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Cornish in the 2011 UK Census update

I've lifted this important message below direct from the Cornwall 24 forum.
Any queries with regards to the new Census 2011 arrangements please contact Malcolm Brown, Senior Research and Information Officer (Cornwall Council), by telephone on 01872 322621 or by email mbrown@cornwall.gov.uk
Regarding the 2011 ONS Census, are the ONS once again using the '06' category for recording Cornish ethnicity as they did in 2001 ?

Will the ONS be obliged to record the number of “Cornish” identity returns as they did in 2001 as they have stated:- “For those groups that will not be covered by tick-boxes, ONS will be liaising with representatives of groups to inform them of the policy and encourage members of the group they represent to make full use of the write-in boxes to ensure their community is accurately measured.”

There are 2 questions that apply to the Cornish.

15. What is your national identity ?
16. What is your ethnic group ?

I guess many Cornish will write Cornish as their ethnic group (which is recognised by the ONS) and also write Cornish as their national identity (which is not recognised by the ONS).

This leads to a number of questions:-

1. Who will be checking how accurately the ONS measure the Cornish return ? Will there be independent Census scrutineers in 2011 to accurately verify the number recorded as Cornish ?

2. If people record Cornish as their national identity (which is not recognised by the ONS), then what will this be changed to – British or English ? or will it be registered as an unfilled, or a spoilt paper ? If they are changed, then who will do the changing ? What policy will be deployed to determine the change and will the citizen be notified ?

3. Will the ONS be allocating a census code for those people who wish to record their national identity as Cornish ?

4. What publicity will be given to Cornish options available in questions 15 and 16 in Cornwall ? Will there be any funding made available for publicity from Cornwall Council or in the local press etc, to ensure that Cornish people are actually aware of the Cornish option ? (unlike in 2001 when there was little publicity regarding the Cornish option).

5. Many Cornish people have stated that due to the Census confusion with problems recording their identity that they will not be completing the 2011 Census, leading to even fewer Cornish returns.

6. What is Cornwall Council's opinion and position regarding these questions ?

7. A Cornish tick box was not allocated as the ONS stated that “insufficient requirement for the data had been expressed by Census users” and “national identity and ethnicity questions will contain tick boxes only for the largest groups” — but the ONS then went on to include a tick box for the ethnic group “Irish Travellers”, even though their numbers in the UK are probably comparable to those of the Cornish

The main problem with the 2001 Census form, was that in order to register as CORNISH, people had to deny they were BRITISH. As Cornish people do not, in the main, wish to reject their British identity, by making it an either/or decision, the ONS form inhibited people from registering as Cornish. This was merely one feature of the Census that led to Census 2001, and will lead to Census 2011, under-recording the numbers of Cornish by a factor of at least four. This has a significant adverse effect on the Cornish, particularly in terms of general policy formulation and service delivery.

It has also been shown that the the low Cornish Census return statistic in 2001 (the ONS were alerted to the Cornish Census recording problems prior to conducting the Census) was used by the Government in the High Court to undermine a legal challenge designed to ensure that the Government extended the rights of the “
Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM)” to the Cornish.

Do you think that the reluctance of the ONS/Government to recognise the Cornish on the 2011 Census could be explained as perhaps another case of forced assimilation ? Could continued refusal of Cornish recognition (including not being recognised as per all other UK indigenous minorities under the FCNM) could be perhaps explained as deliberate cultural genocide, whilst the indigenous population is gradually being replaced for example through mass (70,000) housing projects which will not benefit local people but will in the long term encourage more people to re-locate to Cornwall ?

You can follow debates and news on the Cornish census tick box campaign here on the Cornwall 24 and This is NOT England forums. The campaign can also be found here on facebook
Please join the campaign and get the Cornish the recognition they deserve.

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