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26.10.08

Cornwall and the Credit Crunch

The Party for Cornwall is committed to a just and fair society. We believe that effective public intervention is needed to combat poverty, tackle social deprivation and fight for the disadvantaged. We will strive to build strong inclusive communities with free and equal access to well-funded education, healthcare and welfare services, run for the benefit of everyone.

From Mebyon Kernows' core values.


I can remember poorly defending the economic policies of Mebyon Kernow on Cornwall 24 against various conservatives and born again Nu Labour neo-liberals, but has the credit crunch and subsequent flurry of state interventionism vindicated MKs stance? Common were the mocking attacks on MKs 'outdated socialist policies', but don't these criticisms just seem a little hollow now? Perhaps they were nothing more than the wrong headed protestations of the last of Thatcher’s’ followers.

With governments around the globe stepping in to nationalize banks in order to prevent total economic meltdown and plans afoot to re-found capitalism, Keynesian economics seems to be back with avengeance. Certainly the Nobel Peace Prize for Economics going to Paul Krugman is a strong statement in favor of limited government intervention in the economy.

Perhaps we cannot find fault with Priminister Browns handling of the current crisis but we can certinaly criticise New Labours’ and the Conservatives’, up until recently that is, fixation with total economic liberalism and the financial industry.

Labour crowing that the crisis is a strong argument against Scottish Independence also rings of desperate opportunism considering it is partly due to their policies, and not those of Plaid, the SNP or MK, that have dropped us all in the shite.

18.10.08

Isles of Scilly Link Project

Please find below a copy of a question received from Neil Plummer to be answered at County Council on 7 October 2008 by Matt McTaggart, Strategic Planning and Transport Portfolio-Holder:-

I realise that links between the Isles of Scilly and the mainland are an important economic and strategic service to maintain, however, in many ways the Islanders still live in a feudal society – many tenants will never have the same rights as those on the mainland.

The Scillies are owned entirely by the Duke of Cornwall and sub let by the Duchy of Cornwall and it is often alleged that this estate is a private business.

This being said, I believe that the people of Cornwall and the taxpayers are being asked to fund the Isles of Scilly Link Project i.e. public money is being spent on subsidising the private business of the Duchy of Cornwall at a disproportionate level, especially when the Duchy of Cornwall is recording high levels of income.

Will you identify how much the Duchy of Cornwall will fund the Isles of Scilly Link Scheme, including the percentage of the total to be spent and why this total is justifiably so low when the Duchy of Cornwall is a private business earning very high levels of income?

I have heard that the grant from state tax payers is £23.84 million but would be interested to know how much the Cornwall County Council taxpayers will be contributing.

I am not criticising the need for the Link Scheme but only that the Duchy of Cornwall being the main beneficiary to their business should pay more towards the scheme, especially when they make so much profit each year.

Reply: David Whalley (in the absence of Matt McTaggart)

The Isles of Scilly inhabitants do not live in a feudal society. The Duchy of Cornwall is regulated in law by Acts of Parliament and the Duchy tenants have the same rights as those on the mainland. The only exception relates to some of the off islands and ‘The Garrison’ on St.Mary’s where the Government decided for heritage purposes to retain the land in a single ownership.

Of the 1150 residential properties on the Isles of Scilly only 350 are owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, the 70% majority is in freehold ownership.

The £23.84m proposed funding for the harbour works at Penzance and St.Mary’s has been conditionally approved by the Department for Transport. This is a central government investment to sustain the community and economy of the Isles of Scilly and West Penwith.

If the Duchy of Cornwall was to contribute capital to the project for St.Mary’s quay improvements its only source is the Treasury. The Treasury would seek a return on that investment requiring increased harbour dues and costs to Duchy tenants. This would be contrary to the fundamental reasons for the project.

The Duchy of Cornwall operates the St.Mary’s harbour at a loss. It subsidises the harbour from its revenue accounts for the benefit of all islanders not just the 30% who are Duchy tenants.

