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31.1.09

Cornish feedback needed

Some opportunities for Cornish feedback and comment to highlight.

The first concerns the Institute for Minority Research EURAC. They are inviting people belonging to national minorities, non-governmental organisations and experts working in the field of minority protection to provide input into a study on indicators for assessing the impact of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM). I'm sure the Cornish have some very valuable insights to provide. The contact details for EURAC consultation can be found by clicking here.

The second is from the Runnymede Trust UK Race & Europe Network who are organising a roundtable event. The roundtable aims at bringing together equality organisations, civil servants, academics and other stakeholders interested in the topic , to discuss the concept of positive action and its use in addressing discrimination. Issues that will be discussed include the new Equality Bill and the drafted European Anti-Discrimination Directive and how they can promote positive action. A good practise discussion panel with businesses, NGOs and public authority representatives will be outlining examples of positive action measures and policies. The Positive Action Roundtable will be hosted by law firm Eversheds in Central London. For more information, contact the UKREN Secretariat at mailto: ukren@runnymedetrust.org.

Thirdly the Guardians comment is free site has created the Liberty Central. One of the facilities allows you to ask Liberty lawyers your civil liberties and human rights queries – anything from your own experiences to questions you have always wanted to ask. Post them in the thread here.

Finally of course the new Equality and Human Rights Commission should be encouraged to continue the support for Cornish inclusion within the FCNM that the CRE showed. Please direct your thoughts to Regional Manager Mr Qaiser Razzak at the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Contact details as follows:
info@equalityhumanrights.com
qaiser.razzak@equalityhumanrights.com
Telephone on (0117) 900 1765.

Britanny - Wales, Two Nations, One Struggle

Great to see some solidarity with our Breton neighbours coming from Wales. The below is taken from the blog British Nationalists in Wales WATCH.

Some in Wales tend to think of Brittany as a poor relation to Wales. It's true their language is weaker but then, they've been under the thumb of the fascistic policies of the French Republic for two hundred years. The state which claims to be for Equality and Fraternity and Liberty, but under those words have decided on a deliberate policy of killing the Breton language or any meaningful cultural and political Breton identity. It's no coincidence that the Turkish republic sees the French constitution as it's template for denying rights to the Kurds and that the Chinese and Russians also use the same Newspeak as the French.

For the full article click here

Britanny - Wales, Two Nations, One Struggle

Great to see some solidarity with our Breton neighbours coming from Wales. The below is taken from the blog British Nationalists in Wales WATCH.

Some in Wales tend to think of Brittany as a poor relation to Wales. It's true their language is weaker but then, they've been under the thumb of the fascistic policies of the French Republic for two hundred years. The state which claims to be for Equality and Fraternity and Liberty, but under those words have decided on a deliberate policy of killing the Breton language or any meaningful cultural and political Breton identity. It's no coincidence that the Turkish republic sees the French constitution as it's template for denying rights to the Kurds and that the Chinese and Russians also use the same Newspeak as the French.

For the full article click here

29.1.09

Campaign launched for a dotKER Cornish domain name

The campaign is launched now we need the volunteers and general support.

Taken from Eurolang:

Truru - Truro, Thursday, 29 January 2009 by Katriina Kilpi

A campaign has been launched to secure a top level domain name (TLD) for the Cornish linguistic and cultural community, in an attempt to emulate the successes of the other TLD name campaigns currently being undertaken elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

The dotKER campaign is the last to be launched by the UK's distinct cultural linguistic minority groups without a current TLD, and hopes to build on the successes experienced by the dotCYM and dotSCO campaigns over the last year.

Speaking to Eurolang, one of the Directors of dot KER, Mr Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, said:

"We were encouraged by the news last year that ICANN, the organisation responsible for assigning TLD or country codes like .co.uk , signalled that they would radically change the way it administers new internet domain suffixes from 2009. This could potentially mean that from next year Cornwall could apply for its own TLD.

"We have been in contact with CORE, the Internet Council of Registrars, who worked strongly for establishing the .CAT, first language and culture TLD and who has an ongoing relationship with dotCYM (Wales) dotBZH (Brittany) and dotGAL (Galicia), among other 'new TLDs'.

"Due to the way the internet domain administration has been developed, we envisaged some initial difficulties in securing a .KER domain name. The advice that we received from CORE however is that .KER for the linguistic and cultural community and .KER for the area/region, would be acceptable for ICANN if we were to bid for a new "generic" TLD for Cornwall."

