It's been mentioned a number of times on Cornwall 24 now when discussing Mebyon Kernow that when MK was a pressure group it fulfilled a different but perhaps equally important role in the Cornish movement.
A pressure group that was able to regroup people from across the political spectrum and from all walks of life to work for the Cornish nation. Since the change into a political party is has become a more exclusive club quite rightly excluding members of other political parties.
Do we still need a pressure group? In my opinion yes.We have the Stannary Parliament and the Constitutional Convention but setting aside the important work they do they are rather specialized in their own fields.
That leaves the Celtic League which offers the added bonus of networking with other autonomist movements from around the Isles.
The league in Cornwall is that pressure group and it needs our time, support and ideas. Ignoring recent controversies which are nothing but a flash in the pan compared to the leagues long history, if we want an umbrella pressure group with internationalist connections then look no further.
The Celtic League 50 years on
The Celtic League Director of Information (DoI) has said that theLeague faces difficult decisions in the years ahead if it is to adapt its role to meet the needs of the Celtic countries today.
Speaking on the 'Talking Heads' programme on Manx Radio this week Bernard Moffatt said the political and cultural landscape in the Celtic countries today is markedly changed from that almost fifty years ago when the Celtic League was founded.
Politically there has been major change in several Celtic countries with a parliament in Scotland an Assembly in Wales and new political movement in the North of Ireland. However, he said that the objectives of the Celtic League, to promote a formal association between (at least two of) the Celtic countries, are still far from being achieved. Ireland is still only partially independent and despite the devolution moves in Wales and Scotland full independence was still an aspiration. Speaking as a life long Manx nationalist he said it was sad that Scotland would probably eclipse Mannin in achieving full independence and criticised the Manx governments satisfaction with its dependency status.
Culturally moves, particularly in relation to the Celtic languages, had also been more positive in recent years. However, he singled out the French governments negative attitude towards the Breton language saying it was part of a generally hostile stance by the centralised French State to any minorities in its borders.
One of the key features of the Celtic League contribution over the years has been the continued production of the journal Carn with its regular article in each Celtic language. The DoI said that advances in communication not least via the Internet and the wide range of available material on both cultural and political life in the Celtic countries had led the League to seriously consider the future of Carn. The journal is continuing in the short term but its future is under review.
Reviewing the campaigns the League have engaged in over the years the DoI said that some people in Mannin often assumed it was a 'Manx based organisation' and this misconception was not helped by the significant numbers of senior positions in the League held by Manx people in times past. However he said that in recent years the 'officers' of the League are drawn more widely from the Celtic countries and our campaigning record, particularly as recorded on the Internet news groups (see below), shows a broad range of issues being pursued involving all the Celtic countries.
Looking ahead the DoI said that the future in many of the Celtic countries was brighter than at any time in the recent past. However he singled out Kernow and Breizh as being two countries where the picture was not so positive. He said Kernow deserved the same devolved status as other Celtic countries in the United Kingdom. He also criticised recent police harassment of Celtic League members their.
In respect of Breizh the Director of Information reiterated that the main stumbling block was the stifling attitude of the centralised French State to Breton linguistic and political aspirations. He said that French hostility to Breton nationalism was from another era that most other Celtic countries had now left behind. He said the French were also hostile to the inter-celtic solidarity demonstrated by groups such as the Celtic League towards Brittany, an illustration of this was surreptitious police harassment at the Leagues last AGM in Brittany.
Finally, the DoI said the Celtic League was coordinated and directed by its Annual General (and Council) Meetings and had achieved an ambitious programme of work over fifty years. It had accomplished this solely from membership contributions and unlike many organisations received no stipend of financial support from any other source.
J B Moffatt
Director of Information
The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It worksto promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on abroad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlightshuman rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses onsocio-economic issues.
Internet site at: http://celticleague.net/