The current development stage of the project is estimated to cost £1.5m. Of that the Department for Transport will (on Full Approval) reimburse up to £0.75m, Duchy have committed £0.5m and Penwith District Council £0.1m. The County Council has committed £0.15m and at the Executive on 5 March 2008 approved Prudential borrowing to fund the DfT contribution until it is reimbursed. The Duchy of Cornwall is therefore the second largest funder, after DfT, contributing 33% of the development cost.

The County Council Executive has approved no funding towards the harbour works which is why the design team is working hard to ensure the cost of the works is within the DfT budget. The County Council has approved the principle of Prudential borrowing towards the capital cost of the new vessel for which the interest and capital payments will be recovered through the charter of the vessel to an operator, secured through competitive tender.

14.10.08

FUEN and YEN participating in the conference on the occasion of the 10 years anniversary of the Framework Convention in Strasbourg

On the occasion of the 10 years anniversary of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities on 9-10 October 2008 a conference took place at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg under the theme "Enhancing the impact of the Framework Convention: Past Experience, Present Achievements and Future Challenges", in which representatives of FUEN (Federal Union of European Nationalities and YEN (Youth of European Nationalities) as well as of their member organisations were participating. Read more here.

Preparatory meeting of the European Dialogue Forum

Prior to the conference the representatives of the autochthonous, national minorities had a meeting of the autochthonous, national minorities in the European Dialogue Forum in Strasbourg/Kehl. The European Dialogue Forum is the contact body of the European minorities at the European Parliament. The first constitutive session of the European Dialogue Forum with the members of the European Parliament was prepared. This meeting will take place in December 2008 in Brussels. Read more here.

12.10.08

Sustainable Communities Act update

TAKE ACTION - WRITE TO YOUR COUNCILLORS TODAY!



We need people to write to their councillors today to put pressure on them to opt-in to the act. Over on the Unlock Democracy website you will find all the information you need, including information about the Act itself, reasons why councils should "opt-in" and a sample letter (although we encourage you to write to them in your own words as it will be more effective). It should only take you a few minutes to write to them and if enough people do it, they will make a huge different.

The Sustainable Communities Act came about because of a five year campaign built by ordinary people. As it happens, it could not have come at a more crucial time. If you want a say in how your local community should adapt to the changing economic circumstances caused by the global financial meltdown, make sure you write to your councillors today.


Historic coalition launches call for councils to seize opportunity to demand new powers


Credit crunch makes "opting in" to Sustainable Communities Act crucial, says Unlock Democracy

Today (14 October), Hazel Blears will invite councils to ‘opt in’ to the Sustainable Communities Act. 57 of the UK's leading voluntary and representative organisations, from the Association of Chief Police Officers to the Campaign for Real Ale, have written to the leaders and chief executives of every council in England today, asking them to seize this opportunity. Their letter will be unveiled today by Unlock Democracy Campaigns Director at a special conference about the Act being held by the Local Government Association in Westminster.

The Act enables councils and their communities working co-operatively to get government help to assist them in reversing the decline of local services, dealing with fuel poverty, protecting the environment and obtaining greater involvement in civic activity. As part of the process they will also be able to formally request specific powers, currently held by national government, to be devolved to them. Government then has a legal duty to reach agreement with councils and the Local Government Association on how it will help them.

Welcoming Hazel Blears' invitation to councils, Unlock Democracy's Campaigns Director Ron Bailey said:

"The Sustainable Communities Act could not have come at a more crucial time. The global economic downturn will have a huge impact on our local communities. The government's own advisers predict that recession will lead to a rise in criminal activity. Local high streets are likely to be decimated as stores are forced to close.

"If local communities are to weather this storm, they will need far more autonomy than they currently have. Local people are the experts on the problems of their areas and the solutions to them. Yet currently they are at the complete mercy of the global stock exchange. The Sustainable Communities Act will give real power to local people to protect and revive their areas."

