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28.9.08

The Plan - twelve months to renew Britain

For those interested here is an extract from the latest Direct Democracy bulletin.

Three points of interest from the 'plan to renew Britain' that stand out to this Cornish campaigner are devolution, direct democracy and the end of quangos. It all sounds great but I find it hard to believe that the Tories, the party of the establishment, would really implement such radical changes. As with all such grand ideas, in the hands of the three big parties, when it comes to action the result are much watered down.

In the unlikely event that; 1) neither MK or the Greens stand in the Duchy at the next election and; 2) the Tories adopt this 'plan' in full then they'd get my vote. After all they couldn't be much worse than New Labour centralisation and quangos or Lib Dem back stabbing.

With such a decentralised package it's about time the Conservatives engaged with the Cornish identity and seriously challenged the Lib Dem monopoly in Kernow.

The Plan - twelve months to renew Britain

Britain is heading in the wrong direction. The British people are giving up on politics and politicians. Direct Democracy's Daniel Hannan and Douglas Carswell have a plan to:

* Clean up Westminster
* Devolve power to the lowest practicable level
* Make public services work for the people who use them
* Bring foreign and domestic policy back in line with public opinion
* Replace the quango state with genuine democracy
* Refresh our political system through localism and direct democracy

Things do not have to be as they are. With the political will, we can renew Britain.
Buy your copy of The Plan at
http://www.renew-britain.com/

Coverage of The Plan

Writing about The Plan in
the Spectator, Douglas and Daniel argue that we should look back to Jefferson and the birth of the United States of America for the reforms needed to revive our ailing democracy.

Daniel picks out the 10 key themes from The Plan in an article for the
Daily Telegraph.

Read a
review of The Plan by Jesse Norman on Conservativehome.com

As well as receiving warm coverage in The Telegraph, The Spectator and Conservativehome.com, The Plan won loud applause from the more demotic end of the newspaper spectrum. Its publication was the main story in The Daily Star, which gave over page 2 to a piece headlined "BLUEPRINT TO FIX BROKEN BRITAIN". The paper reported: "The bold plans could sweep Mr Cameron, 41, into Downing Street, by giving fed-up voters some much-needed common sense to tackle the nation's rot. New powers would see US-style sheriffs appointed to clean up our crime-ridden cities and towns. Barmy politically correct laws would be binned and the hated Human Rights Act ripped up. The proposals would end Brussels meddling in British affairs and greedy MPs would kiss goodbye to their lavish expenses".

In an editorial, the paper warmly endorsed the book: "Two Tories have come up with a blueprint for Britain's future. And Douglas Carswell and Daniel Hannan get our vote. Their book The Plan: Twelve Months To Renew Britain is full of the sort of common-sense proposals we have been demanding for years. Tory leader David Cameron has been accused of being all style and no substance. He should grab these policies with both hands".

27.9.08

Breizh 44

BREIZH - MASS MEETING ON RE-UNIFICATION ISSUE

Over 10000 people took to the streets of the ancient Breton capital of Naoned/Nantes last Saturday (20th September 2008) to demand the re-unification of Brittany.

The demonstrators - a large proportion of which were young people - were calling for the re-unification of Breizh/Brittany, in addition to increased rights for the Breton language and more legislative powers. Chanting slogans such as "Justice for the Bretons", "One solution: autonomy for Brittany" and "We want it, we'll have it - re-unification", the protesters showed the strength of feeling for re-unification that continues to grow (five years ago a similar demostration attracted 5000 supporters) for this part of the French administrative region of Loire Atlantique, which was cut off from the rest of the Breton nation in 1941.

In the last year there has been growing tension in the French department where Naoned/Nantes and its Breton envrons is currently located. Last November three Breton political activists appeared before a French court in Saint-Nazaire accused of causing vandalism to public property, following a spate of '44=bzh' grafitti (44 is the number given to the Nantes French department). The graffiti appeared on signs where public funded advertising by the President of the French Pays de la Loire region, Jacques Auxiette, attempted to show Loire-Atlantique as the Pays de la Loire region.

There was a festival atmosphere to the demonstration with pipe bands and Breton dancing, with musicians such as Alan Stivel and Jean-Louis Jossic also present. A number of elected officials also took part in the parade, including Jean-Yves Le Drian, President of Brittany, Patrick Mareschal, President of General Advice for Loire-Atlantique and Jean-Louis Jossic, Cultural Assistant to the Mayor of Nantes.

