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Saving ourselves then?

Considering our illustrious world leaders can't git their bleedy acts together it looks like it's up to us to save ourselves.

Lets start with Kernow and hope other nations & regions around the world do the same.


The DotKer campaign for a top level domain name for Kernow has already been mentioned here a number of times. This article from the company AusRegistry should be of interest to all who support the campaign. Some reasons as to why we need a .ker domain name can be found here.

Kernow Bank

Banking with identity is taking off for the Breton's and Breton diaspora. Breizh Banque is an internet banking service aimed at the residents of Brittany as well as expats. Bretons anywhere in the world can now invest their money and in doing so support the Breton economy. A simple and effective idea made possible by the internet. Could a Kernow Bank internet banking facility be opened for the residents of Cornwall and the Cornish diaspora?

Cornish Co-operatives 

Considering the United Nations proclamation that 2012 will be the International Year of Co-operatives why not take the opportunity to promote co-operative ventures in Kernow. The Social Economy and Co-operative Development Cornwall Limited, a Co-operative Development Body based in Cornwall, also known as Kabin, is one potential starting point for interested parties. More on what Kabin do can be found here.


On a different but connected note -Entrepreneurs Keep the Local Food Movement Hot- is a great article from Business Week that covers the re-localisation of food production and how this can play a much more critical role in economic development than commonly thought. Mebyon Kernow's Cornish Diet campaign, Slow Food Cornwall and Transition Cornwall seem to be good and timely ideas indeed.

New Economics Institute

Finally two economics think-thanks, the E. F. Schumacher Society and the New Economics Foundation, both excellent, have announced that they will be collaborating on the creation of the New Economics Institute. Surely a project that all in the Cornish movement will want to keep a close eye on.

They write:

For thirty years the programs of the E. F. Schumacher Society have been supported by its visionary members, engaged partners with staff, volunteers, and board of directors. The New Year will see a transition of the organization into the New Economics Institute (www.neweconomicsinstitute.org), merging the strengths of the New Economics Foundation of London with the history of theory and innovation of the E. F. Schumacher Society a broader context for our local programs, a deeper influence on public discussion.


Cornish Demarchy?

I had hoped for a response from the campaign -Newid- before writing this post but none has been forthcoming so here goes anyway.

Newid is proposing a government for Wales based on the principles of Demarchy. Their blog can be found here and an article on their project can be found here on the OurKingdom site: Demarchy – can the people rule?

Demarchy is a system by which ordinary citizens are selected at random to form citizens' juries that decide issues of public policy. Exactly as a jury is chosen for a criminal case but this time constituted to govern the country.

A party campaigning for a system that will kill off political parties! That's got have something going for it.


Much much more from the Hart!

What a breath of fresh air Graham Harts column is compared to the usual stale and rank exhalations we are used to from the likes of the mock 'Skipper' or fake 'Piran Pascoe'.

Click on an article for an enlarged dose of Hart ;-)

Can I suggest GH that one day you mention our often forgotten brothers and sisters across the pond in Brittany. Kernow hag Breizh bys vyken!


From One Kernow

The Celtic League complains to EHRC

The Celtic League complains to EHRC


The Kernow Branch has written to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to bring to their attention a race relations issue that the branch say has been brought to their attention by individuals in Kernow/Cornwall over the last few years. Iwan Le Moine told the Regional Advisor for the EHRC that the branch had been contacted a number of times regading "derogatory and/or insulting" comments about the Cornish in newspapers, magazines and radio. Mr Le Moine points out that the resources of the branch are not large enough to "deal with these complaints effectively and feel that an organisation like the Equality and Human Rights Commission and/or the Council for Racial Equality in Cornwall (CREC) should be doing this on behalf of the public."

At the 2009 Celtic League AGM in Kernow, a resolution was passed condemning the use of insulting terms against the Cornish in the media, internet and elsewhere and called upon the EHRC and CREC to help tackle this. On 1st December the General Secretary of the league, attended a meeting of CREC, who are currently engaged in a process of reorganisation in order to formalise structure and working of the organisation after a period of inactivity.

The full text of the letter to the EHRC can be found below.

Qaiser Razzak
Regional Advisor
Equality and Human Rights Commission
22 November 2009

Dear Qaiser,

Condemnation of use of the word `inbred' to describe the Cornish

I am writing to you on behalf of the Celtic League to ask that you offer support for a resolution that was passed unanimously at our annual general meeting (agm) held in Truro, Cornwall on 18th July 2009.

The resolutions states:

"That the Celtic League utterly condemns the frequently used description of Cornish nationals as `inbred', amongst other insulting phrases, in the media, on the internet and elsewhere, and calls upon the Equality and Human Rights Commission, as well as the Council for Racial Equality in Cornwall to join us in taking action to tackle this outrage."

In addition, over the last few years a number of individuals have contacted our branch to complain about various comments and articles that have been written in newspapers, magazines and aired on the radio referring to the Cornish as `inbred' and being generally derogatory and/or insulting. This refers to comments made by individuals, as well as from sources on the internet, but a surprising number also come from supposedly well respected sources, such as the BBC (Radio), The Times newspaper (London), The Western Morning News, The Guardian newspaper, The Spectator and the website of Imperial College, University of London.

Over the past few years, the Celtic League (the organisation and branch) have written a number of letters to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), calling for action against different newspapers, in whose pages comments deriding and/or insulting the Cornish have appeared. However, in each case the PCC have explained to us that there is nothing they can or will do.

The Kernow Branch has very limited resources to deal with these complaints effectively and feel that an organisation like the Equality and Human Rights Commission and/or the Council for Racial Equality in Cornwall should be doing this on behalf of the public. We would therefore like your help and support in asking you for a comment in response to this letter that we can use in future, condemning racist and prejudiced comments towards the Cornish.

We look forward to your response, which we aim to distribute widely among our members and elsewhere.

Yours sincerely

Iwan Le Moine
Branch Secretary
Kernow Branch
Celtic League

Related links:

Equality and Human Rights Commission

Council for Racial Equality in Cornwall

J B Moffatt
Director of Information
Celtic League


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:

The Celtic League
Celtic League Yahoo Group


Who are the Cornish Democrats?

A new political party -The Cornish Democrats- has been registered with the Electoral Commission.

Details of when and by who can be found on the Electoral Commissions website. For the record, the new party has nothing to do with this blog. I know no more about them than can be read on the EC website.

On a related note, as blogged about back in April of 2009, the websites of what purport to be Cornish political parties can still be found on the net. The sites are: The Cornish National PartyThe National Party for Cornwall and The Cornish Communist Party. The sites are of a low quality but demonstrate an understanding of the Cornish language by their creator(s).

