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28.4.09

Some random developments

Worth blogging here about some new developments.

The first is a new portal website to authentic Cornish culture (link here: Cornish Culture). A telling comment from one of our leading historians sums things up nicely: "Well done, whoever has put that up. And what is there is just the tip of the iceberg. Now, compare its contents with Cornish culture as disgracefully defined by 'Culture South West'"

Next is a website for a campaign to obtain a stadium for the Duchy (link here: Stadium for Cornwall). A European region and historic nation such as Cornwall deserves and would clearly benefit from such a stadium, but where to put it? Not in Truro please!

Finally a new local radio station has been created for Penwith (link here: Penwith Radio). For the people of Penwith to ensure it has plenty of real Cornish content.

POLICE VIOLENCE AGAINST PEACEFUL PROTEST UNACCEPTABLE

The Celtic League strongly condemns the violence of the French police in the arrest and detention of members of the 44=Breizh collective in Nantes, Brittany last Saturday (25th April 2009).

The violent apprehension and arrest in particular of the spokesperson of 44=Breizh, Jonathan Guillaume, in a crowded restaurant among families with children, by a troop of French riot police, is an example of heavy handed policing of an extreme nature. Mr Guillaume, who had attended a demonstration earlier on in the day to protest about the political repression experienced by activists from the Pays de la Loire region who seek a return of the Loire Atlantique to Brittany, was hit with truncheons and handcuffed while he was talking to a journalist on the phone in the restaurant. The riot police also hit and arrested other customers in the restaurant after the owner asked the police to leave, leaving onlookers, including children, terrorised.

Mr Guillaume said:
"Sans que je m'y attende un policier me fit une clef de bras en me passant les menottes, j'eu à peine le temps de comprendre ce qui se passait que je vis des coups de matraque pleuvoir autour de moi avant d'être violemment projeter au sol. Menotté et un genou de policier posé sur le visage j'entendais autour de moi des cris et des bruits de verre sans discerner ce qui se passait. Une fois relevé, j'eu le temps d'apercevoir un camarade la tête en sang et l'enfant d'un ami terrorisé qui pleurait. »

(Without expecting it a police officer grabbed me in an arm lock and handcuffed me and I had hardly any time to realise what was going on when truncheon blows rained down on me, before I was violently pushed to the ground. I was handcuffed and the knee of police officer was pressed into my face...I heard cries around me and the noise of glass breaking, without even fully understanding what had happened. Once I was raised up I saw a colleague with his head covered in blood and the crying child of a terrorised friend.)

The police arrived en masse at the restaurant following the afternoons demonstration where windows of shops in the high street had been smashed by the protesters. The 44=Breizh collective, who are adamant that they had nothing to do with the broken windows, stated that as soon as the trouble on the high street started they left the main body of 400 demonstrators in order to protect the loud speaker sound system in their car.

After the arrest of Mr Guillaume and others at the restaurant, a group of 40 demonstrators gathered outside Waldeck-Rousseau police station, where the arrestees had been taken, where they waited for news for several hours. However, those arrested were not released until after over 16 hours of questioning and two were summoned to appear at Nantes court on 14th October 2009 charged with resisting arrest. Several people were wounded in the police attack at the restaurant and one person was hospitalised. The 44=Breizh collective is calling on anyone with photos or video footage of the arrests to come forward. The group also intend to make a formal complaint to the police authorities about the way its members were treated.

If nothing else, the actions of the police on Saturday show that demonstrators are right to express their concern about the repression of activists campaigning for a reunified Brittany. Mr Guillaume has himself been detained and interrogated by the police four times already this year.
J B MoffattDirector of Information

Celtic League

28/04/09

POLICE VIOLENCE AGAINST PEACEFUL PROTEST UNACCEPTABLE

The Celtic League strongly condemns the violence of the French police in the arrest and detention of members of the 44=Breizh collective in Nantes, Brittany last Saturday (25th April 2009).

The violent apprehension and arrest in particular of the spokesperson of 44=Breizh, Jonathan Guillaume, in a crowded restaurant among families with children, by a troop of French riot police, is an example of heavy handed policing of an extreme nature. Mr Guillaume, who had attended a demonstration earlier on in the day to protest about the political repression experienced by activists from the Pays de la Loire region who seek a return of the Loire Atlantique to Brittany, was hit with truncheons and handcuffed while he was talking to a journalist on the phone in the restaurant. The riot police also hit and arrested other customers in the restaurant after the owner asked the police to leave, leaving onlookers, including children, terrorised.

Mr Guillaume said:
"Sans que je m'y attende un policier me fit une clef de bras en me passant les menottes, j'eu à peine le temps de comprendre ce qui se passait que je vis des coups de matraque pleuvoir autour de moi avant d'être violemment projeter au sol. Menotté et un genou de policier posé sur le visage j'entendais autour de moi des cris et des bruits de verre sans discerner ce qui se passait. Une fois relevé, j'eu le temps d'apercevoir un camarade la tête en sang et l'enfant d'un ami terrorisé qui pleurait. »

(Without expecting it a police officer grabbed me in an arm lock and handcuffed me and I had hardly any time to realise what was going on when truncheon blows rained down on me, before I was violently pushed to the ground. I was handcuffed and the knee of police officer was pressed into my face...I heard cries around me and the noise of glass breaking, without even fully understanding what had happened. Once I was raised up I saw a colleague with his head covered in blood and the crying child of a terrorised friend.)

