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4.7.08

Where now for the campaign for a Cornish Assembly

A simple question: What is the Campaign for a Cornish Assembly doing? Since the rejection of the petition of 50,000 signatures by the Blair government and the more recent decision to impose the Unitary Authority it seems the assembly campaign has fallen into stunned silence.

Certainly following these two set backs it has been easy to pick out the various individuals who have scurried back to the career warmth of their political party. Anyway enough from me and I will now hand over to a far more informed and eloquent individual to talk more of the current malaise.

Many thanks for that summary of the Cornish Movement and its current malaise, and I note [and am very sorry] that such thoughts about it are not confined to me! What a tangled and disappointing picture is emerging, and it is saddening that this should be so at such a time. The case of the Assembly is particularly sad, thinking of what it claimed during its early days and thereafter, but since that promising initial flurry [and an excellent booklet] it has made little impact and effectively has faded from public view. I have in front of me its leaflet full of promises following that well-attended and enthusiastic County Hall launch in July 2000, but what has happened to it since? It should be out there in the limelight, providing an outward and visible forum for Cornish debate and actions*, but where is it?! I supported it from the outset thinking it would provide a worthy successor to the Conference for Cornwall, and have gone on supporting it but I doubt greatly that I shall continue to do so.

(* Note from the CD: I had always hoped that the Stannary could provide a similar platform)

Some Assembly members appear to believe that the advent of the unitary authority will steer Cornwall towards the desired objective of regional status, but I am far from sure that this will happen in practice and in any event the proposed new arrangements are a subject of continuing fierce controversy and are thus divisive. Furthermore the authority is likely to remain under the dominance of the RDA and other external organisations, and in such circumstances the existence of a strong and representative "second chamber" in the form of the Assembly's promised Senedh Kernow is never more important. But I fear the rest is silence.

My lasting regret and disappointment is [and will remain] that the Conference was allowed to die by those to whom it had been entrusted - it was handed over in good order with a healthy bank balance after more than ten years of success. But that success was not achieved without a great deal of unseen hard work and dedication, and faced with what was involved our successors turned green and abandoned ship after little more than a year. Of these, one at least seems to have gone the same way in respect of the Assembly. The point is that were the Conference or Assembly to be in effective existence now - and I don't mind which, so long as it performs its task - it would be providing that strong "second chamber" with a Cornish voice that could not be ignored. For the great achievement of the Conference was that from the outset it brought together a wide range of differing interests - political, social and cultural - and was gaining steadily in stature as it progressed. If the Assembly were doing the same in the critical here and now there would be no complaints, but it's not. So if anybody is mounting an "Assembly Get Well" exercise he'll have my full support.

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