The Celtic League Secretary General, Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, has echoed criticisms from the Cornish Branch about the 'Culture South West'(CSW) proposals. In his critique he makes it clear that the attempts to subsume Cornwall into a South West Cultural Region are an attempt to further dissipate Cornish cultural identity (see below):
Dear Laura Thwaite
'A better Place to Be'
I am writing to you as part of your consultation period for the Culture South West (CSW) draft document 'A Better Place to Be'.
The Celtic League reject the document in its entirety on the basis that any body of the South West of England region (including a regional cultural consortium like Culture South West), which attempts to include Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in it, is arbitrary. The document seeks to make decisions about the culture of Cornwall by placing the country firmly within the artificial cultural confines of the South West of England, of which it is not a part. The document makes little mention of Cornwall or its language and does not take into consideration the distinct difference between Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and England, in terms of its unique constitutional position and Celtic heritage. In short it is our opinion that the document is a blatant attempt to further assimilate Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly into England.
Moreover at our AGM in Cymru/Wales in September 2007, the following resolution was passed:
'That the Annual General Meeting of the Celtic League in Cardiff on 29th September, 2007, calls upon the Westminster Government, Cornwall Council and other bodies to legislate and allow for the retention of all strategies and policies, including those of culture, to remain within the co-terminus boundary of Cornwall and under the control of institutions within the Duchy'
We would like our comments to be logged with CSW and to be kept up to date with developments.
Earlier correspondence on CSW proposal from Kernow Branch below:
28th March, 2008
Re. Draft - 'A better place to be'
Thank you for sending me a copy of your draft document 'A better place to be' and for including me on your circulation list.
I write as a member of not only An Kesunyans Keltek - Scoren Kernewek (The Cornish Branch of the Celtic League but also as Assistant General Secretary of the Celtic League as an International pan Celtic organisation, with branches not only in Cornwall, but in Wales, Brittany, Scotland, The Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland as well as in England, the United States and Internationally. Needless to say, all these branches recognise Cornwall as a Celtic Nation in its own right.
I have already written to you in respect of a previous document produced by your organisation but take this opportunity to write once more.
At the International Annual General Meeting of the Celtic League held in Caerdydd/Cardiff, Cymru/Wales on Saturday 29th September, 2007, the following resolution proposed following discussion by the Cornish Branch was formally adopted by the Celtic League:
'That the Celtic League calls upon the Westminster Government, Cornwall Council and other bodies to legislate and allow for the retention of all strategies and policies, including those of culture, to remain within the co-terminus boundary of Cornwall and under the control of institutions within the Duchy'
As such, the Celtic League rejects your document in its entirety, preferring that all cultural matters concerning the Celtic Nation of Kernow (Cornwall) are controlled by a Cornish Cultural Department fully and democratically answerable to the people of Kernow.
This position has been reaffirmed at more recent meetings of our organisation.
An examination of your document regrettably shows that you have a somewhat superficial understanding of the true Celtic culture of Kernow, of its language, its distinctive and ancient pre- English history and heritage and indeed its unique constitutional status which predate modern tourist attractions highlighted in your paper many of which cannot even be regarded as being truly cultural. This culture predates the formation of the political state of England which came into being long after the Cornish nation.
We question the legal status of 'Culture South West' to act within Kernow and would respectfully suggest that your activities are confined to South West England, the border of which is set at the River Tamar, dividing Kernow from England.
For better or worse, Kernow is soon to be part governed by a Unitary Authority and one Council leader has remarked that this is an inevitable route to a legislative Cornish Assembly. This would seem to add further weight to the call for all matters concerning Kernow to be dealt with from within our National boundary.
We are also aware that many other Cornish and Celtic Organisations will share a similar view to that expressed herein.
I have copied your communication and your reply to others who may wish to comment.
Michael John Chappell
Related article on this topic on Celtic News at:
J B Moffatt
Director of Information
The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues.
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