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26.2.09

Weathering the Storm and after...

Editorial taken from Mebyon Kernows publication - Cornish Nation:

The economic downturn is showing no signs of abating. Prominent local firm Fitzgerald Lighting at Bodmin has gone into administration with the loss of 300 jobs and more jobs on the High Street are being lost as established firms, such as Woolworths, have gone out of business. Many long-standing local businesses are meanwhile reporting serious difficulties.

At the same time, public services in Cornwall are under terrible threats with the Treasury recently announcing that it is to close three local tax offices at Launceston, Penzance and Truro.

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics meanwhile show that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is still the poorest part of the United Kingdom. Cornwall’s economic performance for 2006 (the latest year for which figures are avaliable) shows a GVA (Gross Value Added) that is only 63% of the UK average. This compares to 279% in inner London, 136% in Berks, Bucks & Oxon and 130% in NE Scotland. A further report by the GMB union shows that the average wage for Cornish workers is only 75% of the UK average.

This continuing low level of economic activity means that central government must accept its responsibility to recognise Cornwall as a priority area for support.

Gordon Brown’s much-vaunted plans to invest in selected sectors, such as environmental technologies, advanced manufacturing, healthcare and education, will mean nothing to the people of Cornwall if investment continues to remain focussed on london and SE England.

Labour announcements in recent weeks have done nothing to suggest that this will change. All the talk is of an unpopular third runway at Heathrow, the 2012 London Olympics being an “important job creator and growth generator” and other infrastructure improvements in large cities.

Cornwall merits its fair share of investment at this time to stimulate activity in the local economy and create jobs, with targeted support for small businesses and initiatives to boost the lot of low-paid workers.
What can I add? Well it certainly doesn’t help if the Treasury pockets £25m of funding that should have gone to Cornwall. More on this later but for starters there’s this question from MP Julia Goldsworthy. Equally it's all well and good Gordon yappin on about health care, technology, environment and other typically populist topics, but without a fully coordinated EU wide re-launch money spent in one state will simply flow into neighbouring states who are 'waiting' to re-launch later. However perhaps now is the time to press for a Green Recovery.

Sparked by the recession various debates on Cornwall 24 have treated the questions: What alternatives to capitalism do we have? Would they work for Cornwall? I suspect I’m going to disappoint but not surprise. Possible directions to follow but no answers.

Of course individuals can support the Cornish economy through buying Cornish and to this end a clear labelling system for all local / Cornish goods and services is indispensable. Cornish Credit Unions and other schemes such as LETS, Time Banking, Freecycle and Local Currencies also give us the possibility to support local business and reinforce our communities. Are they the answer to all of Kernow's economic problems and the global crisis though?

Muhammad Yunus of microcredit and Grameen Bank fame has suggested that we don’t need a revolution that totally replaces capitalism, but rather a revolution that ensures two systems are brought to coexist side by side, one capitalist the other altruistic. Yunus suggests this symbiotic state would see one system compensating for the shortfalls inherent in the other. A very asiatic yin-yang take on socio-economic questions. Perhaps it’s a way forward but more flesh on the bones is needed and more reading for the CD no doubt.

Anyway those looking for a happy equilibrium between human well being, the environment and profit would do well to visit the New Economics Foundation for ideas on the way forward.

'Regions' re-jigged

Good news for Breton autonomists contained within the recent proposals from the Balladure comity on redrawing the French regional map.


However Brittany does comes out a winner, reunified as it will be with Nantes.

Taken with the story that Breton cars will soon be able to display their national flag, the Gwenn ha Du, on their number plates, it all looks like good news for once.


Isn't it Cornwalls turn next????

'Regions' re-jigged

Good news for Breton autonomists contained within the recent proposals from the Balladure comity on redrawing the French regional map.


However Brittany does comes out a winner, reunified as it will be with Nantes.

Taken with the story that Breton cars will soon be able to display their national flag, the Gwenn ha Du, on their number plates, it all looks like good news for once.


Isn't it Cornwalls turn next????

Celtic League joins diversity group to help fight racism

As part of a general campaign relating to issues aimed at combating discrimination in Cornwall, the Kernow Branch of the Celtic League has been invited to become members of an umbrella group of Cornish organisations representing different strands of equality and diversity.

