwall retains a unique and distinct constitutional relationship with the Crown, based on the Duchy of Cornwall and the Stannaries. For other purposes it is recognised as a Celtic region or nation and enjoys its own national flag.
Then we could take a look at the Commision for Racial Equality’s shadow report (30th March 2007) produced to advise the government on the FCPNM: http://www.kernowtgg.co.uk/shadowreport.pdf
Meaning of national minorities under the Convention - The position of the CRE is that the government’s approach to the meaning of national minorities only by reference to racial groups that have been recognised as such in case law is too narrow and creates arbitrary distinctions and is not reflective of the purpose of the Convention.
The CRE is concerned that the government was very late in producing its second report to the Council of Europe, which was due on 1 May 2004 but was not received until 22 February 2007, almost three years late. The government has provided no explanation in its report as to why the report has been delayed. As a result of the delay beyond two years from the date the second report was due, we note that the Committee of Ministers authorized the Advisory Committee to commence monitoring fulfillment of the UK government’s obligations under the Convention in September 2006.4 The long delay in reporting in our view inhibits the aim of periodic reporting and responding to recommendations of the Advisory Committee. We are also concerned it may demonstrate a lack of political will to fully implement the Convention in practice and promote the importance of the Convention in British society.
The position of the CRE is therefore that in relation to the meaning of “national minorities” the government should take a broader approach than only using the criteria of a racial group that has been recognised in case law and should reconsider its position on groups such as the Cornish and Muslims.
Finally what do the Council of Europe themselves have to say?: http://www.coe.int/T/E/human_rights/minorities/
The United Kingdom maintains its position that the scope of the Framework Convention is confined to the protection of “racial groups” as defined in the Race Relations Act 1976, which in turn is a matter for the Courts to interpret. The Advisory Committee welcomes the fact that the “racial group” criterion, as interpreted by the Courts, has allowed a wide range of groups to benefit from protection under the Framework Convention, including minority ethnic communities, the Scots, Irish and Welsh, Sikhs, Jews, Gypsies and Irish Travellers. On its own, however, the “racial group” criterion may result in exclusions from the Framework Convention’s scope of application of groups that have legitimate claims to be covered.
The Advisory Committee notes that the Government of the United Kingdom has not accepted the representations made by Cornish organisations and individuals concerning the possible inclusion of the Cornish under the Framework Convention’s scope of application. These representations, which began as the submission of information concerning the Celtic identity and the specific history, language and culture of the Cornish, have gained in magnitude over the years, culminating most recently in an application for judicial review concerning the Government’s non-inclusion of the Cornish in the second State Report. The Advisory Committee considers that the “racial group” criterion, which requires a Court to determine liability in a claim of racial discrimination, appears to be too rigid to accommodate the situation of the Cornish, whose “separate identity and distinctiveness” is recognised by the Government of the United Kingdom in their second State Report.
The Advisory Committee encourages the Government to consider this question also in relation to the Cornish, whose claims for recognition under the Framework Convention deserve further examination, in consultation with the persons concerned.
The Advisory Committee also notes that Cornish organisations and individuals have criticised the decision not to include a separate tick-box for Cornish in the census test question, which, in their view, prevents the Government from obtaining accurate data about the strength of Cornish identity.
While recognising the limitations in terms of space and capacity to process information in the context of a census, the authorities are encouraged to identify ways of improving the scope and accuracy of data concerning non-visible minority ethnic communities, if necessary, by means other than a census, and to consider the proposals of other groups, including the Cornish.
All seems fairly clear so one has to ask why the government is so reluctant to recognise the Cornish under the FCPNM? Both the governments own CRE and the Council of Europe suggest that this could be done but so far - silence – Why?
The current age profile of Mebyon Kernow is younger than any of its other competitors (Lab, Lib Dem & Tory). For example the three MK councillors on Truro City Council are the youngest of the 24 Councillors. Most of the MK councillors are in their thirties or forties. The others tend to average at least fifties.
In terms of membership size in Cornwall the Lib Dems are well ahead with maybe 4 times the membership of MK and the Tories maybe 2-3 times the size. There is now little difference between MK and Labour in terms of membership and MK is nearing the 1000 member figure. Since 1992 the membership has quadrupled and it is now one of the largest members organisation for a Cornish orientated organisation.
In the last local elections MK elected more principal councillors than UKIP across the whole of the UK and now has more individual local councillors than the Labour party in Cornwall. In the district elections of 2007 seven Mebyon Kernow district councillors were elected and in these elections MK came third behind the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Party but ahead of Labour in several areas such as Kerrier, Restormel, North Cornwall and Caradon.
Despite the fact that MK has been around since 1951 and has occasionally fought elections it is only since 1992 that the party has consistently fought elections - just 15 years - The numbers of elected councillors are at the highest in its history and are growing each year. MK haven't been able to fight everywhere in Cornwall - at the last set of elections MK stood in less than a quarter of Cornwall and had about 10,000 votes. If MK had more candidates competing democratically then they could legitimately expect somewhere between 30,000-40,000 votes.
At General Election level MK get massively squeezed as lots of people in Cornwall don't want a Tory MP but as MK's activity has increased in local government so the votes are starting to go up in the General Election.
If you want to support the party but not join you can join the facebook group also linked to from the MK website and if you're 30 or under there is a facebook group called Kernow X.
A leading Kerrier councillor has recently been selected as MK’s third General Election candidate. Mebyon Kernow members in the new Camborne and Redruth constituency selected Cllr Loveday Jenkin to fight the seat at the next General Election. Loveday has served on Kerrier District Council for twelve years and is the leader of the Party’s four-strong group on the Council. She is also the portfolio holder for Leisure, Arts and Culture.
Previous policies from Tories, Labour and Lib Dems have failed Cornwall and their politicians have misled the people of Cornwall with empty promises.
The new MK website / The MK blog.