Cornwall has a world wide linguistic and cultural diaspora, stretching throughout four continents. Like the other TLD name campaigns in Wales and Scotland, dotKER is looking to the Cornish global community to show ICANN that support for a .KER domain name. (Eurolang 2009)
Further details

http://www.dotker.org/

25.1.09

Cornish National Sports

Following last years Europeada the French political party Régions et Peuples Solidaires is defending the idea of a football tournament for the peoples and nations within the French state. RPS has announced that during 2009 it will work on the creation of such a tournament for the Alsaciens, Basques, Bretons, Catalans, Corses, Occitans and Savoisiens.

How about some friendly internationals with a Cornish team? What can we hope for? I doubt if either football or rugby matches could be organised against the recognised home nations of the UK in the near future. Cornwall just isn't there yet and we're still a long way off. However fielding a team for friendlies against the 'RPS' teams or even in the Europeada is a distinct possibility, and what a boost this would give to Cornish national identity. An all Cornwall team playing Brittany at Truro! What better way to pack the stadium? Here's looking forward to the creation of a group to push for Cornish national sports. A pressure group that would promote our Wrasslin and Hurling whilst pushing the idea of Cornish national teams to the fore.

RPS regroups moderate autonomist parties from around the French state. Could such a political formation as the RPS exist in the UK to bring together the SNP, Plaid, MK and perhaps either English regionalists or English nationalists? I'd like to think yes but the asymmetry of these nationalist movements makes it unlikely at the moment. The SNP seem to have little time for the Cornish movement except letting slip the odd friendly comment and while we have no MK MPs I doubt this will change. To get an idea perhaps of how some Scots and Welsh see the Cornish movement just consider your view of the Mercian regionalists for a moment.

23.1.09

WhatDoTheyKnow.com

A response from the Ministry of Justice to a request made under the Freedom of Information. The request was made using the exellent new WhatDoTheyKnow.com website and concerns the Duchy of Cornwalls exemption from the FOI act.

Taken from the response:

Thank you for your email of 22 December seeking additional information about the Duchy of Cornwall's exclusion from the Freedom of Information Act 2000 ('the Act'). ‘Public authority’ has a specific definition for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act. It is defined there as any body listed in Schedule 1 to the Act or a ‘publicly-owned company’. The Duchy of Cornwall is not listed in Schedule 1. Nor is it a publicly-owned company as defined in section 6 of the Act. This means that the Duchy is not a public authority for the purposes of the Act.

The FOI Act includes powers for Ministers to designate additional organisations as public authorities for freedom of information purposes by orders, either under section 4 which applies to bodies created and partly appointed by the Crown or by government etc, or under section 5 which applies to bodies that carry out public functions. The Government has no plans to bring the Duchy of Cornwall within the scope of the Act.

So why is the Duchy not listed in Schedule 1 when it clearly has some of the functions of a public authority? Why is the government not planning to bring the Duchy within the FOI act? Some more questions to follow up.

18.1.09

Collective Cornish Rights

Some interesting developments in the field of collective rights and self-determination.

Firstly this year a conference will be held at the World Social Forum on the subject of collective rights and self-determination.

CIEMEN has invited representatives of 30 stateless nations across the world to participate in the area of Collective Rights of Peoples, which will host debates, talks, conferences, round tables and other activities for three days (January 29, 30 and 31). The area will consist of two big tents with a capacity for 350 and 200 people, a press office and information stands. The activities will focus on topics related to collective rights of peoples: self-determination, minoritised languages and indigenous peoples, land rights, etc.

A blog for activities has been created but so far it's only in Catalan. Still it looks good and the St Pirans gets a spot: Espai pels Drets Col·lectius dels pobles / Forum Social Mundial 2009

Secondly there has been some movement on the subject of national minorities and lesser used languages in the European Parliament. Full details below taken from Eurolang:

MEPs support call for right to education in mother tongue, autonomy, and targeted funding for lesser used languages

Brussel - Bruxelles, Thursday, 15 January 2009 Ecrit par Davyth Hicks

MEPs voted in favour yesterday for a resolution on fundamental rights. The resolution report, drafted by Giusto Catania (GUE/NGL), sets out new standards on a broad range of fundamental rights and contains several pro lesser used language and national minority clauses.

Key clauses, campaigned for by
EBLUL and the NPLD last year, are for a common definition and standards of national minority protection, a call for all member states to ratify the Framework Convention for National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, a right to education in one’s mother tongue, and targeted EU funding for European lesser-used languages.

The Report: “Underlines the importance of protecting and promoting regional or minority languages, noting that the right to speak and to be educated in one's mother tongue is one of the most basic fundamental rights.” It continues that the, “EU’s multilingualism policy should protect and promote regional and minority languages by targeted funding and specific programmes alongside the Lifelong Learning Programme” - both key EBLUL proposals.

