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The Pro-Cornish in the UK and beyond

This post provides a short explanation of the list of 'pro-Cornish' groups included on this blog. It is periodically updated.

Members of the Cornish movement should feel free to contact, lobby and join some of the following in order to maintain good relations and promote the Cornish cause. If any other group believes they should be included then please do contact the blog author and explain why.

First things first. It is my opinion that Cornwall would be best served by having the maximum number of our elected representatives coming from Mebyon Kernow the party for Cornwall. They provide the most Kernow friendly and progressive voice for the Duchy. It is simply for the citizens of Cornwall to engage with the party and ensure it provides the strongest possible voice for our nation and all its diverse communities. Don't take my word for it read their policies and make your own minds up.

The EFA is a European party that regroups democratic nationalists and autonomists from around the EU. It's left-of-centre, greenish and contains MK, Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the UDB as members.

Thus leading on to our 'sister' Celtic parties Plaid and the Scottish National Party. Plaid and its members have often been stalwart supporters of the Cornish cause. Long may it continue. The SNP is a different story however and a cold silence on the Cornish question is often all that seems to blow down from the north. Is this due to the ignorance of its members on Cornish issues or party policy to avoid meddling in 'English' affairs? Probably a bit of both is my feeling.

I suspect not every pro-Cornish individual can be convinced to join and vote for MK. In that case why not engage with another party and argue the Cornish case. An interesting website can be found here to help explore your political position: The Political Compass.

The parties below have all, to a greater or lesser extent, campaigned on Cornish issues and/or given clear recognition to the Cornish nation. It is for them now to affirm their commitment to positively resolving the Cornish question. Non party political organisations - Constitutional Convention, Stannary Parliament, Celtic League and CoSERG - exist and I'm sure they'd be happy to welcome new members aboard.

Long term supporters of devolution to a Cornish assembly the Cornish Greens also call for further decentralisation down to our local communities. Electoral pacts between the Greens and MK have been struck in the past. Both parties are brought together in the Green / EFA European parliamentary alliance. Additionally nobody needs reminding of the campaign work done by Green Party member Peter Tatchell.

It's sad to see however that the Greens often campaign in the 'South West of England' as opposed to creating a fully autonomous Cornish Green Party. Currently the Cornish Greens are merely a subdivision of the Green Party for England and Wales. A situation which suggests that the local Greens are allowed to co-opt Cornish nationalist arguments in the Duchy but that the central party is far from ready to accept Cornish difference.

What to say about the janus faced Lib Dems? Two of their MP's - Andrew George and Dan Rogerson - at times come across as barely closet Cornish nationalists. Campaigning on Cornish devolution, national minority recognition, constitution and language issues. Much good work has been done. Compare this to the sometimes anti-Cornish actions of the rest of the party and one can be left a little puzzled. Take for example Dan Rogersons interesting, yet doomed, Government of Cornwall Bill. At a Lib Dem party conference all aspects of devolution were discussed except the Cornish devolution bill produced by one of their own MPs. The situation is explored further in this MK press release: Loveday Jenkin demands to know why Lib Dem Conference ignored Cornish devolution. The cynical explanation: We have Cornish Lib Dem MP's happy to make token efforts in order to gather up the Cornish autonomist vote but that's about it. The less cynical point of view: We have one maybe two maverick MP's who push their party to the limits in seeing what they can get for Kernow and who often find themselves in conflict with their London based party and even fellow local party members.

The best of the rest

The Wessex Regionalists and England Devolve seem to have nothing but good wishes for Cornish aspirations. This is in noticeable contrast to the vast majority of English nationalists who appear to by nothing more than xenophobic, reactionary, disillusioned rejects from the UK's right-wing British nationalist circles.

The Communist Party party gives recognition to the territory and nation of Cornwall. A distinct Cornish branch for the party with a dedicated website or blog are missing even if one of their website states they represent the South West of England and Cornwall. They write:  The Communist Party also recognises the special position of Cornwall in relation to the rest of England. Our party's programme, Britain's Road to Socialism, notes that: “The distinctive cultural and social characteristics of Cornwall should be expressed through a directly elected Cornish Assembly, with powers that match local aspirations” and that: “The national movements in Scotland, Wales and Cornwall also contain substantial progressive and left-wing elements that oppose reactionary policies of monopoly capital and the British state".

No time for fascists Cornish or otherwise.

Some may be asking why the BNP (or one of the splinter groups) are absent from the list following their recognition of a 'Celtic Cornish folk community' and the display of Cornish used at one of their branch meetings. If a couple of misguided and barmy old Cornish gits want to act as the BNP's Cornish monkeys, to be trotted out to dance in front of white trash blow-ins from up north, whenever this Anglo-supremacist racist party wants to convince people it cares about Kernow then too bad. Let them pass the last days of their retirement in the company of English fascists if that's what they want.

The other absentees

Noticeably absent are the UK Labour party, the Conservatives and UKIP, along with a handful of (more openly) English nationalist parties.

To be fair Labour are not the bottom of the pile. The Labour government did instigate devolution to Scotland, Wales and the Six Counties. Equally they gave recognition and funding to the Cornish language. Finally local Labour PPC, Charlotte MacKenzie, has supported the campaign for a Cornish tick box option on the 2011 UK census. That being noted the last Labour government also: 1) Chucked the Cornish Assembly petition of 50,000 signatures in the bin. 2) Refused to recognise Cornwall as its own natural European region. 3) Ensured that a large chunk of Cornwall's governance was done via unelected English quangos. 4) Refused to recognise the Cornish as a national minority under the terms of the Council of Europe's framework convention for the protection of national minorities. 5) Refused to investigate the complex relationship between the Duchy of Cornwall and the territory of Cornwall.

From the Conservatives we have seen some efforts at co-opting of the language of Cornish nationalism but very little else. Now its for them to take on board the saying 'actions talk louder than words'. UKIP? Nothing to date worth reporting concerning the Cornish.

Nothing to do with the Liberal Democrats, this self described "non socialist 'left of centre' radical political party" gives full recognition to a Cornish nation and is happy to describe Kernow as a Duchy separate from England. They support devolution to the various countries that make up the UK including Cornwall. They say: Cornwall is under threat from Big Brother Labour governments, and ignored by Conservative ones. The EU for example, wants to encourage minority nations, languages, and cultures like Cornwall. London governments are eroding Cornish rights and freedoms. Lately they denied us the right to fly our ancient National flag on a par with England. All the more surprising when you consider they advised people to vote UKIP in the May 2010 general election.

I've decided to cast my nets wider and include pressure groups, think tanks and other organisations. On to the list will go the following organisations for the work they have done and recognition given to the Cornish nation: Celtic League, Federal Union of European Nationalities, Center for World Indigenous Studies, World Network for the Collective Rights of Peoples, Scottish Republican Socialist Movement and England Devolve.

Equally onto the list goes the Cornish Nationalist Party. They aren't currently a registered UK political party but you do hear from them in the Cornish press from time to time. The Roseland Institute will serve as their link.

Following their interesting blog post in praise of Cornwall I've added Unlock Democracy to the list. For their work towards a more autonomous, resilient and inclusive, low carbon communities in Cornwall Transition Cornwall are also new to the list.

For their support of Cornish recognition and/or autonomy the Yorkshire Devolution Movement, the Cliff Edge Signalling Company, the Acting Witan of Mercia, Democratic Reform Party, Federalist Party of the UK, UK Libertarian Party and Green Left have now been added.

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