The police arrived en masse at the restaurant following the afternoons demonstration where windows of shops in the high street had been smashed by the protesters. The 44=Breizh collective, who are adamant that they had nothing to do with the broken windows, stated that as soon as the trouble on the high street started they left the main body of 400 demonstrators in order to protect the loud speaker sound system in their car.

After the arrest of Mr Guillaume and others at the restaurant, a group of 40 demonstrators gathered outside Waldeck-Rousseau police station, where the arrestees had been taken, where they waited for news for several hours. However, those arrested were not released until after over 16 hours of questioning and two were summoned to appear at Nantes court on 14th October 2009 charged with resisting arrest. Several people were wounded in the police attack at the restaurant and one person was hospitalised. The 44=Breizh collective is calling on anyone with photos or video footage of the arrests to come forward. The group also intend to make a formal complaint to the police authorities about the way its members were treated.

If nothing else, the actions of the police on Saturday show that demonstrators are right to express their concern about the repression of activists campaigning for a reunified Brittany. Mr Guillaume has himself been detained and interrogated by the police four times already this year.
J B MoffattDirector of Information

Celtic League

28/04/09

26.4.09

Diversity News

The following information may be of interest to Cornish Against Racism (CAR) readers.

Primary Care Trust

NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly is launching a new Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Scheme and is looking for the involvement of members of the public in its development. The scheme aims to ensure that the strategic aims of the organisation are delivered equitably across Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, reducing any current inequalities in health.

The consultation and involvement events, called the Equality and Human Rights Forums, are being held in April and May:

Monday 27th April,10am- 3pm Alverton Manor, Truro
Friday 1st May,10am -3pm Trethorne Leisure Farm, Launceston
Tuesday 5th May,10am-2pm - Town Hall, St Mary's, Isles of Scilly

There will also be a specific focus group for those who are Polish or Lithuanian to be held on Monday 27th April, between 6pm and 8pm, at Victoria Hotel, Newquay with interpreters. Polish and Lithuanian are currently the two most requested languages requiring translators within Cornwall. The focus group will allow attendees to discuss a full range of health concerns, as well as a discussion of the Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Scheme.

The draft of the new Scheme is now available, including an Easy Read version, on the website.

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month

As you know it is Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month in June this year and a special magazine about the month is being produced by the Gypsy Media Company.

The Magazine will be going to print in early May and so far the team have not received any articles/adverts/sponsors from the South West. In other areas, Local Authorities, Fire Services, Health Authorities, Police Services, as we as local CABs, and support groups have all submitted articles to be included in the magazine. The magazine will be distribute across the country to Gypsies and Travellers and bodies across all the sectors so this is a prime opportunity to show your support for History month and the communities involved.

Please send your requests for an advertisement to Jake Bowers (cc’d in above) by May 1st and send any artwork by May 14th at the very latest. Subscriptions and corporate sponsorships can be a week later.

http://www.grthm.co.uk/gettinginvolved/index.html

For more information please call Jake Bowers on 07966 786242

25.4.09

Adam Price on Brittany

A great speach here from MP/AS Adam Price. The section on Brittany is copied below but please do read the full version as it's a cracker.

Mae Llydaw, gwlad ein cefndryd Celtaidd, gollodd ei hanibynniaeth dim ond pedair blynedd cyn Gymru ym 1532 ar fin cael ei hail-uno ar ol ei rannu o dan Lywodraeth Vichy. Mae’r brifddinas, Nantes, gefeilliwyd gyda’n prifddinas iau ni yma yng Nghaerdydd ar fin dychwelyd adre os ydy Pwyllgor Edouard Balladur sydd yn edrych ar ail-lunio map strwythurau tiriogaethol Ffrainc yn cadw at ei addewid. Ni fydd Ffrainc, wrth gwrs, yn rhoi mewn heb frwydr. Y mis yma dedfrydwyd chwe Llydawr ifanc a baentiodd adeiladau cyhoeddus a’r TGV gyda sloganau o blaid undod Llydaw i ddirwy anhygoel o 30,000 Ewro a deufis o garchar wedi ei ohirio.

(Translation: Brittany, the land of our cousins, which lost its independence just four years before our own in 1532 - may finally be reunited after its division at the hands of the Vichy government. The historic capital of Nantes, twinned with this our much younger capital of Cardiff, may finally be coming home if Edouard Balladur’s Committee looking at redrawing the map of France’s territorial divisions sticks to its proposals. Ten thousand have marched in Nantes to end the scandal of partition. Of course, France will not give up without a struggle. This month six young Bretons who sprayed graffiti for Breton unity on public buildings and a TGV have been fined E30,000 and given a suspended two month jail sentence as punishment.)

Adam Price on Brittany

A great speach here from MP/AS Adam Price. The section on Brittany is copied below but please do read the full version as it's a cracker.

Mae Llydaw, gwlad ein cefndryd Celtaidd, gollodd ei hanibynniaeth dim ond pedair blynedd cyn Gymru ym 1532 ar fin cael ei hail-uno ar ol ei rannu o dan Lywodraeth Vichy. Mae’r brifddinas, Nantes, gefeilliwyd gyda’n prifddinas iau ni yma yng Nghaerdydd ar fin dychwelyd adre os ydy Pwyllgor Edouard Balladur sydd yn edrych ar ail-lunio map strwythurau tiriogaethol Ffrainc yn cadw at ei addewid. Ni fydd Ffrainc, wrth gwrs, yn rhoi mewn heb frwydr. Y mis yma dedfrydwyd chwe Llydawr ifanc a baentiodd adeiladau cyhoeddus a’r TGV gyda sloganau o blaid undod Llydaw i ddirwy anhygoel o 30,000 Ewro a deufis o garchar wedi ei ohirio.

