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5.2.08

Unlock Democracy on Cornwall

After some badgering on my part it is gratifying to see Unlock Democracy starting to take the idea of Cornish devolution a little more seriously. 

Unlock Democracy is a UK think tank which campaigns for a more participatory democracy in the UK, founded upon a written constitution. Unlock Democracy works to promote democratic reform across the political spectrum and is not aligned with any political party.

Recently Peter Facey of Unlock Democracy London, in an article called Regions, Parliaments and the future of England produced for the blog site Our Kingdom, had this to say on Cornish devolution:

"Cornwall is larger than Wyoming, Luxembourg, Malta and three Spanish Autonomous Regions. Shouldn't we be presuming that such areas can withstand devolution - rather than that they can’t?"

Unlock democracy also has the following to say on centralisation and constitution in the UK.

Unlock Government: the combination of the inherited powers of feudal monarchs, modern media’s concentration on the Prime Minster and overuse of the party whip has turned Britain in to one of the most centralised countries in Europe. Governments have become locked in a vicious circle of centralising power in an effort to improve public services, only to find this leads to increased dissatisfaction. The quango state - unelected and unaccountable bodies which have a direct impact on ordinary people’s lives - has become a common feature of our political life.

Unlock the Constitution: despite advances such as the creation of the Human Rights Act, a simple majority in the House of Commons can curtail our rights and freedoms by changing our unwritten constitution. At a time of heightened security and fear of terrorism we believe that Britain needs a new constitutional settlement in which basic rights and freedoms are entrenched.

These are also undoubtedly concerns of organisations such as the Cornish Social and Economic Research Group and the Cornish Constitutional Convention so why shouldn't there be a constructive dialogue between them and Unlock Democracy?

Finally way back at the beginning of my badgering on behalf of Kernow I received the message below from Unlock Democracy.

Thank you for your email. The position of Unlock Democracy is that we support decentralisation of power with in the United Kingdom and believe that we should start a the bottom by strengthening local government.

We also believe that citizens should have the right to initiate change themselves by raising a petition and by holding a referendum. Under any such proposal the 50,000 names you have raised would trigger a referendum.

We do not have a policy on Cornwall or on linguistic communities, but we do support people within the UK deciding how they should be governed. In terms of devolution within England we have said that people should be able to define their own regions, rather than going for the arbitrary government regions.

My own personal view is that if the people of Cornwall wish recognition of themselves as a nation within the UK or within England then that should be their right as long as it is done in democratic manner.

I hope this helps

Unlock Democracy, Basement, 6 Cynthia Street, London N1 9JF

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