Director of Unlock Democracy Peter Facey added:

"The Sustainable Communities Act is a unique piece of legislation. It became law as a result of an unprecedented bottom up campaign and creates an unprecedented bottom up way of redressing the creeping centralisation of successive governments. People have never felt more alienated from those who make decisions that affect their daily lives. Councils must opt into the Act to begin the fight back."

Originally a Private Members Bill introduced by Nick Hurd MP, the Sustainable Communities Act became law last November with full support from the Government and the Conservative and Liberal Democrat front benches. Then local government minister Phil Woolas described it as one of the most significant Private Members Bills of the past 40 years and said it could change the face of British politics.

The full text of the letter sent to local authority leaders and chief executives, including the list of signatories, can be found at the end of this news release.

ENDS

Notes:

Unlock Democracy (incorporating Charter 88) is the UK's leading campaign for democracy, rights and freedoms. Local Works, the campaign which coordinated support for the Sustainable Communities Bill, is now a part of Unlock Democracy. http://www.unlockdemocracy.org.uk/?page_id=537.
More details about the LGA Conference Selecting sustainability: the launch of the Sustainable Communities Act can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/4eqv9h
PHIL WOOLAS QUOTE

Summing up in the debate during the third reading of the Sustainable Communities Act on 15 June 2007, Local Government Minister Phil Woolas said:

"In the past 40 years, three Members have passed private Members' Bills of significant substance through this House. The first was Sidney Silverman, whose Bill led to the abolition of capital punishment in this country, and the second was the right hon. David Steel, whose Bill led to this country's abortion laws. Many other Members have got private Members' Bills through—indeed, I got one through in 1997. It took me about 10 minutes because it was a handout Bill and nobody noticed it. The hon. Member for Ruislip-Northwood has had to spend months getting his Bill through.

"I genuinely believe that the Bill will change the relationships in British politics. I do not think that it will achieve everything that the promoter and sponsors claim for it, but it will change the relationships. Although it will not grab the headlines as much as Sidney Silverman's Bill or David Steel's, it will contribute enormously to British politics, and I am proud to be the Minister who helped it through Parliament."

Source:
http://tinyurl.com/3w9yz6
TEXT OF LETTER TO LOCAL AUTHORITY LEADERS AND CHIEF EXECUTIVES

As organisations that supported the campaign for the Sustainable Communities Act we write to ask you to please ‘opt in’ to the new process in the Act when invited to by central government this October.

The Act deals with a major problem – the ongoing decline of local shops, services, jobs, economic activity and communities. Important as this is, there is no concerted action by central government to assist councils in stopping Ghost Town Britain (as it has been called) and promote the opposite – communities and high streets that are vibrant and sustainable. The Sustainable Communities Act fills this vacuum – and even more importantly, in such a way that allows councils themselves to drive the ways in which government can help to reverse the decline, because the Act gives government a duty to assist councils (i.e. not the usual top down imposition of yet more duties on you!).

In short,

The Act enables you to put forward proposals to government on how it can help you promote ‘local sustainability’.*
All councils’ ideas will then be collated and prioritised by the Local Government Association (i.e. by your representative body, not by ‘Whitehall’).
The government is then under a duty to ‘reach agreement’ with the Local Government Association on the implementation of your suggestions. This is not just another consultation exercise: it is the very first attempt at ‘bottom-up’ government.
Additionally, the Act requires the government, for the first time, to publish a local breakdown of all public spending. You will then have the power to request and argue for centrally controlled public spending, and its related function, to be transferred to local control.

So, as we are sure you will agree, this Act presents new and exciting opportunities for you. Enclosed is a briefing giving more detail on how the Act works, the benefits and further reasons why you should choose to use it and also a draft motion for you to put before the council.

We, and our members who live in your communities, are very keen to be part of the new process in the Sustainable Communities Act. This is an opportunity to engage citizens in governance. We hope you choose to use it.