Last year, members of the Kernow Branch of the League were sickened by racist graffiti – including slogans of a Cornish nationalist nature - that had been sprayed on a former Methodist Chapel in Quenchwell, Carnon Down in Cornwall, which is currently being converted into an Asian community centre. The Kernow Branch condemned the attacks, while at the same time contacted a number of groups and bodies in Cornwall in an effort to work cooperatively with them in order to tackle discrimination in Cornwall in a more general way.

While engaged in networking with these groups, it was suggested to the Branch that they should contact the Diversity Network for Cornwall (DNfC) and work more closely with them on shared goals. After initial research into the DNfC, it was decided at the January 2009 Branch meeting that the Kernow Branch should seek membership of the group.

Last week the Development Coordinator of DNfC, David Sillifant, contacted the Branch to inform them that their application had been successful. The Kernow Branch now hopes that it will be able to work successfully with its partners to push forward issues relating to diversity and equality that the Branch are particularly concerned with. A Branch representative for the DNfC has yet to be decided upon.

The General Secretary of the Celtic League, who is himself a Kernow Branch member, said:

Being part of a diversity network for Kernow made sense in that it enables the Branch to work more closely with other groups who are also attempting to tackle discrimination in Kernow and to highlight the diversity that exists. The Kernow Branch is keen to show other minorities in Kernow that the Cornish community is open and welcoming for all; while at the same time it would like to bring to the attention of the wider community the discrimination that Cornish people also experience.

Over the last few years the Branch has received a number of reports from Cornish people who have felt that they have been discriminated against because of their ethnicity. The Celtic League hopes that the Branch will now be able to deal with such instances in a more effective way within Kernow, to ensure that equality and respect is inclusive and total."

Related article on Celtic News here.

J B Moffatt
Director of Information
Celtic League

25/02/09

21.2.09

Cornish Blogging

I've noticed a couple of blog projects now that may be of interest to those actively involved in developing the Cornish cyberspace.

The first is BlogCymru.com who have kindly listed the Cornish Democrat. The second is the Witanagemot Club which I think I have a cat in hells chance of being listed on.

Essentially both sites list other blogs that share a common theme. They act as central resources for others wishing to explore English and Welsh blogging. Both sites provide bloggers who agree with their general political position banners that link back to the central directory.

With the Cornish Fighting Fund we had a similar set up but it was temporary. How about a permanent blog directory that promoted more general objectives i.e Cornish national recognition and greater home-rule?

There are plenty of bloggers who would place such a link banner on their website and this would provide a simple way of raising awareness about Cornish issues.

Post Script

Is this still working?
cornlinkdir.gif

19.2.09

Brittany stands up for reunification in Paris

As Cornwall is forced into being part of an artificial administrative region so Brittany is divided between two purely administrative regions. The department loire-atlantique (pictured here as Naoned) was undemocratically carved off the Breton nation and attached to the artificial region Pay de la loire, but things could be about to change for the better.

Taken from Nationalia:

Breton political, cultural and businessmen representatives exhibit an unprecedented display of unity and strength as crucial time for France’s territorial reform draws near · More than 100 Breton important figures call for reintegration of the Loire-Atlantique department into the region of Brittany with a clear message: “It’s now or never.”

Supporters of the reunification of Brittany called for the current territorial reform underway to reintegrate the department of Loire-Atlantique into the Breton region. The restaurant of the renowned Breton chef Jacques Le Divellec was the place where members of Breton public life gathered to endorse the demand signed by 100 important Breton figures. The message is addressed to Édouard Balladur, the politician Nicolas Sarkozy entrusted with the drafting of a report on "the reform of the territorial collectivities".

Several politicians attended the event, such as the president of the region of Brittany, Jean-Yves Le Drian (Socialist Party), MP's of the Union for a Popular Movement, Marc Le Fur, Jacques Le Guen and Dominique de Legge (UMP), as well as Mona Bras (Breton Democratic Union) and Fabrice Loher (Democratic Movement).

Other important figures attending the gathering were businessman Christian Guillemot, from UbiSoft, geographer Jean Ollivro, President of the organization United Brittany, Jean-Yves Bourriau, founder of TV Breizh, Patrick Le Lay, writer Irène Frain, the Routard owner Philippe Gloaguen, and Noël Couédel, director of the Festival Interceltique, among others.
Breton online journal Ouest-France.fr
cites several comments made in Tuesday's event.

Reunification, closer

Apart from cultural and historical reasons -Nantes, the capital of the Loire-Atlantique department, was formerly part of Brittany and retains cultural preponderance- Christian Guillemot, from the software company UbiSoft argued that "Brittany will be stronger and attract more business if the 5 departments are reunited".