An e-mail sent to all three 'parties' resulted in a spokesperson from the former Cornish Nationalist Party, and now Roseland Institute, writing back claiming to have nothing to do with any of them. Why his e-mail address was provided on one of the sites was not explained but this in itself proves very little.

The spokesperson for the CNP at the Roseland Institute did suggest that they may well be standing candidates in future local elections but provided no more details than that. I was also asked if I could plug the CNP's publication the quarterly Cornish magazine, The Cornish Banner \ An Baner Kernewek. I've never read a copy but I have it on good authority that it's a quality publication. Plugged.

For the cause of greater home-rule and Cornish recognition would there be any benefit in having a number of different political parties across the political spectrum? In Brittany can be found a range of different parties and groups. Perhaps, in total, this may mobilise more people. Some may be tempted to join a leftist autonomist party who would never consider joining a centre right nationalist party and vice versa. Is this the case in Cornwall? Mebyon Kernow occupies the progressive, ecological and reformist left already, a fairly broad church stretching from the anti-capitalist left to social democrats and the centre left, but is there room for a centre right or right-wing Cornish autonomist party to compete with the Tories and UKIP?


Another good reason to support MK

A message here sent to me via the Mebyon Kernow Facebook group.

Dear friends,

From now until the General Election, support with leafleting, fundrasing and donations has never been more necessary, especially when the political pundits are saying things like this about us:

Voting MK... for a change

Please help, Dick Cole and the other candidates need YOU to help them get out the vote in 2010.

All progressives, ecologists and democrats need to get behind MK. If you want change for Cornwall there is really only one way to bring it about and that is not by voting for one of the London based parties again.

Vote for a change!

Equality South West is looking for feedback

Equality South West is looking for feedback.

Why not take some time and let them know what you think about their work. The survey can be found by clicking here. Feel free to circulate the survey.

Equally you might like to remind them about the Cornish national minority, the problems it faces and their responsibility towards its protection. Leaving aside the Cornish issue it is important for members of society to engage with such groups and help the move toward a fairer Kernow.

France: identity in question

Taken from the Open Democracy website: France: identity in question

It’s a familiar story. Every time France is in trouble, and when its politicians are in need of public support, they reach for a supposedly unfailing remedy: the nation.

The process can take many forms: nostalgia for past “grandeur”, fear of “foreign invasion”, return to “tradition”, reaffirmation of “national identity”. All are connected by the search for a vehicle to unite the French behind its leaders. The thread of continuity in this effort crosses generations and political boundaries: from Marshall Pétain invoking the “peasant roots” of a defeated France in 1940, to General de Gaulle's insistent “grandeur”; from François Mitterrand's election poster of 1981 that portrayed a quiet village with its church-steeple, to Jacques Chirac’s castigation in 1991 of “noises and smells that drive French workers next door insane”.

And now it is Nicolas Sarkozy’s turn. In November 2009, the president opened the latest grand débat sur l'identité nationale about what it means to be French: a project always destined to be controversial, but one made unnecessarily toxic by its political definition and resonances.

The full text can be found at the link provided above.

The website for the Grand débat sur l'identité nationale. If you speak French why not leave some comments in support of Frances national minorities.

France: identity in question

Taken from the Open Democracy website: France: identity in question

It’s a familiar story. Every time France is in trouble, and when its politicians are in need of public support, they reach for a supposedly unfailing remedy: the nation.

The process can take many forms: nostalgia for past “grandeur”, fear of “foreign invasion”, return to “tradition”, reaffirmation of “national identity”. All are connected by the search for a vehicle to unite the French behind its leaders. The thread of continuity in this effort crosses generations and political boundaries: from Marshall Pétain invoking the “peasant roots” of a defeated France in 1940, to General de Gaulle's insistent “grandeur”; from François Mitterrand's election poster of 1981 that portrayed a quiet village with its church-steeple, to Jacques Chirac’s castigation in 1991 of “noises and smells that drive French workers next door insane”.

And now it is Nicolas Sarkozy’s turn. In November 2009, the president opened the latest grand débat sur l'identité nationale about what it means to be French: a project always destined to be controversial, but one made unnecessarily toxic by its political definition and resonances.

The full text can be found at the link provided above.

The website for the Grand débat sur l'identité nationale. If you speak French why not leave some comments in support of Frances national minorities.


Turning a blind eye

Thisiscornwall aka Northcliffe Media aka The Daily Mail Group give us one more reason to flush their rags down the pan, and now stay well clear of their website.

It seems posting on their forum can even put your reputation at stake.

Whoever controls the Thisiscornwall website has been very indulgent recently regarding the moderation of their forum. It appears one (or a group of) extremely hostile anti-Cornish contributor(s) had a freehand to post highly insulting and libellous material on the forum. This was only stopped when threats of legal action followed. More details can be found on this thread at Cornwall 24: Internet Stalkers.

One C24 regular writes:

This scandalous affair, coming close on the heels of the recent anti-Cornish diatribe of Northcliffe Media Ltd columnist 'Piran Pascoe' in the Northcliffe Media Ltd owned 'West Briton' strongly indicates that the Daily Mail/Northcliffe Media Ltd consortium that exerts majority control over the paper media information stream in Cornwall has an agenda that is not in Cornwall or her people's best interests.

A Devolution Enabling Act

A transcript of Peter Facey's speech to the Campaign for an English Parliament's Future of England debate can be found here on the -English Parliament online- website.

Without any surprise whatsoever the first comment left at the bottom of the article is an attack directed at Facey for his use of English and Cornish as equal national identities when describing his own family heritage. Thank god some things, swivel-eyed English nationalists for example, can be relied upon in this chaotic world of ours.

Although Peter Facey, director of Unlock Democracy, is clearly not in his right mind either, as evidenced by the "people of Devon know that they are equal if not better than the people of Cornwall" comment, his idea of a Devolution Enabling Act should still interest a few here.

An extract of the transcript can be found below.

We should have two principles.

Firstly, it should be driven from the bottom not the top, so that either local authorities or people via petition can trigger it. That would encourage competition between rival campaigners. Those of you who campaign for an English Parliament would have an opportunity to trigger a referendum, pull down power, and have an English parliament, if you persuade the people of England that that is what they wanted. But also other people, like the campaigners in Cornwall - who have raised 50,000 signatures for a Cornish Assembly - could actually have a Cornish Assembly, if they could get it.

And the second principle would be that power, once devolved, could not be taken away and back to the centre without the consent of the people in that area.

To me, that seems like it could be a step in the right direction towards respecting the right of both the Cornish and English nations to greater self-determination. A vital missing ingredient however is our actual de jure constitutional position. For the Cornish to have a just settlement this too must be figured into the equation.