Many activists from Brittany Reunie called for re-unification and Jean-Louis Jossic called for a referendum on the issue. The Union Democratique Bretonne (UDB) also had a large contingent of supporters in Naoned/Nantes for the event. A UDB youth member Gael Briand said: "it's such a good thing that youth of Brittany participated to this demonstration! It means that the cultural movement is getting younger so it's good news for the future... it was also a great success for UDB and UDBy..."

The Celtic League have been a long campaigner of Breton unification. At its 2000 AGM it reiterated its earlier call to reunify the historic Brittany with the resolution:

"This AGM of the Celtic League:

Reiterates its call to the Breton Regional Council and the Department Council of Loire-Atlantique to demand that the French Government re-unify historic Brittany in line with the wishes of the people made clear in recent opinion polls."

J B Moffatt

Director of Information

Celtic League

23/09/08

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.

TEL (UK) 01624 877918
MOBILE (UK) 07624 491609

Internet site at:

http://celticleague.net/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/

Breizh 44

BREIZH - MASS MEETING ON RE-UNIFICATION ISSUE

Over 10000 people took to the streets of the ancient Breton capital of Naoned/Nantes last Saturday (20th September 2008) to demand the re-unification of Brittany.

The demonstrators - a large proportion of which were young people - were calling for the re-unification of Breizh/Brittany, in addition to increased rights for the Breton language and more legislative powers. Chanting slogans such as "Justice for the Bretons", "One solution: autonomy for Brittany" and "We want it, we'll have it - re-unification", the protesters showed the strength of feeling for re-unification that continues to grow (five years ago a similar demostration attracted 5000 supporters) for this part of the French administrative region of Loire Atlantique, which was cut off from the rest of the Breton nation in 1941.

In the last year there has been growing tension in the French department where Naoned/Nantes and its Breton envrons is currently located. Last November three Breton political activists appeared before a French court in Saint-Nazaire accused of causing vandalism to public property, following a spate of '44=bzh' grafitti (44 is the number given to the Nantes French department). The graffiti appeared on signs where public funded advertising by the President of the French Pays de la Loire region, Jacques Auxiette, attempted to show Loire-Atlantique as the Pays de la Loire region.

There was a festival atmosphere to the demonstration with pipe bands and Breton dancing, with musicians such as Alan Stivel and Jean-Louis Jossic also present. A number of elected officials also took part in the parade, including Jean-Yves Le Drian, President of Brittany, Patrick Mareschal, President of General Advice for Loire-Atlantique and Jean-Louis Jossic, Cultural Assistant to the Mayor of Nantes.

Many activists from Brittany Reunie called for re-unification and Jean-Louis Jossic called for a referendum on the issue. The Union Democratique Bretonne (UDB) also had a large contingent of supporters in Naoned/Nantes for the event. A UDB youth member Gael Briand said: "it's such a good thing that youth of Brittany participated to this demonstration! It means that the cultural movement is getting younger so it's good news for the future... it was also a great success for UDB and UDBy..."

The Celtic League have been a long campaigner of Breton unification. At its 2000 AGM it reiterated its earlier call to reunify the historic Brittany with the resolution:

"This AGM of the Celtic League:

Reiterates its call to the Breton Regional Council and the Department Council of Loire-Atlantique to demand that the French Government re-unify historic Brittany in line with the wishes of the people made clear in recent opinion polls."

J B Moffatt

Director of Information

Celtic League

23/09/08

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.

TEL (UK) 01624 877918
MOBILE (UK) 07624 491609

Internet site at:

http://celticleague.net/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/

23.9.08

Cornwall a region of culture, but whose culture?

Following the Independent article -The Big Question: Is there really a Cornish culture, and does it deserve promotion?- I would like to hand over to a friend for comment.

Telemachus writes:

I cannot let the announcement and the subsequent Independent Big Question piece go without serious comment and question, for what comes over is a further denial of true Cornish cultural values and heritage in favour of a concocted [and funded] version being promoted by non-Cornish incomers for the benefit of their own kind. How else are we supposed to interpret the piece's listing of Cornwall's cultural icons? John Opie apart, every one is non-Cornish. Where are Rowse and Causley?; where is Robert Stephen Hawker?; where are Peter Lanyon and George Lloyd?; where are John Harris and Thomas Merritt?; where is Q, a far greater literary figure than Daphne du Maurier and a noted former County Councillor?; where are Cornish wrestling, hurling and gig racing?; where is our great carol tradition?; where is the Cornish Gorsedh and all it stands for? These are just a few of Cornwall's TRUE cultural icons, but significantly they receive no mention. Instead we are told the funding may help to attract new artists and performers, but from where are these seen as coming? If it is meant that support will be given to our own varied and dynamic initiatives then fine. But - noting the quoted icons and other factors - I have a sneaking feeling that the attraction will be aimed at candidates from over the Tamar.