The gathering should have some effect on the report Balladur is currently drafting and which will be issued before March 1st. The movement for the reunification of Brittany has reached its climax amidst Sarkozy's recent
public statement in favour of "experimental and voluntary fusion of regions". Breton supporters are then confident that their goals will be attained during Sarkozy's current term.

Brittany stands up for reunification in Paris

As Cornwall is forced into being part of an artificial administrative region so Brittany is divided between two purely administrative regions. The department loire-atlantique (pictured here as Naoned) was undemocratically carved off the Breton nation and attached to the artificial region Pay de la loire, but things could be about to change for the better.

Taken from Nationalia:

Breton political, cultural and businessmen representatives exhibit an unprecedented display of unity and strength as crucial time for France’s territorial reform draws near · More than 100 Breton important figures call for reintegration of the Loire-Atlantique department into the region of Brittany with a clear message: “It’s now or never.”

Supporters of the reunification of Brittany called for the current territorial reform underway to reintegrate the department of Loire-Atlantique into the Breton region. The restaurant of the renowned Breton chef Jacques Le Divellec was the place where members of Breton public life gathered to endorse the demand signed by 100 important Breton figures. The message is addressed to Édouard Balladur, the politician Nicolas Sarkozy entrusted with the drafting of a report on "the reform of the territorial collectivities".

Several politicians attended the event, such as the president of the region of Brittany, Jean-Yves Le Drian (Socialist Party), MP's of the Union for a Popular Movement, Marc Le Fur, Jacques Le Guen and Dominique de Legge (UMP), as well as Mona Bras (Breton Democratic Union) and Fabrice Loher (Democratic Movement).

Other important figures attending the gathering were businessman Christian Guillemot, from UbiSoft, geographer Jean Ollivro, President of the organization United Brittany, Jean-Yves Bourriau, founder of TV Breizh, Patrick Le Lay, writer Irène Frain, the Routard owner Philippe Gloaguen, and Noël Couédel, director of the Festival Interceltique, among others.
Breton online journal Ouest-France.fr
cites several comments made in Tuesday's event.

Reunification, closer

Apart from cultural and historical reasons -Nantes, the capital of the Loire-Atlantique department, was formerly part of Brittany and retains cultural preponderance- Christian Guillemot, from the software company UbiSoft argued that "Brittany will be stronger and attract more business if the 5 departments are reunited".

The gathering should have some effect on the report Balladur is currently drafting and which will be issued before March 1st. The movement for the reunification of Brittany has reached its climax amidst Sarkozy's recent
public statement in favour of "experimental and voluntary fusion of regions". Breton supporters are then confident that their goals will be attained during Sarkozy's current term.

16.2.09

Cornish Extinction

Well blow me if the British Council haven't mentioned the Cornish language on their website. A reasonably honest and positive take on things as well. See below:

When did the language die out? It really depends on your definition of 'died out'. The story goes that the last person who spoke Cornish (and no English) was a woman called Dolly Pentreath. She died in 1777 and some people say that the language died with her. But of course, there were still people who spoke Cornish as a native language, even if they also knew English. And their children learned some Cornish from them even if they spoke English most of the time. The number of speakers got smaller and smaller and they knew less and less of the language, but Cornish didn't disappear. There are stories of fisherman still using Cornish numbers to count fish in the 1940s and 50s. So some people argue that the language never died out completely, but survived until the Cornish revival started at the beginning of the twentieth century.

On the Subject of Cornish UNESCO has this to say in a recent press release:

Certain languages are even showing signs of a revival, like Cornish, a Celtic language spoken in Cornwall, southern England, and Sishee in New Caledonia.

More from UNESCO on languages here: Intangible Cultural Heritage and Endangered languages. Is the UN distinction of Cornish as an extinct language justified then? Christopher Moseley, an Australian linguist and editor-in-chief of the atlas is reported by the BBC, who otherwise seem to gloat over the 'extinct' classification of Cornish, to have said:

"I have always been optimistic about Cornish and Manx.

"There is a groundswell of interest in them, although the number of speakers is small.


"Perhaps in the next edition we shall have a 'being revived' category.


"[Cornish] is among a group of languages that turned out not to be extinct but merely sleeping."

14.2.09

The democratic republican moment / 2

Bravo David Marquand! It seems that those in the Duchy calling for equality and greater people power are not alone, although it has to be said that the centralising Jacobin direction taken by the French state is nothing to be admired.