Whilst on the subject of Unlock Democracy they are in the process of re-launcheding their Democracy and Human Rights Hub with its regular e-mail newsletter. Full details can be found on their website. In the past they have featured the DOCHA website as well as articles from CoSERG and the Constitutional Convention. Please do get intouch with them if your organisation produces anything you think may be suitable for inclusion.


Like trying to get information from the KGB

Nationalisation of the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall

House of Commons debates, 13 May 1975.

An extract:

We as Members of Parliament may not know, are not allowed to know and never will know who is getting what for doing what. In other words, there is a complete lack of public accountability in these matters. To ask for information about the Duchy of Lancaster and still more about the Duchy of Cornwall is like trying to get information from the KGB. Journalists have told me that they have telephoned the Duchy of Cornwall office genuinely seeking information and have been told to mind their own ruddy business. So would I be, but I secured such information as I could garner from the annual accounts.

Brought to you by the excellent TheyWorkForYou.com website. Nothing seems to have changed there then. The UK's democracy shows its limits once more. What we, the 'citizens' of the UK (and Duchy of Cornwall?), are allowed to know is certainly circumscribed. For the sake of national security I can understand the need for secrecy, but just so that inconvenient constitutional facts are kept in the closet and away from public scrutiny? Are we all happy with that? Is that a real democracy for mature authentic individuals?

The already mentioned blog -Confirm or Deny- now has topics on the Duchy of Cornwall so lets hope the pressure keeps mounting.


The Democracy Club

Here's some quick publicity for the Democracy Club

We are building a network of election volunteers to help mySociety and TheStraightChoice in the run up to the next general election, and hopefully beyond. We want your help to achieve this.

In elections these days, all major candidates have a huge team of volunteers behind them, helping them produce and distribute leaflets, get publicity in the local news media, raising their profile and painting a generally rosy picture of them.

But the public gets no such help. They are given election leaflets, party election broadcasts, newspaper interviews with candidates, but they are not given solid, factual information, or simple unbiased analysis of the truth value of these publicity campaigns, especially not at a local level.

We feel that the public needs its own team of volunteers to help them. We want you to be one of those volunteers: gather information on candidates, their leaflets, and local news coverage of them; or publicise vote analyses in local papers around the country; or do other tasks we haven't even thought of yet.

With your help, we can give the public the same support that the candidates already get.

What's the background to this site?

Our friends at mySociety, which runs some of the best-known democracy and transparency websites in the UK, often get approached by people who would like to volunteer to help with websites like TheyWorkForYou.com and FixMyStreet.com. This site was conceived as a way for someone to contribute to transparency and accountability projects like these without having to learn how to be a computer programmer.

What is the site actually for?

We're asking people to sign up to be constituency volunteers. Initially they will be asked to carry out volunteer tasks for both our friends at mySociety, and our friends who run the wonderful election leaflet website TheStraightChoice.org. What this means is putting yourself forward to help with tasks such as:

1) Helping to establish who is standing for election at the next general election in your constituency, so that we can tell the public about them, share that information with other websites, and gather information on their political views

2) Which local campaigns and issues need putting to candidates in order to have a clear record of candidates views on the issues that matter to local people

3) What election materials are being sent around, containing what promises and what accusations

We promise we won't hammer you with requests — you'll never get more than two emails a week — in fact the sum total of volunteering between now and the general election could easily be less than a dozen hours. But it's all super important, because only real people like you know what issues are critical in every corner of the country. Together we can do a better job than any of the newspapers, and without the political spin too.


The Democratic Society

The information and invitation below comes from a group called -The Democratic Society- an organisation which claims to "write about, think about and work on improving participation and democracy".

Thanks for your email, sorry for the delay in replying.

We're just really starting out here at the Society. We've formally been established since 2006, but we're run on a what-time-you-can-give basis, and we're all busy people. We'll be ramping up our work from 1 February, when I start working for the Society part-time on fundraising and projects.

We are a non-partisan and non-aligned organisation, meaning that we generally avoid expressing support for specific causes or political movements, but Cornish devolution raises a range of interesting democratic issues and there are a few ways in which we could work together:

1. We have a popular blog and twitter stream, and I'd be happy to offer you a guest post on the blog, to talk about how the democratic and participative elements of Cornish devolution might work.

2. We have expertise in assessing and supporting democratic governance at local and national level. Although we do charge for consultancy, we could support your organisation or the County Council in thinking about participation and governance structures either for a public discussion on devolution or greater democratic engagement with Cornish issues.

3. We will be working in the next few months on a website and plug-in for democratic debate and engagement. It probably won't be launched until the summer, but you could use it for online engagement to support point (2).

More generally, I'd be very interested to be kept up to date with your work - it's a fascinating area both geographically and politically.


Liberty all round!

"It is impossible to want the liberation of of one nation without wanting the liberty of others"

Such is the principle I was reminded of on reading an article on the website of the newly formed Breizhistance - Socialist Party of Brittany. Of course they go much further and add that national self-determination is nothing without a democratic control of the national economy by the people for the people, but lets just rest on the first principle for the moment.

The sentiment expressed in this sentence is, to my mind, one of the fundamental qualifiers for all progressive movements for self-determination. How could one want recognition and home-rule for ones own nation and not that of another? How can Cornish autonomists not be moved by the struggles in Brittany, Tibet or the Basque Country.

Self-determination does not equal independence.

Lets not forget that when talking of Cornwall only a minority want independence from the UK, and those that do, more often then not, want some form of European (me) or Celtic federal arrangement. Many more simply want recognition as not being part of England.

It's still startling to hear people equate Cornish separation from England as being the same as full independence from the UK (and EU?). It seems for many recognising that Cornwall is not England is tantamount to dynamiting the small stretch of land that attaches Kernow to the rest of Britain leaving Cornwall sail of in some form of Celtic autarky. Ironic when you consider in the 19th century it was the Duchy of Cornwall that actually proved that Cornwall was not, in a constitutional sense, part of England. Recognising that Cornwall is not part of England would not suddenly mean an end to all commerce and exchange with England, the rest of the UK or Europe, that needs to be hammered home!

Finally, many more in the wider Cornish movement are content to campaign for a greater degree of decision making ability to be given to Kernow inside or outside of England. Self-determination does not always equal independence but rather a more adapted political settlement to any one national question.

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation offers this definition:

Essentially, the right to self-determination is the right of a people to determine its own destiny. In particular, the principle allows a people to choose its own political status and to determine its own form of economic, cultural and social development. Exercise of this right can result in a variety of different outcomes ranging from political independence through to full integration within a state. The importance lies in the right of choice, so that the outcome of a people's choice should not affect the existence of the right to make a choice. In practice, however, the possible outcome of an exercise of self-determination will often determine the attitude of governments towards the actual claim by a people or nation. Thus, while claims to cultural autonomy may be more readily recognized by states, claims to independence are more likely to be rejected by them. Nevertheless, the right to self-determination is recognized in international law as a right of process (not of outcome) belonging to peoples and not to states or governments.