Other factors? Some of us have not forgotten the New Cornish Carol competition, promoted by similar newcomers to celebrate the success of the World Heritage Site bid. Here we were told that an object was to "reintroduce" [sic!] carol singing in Cormish choirs and that this would be done by workshops set up by an imported professional group called Black Voices. Additionally we were told that the St Day Carol was part of the Davies Gilbert collection, which it's not, and most astonishingly of all, that the carol tradition stems from that of wassailing, which emphatically it does not. Utter rubbish, and the authors displayed not only a total ignorance of the Cornish musical scene but also that of the global carol tradition. I have the proposals in writing, as issued by the WHS office - they got into the hands of the press and were later dropped. But the fact that they were made at all speaks volumes, and people were paid to produce them. Meantime those who know about our traditions, and who understand and love them and who could advise if asked, are ignored and left to work on with inadequate resources or no resources at all, acting as they do in the spirit of dedication and service, and with an idealism that is probably incomprehensible to the present-day marketeers.

And why all this emphasis on the value of Cornwall to outsiders? Surely it is the intrinsic importance of our traditions to Cornish people - the Sense of Place - that should matter and be supported? Or are we to become those "Fragments of forgotten peoples" mentioned by Tennyson, when speaking of Cornwall in the Idylls? A tourist attraction so that we can be paraded as curiosities like the Hairy Aineu? Sometimes I do wonder!

Who I wonder is going to benefit from this £350000? Thinking back to Objective One and all its promises, if any comes in the direction of our organisation I'll fall off my chair in astonishment or - like Q's King Jamie "eat ma guid hat-band". Nevertheless you will see I have written what amounts to a tongue-in-cheek note to Ms Bird, to see what happens, and copied it widely to flag up a position. Depending on her reply - and if we are not satisfied, which is the probability - other actions will have to considered, and these may include consultations with yourself and others about appropriate ways forward. I for one am not prepared to go on laying foundations for others who then use our work to seek benefits and advantages for themselves, with no acknowledgement or consideration for those who have done the initial and often patient, time-consuming and expensive work. It would not be so bad if there were indications that the nature and scope of the TRUE Cornish cultural scene was known and understood, but the account as published in the Independent is disgraceful and an insult to Cornish people, seemingly by nouveau arrivestes who appear to have made little or no attempt to explore or grasp the realities of subjects on which they seek to pronounce.

Reverting to the Independent piece, are we to assume that all native Cornish people who care for Cornwall and its future are lumped together as nationalists? Because I for one object very strongly indeed to being placed on the same level as that of the Cornish National Liberation Army [and take great exception to such a statement] but how else are we to interpret the statement that a "host" [sic] of organistions have [sic] sprung up to promote Cornish independence? Who are the members of this "host", and are we included in them? And why all this talk of "independence" anyway? I thought the object was a form of devolution and meaningful REGIONAL government within the United Kingdom and Europe, in a pattern that would recognise and respect Cornwall's unique status and the contribution Cornwall can make to the wider scene AS CORNWALL. The Ms Birds of this world and their hysteria would never get away with such statements in Wales or Scotland, so why should they be allowed to do so here?

And have these people never read the passages relating to Cornwall in the Kilbrandon Royal Commission's Report on the Constitution? Or our own petition to the European Parliament and what it says, for that matter?


_*Further brief thoughts on the article
*_Cornish is a recognised minority language, reecognised by the UK
Government under the terms of the Council of Europe's Charter for
Regional or Minority Languges. Hence the Cornish Language office in
County Hall. Seemingly they can't get even that right.

South Crofty did indeed close a few years back. But it is in process of
reopening and hopes to be producing tin again by next year. And this
despite the furious opposition of the Regional Development Authority.
Three cheers for us!

The fact that businesses are said to be "cashing in" on the popularity
of Cornish says it all and epitomises the nature of a thoughly shallow
and uneducated approach.