(Translation: Brittany, the land of our cousins, which lost its independence just four years before our own in 1532 - may finally be reunited after its division at the hands of the Vichy government. The historic capital of Nantes, twinned with this our much younger capital of Cardiff, may finally be coming home if Edouard Balladur’s Committee looking at redrawing the map of France’s territorial divisions sticks to its proposals. Ten thousand have marched in Nantes to end the scandal of partition. Of course, France will not give up without a struggle. This month six young Bretons who sprayed graffiti for Breton unity on public buildings and a TGV have been fined E30,000 and given a suspended two month jail sentence as punishment.)

Adam Price on Cornwall

Great speech here from Adam Price MP/AS. Please do read the original it really is good, but the section on Cornwall is below:

Mae Cernyw hefyd ar fin ei uno gyda chreu un haenen integredig o lywodraeth Cernywaidd. Mi geisiodd ymgyrch gref a darbwyllol y Confensiwn Cyfansoddiadol Cernywaidd i ddelifro Cynulliad Cernywaidd ond yr opsiwn glastwreiddiedig o gyngor unedol a orfodwyd gan Lundain gyda chefnogaeth y Rhyddfrydwyr rhag eu cywilydd. Ond o leiaf y bydd Cernyw yn un unwaith eto a fe ddymunwn pob llwyddiant i’n chwaer-blaid Mebyon Kernow yn yr etholiadau eleni.

(Translation: Cornwall too is poised to be reunited this year with the creation of a single Cornish tier of government. The long and convincing campaign by the Cornish Constitutional Convention fought hard to deliver a full-blown Assembly but the watered down alternative of a unitary authority has been imposed by a central government with the full backing of the Lib Dems. But at least Cornwall will be one again – and we wish our sister party, Mebyon Kernow, well in this year’s elections.)

Remember Cornwall has long been a chilling slogan in the Celtic lands because of the way in which that country was dismembered. And despite all our recent achievements as a nation and as a movement over recent years, these words of the Cornish political activist Len Truran spoken thirty years ago resonate for us in Wales even now:

“What fools we Cornish are: kick us, humiliate us, usurp our power, steal our jobs, rape our countryside and buy up our homes and what do we do, we turn out and what do we do, we turn out and vote for the centralist parties that have never done us any good, are doing us no good, will never do us any good”. Well, Wales this Summer is your chance to chart a different course.

The Nineteenth century saw a great Springtime of Nations as the revolutions of 1848 saw new countries created the length and breadth of Europe. In our world today we are now seeing our own Spring Awakening with people and cultures that have long been dormant and subdued asserting their right to exist, their right to dream.

SUPPORT GROWS FOR BRETON LANGUAGE CHARTER

Guipavas has become the latest municipality in Brittany to sign the la charte `Ya d'ar brezhoneg'/`Yes to the Breton language' Charter (opens pdf) .

The Charter - launched by l'Ofis ar Brezhoneg (Office for the Breton language) in 2001 - sets out a commitment for the signing party to meet certain Breton language goals (actions) within a particular time frame. The signing of the municipality of Guipavas (on 21st April 2009) comes only within a couple of weeks after the signing of the charter by the commune of Roskoff whose municipality signed the charter on 10th April.

The Charter is in two parts. The first part of the Charter - launched in 2001 - was aimed at organisations and businesses and attracted 635 signatories. Following its success a second part of the charter was launched in 2004 and was aimed at municipalities within Brittany.

The Ofis ar Brezhoneg offers a certification programme that offers a list of 28 different actions for the municipalities to choose from, spread out over three certified levels. Actions include:
The establishment of bilingual signs at the entrance or exits of town, bilingual messages on answering machines, the creation of a bilingual website for the town hall through to the use of a systematic bilingual policy for all new signs throughout the municipality, conducting a survey of parents to determine the demand for bilingual education and the financing of a bilingual educational programme for all municipal staff. It is expected that to achieve the highest level of certification (level 3) the municipality should complete the actions agreed upon over a period of a maximum of 3 years.

Ofis ar Brezhoneg liaises closely with and monitors the development of the municipalities' agreement, although of course it is not legally binding in any way and depends on a large extent on good will and the credence that the municipality attains from showing its support from the Breton language. Support for the Charter has come from a wide variety of different groups and in the first part some 600 organisations, including restaurants, businesses and museums, signed the Charter. The list of municipalities that is signing part 2 of the Charter is also growing at an incredible rate and there are now almost a hundred municipalities who have signed, showing their commitment to the language.

The Breton nationalist party, Parti Breton, also signed the Charter this week (23rd April), committing itself to 18 actions, which include making all its promotional materials and communications bilingual, including its logo, website, membership cards and voice mail. The Charter was signed by Emile Granville, spokesman for Parti Breton and assistant Mayor of the city of Redon.

The model of the Ya d'ar brezhoneg charter could easily be ameliorated in the other Celtic countries, especially in Cornwall, Isle of Man and Scotland where the different Celtic languages could be much better promoted.