What of England

Does England have the same right to self-determination? It should be noted that the a large majority of English nationalists fall short of the qualifier described above due to their stance on the Cornish question. Interrogate many of them and equally you'll soon notice that they don't give a pigs ear about the plight of any other stateless nations either. A nationalist movement that truly is insular, xenophobic and turned in on itself, English nationalism, as manifested by the EDP, EFP and others, is far from internationalist.

There are some notable exceptions to this English nationalist refusal of the Cornish question. One such individual offers us this in his blog article: The national dimension to constitutional reform

1. Formal recognition of the fundamental human right of national communities to determine their own form of government (popular sovereignty), and to decide whether they wish to constitute a national community or not

2. On this basis, a formal process to determine which actually are the national communities of the United Kingdom, including, for instance, a referendum in Cornwall to decide whether Cornwall should be considered as a nation or not; and an even more contentious process for the Northern Irish to decide whether they regard the Province as a nation in its own right. If the people of Ulster chose not to become a nation, the Province could probably be considered as a self-governing British region, which would not be very different in practical terms from being a self-governing British nation

Anyway the Cornish Democrat would like to wish the very best of luck to PSB-Breizhistance and here is hoping to see them making links in Kernow.


Cornish rights trampled under Labour votes.

It comes as no great suprise that the UK parliament -dominated by MP's from England- voted against the inclusion of a dedicated Cornish tick box for the 2011 UK census.

The amendment to include a tick box for Cornish national identity was proposed by MP Dan Rogerson. More on this and how MP's voted can be found here. The vote was rejected by 261 votes to 49.

Dan Rogerson writes on the Cornish Tick Box Facebook group: "The Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru supported me. Labour opposed it. The Tories sat on their hands". Labour MPs voted 261 against and 1 in favour and are thus the only party to pro-actively vote against. Equally not a squeek could be heard from Tory 'Shadow Minister for Cornwall' Mark Prisk. So there we go, if you were wondering who not to vote for.

The UK's democracy shows its limits. Would the world community be happy if a similar question concerning an unrecognised minority were given over to the state majority to decide? Within a multinational state such as the UK (plus Crown protectorates) where one nation, England, has the vast majority of elected representatives, as well as the administrative and financial capital, it's no shock that the interests of the other nations are sidelined to the point that one of them, Cornwall, even has its existence denied.

Devolution to Scotland, Wales and the Six Counties has started the process of redress but Cornwall finds itself still buried within the English political system with its specific needs and national identity ignored.

However as noted on Cornwall 24 a critical point to bring to all Cornish residents attention is that it will still be possible to register Cornish in three separate categories in the 2011 Census:

National identity
Ethnic Group

All three will have the 06 code, and all three will be counted throughout Britain.

Not enough has been made of the 100% recognition given by Parliament of Cornish as both a National Identity and as an Ethnic Group. Even the FCNM Draft Report call the Census categories 'standard'.

There will not be a dedicated tickbox, which would have made things clearer, which is regrettable, but everyone can write, and it will not be difficult to fill in CORNISH on the line.

Publicity to inform and encourage people to write in CORNISH will be funded by the ONS, and organised by Cornwall Council. There will be an undercount, but nevertheless, if many thousands record that their National Identity is Cornish and many thousands record that their Ethnic Group is Cornish and thousands record that their 'first' language is Cornish, then much can be done with the data, especially as Cornwall Council is going to start encouraging institutions and businesses to make use of the information available from the next Census.

The importance of the above information  cannot be overstated. We should all do our utmost to ensure everbody knows what their Cornish options are for the 2011 census both in the Duchy and wider UK.

On a different but closely related note, below can be found a letter from the Celtic League to the UK government concerning the UK's application of the Council of Europe's framework convention for the protection of national minorities (FCNM). The governments handling of the FCNM has been described as duplicitous malpractice and its hard not to agree. Of all the UK's national minorities why are the Cornish the only ones to have been singled out and refused recognition under the FCNM? Of course if the Cornish officially recognised  as a national minority under the FCNM then the above tick-box fiasco would never have been allowed to happen. The recognition and protection of minorities should not be simply thrown to the mercy of such brute majority lead democracy. Would the future of Tibet be secure if voted on by the rest of China?



The General Secretary (GS) has responded to the UK government's draft report to the Council of Europe (CoE) on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

The report – the third of its kind since the government ratified the Convention in 1995 – sets out what it has done to promote equality and diversity across a range of different areas relating to culture and language. However, as the gs argues in his letter to the department of Communities and Local Government (CLG), the report is failing in its duty to the CoE by excluding the Cornish and "are being treated as virtual pariahs by the very state that is supposed to protect them".

The GS says that he looks forward to a revision of the draft before it is presented to the CoE. The full text of the letter can be found below.

"The Rt Hon John Denham MP
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Dear Rt Hon John Denham MP

Draft UK Government Third Compliance Report to the Council of Europe on the Framework Convention for the protection of National Minorities

I am writing to express my utter disappointment at the exclusion of the Cornish and their language from the draft third compliance report to the Council of Europe (CoE), published in October 2009.

The document covers activities and issues relating to language, culture, equality and society in Wales, Scotland and the north of Ireland throughout the report, but no mention was made of Cornwall or its people. There was not even an outline of the work undertaken with the Cornish language, which the UK Government recognised in 2002 - and has subsequently funded since - under part II of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages. The Cornish Language Partnership – set up as a direct result of government funding – has done excellent work in helping to revive the Cornish language, but was not consulted as part of the report. It is most unusual that the only mention in the report to do with the Cornish language is that it is one of 25 "UK and foreign languages" in which a qualification is available.

In addition, in view of the fact that the UK Government recognised the `separate identity and distinctiveness' of the Cornish in its second compliance report, it is surprising that no mention is made of the Cornish people in its subsequent report.

The CoE's Advisory Committee's ruling that the UK Government's `racial group' criterion is too rigid to accommodate the Cornish has been completely ignored.

It is my belief that the UK Government is failing in its duty to the CoE in producing this report, because of the omission of the Cornish people and language. I would go so far as to say that in excluding the Cornish in this way the UK Government is showing a total contempt for the Cornish and actively discriminating against them.

The Cornish are one of the ancient peoples of Europe and are recognised as such throughout Europe. They have a language that is actively supported and funded by the UK and local government structures and yet are being completely ignored in this draft report. It would probably be fair to say that the Cornish are the largest unrecognised minority living in either Cornwall or the UK and are being treated as virtual pariahs by the very state that is supposed to protect them.