Yours sincerely,

James Lowman, Chief Executive, ACS – Association of Convenience Stores
Mike Benner, Chief Executive, CAMRA – the Campaign for Real Ale
Michael Lake, Director General, Help the Aged
Mike Jeram, National Secretary, UNISON
Mark Serwotka, General Secretary, Public and Commercial Services Union
Naresh Purohit, National President, National Federation of Retail Newsagents
George Thomson, General Secretary, National Federation of SubPostmasters
Fay Mansell, Chair, National Federation of Women’s Institutes
Gordon Lishman, Director General, Age Concern
Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive, NCVO – National Council of Voluntary Organisations
Billy Hayes, General Secretary, Communication Workers Union
Peter Marks, Chief Executive, Co-operative Group
Andy Atkins, Executive Director, Friends of the Earth
John Sauven, Executive Director, Greenpeace
John Wright, Chairman, FSB – Federation of Small Businesses
Andy Sawford, Chief Executive, Local Government Information Unit
Peter Facey, Director, Unlock Democracy
Ken Jones, President, Association of Chief Police Officers
Paul McKeever, Chairman, Police Federation of England and Wales
Ian Johnston, President, Police Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales
John Findlay, Chief Executive, National Association of Local Councils
Lesley-Anne Alexander, Chief Executive, Royal National Institute for the Blind
Adam Sampson, Chief Executive, Shelter
Michael Gelling, Chair, TAROE – Tenants and Residents Organisations of England
James Cathcart, Chief Executive, British Youth Council
Andrew Warren, Director, ACE – Association for the Conservation of Energy
Judy Lin-Wong, Director, Black Environment Network
David Harker, Chief Executive, Citizens Advice
Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, President, Country Land and Business Association
Simon Hart, Chief Executive, Countryside Alliance
Jheni Williams, Executive Director, Federation of Black Housing Organisations
Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary General, Muslim Council of Great Britain
Andrew Pakes, Co-Chair, SERA – Socialist Environment and Resources Association
Nick Wood-Dow, Chair, Tory Green Initiative
Adam Carew, Chair, Green Lib Dems
Richard Mallender, Chair, Green Party
Frank Cooper, President, National Pensioners’ Convention
Sam Clarke, Network for Social Change
Patrick Holden, Director, Soil Association
Sue Holden, Chief Executive, Woodland Trust
Myles Bremner, Chief Executive, Garden Organic
Sylvia Brown, Chief Executive, ACRE – Action with Communities in Rural England
Ben Hughes, Chief Executive, British Association of Settlements and Social Action Centres
Stephen Joseph, Executive Director, Campaign for Better Transport
Paul Bodenham, Chair, Christian Ecology Link
David Tyler, Chief Executive, Community Matters – National Federation of Community Organisations
Dave Sowden, Chief Executive, Micropower Council
Stewart Wallis, Executive Director, New Economics Foundation
Tanya Kenny, Co-ordinator, Food Justice
Tony Armstrong, Chief Executive, Living Streets
Kenneth Parsons, Chief Executive, Rural Shops Alliance
Julian Grocock, Chief Executive, SIBA – The Society of Independent Brewers
Ron Bailey, Partnership Organiser, Sustainable Energy Partnership
Phil Morgan, Chief Executive, TPAS – Tenant Participation Advisory Service
Eileen Devaney, National Co-ordinator, UK Coalition Against Poverty
Jenny Saunders, Chief Executive, National Energy Action
Jessica Mitchell, Director, Food Commission
Pat Thomas, Editor, The Ecologist

* Defined in the Act as ‘the improvement of the economic, social or environmental well-being of the authority’s area’ whereby ‘“social well-being” includes participation in civic and political activity’.