(Article compiled for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, Celtic League General Secretary)
J B MoffattDirector of Information
Celtic League
24/04/09

Government trousers Cornish millions

I promised more on this topic in an earlier post and Cornish World has jogged my memory. 

The Liberal Democrat parliamentary team, not totally useless I'll admit, has exposed that the Treasury has pocketed almost £25 million in European funding that could have come Cornwall's way.

Those lovely men in government with the Duchies best interests at heart turned down an invitation from Brussels to extend the spending deadline for unused European Regional Development Funds (ERDF).

Being part of an economic crisis relaunch package from the European Union Kernow would have had an extra six months to spend this money.

Nearly all other countries accepted the invitation to push back the deadline and the UK government accepted the extension for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland but not Cornwall.

The money will now be subtracted from the UKs contribution to the EU, our MPs claiming that the savings will be used to plug a hole in the Treasuries finances.

24.4.09

More establisment supported English Nationalism

The BBC and the Arts Council of England have paid for the following as a potential new English national anthem ( link here to original blog story ).

I am England, England is inside of me.
I am England, England is what I want her to be,
I am England, I am English, I am England to my core,
And wherever you may find me, you'll find England.
England Forever More!
England, my England, she never lets me down,
Hustle bustle, urban tussle, dancing through the crowds,
Or out in the country, a fresh place for me to breathe,
England my England is always home to me!
Fish and chips in paper, with mushy peas,
Balti chicken, naan bread and onion bhajis,
A cup of tea and toast, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding,
Tastes of our culture, tastes like England to me!
Swing low sweet chariot, God Save The Queen!
Land of hope and glory and of pleasant mountains green,
England's future, past and today live in our minds on St George's Day,
England, England, my country!


Apart from the execrable song itself don't forget it's Cornish tax payers that forked out for this as well! Can anybody envisage the BBC or ACE doing the same for Cornish culture?

23.4.09

Developments : Kuntellyans Kernewek & the Cornish Nationalist Party

Perhaps what a vast majority of people involved in the Cornish movement have wanted to see for a long time may finally have begun to take shape. 

The Cornwall Info blog reports here on a gathering of Cornish organisations that will hopefully become a regular event. It's something I've suggested in the past and I'm happy to see it become a reality. The Cornish Stannary Parliament, Cornish Heritage, Mebyon Kernow, the Celtic League and Celtic Congress were present for the first reunion. The issue of the meeting was an agreement on joint action in Europe regarding Cornish recognition under the framework convention for the protection of national minorities (FCNM).

To ensure efficient working and to avoid misunderstandings between the various pro-Cornish organisations clear regular communication is a must. This should be achieved via these regular meetings the first of which we have seen. I sincerely hope that all members of each organisation take a keen interest in these meetings. Anybody that jeopardise this unity must be held to account by all of us.

It will be interesting to see if these meeting broaden to include representation from the likes of the Cornish Greens, CoSERG and independent Cornish councillors.

The Return of the Cornish Nationalist Party

Secondly it's been reported on the This is Cornwall website that the long dormant Cornish Nationalist Party has regrouped and reorganised to fight in the new Cornwall Council elections; article here.

The only policy direction we have to go on so far is the following: "The CNP has been fully supportive of the new Cornish unitary authority as the way forward in governing Cornwall, and we have decided to show our support by restructuring in a way that mirrors Cornwall Council." They also dismiss a Cornish Assembly as a way forward whilst claiming to be the defenders of Cornish culture.

It's always good to see Cornish activists motivated and out there engaging with Cornwall's public but a split nationalist vote in the unitary election is the glaringly obvious concern. It will make it harder to get pro-Cornish people of any type elected to the unitary. The CNP claim to be supportive of the Cornish unitary authority, but what does this mean? If elected MK councillors are not going to set about wrecking the new council. In stark contrast to the London based parties MK will however fight 100% for Cornish interests. Do the CNP want to make this harder to achieve? If so why?

Rumours of Liberal Democrat dirty tricks are already circulating along with the suggestion that the LD's are going to target MK strongholds and the nationalist vote. Is it just pure coincidence that in the build up to a string of big elections, and around the the same time the CNP return, a gaggle of websites pop-up promoting non-existent nationalist parties [1][2][3]?

22.4.09

Who speaks for the Cornish?

Rummaging through the governments Equalities Office website I came across the Consultation responses to the Government's Equality Bill which will be brought forward in Parliament within the next year.

The Bill is supposed to simplify and modernise all current discrimination law under one single Equality Bill. One of the consulted bodies was the Cornwall Diversity and Equality Group (CDEG). Their response can be found here (opens pdf). Not surprisingly the Cornish cultural identity is not mentioned once?

Compare this with the Welsh situation where three bodies -the Welsh Assembly, Welsh Language Board and Rhwydiaith (Welsh Language Officers Network)- responded with comments about either national minorities or minority language users.

So who is speaking for our minority Celtic identity? It's not that groups like the CDEG should focus entirely on Cornish issues, but to not even mention them once! What would your average tax paying Cornish citizen think about this? Is it a recipe for success expecting inclusive tolerance from the Cornish whilst ignoring their own particular needs?