We look forward to an immediate revision of the report before it is presented to the Council of Europe.

Yours sincerely

Rhisiart tal-e-bot
General Secretary
Celtic League


Economy Green Paper for Cornwall

Economy Green Paper

Friday 27 November 2009

Cornwall Council Statement of Economic Priorities and Strategic Intent: Towards a distinctive, high-value, knowledge-based 'green' Cornwall with opportunity for all

Cornwall Council's first 'Green Paper' is on the economy. Green Papers produced by government have traditionally been consultation documents, and this one by Cornwall Council is no exception in that it presents the council's ideas on a way forward and asks for detailed feedback. It sets out our initial ideas on priorities for Cornwall's economic development - both growth and regeneration - and how the council might work with partners to deliver these priorities and we invite comments from partners, businesses and the wider community.

With the help of the responses and ideas submitted in response to this green paper, we can then put together specific proposals for Cornwall that are likely to have widespread support.

Please respond to the prompts and questions and give your views on other relevant matters of concern. We are committed to working in partnership with all major players and the community in Cornwalls development, and we particularly value your contributions which will turn this green paper into definitive proposals and propositions.

This is a major opportunity to have your say in the future of Cornwall, and we hope to hear from you and to work with you to make our aspirations a reality.

The draft consultation document can be found on the Council's website. Responses can be made via the on-line form which can also be found at the address below.

Deadline for responses is Friday 22 January 2010


Confirm or Deny / Duchy or County?

The Duchy of Cornwall in the press again.
"The Old Duchy Palace was once the administrative centre for The Duchy of Cornwall" writes the BBC, but what do they understand by 'Duchy of Cornwall'? Clearly the Palace was the administrative centre for the constitutional and territorial Duchy that covered (covers) Cornwall. When did this Duchy become a private landed estate for the benefit of one man? What acts of parliament effected this changeover?

A very interesting blog here -Confirm or Deny- on one mans experiences with making request for information under the Freedom of Information Act. Of particular interest to the Cornish might be this selection of posts concerning the constitutional status of the Duchy of Lancaster.

Quoted: A while ago now I appealed to the ICO and made the case that the Duchy of Lancaster is a public authority for the purposes of the Environmental Information Regulations.

Clearly one of the problems with the Duchy of Cornwall is almost identical i.e that it's a body of governance dressed in the robes of a private estate, therefore enabling it to avoid request for information under the FOI act. For a great exposé of the Duchy of Cornwall visit: The Duchy of Cornwall Human Rights Association. Equally if you want to make a request for information under the FOI act consider this website: What Do They Know.


Money Dreckly

The CD has received the response below from the campaign group -Equality Trust- to an e-mail titled: The poorest region of the UK? Cornwall! 

I'm afraid we don't have anything very relevant as our focus is inequality rather than poverty, except to say that when countries are very unequal - as it the case in the UK - it is the poorest communities that suffer the most. If the gap between the highest and lowest earners was halved the whole of society would benefit, but the most significant gains in health and wellbeing would be concentrated among the least well off.

Good luck with your work and very best wishes

So how about some Slow Money as a solution to Cornwall's problems? A way of promoting Cornish business and retaining more of our money in the Duchy. Note that the related campaign, Slow Food,  is already up an running in Kernow. Both the campaigns fit perfectly into the logic of -Small is Beautiful- which is opportune as I've just received E. F. Schumacher's landmark book by the same name. The principles of Slow Money can be found below and please notice the focus on hyper-local investment to support business in your back yard.

In order to enhance food security, food safety and food access; improve nutrition and health; promote cultural, ecological and economic diversity; and accelerate the transition from an economy based on extraction and consumption to an economy based on preservation and restoration, we do hereby affirm the following Principles:

I. We must bring money back down to earth.

II. There is such a thing as money that is too fast, companies that are too big, finance that is too complex. Therefore, we must slow our money down -- not all of it, of course, but enough to matter.

III. The 20th Century was the era of Buy Low/Sell High and Wealth Now/Philanthropy Later—what one venture capitalist called “the largest legal accumulation of wealth in history.” The 21st Century will be the era of nurture capital, built around principles of carrying capacity, care of the commons, sense of place and non-violence.

IV. We must learn to invest as if food, farms and fertility mattered. We must connect investors to the places where they live, creating vital relationships and new sources of capital for small food enterprises.

V. Let us celebrate the new generation of entrepreneurs, consumers and investors who are showing the way from Making A Killing to Making a Living.

VI. Paul Newman said, "I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer who puts back into the soil what he takes out." Recognizing the wisdom of these words, let us begin rebuilding our economy from the ground up, asking:

What would the world be like if we invested 50% of our assets within 50 miles of where we live?

What if there were a new generation of companies that gave away 50% of their profits?

What if there were 50% more organic matter in our soil 50 years from now?

Currently Slow Money is only running in the USA however the idea has potential for other regions of the globe and why not Kernow?

The Socialist Party of Brittany - Breizhistance

A new party from the Breton left has been created to campaign for independence and equality for Brittany. The Socialist Party of Brittany- Breizhistance has absorbed  the former independentist left -Emgann- and, if reports are to be believed, welcomed numerous new members.

Good luck to the SPB-Breizhistance with solidarity from Kernow.

The Socialist Party of Brittany - Breizhistance

A new party from the Breton left has been created to campaign for independence and equality for Brittany. The Socialist Party of Brittany- Breizhistance has absorbed  the former independentist left -Emgann- and, if reports are to be believed, welcomed numerous new members.

Good luck to the SPB-Breizhistance with solidarity from Kernow.


Cornish from the Hart

Some sense drifting back into the Cornish press? Go GH! And my advice? Make bridges rather than enemies. The Cornish movement, if it exists as such, is spread across such a wide political terrain. From the Stannary via members of various political parties to Green activists, including along the way your ordinary guy and gal on the street. The key is to get them all moving in the same direction.


Welcome to England / Powsaws a'gas Dynnargh

This made me laugh. 'Welcome to England' tagged as you enter England from the Duchy via the Cremyll ferry at Plymouth. Taken from a thread on the Cornwall 24 forum.

This is perfectly acceptable direct action considering the lies emanating from the establishment concerning the Cornish question. All power to the spray-can-holding-hands of those that did it. Spread your funny and creative tags across Kernow.

A Cornish Banksy in the making perhaps? They should certainly put together a website or blog of their work in Cornwall.


Cornwall Ecology

Following Cornish Zetetics call for a coalition of Mebyon Kernow, the Cornish Greens and any other progressive democrats from the Duchy in time for the next general election here's an idea.

Okay, the French Republic is quite different from the United Kingdom, and the problems faced by the sister nation -Brittany and Cornwall- are far from identical, but perhaps some ideas can cross the British Channel.