Furthermore, it stressed the importance of political autonomy in helping to nurture stateless languages and cultures. It stated that: “the principles of subsidiarity and self-governance are the most effective ways of handling the problems of traditional national minority communities, following the best practices existing within the Union; encourages the use of appropriate types of self-governance solutions (personal-cultural, territorial, regional autonomies)…”. Referring to the successes of Welsh, Basque and Catalan autonomy.

While the resolution has no immediate legislative force, it does become the formal position of the European Parliament and will be instrumental in future legislation should any be brought forward. The Report will also become a useful tool for language campaigners from across Europe.

Eurolang spoke to Hungarian MEP Kinga Gal, the shadow rapporteur who worked hard on the Report and in getting her group, the EPP, to back it.

She said: "I consider it especially important the adequate reference to the situation of minorities in Europe – making a clear distinction between the traditional national minorities and new minorities, especially in Central and Eastern Europe. The report underlines that while the Copenhagen criteria made clear reference to the protection of minorities, in Community law criteria and norms are missing in the field of the protection of traditional national minorities.

Ms Gal continued, "It is a novelty and very important the paragraph which says that the principles of subsidiarity and self-governance are the most effective ways of handling the rights of people belonging to national minorities, following the best practices existing within the Union. The text encourages the use of appropriate types of self-governance solutions - which is again one of the basic claims of the big traditional minority communities, such as the Hungarians".

MEPs voted by 401 votes in favour, 220 against and 67 on the report. The language and national minority clauses passed unamended, suggesting an increasing acceptance of lesser used language and national minority rights by MEPs.

(Eurolang 2009)

Catania Report on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union 2004-2008

What does all this mean for Kernow? Probably not very much in the near future, but they are all moves in the right direction that will have potential positive fallout for the Cornish movement.

Do we as a people have the collective right to immediate and total independence? No, I don't think so. However do we have the right to a public debate and referendum on a new constitutional settlement within the UK estate? I think the petition of 50,000 signatures calling for a Cornish assembly and our hidden Duchy constitution answer that.

Do we have the right to all our schools being totally bilingual in Cornish/English? No and do we really want that? However do we have the right to a devolved curriculum that treats Cornish identity, culture, history and language in an equitable way with appropriate funding? Of course but how are we going get there?

The Stannary Parliaments application to the European Court of Human Rights has been rejected. The government has refused to recognise the Cornish under the FCNM. The Cornish Fighting Fund has missed its target, even if 40K is quite good during a financial meltdown just before Christmas. So what next? Lets hope that the meeting arranged between Cornish activists and the new Equality and Human Rights Commission result in this body continuing the support for Cornish recognition expressed by the Commission for Racial Equality.

Social and Sustainable Housing

Perhaps this is of any interest to those in the Duchy. Maybe the people behind Affordable Homes in Cornwall would be interested although their website seems very quiet and I have not heard much from them.

CECODHAS is the European Committee for social housing, a network of national and regional social housing federations gathering public, voluntary and cooperatives housing organisations. Together the 45 members in 19 EU members States manage 22 millions dwellings. CECODHAS members work

together:

- to reinforce the European Social model and take an active role in the definition of its future
- to protect fundamental rights and call for policies to ensure and reinforce social rights
- to promote integrated approaches to urban policies and sustainable development
- to fight for services of general interest of good quality accessible for all and for legal certainty for the providers

Here is their most recent report on social and sustainable housing in Europe.

16.1.09

Cornish Credit Unions

In these times of financial crisis I've been interested in the Credit Union phenomena as supported by Plaid Cymru. Indeed Plaid run their own Credit Union called Undeb Credyd Plaid Cymru. So when a member of the Transition Cornwall Network provided me with the link to the Association of Cornish Credit Unions I was happily surprised.

Now I don't know anything about them but the wiki link above should provide a good starting point for anyone wanting to research Credit Unions and if the ACU turn out to be a safe bet, which I have a feeling they are, then perhaps Cornish folk should consider investing some of their cash in the local economy in this way.

From the site:

A credit union is a not for profit, democratically run financial co-operative which offers convenient savings and low interest loans to its members. The credit union is run by volunteers and is managed and owned by the members. The three main aims of a credit union are:

1) To encourage its members to save regularly.

2) To provide loans to members at low rates of interest.

3) To provide members with help and support on managing their financial affairs (if required).

Perhaps I'm just dreaming but I still think it would be good to see the Stannary involved in something financially concrete like this that helps Cornish communities.

14.1.09

Charter 08

I see China's Charter 08, a document created by Chinese democracy campaigners, contains a call for equality before the law as well as a call to respect national minorities.