21.4.09

Mebyon Kernow to stand in the Euros

MK TO STAND FOR ELECTION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

A Mebyon Kernow press release below details the six candidates:

The Party for Cornwall selects six prominent local campaigners

Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall has announced that its list of candidates for the ‘South West Region’ seat in the European Parliament will comprise their six prospective parliamentary candidates for Westminster.

The candidates will be:

1. Dick Cole (St Austell and Newquay)

Dick Cole from Fraddon has been the leader of Mebyon Kernow since 1997. Well-known as a hard-working and out-spoken councillor, he served on Restormel Borough Council between 1999 and 2009, where he was heavily involved in regeneration issues and the development of policies on affordable housing. Dick is also MK's spokesman on housing and serves on St Enoder Parish Council.

2. Conan Jenkin (Truro and Falmouth)

Conan is a long-standing Mebyon Kernow member who fought the Truro and St Austell seat at the last two General Elections. He is one of MK’s two Deputy Leaders and has played a leading role in many local campaigns. Raised in Leedstown, he now lives in Truro and works at Truro College. Conan was elected onto Truro City Council in 2007.

3. Loveday Jenkin (Camborne and Redruth)

Loveday is a former Chairman of Mebyon Kernow and served on Kerrier District Council between 1995 and 2009. A respected councillor, she was a cabinet member on Kerrier with responsibility for Leisure, Arts and Culture. She was brought up in Leedstown, lives at Praze an Beeble and serves on Crowan Parish Council. She is also a prominent activist in the Cornish language revival.

4. Simon Reed (St Ives)

Simon lives in Newlyn and has been a member of Penzance Town Council since 1999, serving as both the Deputy Mayor and the Mayor of the town. A former Liberal Democrat activist, he also served on Penwith District Council between 2002 and 2005. Since 2005, Simon has been a leading cultural campaigner in West Cornwall, promoting the revival of local traditions and customs.

5. Glenn Renshaw (South East Cornwall)

Glenn lives in St Dominick and has been a member of MK since 2008 and was one of the three-strong Mebyon Kernow group on Caradon District Council prior to the Council’s abolition at the end of March. Previously a Liberal Democrat councillor, he represented Essa Ward in Saltash from 2007 onwards. He has also served as a parish councillor, the chairman of a Tenants’ Association and helped set up a large credit union.

6. Joanie Willett (North Cornwall)

Joanie Willett is a 32-year-old mother of two, who was originally from St Mabyn. She is MK’s global affairs spokesperson and is presently completing her PhD. She has recently been involved with the successful campaign to stop the incineration of rubbish in Cornwall and wants a sustainable solution to all of Cornwall’s environmental issues.

Announcing the candidates, MK Deputy Leader Cllr Phil Rendle said:

“The Euro-elections offers a wonderful opportunity for local people to vote for Cornwall. MK’s list of candidates offer a strong pro-Cornwall alternative to the London-centred parties.
“All our candidates live and work in Cornwall and are 100% committted to winning a better deal for Cornwall.


Party Leader Cllr Dick Cole added:

“Please use the elections on June 4th to demand a better deal for Cornwall by sending a strong message to both London and Brussels by voting MK.

“Support the party that does not have political masters outside of Cornwall to please and which will always fight for Cornwall and its communities.”

Mebyon Kernow has also committed itself to continuing the fight for a Cornwall-only Euro-constituency that would give Cornwall a real voice at the heart of Europe.

Further information

The ‘South West England’ includes Cornwall and the English counties of Bristol, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire, as well as the island of Gibraltar. There will be about four millions voters – but only one in ten will actually live in Cornwall.

A total of six MEPs will be elected via a list form of proportional representation and it may be estimated that a political party would need to poll 150,000-160,000 votes in order to win a seat.
In the 2004 elections, there was an overall turnout of 37.8% and a total of 1,453,625 votes were cast. In Cornwall, 141,140 valid votes were cast – less than 10% of the overall total.

The deposit to stand is £5,000 and parties lose this deposit unless they poll over 2.5% of the vote. In MK’s case, this equates to more than 25% of the Cornish vote.

Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall is a full member of the European Free Alliance. The EFA includes nearly forty political parties from the nations and regions of Europe including Plaid Cymru from Wales and the Scottish National Party. The EFA has a proud record of working with our allies in the EFA/Green group in the European Parliament on such internationalist issues as social justice, employment, the environment, culture, civil rights, and many other issues.

18.4.09

Should nations have a right to self-determination?

The article at the bottom of this post is taken from the Congressional Quarterly Global Researcher. It resulted from an interview with UNPO General Secretary Mr. Marino Busdachin.

Is Cornwall a cultural/historic nation? The arguments for seem strong. Is anybody in Kernow looking for total independence and isolation from the rest of the Isles and Europe? Clearly not, even if the British Nationalist New Labour, Tories and Lib Dems want to portray us in that light.

Recognition for what we are and the full democratic control of our constitution are not too much to ask for are they? In his essay -Cornwall: A New Begining- Andrew George makes the following valid points:

• Unique Constitutional Position - The Duchy of Cornwall is the only place in the country where the soil is owned by someone other than the Crown. The intestacy and foreshore laws are different and the basis of the Stannaries has never been abolished. The potency of this has never yet been explored in the context of mainstream public service and democratically accountable institutions.

• High Sheriff of Cornwall – Cornwall is the only place in the UK where the Sheriff is appointed by someone other than the Monarch and who swears allegiance to both the Monarch and the Duke of Cornwall.