To stand in the recent European elections the French Greens, the regional autonomists -Régions et Peuples Solidaires- and a selection of personalities from various NGOs came together to form Europe Ecologie. A project that met with great success including an electoral score rivalling that of the French Socialist Party (the main left-wing party) and a Corsican nationalist elected MEP.

Could such an electoral platform work in the Duchy and across the rest of the UK for the next general election? In Kernow we could expect MK, the Greens and various other independent ecologists and democrats to campaign together under the themes of autonomy, democracy and ecology. Could the same be said for the rest of the UK? Considering climate change, financial crisis and expenses scandal perhaps the British public are more than ready for a progressive ecological alliance to bring in much needed changes.

The SNP, Plaid, MK, the Greens, English regionalists (or nationalists?) and any other democratic reformers campaigning under one green flag for a top to toe reform of our creaking system has got to be worth a vote. Perhaps Scotland is off on its own trajectory, I doubt if the SNP will be persuaded to join such a platform, but for Cornwall, England and Wales, surely a broad democratic and green alliance is possible.


Cornish Constitutional Convention AGM 09

Just to throw a couple of divergent points of view into the mix concerning Cornish devolution. 

First we have -The Cornish Assembly. Next push? Or last gasp?- a rather negative take on the Cornish Constitutional Conventions progress. Then below can be found a report on the Conventions 2009 AGM from

Last year we took the decision that, in the run-up to the unitary council, it would be prudent to keep a low profile. We did not wish to confuse things, or to get the campaign too entangled in the process.

In the previous year we had succeeded in working with both ‘camps’ – districts and county – as they put together bids for a unitary council. The successful bid, submitted by CCC includes clear statements that the formation of a unitary council is a step along the way towards a Cornish Assembly. The Cornwall (Changes Order) 2009 has required the council to be set up according to the provisions made in the bid. That means that it is built into the strategy for developing the Council that it moves towards a Cornish Assembly. What stands between that provision and achieving it is the political will of the Council.

This is a problematic issue. Mr Lavery, in whom I have confidence and with whom I have an ongoing and constructive dialogue, is quite open in his declaration that we are moving towards the Assembly. The overall membership of the council probably constitutes the strongest body of support for moving forward of any we have seen since we began this campaign.

The Liberal Democrats are now nailing their flag to the Assembly mast. The rank and file of the Conservative back benches is varied but, in the right conditions and with clear encouragement, it stands to be persuaded. Some of the leading Independents are also leading advocates for the Assembly. And, there is, for the first time, a Mebyon Kernow group, which is establishing itself strongly despite its small numbers. This is especially the case with its Leader, Dick Cole.

The Conservative Party is reconciled to the devolved parliaments and assemblies, and is keen to see powers devolved to more local levels. It remains to be seen the extent to which the next Government, whether it be Labour, Conservative or a coalition including the Liberal Democrats, with the possibility of a Mebyon Kernow member somewhere on the green benches, will embrace further devolution. Economic conditions are not favourable.

However, the twin drivers of climate change and new technologies are influencing social trends. The recent success of the Sustainable Communities Act, both in becoming law, and in attracting as much as the LGA can cope with in terms of new ideas, is evidence that the demand for local accountability, and for local democratic authority over public services and strategy is gaining ground.

30,000 people marched through Hayle in a demand for democratic accountability in Cornwall for the development and management of the health service. Recent clashes over high level interventions such as critical cancer treatments highlight two contrasting views of how the health service should develop in Cornwall. The situation is itself becoming critical. If we do not stand and fight for our health services to be delivered in Cornwall, for Cornwall at standards that ensure that Cornish people get equal standards of service without being required to travel long distances that foster hardship and encourage further ill health, then we will see the thin edge of Ann James’ wedge grow thicker and thicker. Cornwall will be placed at a serious and unjust disadvantage.

We must ask ourselves what we mean in practice when we call for our Assembly. What will it do?

Taking Wales as a model, we can assert that, it will provide over-arching strategic guidance for local government services; it will take on strategic leadership in the fields of transport, planning, economic development, housing and climate change-driven policies relating to energy, waste, agriculture and communications, and cultural development; it will also embody the democratically accountable management and leadership of the Health Service in Cornwall.

In this last aspect Mr Lavery is quite clear – we want to put ourselves in a position as quickly as possible to move forward on the realignment of health service priorities in Cornwall. This is a key objective. It is complex and requires winning the confidence of the government (whoever that may be). But, the tide of events is with us. The hierarchical, Ministry managed health edifice is crumbling – in Cornwall this is literally true. One of the key decisions that must be made soon is what to do about the main tower block at Treliske. It is for the new Council and the Cornish public to force this issue into including the expensively clumsy situation of having one PCT and three acute trusts, and only one district general hospital in a peripheral region with over 500,000 people and a summer population rising to over one million at any one time.

We need two district general hospitals – one in the west – Hayle, perhaps! – and one in the East – Bodmin, surely! We also need a centre for high level acute interventions which has high levels of specialist investment to ensure that Cornish citizens are able to reasonably access an equable quality of service to that enjoyed in, say, Berkshire, Yorkshire or Wales.

The Convention has published a new pamphlet which sets out two key thoughts –

One – that we should now build our assembly from the strong platform of a successful unitary council, and

Two – that, in doing so, we will cause the least disruption to democratic structures whilst improving local accountability by re-democratising a tier of delivery-focused local Government.

We will incorporate in the Assembly not simply the strategic issues of local government, but also a Cornish Health Authority, and possibly a Cornish Police Authority (or, at least, a democratic accountability forum for the Police in Cornwall).

We have come to the point where these are election issues between the mainstream parties. We have come to the point where the new Council is on a journey towards delivery of the assembly. We have come to the point where, as David Whalley, former Leader of Cornwall County Council, said to us three years ago at our AGM:

‘There is an inevitability about the journey towards the Cornish Assembly’.

So, I am, as usual, optimistic, and I believe that we can be assured that we have, yet again, made progress towards our goal. We are not engaged in a high profile public campaign because it is important to match public expectations to what is practicably achievable. The Cornish Assembly is now the mainstream issue in forward-moving Cornish politics. It is one of those developments that officials and government now assume will happen. It remains up to us to make it happen – but we are now operating in a much more constructive environment. It is, as I have always stressed, a long term campaign which will have ups and downs – and, most of all, it needs faith, self-belief and a cheerful, intelligent disposition. Onwards!


Mebyon Kernow Conference 09


Mebyon Kernow Annual General Meeting and Conference takes place on Saturday November 21st 2009. The venue will be the Public Rooms in Bodmin.