5.10.08

Support the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

In the latest news bulletin to be received from the European Network Against Racism I found the invitation below to NGOs involved in minority rights to voice their support for the Council of Europes Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities


I'm sure there are a few Cornish organisations that would be happy to voice support for the FCPNM and who knows, if all goes well, we could soon have a very direct interest in it. Sign the NGO Declaration on the Impact of the FCPNM

The Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCPNM) is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. On this occasion, a conference is organised aimed at assessing the impact of this premier legal instrument for the protection of minority rights in Europe. The conference 'Assessing the Impact of the Framework Convention: Past Experience, Present Achievements and Future Challenges' will be held in Strasbourg from 9-10 October 2008.

An important component of this conference is the participation of NGOs who over the past decade have carried out work on the promotion and strengthening of the implementation of the Framework Convention.

Some 32 minority rights NGOs from the Council of Europe area have worked together and drafted a Declaration on the impact of the Framework Convention. The document will be presented at the Conference. The purpose of the Declaration is to provide a strong NGO perspective on the FCPNM's impact to date, how implementation can be strengthened, ratification expanded and greater impact secured in the future. The Declaration contains specific recommendations for a variety of stakeholders involved with the Framework Convention such as the Advisory Committee, the Council of Ministers, CoE Member States, as well as civil society organizations.

Please find the NGO Declaration in the attachment*

In order to make this document as strong as possible, we hope that other minority rights NGOs, beyond the original group which prepared the text, will join this initiative. If you support the Declaration and would like your organisation to be among its signatories, please send an email by 7 October to FCNM.conference@mrgmail.org

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

With best regards,


Human Rights Law Officer (Europe)
Minority Rights Group International
54 Commercial Street
London E1 6LT
United Kingdom
Tel. +44 (0)20 7422 4217
Fax. +44 (0)20 7422 4201

http://www.minorityrights.org/

Please note the attachment mentioned above can be found at the bottom of this web page :Click Here

4.10.08

After Greatness, everybody is small:- an essay by Tom Nairn

An essay from Tom Nairn. Wouldn't it be refreshing to see some of our Cornish academics producing similar literary dynamite? More of his work can be found here on the Open Democracy website.

In Nations and Nationalism Ernest Gellner compiled a celebrated and very influential story based on his own family and personal experiences: the supposedly typical transition from ‘Megalomania’ to assorted ‘Ruritanias’ (like the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bosnia, etc.). In other areas, Catalonia, Scotland, East Timor, Quebec, Ireland, and so on, have joined (or are still joining) during what he baptised as the age of nationalism.[1] He argued that this transition was neither willful nor avoidable, under the general circumstances of industrialization, increasingly global commerce, and market-formation. ‘Ruritanians’ (in effect, most populations around the globe enjoying what he called the ‘characteristic anthropological equipment’) found themselves driven towards statehood by the tensions of general development, which could not help being ‘unequal’ — that is, led by privileged zones and followed (either eagerly or resentfully) by the less well-placed, smaller or (for a time) ‘assimilable’ ethnies. Human cultural diversity (also a given) was far too great for any other solution to work in the longer term, as distinct from transient empires like the French, British, Austro-Hungarian, Great-German, Russian/Soviet, American or Chinese — the ‘Megalomanias’ of early-modern history, each one driven by over-reaching delusions and (usually) military ambitions inseparable from violent conflict, defeat and downfall. [2]

Though the number of new-national states was far less than that of background ethnies, it was sufficient to constitute the modern state-system of international relations, currently around two hundred (with quite a number still in formation). Gellner liked to underline how few nation-states had taken advantage of nationalism, compared to the thousands of ‘potential nations’ prior species-evolution had set going. However, he overdid the irony: not only are there plenty still being created, the process has also generated a number of ‘misfits’.

And globalization has thus far been cramped and distorted by such left-overs. That is, the residual areas and populations of ex-Megalomanes forced to abandon Bigger-is-Better, but without (so far) discovering any coherent alternative. Ex-heartlands like ‘Spain’ (Castile-Aragon), ‘England’ (United Kingdom minus its archipelago peripheries), hexagonal ‘France’ as distinct from the Bretons, Occitans and Savoiards, peninsular ‘Italy’ (famously distinct from actual ‘Italians’), Federal-Russians deprived of some of their ‘other Russias’, and Americans less concerned with leading and inspiring Mankind (along the lines favoured by Presidential candidate Obama).