• Pre prepared case – Cornwall has its own well established “Constitutional Convention” with a pedigree of well considered and presented case papers.

• Sub National Review – Treasury recognises that Cornwall is a unit of economic integrity.

• Multi Area Agreements – The Government is now developing an agenda which allows places like Cornwall to build a case for the negotiation of devolved powers.

With these in mind one has to ask why our Duchy Constitutionalists aren't working together hand in glove with the Cornish Constitutional Convention to forward the cause of empowering Cornwall? If Andrew George can mention these points in the same breath why can't we have a constitutional convention that brings us together and explores ALL angles? Why do we find ourselves so often divided into squabbling groups? With the recent work of John Kirkhope and Andrew George isn't it time the Cornish Constitutional Convention integrated Duchy/Stannary issues in its work. I know I'm not alone in wanting to see one day the Stannary, Angarrack and our other Constitutional experts as valued and respected members of a new and invigorated Cornish Constitutional Convention.

Separatist Movements - Should Nations Have a Right to Self-Determination?

Though several international conventions reaffirm the right to self-determination, they also pledge to uphold the “principle of territorial integrity” – the right of existing states to prevent regions form seceding. “International law grows by practice,” says Thomas Grant, a senior fellow and legal scholar at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), an independent institution established and funded by the U.S. Congress that tries to resolve international conflicts. “The legal situation adapts itself to the factual situation”.

Consequently, the international community’s response to de facto separatist states varies widely. For example, most of the world refuses to deal with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which has been punished with an economic embargo since 1973, when Turkish troops invaded Cyprus and permanently occupied the north, creating a Turkish-dominated de facto state there. Somaliland – which established a de facto state in northwestern Somalia in 1991 after the government in Mogadishu collapsed – has been largely ignored by the world community despite being a relative beacon of stability in the otherwise unstable horn of Africa. […]

Meanwhile, the island nation of Taiwan, off the coast of mainland China, is accepted as a global trading partner – the United States alone has 140 trade agreements with the Taiwanese – but not as an independent country. Few countries are willing to challenge Beijing’s “one-China” policy, which denies any province the right to secede and sees Taiwan as its 23rd province […]

Marino Busdachin – general secretary of the Hague-based Unrepresented nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), which represents 70 nonviolent movements pushing for self-determination – rails against the U.N. for not upholding that right. “Self-determination exists on papers only. It is a trap,” he says. “We cannot apply to anyone for it. The U.N. member states block us.” Moreover, he say, seeking self-determination should not be confused with demanding the right to secede. “Ninety percent of our members are not looking for independence,” he says. […]

Fixing Fragile States author [Seth] Kaplan believes separatism makes sense in a few cases, such as Kosovo and Somaliland. “But, generally, the international community is right to initially oppose separatism,” he says.

So when should a group have the right to secede? “When you are deprived of the right to participate in government, and there are serious violations of human rights, such as genocide,” says the USIP’s Grant. […]

[Günter] Dauwen points out that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has condemned countries for not respecting the rights of ethnic minorities, but the EU doesn’t force its members to comply with those rulings. […]

Busdachin of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization says the EU “is helping to resolve separatist conflicts in many cases because it has the most advanced regime for protecting minorities.” For example, the EU has consistently pressured Turkey, which wants to join the union, to grant the Kurds the right to express their language and culture more freely. Such a move would quell some Kurds’ desire for full independence, he says, adding that he would like to see ASEAN, MERCOSUR and other regional organizations follow the EU model. […]

But independence does not always mean war. With a broadly homogenous population, its own currency, flag, army, government and airline, Somaliland is an example of how a people can effectively secede without causing chaos and violence. Somaliland’s isolation from the international community has not hindered its development – indeed it has helped, argues author Kaplan.

“The death of external involvement has kept foreign interference to a minimum while spurring self-reliance and self-belief,” he says. […]

In some cases – notably Quebec, Flanders, Wales and Scotland – separatist movements have not boiled over into violent conflict. In each, the central government granted some self-rule to the separatist region, preventing the situation from turning violent. In addition, the moments were able to argue their cases through elected political representatives in a functioning democratic system, which also reduces the likelihood of violence.

“When a country is too centralized and no-democratic, this produces separatist movements that can become violent…The responsibility is 50-50.” […]

9.4.09

Cornish Language Forum

What a great idea. A Cornish language forum where all the interminable squabbling about orthographies is outlawed. Forum here: Keskowsva an Gernewegva

Only positive and constructive comments, in Cornish or English, welcome.

Ottomma assay nowyth gwruthyl keskowsva yn hag a-dro dhe'n taves Kernewek - yn unn asa an breselyow-lytherennans a-denewen...

Keskowsva an Gernewegva yw spas may hyll pub dyskor, dyskador po Kerneweger freth dadhla a-dro dhe oll an maters usi ow tochya orth an yeth *marnas onan* (an vresel yntra'n systemow lytherennans).

Rag omjunnya, nyns yw res ri agas henwyn, nyns yw res usya neb system lytherennans, ha nyns yw res sywya neb linen-barti sodhogel.

Gwren ni gweres an eyl y gila keffrys ha'n dhyskoryon. Re a dus re gemeras digolon gans an omladhow y'n termyn eus passys!

---

Here's a new attempt to create a forum in and about the Cornish language - while leaving the spelling wars out of the game...