Marquand below:

During the Atlantic revolutions of the 18th century, Britain was on the wrong side. The American revolution was directed against British rule; the allegedly freedom-loving British elite sought to prevent the American colonists from enjoying the blessings of liberty. It was the same story during the French revolution. To the frightened British elite, it seemed that France had plunged into an abyss of anarchy, spoliation and atheism. The British state, backed by a wave of anti-revolutionary popular patriotism, became the lynch-pin of a Europe-wide counter-revolutionary alliance, bent on restoring the ancien régime and snuffing out the subversive dream of liberty, equality and fraternity.

In truth, the freeborn Briton is a myth. British freedoms have always rested on custom and convention, not on any fundamental law: on the transient goodwill of a mostly generous political elite, not on the sovereignty of the people. They have always been at risk from the all-powerful, inalienably sovereign Crown-in-Parliament. The charge against the surveillance state of the 21st century is not that it is eroding ancient liberties, which the British never fully possessed. It is that an over-mighty and panicky state is using a constitution which has always been essentially monarchical rather than republican to extend its reach ever-more deeply into the marrow of civil society. The task for today’s democratic republicans is not to fight a backward-looking battle in defence of the mythical freeborn Briton. It is to mobilise our fellow-citizens in a forward-looking campaign for a democratic constitution based on the principles of inalienable human rights and popular sovereignty: to make British liberty a reality instead of a comforting fiction.

Inter-Link Cornwall

A chance here for Cornish community and voluntary groups, statutory agencies and individuals to work more closely together. 

Inter-Link Cornwall claims to provide a chance for groups to talk about their common issues, exchange information and communicate with other agencies, groups, projects and organisations. Interestingly after some brief e-mail communication it seems that Gorsedh Kernow and some Transition Town projects are already on the database. When I asked about other Cornish groups, from CoSERG to Cornish Heritage, I was informed that they'd all be welcome. It seems such a simple way to get your organisation more publicity and link it in to the community so why not join.

Taken from their website:

Inter-Link Offers:-

The opportunity to attend local meetings across the districts. These are informal meeting’s which provide you with a chance of fi nding out about the work of other organisations, the latest information on funding programmes, training available to your group, and you can meet others, share ideas and let people know about your work. You will be sent a magazine with information about news from other groups, information about events and general news. Most importantly you will be able to use this as a source to promote your group or events. Inter-Link Cornwall is here to support voluntary and community organisations, if we cannot help, we will do our best to signpost you to someone who can!

Inter-Links Background

How did Inter-Link Begin?

Inter-Link was originally started in Penwith in 1997 when it became apparent that there were few opportunities for local groups and organisations to get together and exchange information. With a mailing list of 24, Penwith Volunteer Bureau facilitated these meetings to start with and then when Penwith Community Development Trust formed in 1998 Inter-Link was taken forward by them. Inter-Link was facilitated with limited resources.

With Inter-Links being facilitated in Penwith, Kerrier began to facilitate similar types of meetings – although they were not called ‘Inter-Links’ they operated in the same way and were facilitated by an lead organisation with limited resources.

In November 2001, a conference was organised by a consortium of Voluntary Organisations across West Cornwall where it was agreed that the most effective way forward was for the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS), including residents, to be involved in Local Strategic Partnerships. This would build on existing networks (Inter-Links) and Community Empowerment Funding could strengthen and expand these networks.

Funding was awarded to West Cornwall in 2002 and the West Cornwall Community Network was formed. A team was employed to both develop West Cornwall Community Network and Penwith and Kerrier Inter-Link. Penwith and Kerrier Inter-Link membership began to grow and more support for the Voluntary and Community Sector could be offered.

Over time, other areas in Cornwall had networking meetings known as ‘Inter-Link Meetings’ but once again these were under resourced and an add on to someone’s’ role

In 2005, via another consortium (Cornwall Infrastructure Partnership) funding was sought to roll out Inter-Link Cornwall Wide. Two additional Inter-Link Officers were employed to roll out the Inter-Link model already being used in West Cornwall to North Cornwall and Caradon and Mid Cornwall.

Further funding through the Local Area Agreement, means that Inter-Link is continuing to be successfully rolled out Cornwall Wide, and has four dedicated Inter-Link Officers in place to support the Voluntary and Community Sector.

