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4.1.08

Some Cornish localism if you please









2008 and decentralisation still seems to be on peoples minds or at least that's the impression one gets from the OurKingdom blog.

Recently, perhaps following Conservative noises about 'localism', OK has run two articles on the subject (of course the word 'devolution' tainted as it is by Nu Labour would burn in their Tory mouths). Jonathan Bryants (Brighton and Hove, Direct Democracy): Where localism should exist and Colin Bakers (New Forest): A vision of the localist revolution are worth a read.

Two points though:

1) Decentralisation, localism and devolution are still hot topics, at least amongst a certain clique.

2) When it comes to Cornwall which has shown a desire for devolved government greater than any part of England what do we get from these proponents of bringing power down to the people?

.......Silence.......

When it comes to discussing decentralisation Cornwall seems to have completely vanished; to have fallen off the map.

Why has this exceptional and popular call for devolution been ignored? Groups such as Charter 88, Direct Democracy and other advocates of decentralisation were truly underwhelming as they clamoured to support the Cornish in their call for bringing power closer to home. Even after a group of volunteers in one season collected a petition of 50,000 signatures calling for a Cornish assembly still we got the cold shoulder from the UKs democratic reformers. Why is Cornish devolution, decentralisation, localism -call it what you will- not to their tastes?

Anyway how about a new years cure for this obscurity and ignorance.

The first comes in the form of a newly created website for the long standing: Cornish Social and Economic Research Group (CoSERG)

The Cornish Social and Economic Research Group (CoSERG) is an independent research group concerned for the future of Cornwall and the Cornish people. It was founded in 1986 by a group of individuals concerned about the lack of a Cornish perspective in both research and the preparation of important policy documents in Cornwall.

Then for a bit of further reading on the Cornish paradox try Bernard W. Deacons new book imaginatively titled -Cornwall- (University of Wales Press - Histories of Wales).

Cornwall, one of Britain's most popular tourist destinations, is also one of the least well understood. In Cornwall today, there is a greater recognition of Cornish identity, and the close Celtic ties with Wales and Brittany, than ever before. But its Celtic history co-exists with a thousand years of political and cultural influence from England. Imagined as both Celtic country and English county, Cornwall is a land of contrasts. This book traces the creative tensions produced by its unique history, from an independent British kingdom through a culturally distinct medieval province and a prominent industrial region in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to its present location as a post-industrial paradox: nation, region and county all wrapped in one.

So there you go, no excuses now, read up and when you are ready we'll still be here.

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