John Betjeman was a special case among the imported "icons" because he
saw what was here and recgnised it, and not least the essential
Celticness of Cornwall. It seemed typical that the poem mentioned
related to a golf course but I suggest instead a reading of the highly
perceptive Delectable Duchy:

"Where yonder villa hogs the sea /Was open cliff to you and me. /The
many-coloured cara's fill/ The salty marsh to Shilla Mill......./Now, as
we near the ocean roar,/A smell of deep-fry haunts the shore....../And
on the sand the surf-line lisps /With wrappings of potato
crisps....../And lichened spears of blackthorn glitter/With harvest of
the August litter....../Here in the late October light/See Cornwall, a
pathetic sight, /Raddled and put upon and tired/And looking somewhat
over-hired, /Remembering in the autumn air/The years when she was young
and fair........" Bet the marketeers won't quote THAT one!

Put me very firmly in the quoted "No" lobby.

I could say much more, but time and current circumstances don't permit.
I do suggest most strongly however that the Independent piece - Big
Question: Is there really a Cornish culture and does it deserve
promotion? [Simon Usborne/Miranda Bird, Tuesday 16 September 2008] -
should be read by all who care for Cornwall and Cornish values, with
hopefully many letters to the editor. And, thinking of what we have to
face and its glittering falseness: "I would rather have your plain
russet-coated captain, who knows what he's fighting for and loves what
he knows".

Sorry and all that. Normally I'm a peaceable sort of chap, but............

T.

12.9.08

Communities Combating Climate Change

There are well established links now between Green and Cornish activists in the Duchy. MK and the Green Parties 2005 electoral pact along with the crossover between Cornish and Transition Town activists are just some examples.

With that in mind here is one to please both the Cornish and Green movements.

Minority Rights Group International, who have given some recognition and advice to the Cornish in the past, have jumped into the fight against climate change.

A show of hands for communities combating climate change is their response to date.

Climate change is not just destroying our planet - it is threatening the very survival of communities, cultures and languages.

Click this link and you'll be able to add your voice and incidentally also a bit more publicity for Kernow.

11.9.08

Living off our land

Just to bring to your attention the new book -Living of the State- from long term republican Jon Temple. I'll let the auther give you more details.



A CRITICAL GUIDE TO ROYAL FINANCES . . .


THE NEW BOOK ON ROYAL FINANCE:


Publication date: September 2008


While the economic situation worsens - with rising inflation, house repossessions, increasing income and wealth inequality, and the 'credit crunch' - the British royal family continues to enjoy the good life. Amassing considerable wealth through generations of preferential treatment - necessary, it is claimed, to maintain the 'honour' and 'dignity' of the monarchy - it now costs taxpayers an estimated £160million a year, by far the most expensive monarchy in Europe.


But how exactly is it financed? What is the Civil List? What are 'Grants-in-aid? What precisely are the Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster - whose 'surpluses' provide multi-million pound annual incomes for the Prince of Wales and the Queen - and who really owns them? Is it now time to regulate more strictly the use of the royal 'brand'? Should the Duchy Originals company be able to use the Duchy of Cornwall's coat of arms as a commercial branding insignia? Why has 'charity' become such a key promotional tool for the monarchy? Is it now time for a more appropriate, slimmed-down monarchy?


Poorly regulated by our unwritten constitution, members of the royal family have no legally defined roles. They benefit from large sums of public money and occupy prime public property on favourable terms. Complex and confusingly presented, royal finance is a subject often misunderstood by those who fund this grandiose institution. Financial review is infrequent and our elected MPs are discouraged from debating royal matters - especially money.


Here at last are the answers - in the critical guide to British royal finances: 'LIVING OFF THE STATE'.


Now you can learn exactly how the Windsor family is financed by millions of pounds of British taxpayer's money. This a book for any British taxpayer, and above all those - both in Great Britain and also around the world - with an interest in the British royal family.

7.9.08

The Cornish Fighting Fund is launched

Back in August 2007 Our Kingdom published the article -You can't write us out of existence- which described the strength of feeling for the Cornish identity coupled with the unusually pig headed attitude of government in giving us any form of recognition. 

This stubborn behavior stretches from refusing devolution even when presented with proof of a popular demand to providing a long list of contradictory reasons why the Cornish should not be included in the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCPNM).

The Convention deals with a plethora of minority rights issues ranging from non-discrimination, equality before the law, the avoidance of assimilation and the promotion, through educational and other programs, of the minority identity, language, history and culture. The inclusion of the Cornish within the Convention has been the objective of the pressure group Cornwall 2000 and Cornish activist John Angarrack since the late 90's.