Over-addicted to Greatness, such light-house populations (and above all their intellectual elites) find (e.g.) ‘little Spain’, ‘little England’, ‘isolationist’ USA etc. uninspiring. They can’t be, or seriously imitate, Ruritanias (formerly despised and mocked); Big-Lad scale-domination is no longer possible; so what version of self-government will make sense for them? The candidate that imposes itself is something like “Hanging On”, or the upkeep of appearances and discernible status, as far as possible: willful eternalization of the (relatively) recent past, when We counted for Something. What exactly? Well, if uncertainty threatens on this front, history can always be re-invented to suit (as Ruritanian intellos showed, in their day). Premier Gordon Brown has made such new-old thought a speciality, and strives to put it into practice. Umberto Eco has provided other amusing illustrations in his Putting the Clock Back. Being practical is what matters: the stable continuity of realistic scale and presence, not letting things get ‘out of hand’.[3] Security-Council rules, all the time, albeit with a safely economic bias demonstrating consciousness of ‘The Poor’ (for whom so much remains to be done).

Naturally, Globalization has been interpreted and where possible exploited by these hanging-on theatres . Suitable emphasis has to be placed on the ideology of national interest, standing, ‘achievements’ etc., ideally assisted by safe warfare, permitting emotional mobilization without too much risk of calamity, or enduring commitment: ‘surges’ are good, colonial-seeming permanence is bad. Ordinariness, smallness, non-significance, being ‘just another’ country like the so-and-so’s: that’s the destiny to be avoided at all costs. The formation of ‘Europe’ via first the Maastricht and now the Lisbon Treaties has been that of a ‘shadow’ stuffed-shirt or left-over-land, safely dominated by former big lads, either defeated or of pensionable age, and now sadly unable to keep it up on their own. This is what the Irish voters (like French and Dutch ones earlier) are against: of course they do not trust ‘Them’. They want a democratic confederation, not an old boy’s pseudo-federal club — we don’t yet know which side Gellner’s Czech Republic will come down on.

The United Kingdom under Thatcher and then Blair/Brown (1979-2010) is illustrative of the mainstream trend. The debate about ‘English nationalism’ has shown how it works in practice: preservation of the system behind a smoke-screen of think-tank-British ‘civic’ this and that.[4] Fred Halliday’s ‘sequestration’ thesis depicts how the ex-great manoeuvre to maintain possession and status, as responsible pillars of an ‘international community’ whose tenure must not be farther disturbed or upset: early-modern democracy where possible, authoritarianism where not (and in fact, the former tends to need ever-larger doses of the latter, as Bush, Zapatero, Sarkozy and Blair-Brown have all acknowledged). It is stuffed-shirt rule that remains sacred, often reinforced by be-medalled-tunic rule. The resultant international climate has proved favorable to rule by Generals, from Turkey to Taiwan, Burma and Zimbabwe — often with Generals ostensibly, if slowly, ‘moving towards’ representative government (though the latter may become dispensable as Chinese and New-Russian influences increase).

What megalomane populations need is a much stronger dose of their own medicine: the ‘democracy’ once deemed implicit in the History that refused to end in 1990. Before that, metropolitan intellectuals were always keen to persuade ethnic and other dissenters they should be practical. Wouldn’t you ordinary ‘little guys’ be better off in a larger unit than in a romantic dreamland (etc.)? Well, surely it’s time to turn such pragmatism on themselves. The ex-megalomanes will sooner or later have to think of their own smaller futures, as English, little-Russian, North Italians, or whatever. In relation to globality, everybody is rather small, even the Chinese. It can no longer be perceived as something following capitalist evolution, or naturally ‘building itself up’ via a more prosperous and self-conscious bourgeoisie. Authoritarian capitalism seems quite capable of fostering a middle class aspiring to lead and rule simultaneously, by self-reproduction of authority (whether via a Party, or other institutional vehicles). Nations no longer need an inherited rabble, ‘mobilized’ by ethnic (or would-be ethnic, or pseudo-ethnic) solidarity: that corresponded to Gellner’s conception of forced scale, the accompaniment of first-round industrialization. Second-round (post-Cold War, ‘globalized’) industrialization and re-industrialization needs no such demographic phenomenon.