Equality. The integrity, dignity, and freedom of every person—regardless of social station, occupation, sex, economic condition, ethnicity, skin color, religion, or political belief—are the same as those of any other. Principles of equality before the law and equality of social, economic, cultural, civil, and political rights must be upheld.

A democratic China should seek to act as a responsible major power contributing toward peace and development in the Asian Pacific region by approaching others in a spirit of equality and fairness. In Hong Kong and Macao, we should support the freedoms that already exist. With respect to Taiwan, we should declare our commitment to the principles of freedom and democracy and then, negotiating as equals and ready to compromise, seek a formula for peaceful unification. We should approach disputes in the national-minority areas of China with an open mind, seeking ways to find a workable framework within which all ethnic and religious groups can flourish. We should aim ultimately at a federation of democratic communities of China.

I wonder why the UK government doesn't take a similar position? Do we not need equality before the law? Does the UK have no national minorities? Perhaps the Stannary Parliament have some of the answers in their latest offering: Britain Needs Constitutional Equality!

8.1.09

The friendly face of British nationalism

For an exercise in state sponsored British Nationalism you can't do much better than the -What does it mean to be British?- article from the Governance of Britain website.

The opinions of the great and the good are open for comments, so if you can be bothered.... Below is a response to comments made by contributor Hafsa on the Trevor Phillips piece who suggested that Welsh, Scottish, English and, I infer, Cornish are purely ethnic identities.

Hafsa,

You are making the mistake of thinking of Welsh, Cornish, English and Scottish identities as only ethnic and British as only civic. Given the opportunity the natural and historic territories - Cornwall, England, Scotland, Wales (perhaps some English regions too)- could also have vibrant and inclusive civic identities as you say the UK does.

This to my mind would be much preferable to the current homogenising and imperialist Britishness as it would respect the indigenous national minorities and historic identities of these isles as well as creating an open and welcoming society with devolved decision making powers much closer to the people.

Take a look at Scotland with its devolved institutions and strong civic culture, they are really leading the pack. What we see is the Scottish culture and ethnic identity respected side by side with the creation of a civic, open and welcoming society. A much better situation if, as good Europeans, we are serious about EU regionalism and subsidiarity.

If you ignore the indigenous ethno-regional identities of Britain and refuse to dote them with their own institutions and government structures, if you prevent the creation of healthy civic cultures for the home nations that both respect historic identity and new diversity, then you are asking for extreme and xenophobic forms of ethnic nationalism to take root.

5.1.09

Electoral Pact

With talk yet again of a Lib-Lab election pact what would a coalition government mean for Kernow? With the Liberal Democrats in government alongside New Labour, could our MPs and councillors put Cornish devolution on the table? Would they even try? If the Lib Dems got proportional representation adopted as a policy by government it would certainly benefit Mebyon Kernow but is this the most we could hope for?

To broaden the subject what about electoral pacts for MK? At the last general election they ran alongside the Cornish Greens. Should this alliance be maintained or is another partnership conceivable and preferable for MK? I think it was Peter Tatchell who suggested last year that in order to hold onto power New Labour should form an alliance with the SNP, Plaid and the Green Party. Could MK find a small niche in such a coalition? Or alternatively would people prefer to see a broad coalition of nationalists and other UK centre, left of centre parties (Liberals, Greens, Respect etc), to face off against a Lib-Lab alliance. Just some very light and loose ideas. I'd appreciate any thoughts on the subject.

Bearing in mind that the Regional Council of Brittany is governed by a coalition of the left including MKs sister party the Union Démocratique Bretonne, are electoral pacts a possibility for the elections to the new Unitary Authority? If so who would MK have to go into coalition with in order to take the Unitary?

Logo lashup

I have been asked by one of Cornwall's independent councilors to blog about the campaign against the new logo for the Unitary Authority so here goes.

It seems that the new logo (pictured) was developed without any consultation of the Cornish public who nonetheless paid for a packet for it. Apart from its dubious aesthetic qualities one has to ask why our traditional crest has been ditched. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

Here is the e-mail I received.

As I am sure you are aware, over 10,000 people in Cornwall have now signed the petition against the proposed logo for the new Council, and over 50 Parish and Town Councils have added their support to the campaign. We wish to spread the petition as widely as possible, and wondered if the petition could be added to your website. Please find a copy of the petition attached. Thank you for giving this matter your consideration.

Best wishes,

On behalf of the saveourlogo campaign


Well I can't link to a petition on this blog because there is no online petition, however all those who want to sign the petition can get copies by phoning 01726 884584 or e-mailing saveourlogo@live.co.uk .