The morning session covers the Annual General Meeting and a discussion about campaign strategies. In the afternoon, there will be a number of speeches from leading MK members and parliamentary candidates.

This afternoon session starts at 2.00 and is open to members of the General Public. If you are not already a member of MK, why not come along and meet the MK activists in your area? You would be most welcome.

For more information, email: mebyonkernow AT btinternet.com

The Cornish Language

A few reasoned blog posts below on the subject of the Cornish language and road signs in the Duchy.

From Mebyon Kernow party leader and Cornwall Councillor Dick Cole.

From the Cornish Zetetics blog.

The Insane ramblings of a village idiot.

The subject of our Cornish language being used on road signs in Kernow has prompted the usual knee jerk reaction from assorted British and English nationalists, Tories and Ukippers alike.

For the record - THE SIGNS WILL COST NO EXTRA AND WILL NOT BE HARDER TO UNDERSTAND! Anybody who claims otherwise is either misinformed or lying.

On being a successful region in the UK, Europe and wider world the Cornish Constitutional Convention has the following to say in its document, The Next Push:

In this ‘market place’ it is essential to be culturally defined, creative and outwardlooking, and environmentally engaged. Successful regions will be those that are both efficient and business-like, and easily recognisable. The key recognition factors will be the drivers for promoting a region’s brand identity and must, therefore, relate positively to key brand values. This is as true in governance terms as it is in the commercial arena.

The Cornish language is a part of our 'brand identity'. It's part of our identity that marks us out and will be good for Cornish business. Moreover it is part of the worlds intangible cultural heritage and, in my opinion, is not only a question of Cornish rights but also Cornish responsibilities. To all the Duchies residents. You are the caretakers of Cornwall. You have a responsibility towards its environment, culture and heritage.


Our Kingdom / Our Duchy

A couple of posts below from the re-looked and generally excellent UK democracy blog, OurKingdom.


A new wiki website has been created where users can contibute to writing down our Unspoken Constitution. In the article linked to above there is already mention of the Duchy of Cornwall so perhaps our Cornish Constitutionalists could put their extensive knowledge to use and contribute to the wiki site. The site creators write:

So, we are now launching The Unspoken Constitution 2.0 – a wiki version of the text originally proposed by Rosemary Bechler and produced for us by James Graham at Unlock Democracy. Anyone can add to or amend the text – all we ask is that that anyone joining our team of editors and contributors seeks to capture the reality of our constitutional order in the same irreverent and satirical style in which the original has been composed.

There is every chance that this wiki website will sent to many decision makers and widely read so perhaps a solid Cornish contribution on the Duchy is a must.


The title speaks for itself really. Significant new research on quangos -Who's In Charge (pdf)- has been published by the Local Government Association (LGA) and reported in the Daily Telegraph as further evidence that quangos are ‘unrepresentative, closed to scrutiny and offer bad value’. The OK article ends with:

The questions we should be asking our quangocrats, regardless of how much they are paid, were outlined by Tony Benn long ago: ‘What power have you got? Where did you get if from? In whose interests do you exercise it? To whom are you accountable? And how can we get rid of you?’ And as Tony Benn also reminded us: ‘if you cannot get rid of the people who govern you, you do not live in a democratic system’.

For how long will the Cornish tolerate being governed by a collection of undemocratic quangos and opaque bodies such as the South West Regional Development Agency, Government Office of the South West, English Heritage, The Duchy of Cornwall etc etc etc?


Thinking about the Future of Politics?

Lead by the Institute of Public Policy Research (ippr), seven leading think tanks have come together to make the case for systemic and radical reform to our political system.

The think tanks - Centre Forum, Demos, Fabian Society, ippr, Policy Exchange, Progress, and Reform – are united in calling for fundamental and far reaching changes to the way politics is conducted in the UK.

Interestingly, from a Cornish perspective, is the consensus that the UK political system is too over-centralised and that there should be significant devolution of power away from Westminster to local, accountable bodies. Step up the Cornish Constitutional Convention and their new document: The Next Push (pdf)

More on this collaboration and the connected booklet can be found here: Think Tanks unite in call for fundamental reform of politics in wake of expenses scandal.

Equally following the release of the excellent spoof Unspoken Constitution (pdf) by the Democratic Audit, they, along with Unlock Democracy, are inviting the public to rewrite the UK’s “Unspoken Constitution” on a new wiki website.

Commenting, Director of Unlock Democracy Peter Facey said:

“By adding comments and their own input online, the Unspoken Constitution will become a true people’s constitution involving the public in an exciting and original way. We’ve already made a couple of changes of our own – for example the rule that no Act of Parliament can receive Royal Assent until a member of the royal household says so in Norman French. Events over the past month alone have included plenty more material for people to insert.”

The Director of Democratic Audit Stuart Wilks-Heeg added:

“The aim of the Unspoken Constitution has been to highlight in a mischievous way the flaws in our system and act as a catalyst for wider public debate. In inviting the public to add their own comments, I see no better, and no more democratic, way to stimulate the discussion we intended.”

Click here for the Unspoken Constitution wiki.


A Duchy already devolved?

Following the release of -The Next Push- and the related Cornish Democrat blog post some interesting feedback has been received.

First are the links below from the Council of Europe's Congress on Local and Regional Authorities sent in by a colleague. Relevant to Cornish autonomy the two documents suggest political autonomy is economically and environmentally beneficial for a 'region'. Long but interesting reading they only seem to strengthen the Cornish case.

Regions with legislative powers: towards multi-level governance.
Good governance: a key factor for the sustainable economic development of regions.

Secondly, the letter below from Cornish constitutional researcher, John Kirkhope, to the Cornish Constitutional Convention, has been passed to me by the author for publication here.

Cornish Difference

I have recently read your publication "The Next Push" with interest. In particular I note sections on "Roots of Difference" and the reference to the War of Five Nations.

I am a Research Student in the Laws of Cornwall, a topic of interest to Constitutional Lawyers, but not one which is given sufficient attention within Cornwall for whatever reason. Maybe because amongst some people there is much claimed which over states the case.

I have researched, and continue to research, Cornish Law, and in that connection I have provided advice to Andrew George MP including a legal opinion which has been passed to the Lord Chancellor.

The Stannary Law of Cornwall is still part of the law of England and Wales.

It probably grew out of mining law going back to the Romans, certainly it used concepts such as "usufruct" which are found in Roman Law and still in continental systems but not within the English system of law.

It certainly predates the Anglo Saxons. The Stannary Courts may have been abolished the law has not. It can claim to be oldest part of the law of England. It was decided as late as 1979 that it was still possible to claim to be a "privileged tinner" and claim rights under the ancient charters. You can still bound land in Cornwall.