Gellner’s first-round theory showed how a specific scale was imposed by initial industrialization: what counted was the formation of markets, and the internal cohesion and communicative culture these demanded. That scale was below that of older dynastic imperia, but far above that of inherited ethno-linguistic groups and city-states. The resultant crystallization of new units (‘nation-states’) was ‘suitable for the conditions now prevailing’, and of course made use of ‘inheritances from the pre-nationalist world’ to determine the new norm for ‘the legitimacy of political units in the modern world’. [5] However, those conditions no longer prevail in quite the same way: this is a good deal of what ‘globalization’ means. The ‘accepted standard’ never entirely prevailed, and today does so less and less. The relatively bigger scale governing formation of both markets and cultures is ceding ground both to global homogeneities and to smaller units of identification and action. This was what Jerry Muller suggested in a recent Foreign Affairs article, ‘
Us and Them’ (March-April 2008). By July-August the US homogeneity-gang was forced to answer with a justification of bigness-is-better. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice came to the rescue with ‘Rethinking the National Interest’, backed up by some academic pundits of exceptionalism. And Muller has replied, claiming that ‘recognizing the enduring power of ethnic nationalism...offers a more realistic appreciation of the dilemmas that will continue to arise in the 21st century’.

As for the rabbles, they can be left to their own devices, as recommended in a new policy tract from Policy Exchange, a UK conservative think tank.[6] Forget about the post-industrial wasteland populations, is the new message. If they can’t get their own act together and claim independence, well, let them migrate. Non-organized immigrant labour forces are more malleable, and canalizable through discipline and function alone. They will fit far better into a globe where the majority is already urbanized. Gellner saw self-organization and mobilization as the answer: the national-identity, new-state riposte. Today’s alternative is to join the migrants, and head for what one might call cell-phone multiculturalism. Once one is better-off in practical terms, roots can be nostalgically cultivated: watered but not politically mobilized. The world is becoming ‘Roseland’ writ large. Whose metropolis it is now matters less: does it really matter if it’s England’s, or Britain’s, or Europe’s Londinium? Give me your mobile number when you decide; I’ll call back and leave my mobile number on yours.

Notes

1 The most recent edition of Nations and Nationalism is from Blackwell Publishing (2006), with an introduction by John Breuilly. See especially ‘A Note on the Weakness of Nationalism’ and ‘Wild and Garden Cultures’, pp. 42-51.

2 On possible origins of human societal diversity, the most interesting recent work has been done by Peter Richerson and Robert Boyd: see ‘Built for Speed, Not For Comfort: Darwinian Theory and Human Culture’, in History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 23 (2001); and also their book The Origin and Evolution of Cultures (O.U.P. 2005). Another essay on ‘The Pleistocene and the Origins of Human Culture’ relates the theory interestingly to the current theme of climate change — albeit to global Ice Age cooling, rather than to the present warming.

4 See for example David Goodhart’s
Progressive Nationalism: Citizenship and the Left (Demos, May 2006).

5 Nations and Nationalism (Blackwell edition, 2006) ‘The Transition to an Age of Nationalism’, p.48.

6
Cities Unlimited: Making Urban Regeneration Work, by Tim Leunig and James Swaffield (Aug. 2008). Though previously described as David Cameron’s favored think-tank, to his credit the Conservative Leader described this particular report as ‘insane’.