10.2.09

Kernow - Combat racism celebrate diversity

Following continued racist graffiti attacks on a disused Methodist chapel in Cornwall, members of the Kernow Branch of the Celtic League have resolved to join a Cornwall wide network of groups that work towards greater equality and diversity.

The Branch decided at its first meeting of 2009 to seek membership of the Diversity Network for Cornwall (DNfC) - a partner led network of groups in Cornwall, representing different strands of equality. The Network aims to work with "statutory, voluntary, community and private organisations to make Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for one and all." Some of the key objectives of the DNfC are to promote awareness of human rights issues, to promote the need for fairness, justice and equal access to services for all people and to act as a voice for the diverse communities of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The suggestion for Kernow Branch to work more closely with the DNfC first came from John Jackson at the Diversity Unit of Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, after the Branch wrote to a number of bodies in Cornwall during 2008 on equality and diversity related topics. One issue that the Branch specifically pursued in 2008 was the condemnation of the racist graffiti attacks against Quenchwell Chapel, near Carnon Downs, which is currently being converted into an Asian community centre.

After a general discussion at the Branch meeting it was felt that the branch could work more effectively with a large network of other groups in Cornwall who were also committed to seeking positive change on issues related to diversity and equality. It was also felt that the experiences of members of the Branch could be useful to the Network within the different strands of equality.

It was decided to ask the League's General Secretary (GS), who is also a Kernow Branch member, to approach the DNfC to request membership. It was also decided to set up a campaign blog on the internet to help focus specifically the activities of the Branch on issues related to diversity and equality within Cornwall and the other Celtic countries.

One member of the Branch Philip Hosking wrote to the GS before the meeting to say:

"I know the Celtic League is quite a broad church with people of many different political opinions but the recent … racist attack(s) as well as intolerance, racism and bigotry in general are not at all in line with the leagues principles."

The full text of the letter from the League's GS can be found below:

Diversity Network for Cornwall

enquiries@cornwall.gov.uk

29/01/09

Dear Sir/Madam

Diversity Network for Cornwall (DNfC)

I am writing to you on behalf of the Kernow Branch of the Celtic League with the aim of enquiring about membership of the DNfC.

Our organisation as a whole is extremely interested in the work of groups that pursue equality and diversity at all levels, with the aim of making each of the Celtic countries a fairer and more inclusive environment in which to live and work. The Celtic League have campaigned on a broad range of issues including human, social, cultural and linguistic rights throughout the Celtic countries for almost fifty years and are always keen to develop relations and work with other groups that do the same.

The Kernow Branch has asked me to make initial contact with the DNfC, as a member of the Branch and also as General Secretary of the League, to request Branch membership of the network. The Kernow Branch believes that it has a great deal to contribute to the work of the DNfC in terms of experience and ideas and also we are interested in working together with your other members to stimulate positive change. It was actually suggested by Devon and Cornwall Constabulary in 2008 that the Kernow Branch of the League should seek to work more closely with the DNfC in its pursuit of respect for diversity and equality, following its condemnation of racist graffiti on the Methodist Chapel at Quenchwell near Carnon Downs.

Following a meeting of the Branch earlier this month, members thought that Branch membership of the DNfC would be a positive step towards working for equality and diversity within Cornwall. Could you therefore inform us of the process involved to become members of the DNfC. For your information I have attached the League's Constitution.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Rhisiart Tal-e-bot
General Secretary (and Kernow Branch Member)
Celtic League"

Links :

Diversity Network for Cornwall

J B Moffatt
Director of Information
Celtic League

08/01/09

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

The Celtic League Discussion Group

8.2.09

Cornish presence at the World Social Forum

Good to see a Cornish presence at the World Social Forum this year in Belem Brasil. So what Cornish org do you have to join to get sent off to such exotic places? Well I do believe I can spot a Stannator.

6.2.09

The democratic republican moment

An interesting OK article here called -The democratic republican moment- that compared and contrasts the four major political traditions of the UK according to David Marquand. These traditions are Whig imperialism, Tory nationalism, democratic collectivism and democratic republicanism. Marquand suggestion is that the former three have all had periods of dominance whereas democratic republicanism has not.