The months surrounding the release of Angarracks' latest book -Scat t’Larrups? Resist and Survive (reviewed here)- have seen a flurry of activity in Cornish circles culminating on the 5th of this month with the opening of a Cornish Fighting Fund, the intention being to mount a legal challenge against the governments decision to exclude the Cornish from recognition within the terms of the Convention.

Quoted from the CFF website:

The purpose of the fund is to pay much of the costs involved in pursuing a legal action against the UK Government. The action is necessary after government’s constant, dogmatic and wholly irrational, refusal to include the Cornish within an international treaty designed to, among other things, introduce educational pluralism in their traditional homeland and thus bring to an end the forced assimilation of the Cornish people. That treaty is the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. Please study this short summary of the situation and help us take the steps necessary to secure, among other things, equal educational opportunity for all pupils in Cornish schools.

It should be asked why there is such intransigence from the government in the first place? Why have we come to legal blows? Angarrack and others suggest that the unresolved constitutional status of Cornwall plays a key role in paralyzing any progress, but what is certain is that the Duchy is only one in a long list of undemocratic and unaccountable bodies who hold sway in Kernow.

1.9.08

Fuel Poverty Linked to Winter Deaths

A release from the Celtic League below which illustrates nicely the social side to their work. It is an issue all the more serious in Cornwall which, as is well known, compares to parts of Eastern Europe for relative poverty levels.

Now as the global economy starts to look a little shaky on its legs will we see Cornwall and the English regions left high and dry as capital retracts to London?

Devolution for Cornwall NOW!

CELTIC LEAGUE - PRESS INFORMATION

FUEL POVERTY LINKED TO EXCESS WINTER DEATHS SAY WHO

A 2007 report (See link A) from the World Health Organisation (WHO)which found that fuel poverty is linked to increased winter deaths amongst vulnerable groups is sure to reinforce concerns voiced by NGOs in several areas of the British Isles over increased fuel costs. Various charitable groups including The Society of St Vincent de Paul and Institute of Public Health (Ireland), Age Concern (Isle of Man) and a range of Elderly and Low income groups in the UK have already given ominous warnings of the pressures the coming months will bring for low income groups.

The WHO report was compiled before the latest dramatic increases in the costs of gas, electricity and heating oil which gives its conclusions even greater relevance. More recently a further global report on social inequality by the WHO (See link B) said "It is shocking that in an economically rich country such as the Republic of Ireland, a remarkable 17% of households are fuel poor". Given the economic comparator often drawn between Ireland and the Isle of Man this observation must have crucial relevance for the Manx government also.

The 2007 WHO report (A) looked at ten European countries ranging from economically underdeveloped states such as Lithuania and Slovenia to Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom. The reports conclusions were startling. In relation to Ireland it said that whilst "the rate of fuel poverty has fallen from 31.9% in 1995 to 19.7% in 2000. Nevertheless. ...excess winter deaths in Ireland are still among the highest in the EU."

There were similar concerns voiced about the UK with the report (A) saying that "there were still over 2 million fuel-poor households in the UK in 2003, with additional 1.5 million ‘vulnerable’ households." It also said that "excess winter deaths continue to be higher in the UK than the EU average."

Whilst the report (A) points out the numbers of people in the fuel poverty bracket in both states had declined during the period of the survey it is now generally accepted that throughout the British Isles because of the savage increases in fuel costs imposed by utilities that more people will be in fuel poverty by this winter than at any time since statistics started to be compiled.

A fuel poor household is defined as one that needs to spend more than 10% of its income to heat its home to an adequate standard of warmth (21°C in the living room and 18°C in the other occupied rooms, as recommended by the WHO). Both the UK and Ireland adopt this standard and it is clear that many families in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Isle of Man will have to spend considerably more than the 10% benchmark to meet expected energy charges this winter.

Finally, report (B) also illustrates that governments action can significantly impact on poverty and deprivation recording that "in Nordic countries fiscal policy leads to a much lower prevalence of poverty than in the United Kingdom". This section concludes that "Policy matters".

LINK A:
WHO 10 COUNTRY REPORT

LINK B:
WHO GLOBAL REPORT

Links here to earlier Celtic League articles on poverty and low incomes
in Britain, Ireland and the Isle of Man:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/2744
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/2662
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/2480
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/2470
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/2043
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/1639
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/1503
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/1146
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/460


J B Moffatt
Director of Information
Celtic League

30/08/08