The point is Stannary Law is still current law, of limited application certainly, but still good law. It is not some historical oddity, the rights granted by the ancient Stannary Charters could certainly be claimed by China Clay workers for example.

The Convocation of the Tinners of Cornwall still exists, in theory, as a legal institution. To quote one very eminent Professor of Law it was uniquely powerful having the right to veto Westminster Legislation as well as Royal Charters and Duchy ordinances. It did exercise its power of veto.

There was no and there is no legal institution which could claim the power of the Convocation within the United Kingdom.

Then there is the Duchy which has exercised the minds of eminent judges and the Government's Law Officers since 1600 and before. It has been called a "great mystery", a mode of descent "unknown to common law" a "peculiar title" and a "very singular constitution". In one case the courts decided "all the courts within the Dutchy are conferred upon the (Duke) as sovereign".

As you have mentioned Wales has successfully claimed difference based on language, culture and ethnicity but it cannot claim a parallel unique independent legal system, being home to a legislature of such great power or the rich history of the Duchy. There is no county within England that can claim the extraordinary complex legal history that Cornwall has. I could not imagine being a Research Student into the laws of Somerset of Berkshire, for example. A L Rowse once famously said Cornwall like Wales is not part of England. There is a real question mark in law over the constitutional status.

I am happy to share with you copies of the papers I have produced for Mr George should you wish to see them. I would simply suggest then when considering Cornish Cultural differences you should not overlook Cornwall's unique and extraordinary legal history.

John Kirkhope BA (Hons), LLB (Hons), Dip NP, TEP

Public Notary


Cornish debates « Devolution Matters

Cornish debates « Devolution Matters

The next push for a Cornish Assembly

Though largely unknown by many democratic reformers from around the UK, the Cornish Constitutional Convention and its drive for a Cornish Assembly continue with the release of - The Next Push (pdf).

Following hot on the heals of the Government of Cornwall Bill (pdf) produced by MP Dan Rogerson, the new paper comes at an opportune time. The debate on how to reform the UK's creaking democracy is well under way at POWER 2010. Current suggestions include: the creation of an English Parliament; further devolution to Wales; and, regional devolution within England. Why not throw the idea of a Cornish Assembly (pdf) into the mix once more.

The present starting point for the Convention's call for change is the newly created Cornwall Council. Can this Unitary Authority become a Cornish Assembly? The document's author responds with the following :

It is not difficult to see, or to achieve when the time comes, a set of changes which would enable the Assembly to be developed without any great change in structure. A slimmed Council would become the Assembly, assuming a higher role; the Delivery Areas would be democratised to become the delivery-driven local government of Cornwall, working with the Parishes to deliver services.

Envisaged as part of a wider program of asymmetric devolution, the arguments for Cornwall to be treated as its own region are re-examined and clearly re-stated. Additionally, although sure to irk both English nationalists and English regionalists alike, analysis of previous failed attempts at regionalisation within England can also be found. Take for example the following two extracts:

23. Nobody asked Cornwall if it wished to be subsumed into a macro-south west regional zone. It’s a pity that a Government, flushed with electoral success and reforming zeal, with Wales and Scotland excited by the prospects of devolution, and with a unique opportunity to de-centralise and to invigorate by not being jealous of power and control, did not take a moment to ask around. If it had set about regionalisation by asking for proposals for a regional network that could effectively replace the outworn legacy of World War 2 rationing and munitions supply, which included the enormous and dysfunctional ‘south west’, it would have received some innovative ideas which would have created a patchwork of regions, big and small, some founded on expediency, some upon industrial synergies and one – Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly - founded upon an historical, constitutional and cultural base and with a rapidly emerging will to positively address its growing economic failure and social deprivation.

24. John Prescott, whose energy lay behind the regionalisation thrust, described in his preface to the White Paper, Your Region, Your Choice, how regions had emerged, like the Potteries in Staffordshire, that were bonded by the cultural forces of certain industries. These, he said, were outmoded, and needed to be replaced by units of a certain size, that could lead regeneration and provide a framework for social renewal. How sad, with hindsight, that Mr Prescott did not see that his discard of what he perceived as being sentiment (but which was actually organic region building) and its replacement with artificial constructs – zones - labelled ‘modern’ - was throwing away a key attribute of any successful region – that it means something to the people whose region it is and who populate it and drive it. By assertively setting aside the past Mr Prescott set the seal on the failure of his initiative to shape the future before it had even started.

Could Cornish devolution be considered as a possibility outside of a wider program of English regionalism? Could it run as a stand alone project? Cornish aspirations for greater home-rule seem to run counter to both devolution to a South West Region and the creation of an English Parliament. To nationalist for the English regionalists and too regionalist for the English nationalists. How best then to navigate the difficult passage between the supporters of English regionalism, those of an English Parliament and general government inertia? Will the message contained in Billy Bragg's homage to Catalonia be taken on-board?

Faced with such a daunting array of opponents perhaps our de jure constitutional status and Cornish identity should be pushed to the fore along side the standard arguments for devolution. An English county alone will not be granted devolution, but a territory inhabited by a national minority and vested with a legal status not dissimilar to a Crown Dependence is another story. Within the document the importance of the Cornish identity as an actor in region building is stressed, but constitutional issues are barely mentioned. This is unusual considering the investigations of MP (and Convention member) Andrew George. Equally surprising is the absence of any mention of the Cornwall European Region of Culture Campaign and its recent progress. One would have thought that, even with its flaws, such an initiative went hand in hand with Cornish regionalism.

What is the 'next push'?

Taking this document to Cornish civic society and building a large consensus for change are the tasks that lie ahead. Already a number of different political parties and independent politicians support Cornish recognition of one form or another. It's now for them, and other interested parties from the UK, to work with the Convention and engage with both the Cornish and UK public.

I'll leave the last words to the Convention so that their critical question for Kernow's future can be posed here:

85. There is everything to gain from continuing the ‘change agenda’ in Cornwall by setting the objective of forming the Cornish Assembly. It is gain for the UK Government, in terms of more efficient public service delivery and much-improved economic performance. Reputationally, the central government stands to gain much prestige from being seen to be taking an enlightened and open approach to ensuring good governance in a difficult, peripheral region. The empowerment of Cornwall would create self-belief and purpose, which would inspire and ignite creativity and skills, leading to Cornwall regaining her position as a wealth generator, innovator and trading catalyst. The question is simple: ‘Do we dare? And, if we do dare, then can we come together to achieve it? And, if we can come together in Cornwall, then can Westminster and Whitehall rise to the challenge of discarding old, deeply embedded perceptions and looking afresh at how to promote cohesion and productivity through empowering ‘difference’ and releasing the energy of a potently creative community?

This article was cross posted to OurKingdom and can be seen here also: Next steps for the Cornish Constitutional Convention.