Marquand says:

The Whig Imperialists, the Tory Nationalists, the Democratic Collectivists, have all been tested almost to destruction. Democratic republicanism I think has had enormous influence on the changes that have taken place in civil society in the last thirty years. I think feminism in many ways has been democratic republican. The Green movement in many ways has been democratic republican. The nationalist movements in Scotland and Wales too. The Blair Government acted in what I would call a Democratic Republican spirit when they did their most important and lasting achievement, which was to create elected Assemblies in Wales and Scotland. But it's still kind of boxed in, and I think the real question now for Britain is whether we may just conceivably be at the beginning of a democratic republican moment.


So where does the Cornish political tradition fit into all this? Perhaps the Whig imperialist tradition is still strong in the Duchy spliced as it is with a healthy dose of Cornish patriotism. Mebyon Kernow certainly seem to fall within the democratic republican category. With great changes on the horizon here's hoping that we can ensure democratic republicanism has its day and that MK forms an integral part of it.

Below are some old e-mails received from various UK democratic reformers.

England Devolve!

Thank you for your enquiry about Devolve! and our views on the organisations that you mention. We have close links with the Cornish Constitutional Convention particularly through Bert Biscoe who, in an individual capacity, is the chair of the Commission on the South. The Commission was set up after a Devolve-organised conference to take forward thinking on territorial devolution in the South of England (at that point it looked like devolution of a kind was well under way in the North). The Convention's aims and actions are very much the sort of thing that we would like to see happening in the regions of England.

We have considerable reservations about the Campaign for an English Parliament. It's good that they are thinking about England divested of its first colonies, but their approach does not include any element of devolving power downwards from the national level - in fact they are opposed to the idea of regionalising England.

Their nationalistic, somewhat Little England-ish, tone is rather different from Devolve's vision of a culturally diverse England where power, including economic power, grows from the most local levels. Kernow does not seem to figure on their horizon at all - perhaps they think it is a county ...I have attached a copy of our latest Newsletter, which includes information on the Commission on the South which, since the failure of the government's attempt at regionalising the North East, is expanding its remit to cover all of England. Do let me know if you would like to receive future newsletters by email and/or by post, and if you would like me to send you some further information leaflets about Devolve and its ideas.

Electoral Reform Society

Many thanks for your recent email. As a subordinate wing of the Electoral Reform Society, we are bound by its policies, aims and objectives and therefore defer to the Chief Executives response.

However, part of our work as the youth and student wing involves researching young peoples attitudes towards electoral/formal politics and representative democracy, and if you are doing or planning any work with young people with regard to your campaign we would be interested in hearing about that. If, for example, you wanted to run a consultation with young people in Cornwall/Kernow to establish their attitudes to the Cornish question, we may be able to work with you and perhaps through this assist you in developing this angle of your campaign.

Republic The Campaign for an Elected Head of State

Republic has no particular position on national or linguistic minorities. Our campaign is directed solely at the need for an elected head of state. On the question of devolved or newly independent states within what is currently the UK, we argue only that such status is up to the people of the effected regions and that those regions/nations/states should enjoy a full democracy, with an elected head of state.

Republic has no view on a devolved Cornish Assembly, which is to say we are neither for or against. Our sole purpose is to provide everyone living in what is currently the UK with the opportunity to have an elected head of state in place of the monarchy. Republic is not a party seeking office or votes. We direct our campaign solely at one issue, which is why I must give the answers I have given above.

Citizens Initiative and Referendum

For our small Campaign I and R I have to say that we cannot take position on particular issues. We promote only reform of the democratic system, aiming to see elements of direct democracy such as the right to citizens' initiative and citizen-triggered referendum introduced in the countries of Britain. In general we are against exclusion of any public issue. All things handled by councils and governments should also potentially be subjects of citizens' direct democracy. Irredentism, self-determination and related aims are among the most difficult areas for theorists of democracy, as far as I understand. The following helped to remind me about this, no doubt you are familiar with it:

Wikipedia offers: "The principle of self-determination, often seen as a moral and legal right, is that every nation is entitled to a sovereign territorial state, and that every specifically identifiable population should choose which state it belongs to (for instance by plebiscite). It is commonly used to justify the aspirations of an ethnic group that self-identifies as a nation toward forming an independent sovereign state. Although there is a consensus that international law recognizes the principle of self-determination, the principle does not, by itself, define which group is a nation, which groups are entitled to sovereignty, or what territory they should get for that purpose. Its application in international law creates a tension between this principle and the principles of territorial integrity and non-intervention in internal affairs"

To your second question, it looks as though the government has been wriggling in ways which may be illegal. What is the role of the monarch and Duchy of Cornwall in all of this ?