Keskowsva an Gernewegva is a space where every learner, teacher or fluent speaker of Cornish can discuss all matters related to the language *except one* (the war between spelling systems).



In order to join, you don't need to give your name(s), use any single orthography, or tread any official party line.

Let's just help one another and the learners. Too many people have been scared away by the in-fighting in the past.


Keskowsva an Gernewegva

7.4.09

Cornish National Football

Leaving aside Rugby for a moment I'm going to bang the drum for Cornish football. A Cornish national team in any sport would fire national sentiment in a very positive way and provide a huge boost to that sport in the Duchy so why not a Cornish national football squad?

An all Cornwall national / regional football team? Great idea but which cup do we take part in? The choice seems to be growing.

There is the UNPO Cup, the Viva World Cup, the ELF Cup, the FIFI Wild Cup, the UEFA Regions' Cup, the Island Games and, perhaps the most promising for Kernow, Europeada organised by the Federal Union of European Nationalities.

A Europeada is planned for 2010 we just need the motivation to go. For the second edition of Europeada tournament, Europeada 2010, the regions of Lusatia and Alto Adige/South Tyrol have expressed their interest to host it.

The 2009 Island Games are scheduled to take place in the Åland Islands in summer 2009.

The 2009 VIVA World Cup will take place in Padania in June/July 2009.

The 2009 UEFA Regions' Cup is scheduled to take place in June 2009, with eight teams and will be hosted in Croatia.

The 2010 FIFI Wild Cup is scheduled to take place in Greenland in 2010.

The 2010 VIVA World Cup will take place in Gozo.

5.4.09

EUtopia for Cornwall







The following post is to introduce a good blog that deals with the EU and other European issues. The blog posts below and their ensuing debates are worth the read.

EU competence creep, the spectre of the superstate, and how governments actually work

Four points and a question for eurosceptics who believe in the advancing EU superstate

Why EU superstate conspiracy theories are nonsense

Exclusive: The danger of Jean Monnet

I think the quote below from the blog author is worth reproducing here as well:

WG - Tim (being, as he is, a libertarian) takes things to a bit of an extreme, but both he and the Cornish Democrat make points that - from different angles - tally quite a bit with my take: why “the nation”? Why Britain? Why England? Why Scotland? Why should I, a Sussex-born Londoner, have any say in how a farmer in Cumbria has to live, and why should s/he have any say over my life? Why should those of us who live in wealthy parts of the country have to subsidise the poorer areas, often hundreds of miles away? I was born closer to Paris than Edinburgh - why should I be affected by the actions of politicians north of the border any more than those of northern France? Why should a Breton have to listen to Paris, a Basque to Madrid, a Bavarian to Berlin, a Sicilian to Rome or a Cornishman to London?

My take is that the current nation state model is outdated, has outlived its usefulness, and was in any case always something of a misnomer when applied to pretty much every European country (”nation state” implies a level of ethnic/cultural homogeneity which simply does not apply to most European countries). Europe is packed full of diverse cultures, with huge differences within the borders of pretty much every EU member state - even tiny Belgium and Cyprus have long been split down the middle on cultural/linguistic lines, with only the minute island of Malta having any real claim to be culturally homogeneous (it has a population of just over 400,000…). As such, the arguments against legislation at an EU level are (in the vast majority of cases) just as valid at a “national” level, in my books.

What I want - and whether this is happening or is likely is another matter entirely - is more regional/local decision-making, with those areas of governance best dealt with at a broader level dealt with at as broad a level as possible. Immigration, counter-terrorism, organised crime, energy supply, pollution, trade standards and various other issues are increasingly best dealt with at a level above that of the nation state; practically everything else can be dealt with regionally.

(Ideally, by the way, these big issues wouldn’t be dealt with at a mere continental level either - they’d be worked out at a global level. The EU, I’d hope, is merely a first step on the road to a Star Trek-style planet-wide government. That’s going to take centuries at best - if such utopian dreams ever come to pass - but in the meantime, the EU and Europe alone will have to do.)

As for those things that the EU has legislated on that could be better dealt with regionally? Yep - there are loads. I’m still hopeful that the concept of subsidiarity will take a greater hold over future EU policy-making, however (and there are some signs that it is). And in any case, I still can’t see “being dictated to by Brussels” as any worse, really, than being dictated to by Westminster. (And that said by someone who can walk from his home to the Houses of Parliament in less than an hour…)

In short: The perennial question of the eurosceptic camp of “I didn’t vote for it, so why should I have to put up with it?” is just as applicable to ANY democratic system. I didn’t vote for Labour in ‘97, ‘01 or ‘05, and yet have had aspects of my life affected by the decisions of Labour MPs, often from constituencies hundreds of miles away from my home, with cultural backgrounds utterly different to my own. It’s no different.

(On the sovereignty issue - other than feeling the need to point out that in Britain the people are not nor ever have been sovereign, sovereignty lies with parliament - might I point you to this old post of mine that sets out my views on the matter?)

Rights and Responsibilities

I've just been flicking through the Governments Green Paper called ‘Rights and Responsibilities: developing our constitutional framework’ (opens pdf). The Government wants to engage the public in an open debate on rights and responsibilities. I've no idea of how productive it would be but I do hope some of our Cornish campaigners and constitutionalists respond.

No mention of collective rights for national minorities in the Green Paper. Found this diamond though.