UK Youth Parliament

Thank you for your e-mail which was forwarded to me by our Central Team and your interest in the work of UK Youth Parliament. The Central Team are I hope dealing with your question regarding the Freedom of Information Act, but I thought I would respond to your query about devolution. Members of the Youth Parliament (MYPs) in the South West have not yet adopted any formal policy or approach on the issue of devolution and a Cornish Assembly.

This year our regional residential and induction for all new MYPs was held in Cornwall for the first time at the invitation of the Cornish MYPs, who were keen to welcome the other young people to Cornwall. In addition to spending time on the weekend learning about UKYP and what they can expect to do in their year ahead, some of our programme was devoted to finding out more about Cornish history and heritage. We worked with local storytellers, musicians, chefs, museums and libraries to help us understand more. Therefore whilst we have not yet formally debated the issue of a Cornish Assembly, I hope you are reassured that Cornish heritage is something MYPs are aware of and are interested in.

As a region, we have chosen to focus on issues that are common for all young people living in the South West (including young people living in Cornwall) such as transport, affordable housing and the environment. At local level however, the MYPs in Cornwall will be discussing the issue of devolution at their next meeting. I understand that Soozie Tinn, the Participation Worker from Cornwall Youth Service has been in contact with you. I hope this answers your query and thank you again for your interest.

5.2.09

Kernow - Racist attacks on community centre condemned

The General Secretary (GS) has written to Cornwall Council Leader David Whalley in an attempt to urge the Council to do more to promote relations between ethnic groups in Cornwall. The call comes shortly after a spate of racist graffiti attacks against a former Methodist chapel near Truro that is currently being converted into an Asian community centre.

The full text of the GS letter, which has been copied to the Muslim Council of Britain and Chief Constable Stephen Otter (who is also the spokesperson for the Association of Chief Police Officers on Race and Diversity), can be found below:


"Dear Councillor David Whalley

Racist attacks on Methodist Chapel, Quenchwell

I am writing to you following repeated graffiti attacks on the old Methodist chapel at Quenchwell, near Carnon Down in recent weeks.

The Celtic League outrightly condemns any racist attack against members of other ethnic communities in Cornwall and elsewhere, even if they are only, for the moment, in the form of graffiti. Even though it was probably only a small number of people who were responsible for dubbing the graffiti and that the vast majority of people in Cornwall would equally condemn the attacks, it may nevertheless be prudent for Cornwall Council, along with members of the Devon and Cornwall Police Constabulary and other public bodies, to begin a campaign or series of events to encourage members of Cornwall's public to engage in intercultural dialogue.

As you may be aware, 2008 is the European Year for Intercultural Dialogue and is also an area that the European Union has been promoting for many years within Europe and beyond. The aim of the project is to forge and develop good relations between members of different cultural groups. (More information, including some ideas, can be found at the link below). Relating to the Year for Intercultural Dialogue events could be organised between members of different ethnic groups throughout Cornwall, in an attempt to promote cultural dialogue and understanding. In the other Celtic countries, where such programmes have been implemented, the results have been very encouraging.

We are aware of some small scale programmes in Cornwall that aim to promote intercultural understanding e.g. Redruth Polish Society, but the Celtic League believes that a Cornwall wide approach is needed to overcome the bigotry and prejudice among some people that has manifested itself in the graffiti at Quenchwell.

We look forward to hear your views on this matter.

Yours sincerely

Rhisiart Tal-e-bot
General Secretary"


The Celtic League is committed to combating racism and in 2001 at its AGM in Cymru endorsed the aims and objectives of the (United Nations) 'World Conference Against Racism'.

See links at:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/475
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/478


J B Moffatt
Director of Information
Celtic League

22/06/08

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.

Internet site at:

http://celticleague.net
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/

MK condemns attacks on former chapel at Quenchwell

We must all work hard to promote understanding throughout Cornish communities Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall has condemned the recent racist attack on the former Methodist Chapel at Quenchwell, near Carnon Downs, where an Asian community centre is planned.

The new owner of the chapel has stated that he hopes to develop the building into a multi-faith centre where people of all faiths can go to celebrate family occasions and practice their religion.

In the recent attack, the head of a pig was nailed to the door and graffiti of a racist and ‘nationalist’ nature daubed on the walls.

Speaking on behalf of MK, Party Leader Cllr Dick Cole made the following statement:

“MK is saddened and appalled at the attack on the former chapel at Quenchwell. Such racist behaviour has no place in Cornish society and we condemn it without reservation.

“The attack is a crude attempt to foster division and intolerance in Cornwall and this must be resisted at all costs. It is unacceptable that any individual or group should have to put up with such harassment.

“We believe it is important that everyone works hard to help build an inclusive society that respects and celebrates the cultural background and faiths of minority groups in Cornwall today.

“We also welcome the statement of Police Inspector Mark Richards that the graffiti was offensive ‘not only to Asians, Asian religions, but also to Christians and Cornish nationalists whose name is taken in vain.’

“It is our hope that the Police will be able to catch those responsible for this crime and take the appropriate action.”

3.2.09

Movyans Skolyow Meythrin / Nursery Schools Movement

Well here it is at last! If you were looking for something of Cornwall shattering importance to get behind following the missed target of the CFF then how about working to facilitate the opening and running of Cornish/English bilingual preschool establishments in the Duchy. 


The first steps have been taken and the website is here: Movyans Skolyow Meythrin. There's a facebook group to join as well. The reintroduction of Cornish into our communities has begun.

2.2.09

Cornish Jobs for Cornwall's workers

On finding this Times article about a rise in industrial action in the UK I was prompted to return to an old idea I've had boiling on the back burner. So lets say 'Cornish jobs for Cornwalls' workers', and note I'm careful to say 'Cornwalls' workers'.

In the UK we're used to Trade Unions i.e Unions related to one particular sector, but this is not the whole story. Ignoring the BNP connected Solidarity, which may have more to say about the article above, Plaid Cymru has the associated UNDEB - Plaid Cymru Trade Union (website out of action at the moment), and equally in Brittany we find the Sindikad Labourerien Breizh - Breton Labour Union. These Unions are not ethnically based but simply defend the jobs of workers within their respective territories whilst also lending some support to the struggle for greater self-determination. So a Cornish Workers Union to defend all the low paid and exploited in the Duchy? Wouldn't it be good to see all the disposable workers in Cornwalls' tourist industry unionised and fighting together to improve pay and working conditions? Perhaps a specific Cornish Union is not really on the cards but if you are part of the Cornish movement and live and work in the Duchy are you in a Union? Could you be a voice for Cornwall within a larger UK wide Trade Union?

It should be remembered that Unions played an important role in Irish liberation and the campaign for Scottish devolution.

Below are two responses I've had on this subject in relation to the Cornish question. One from the TUC and the other from an Anarcho-syndicalist.

The Anarcho-syndicalist

To start off, I'd simply say that nominal political independence means nothing without economic independence, and political liberation means nothing without economic liberation. The only path to economic independence and liberation is via syndicalism, e.g. worker self-management and ownership of our firms and industries. Also the syndicalist method of "direct action" is the only one capable of achieving genuine liberation and fighting for and securing real change. Our rejection of parliamentary routes means we aren't susceptible to the corruption and opportunism of, say, much of the Left.

The Trade Union Congress

Thank you for your enquiry that has been passed on to me.

The policies of the TUC are determined by trade unions, mainly through the TUC Conference. There has not been a specific discussion on Cornish identity and so different trade unions may respond differently although none support Mebyon Kernow.

The TUC has always supported the richness and benefits of diverse cultures. This includes minority languages, including Cornish. Our campaign around the National Minimum Wage was entitled Gerber Tek Rak Kernow (from memory so I hope it still says Fair Pay for Cornwall). We have worked hard to bring together unions in Cornwall and to campaign against low pay and workforce development.

We have a small team based in Cornwall College who help workers access training opportunities. There is a Cornwall Trades Union Council (sadly no website, CD) open to local unions to affiliate.

We believe in devolving power and that Britain has long suffered from a centralised economy and governance from London. That is one reason why we supported the establishment of Regional Development Agencies and the Regional Assembly. There are clearly issues beyond the boundaries of local government but that are better dealt with below national level. The major transport routes, the environment, economic development, strategic planning, etc are obvious examples that cannot be handled within the confines of Cornwall. A good example is the lobbying we have been doing around investment in the rail track at Dawlish that is critical to all trains into Cornwall.

We argued and lobbied for the statistical separation of Devon and Cornwall in order to win Objective One funding and have been pressing for maximum support for the new round of European funding from 2007. I personally have argued for a strong unitary authority across Cornwall. This was rejected by the last Conservative Government and this Government are reluctant to take on the can of worms that local government restructure would involve.

I hope this helps explain our position.