Today, our constitution is a rich fabric of statute, common law and convention and our fundamental rights and freedoms are embedded throughout it. Inevitably these have been shaped by the beliefs and perspectives of the times in which they were created and new demands continually arise to create new challenges.

Shaped by a need to protect the Duchy of Cornwall and its profits from the nosey? Shaped by a need to ensure the assimilation of the Celtic peoples of these isles? I don't see this 'rich fabric' as having done much for the Cornish and Welsh.

I suspect that the Duchy along with the rest of the Monarchy will breeze past this debate as simply not being on the table for discussion.

In the same light when the Green Papers talks of equality......

The principle of equality before the law has a long history in the UK. The principles of equality and non-discrimination have long been recognised in the common law and protected through a range of statutes through which the UK also complies with its international obligations. There is the additional protection of Article 14 of the European Convention, which provides a right to non-discrimination in the enjoyment of other Convention rights.

......they are quick to add "there are justifiable exceptions to the principle that all should be treated alike". Like feudal Duchies along with their Ducal profits no doubt.

That being said the paper still has some saving graces and the talk of environmental and economic rights has to be welcomed. The contact details are below. I hope people respond.

Ministry of Justice
Governance of Britain
Email: Rights and Responsibilities

St Pirans Day 2009



It's a bit late I know but it's such a good clip. Matter do it?

4.4.09

Plijadur pen da benn











An interesting advertising campaign from the organisation Produit en Bretagne.

Quite simply they state, in this time of crisis, that if you buy Breton produce you save Breton jobs. Does our Made In Cornwall initiative have the same guts? They don't even have a website!

3.4.09

Peoples of the World





















Okay! You can't see it from this picture but trust me the Cornish are on the map (click for a better look), which incidentally can be bought hereShould have one of these in every school and library.

2.4.09

BREIZH - RESULT OF TEN YEAR LANGUAGE STUDY RELEASED

A socio linguist has published the results of his ten year study on the use of the Breton language and has found that the number of speakers in Brittany has fallen considerably.

Fañch Broudic, a former journalist at France 3 Ouest, reported that:

"Pour la première fois, dans la zone traditionnelle de la pratique de la langue, le nombre de locuteurs est inférieur à 200 000."

("For the first time in the traditional practice of language, the number of speakers is less than 200 000,")

The study – published by l'institut TMO in Rennes on 10th March 2009 – highlights the concerns that have been expressed about the future health of the Breton language by the Celtic League and others over several decades. According to Broudic in 2007 there were 172,000 people speaking Breton, compared to 246,000 people in 1997. He adds that even though there is a growing number of students learning Breton in schools, the rise does not compensate the fall in the number of speakers, saying:

"Nous avons perdu 80.000 locuteurs pour cause de décès et gagné seulement 9.000 nouveaux locuteurs." (We lost 80,000 speakers and gained only 9000 new speakers)

Unsurprisingly the study shows that among the current Breton language users, 70% are over 60 years old. Philippe Jacq, the Director of l'Office culturel de la langue bretonne (Cultural Office of the Breton language), believes that between 20 and 30 new schools need to be opened annually if the language has any chance of surviving.

Broudic's study shows further proof that without official support and funding from the French state, the Breton language is in danger of significant future decline, giving rise to "la hantise de la disparition du breton" (the fear of the disappearance of Breton).

According to predictions and current trends, the number of current speakers in ten years time could be as few as 122, 000 people.

The TMO survey shows that only 35 000 people speak Breton on a daily basis, with the typical Breton speaking profile being a married female, over 60 years old and living in the Finistère region of Brittany.

Broudic nevertheless argues that 200 000 "ce n'est pas un chiffre insignifiant et le breton se parle toujours" (is not an insignificant figure and Breton are still alive).

Also, the results of the study show that not all was bad news for the Breton language, because it was found that in the 15 to 19 age group, the number of Breton speakers had risen from 1% to 4%.

By choosing not to support the Breton language however the French Government continues to show its utter contempt for linguistic diversity and the people who use the language.

For further information about the results of the study, see "Parler breton au XXIe siècle" (Speaking Breton in the Twenty first Century), by Fañch Broudic.

(Article compiled for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot)

J B MoffattDirector of Information
Celtic League

Earth, Exploitation and Survival

Or if you like - Kernow, Duchy profits and Cornish negationism.

Two links sent to me by the Unrepresented Peoples and Nations Organisation (UNPO) that I'd like to reproduce here.

The 2009 UNPO campaign "Earth, Exploitation and Survival" aims to raise awareness of the myriad of problems related to the environmental exploitation and degradation that many of our Members face on a daily basis. Click here to read more: LINK

This week's Article of the Week by Mr. Michael Gibb, describes the complex relationship between transnational corporations and indigenous inhabitants of the regions in which they work. To read Mr. Gibbs interesting outlook on more stringent side of globalization, please visit our website at: LINK

A different time and a different system but perhaps the story of the relationship between Tin, the Duchy and the Cornish needs to be reexamined.

Gibb poses the following question:

Imagine you are the (democratic and accountable) leader of an indigenous people or minority deprived either of a state of your own or international recognition of your state. In other words, imagine you are a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO). Given the primary objective of ensuring your culture, language, customs, (etc.) survive under some degree of autonomy, would it be better to live in an area rich with natural resources or one entirely without?

What condition would our little nation be in today if we hadn't been blessed with rich seams of Tin and Copper?