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30.6.09

Tories and the Cornish nationalist vote



First we had the creation of a 'Shadow Minister for Cornwall' in the person of Mark Prisk. Notice how Cameron describes Cornwall as a Duchy in the clip above, something recommended by the Kilbrandon report many years ago.

Then came the following in - Cameron Calls for Honesty on the State of the Union:

"It is in fact about identity. You see it all over Europe, all over the world. People are seeking a clear identity; often a more localised identity. Just look at the rise of Cornish nationalists. I think we shouldn't fight that; I think we should build on top of that to create an inclusive British identity." 


Now we find the Tory leader claiming that the "Tories were ‘wrong’ on devolution" as well as mentioning the UKs 'native minorities' (to be defined).

What next?

In the Duchy Mebyon Kernow have beaten Labour in both the Unitary council and European elections. An interesting perspective is given on that by Matt Wardman in his esay - What happens to Labour if the Tories back strong devolution?

The new administration in the council is a coalition of Tories and Independents some of the latter easily describable as independent Cornish nationalists.

The target for the Conservatives in Cornwall are the Liberal Democrat MPs (Labour are simply a non entity). Traditionally the Lib Dems have often played their Cornishness to the full, commonly to the point of campaigning on nationalist issues. Are the Tories building up to a similar strategy? Will they offer us recognition as a Duchy plus a dash of devolved powers?

With a nod to both Cornish national identity and Cornish euroscepticism they could be onto a winner.

Finally just a note to bookmark this -Tory AM calls for a Welsh parliament in a federal British state. Can we expect the same for Cornwall?

27.6.09

Constructive Contradiction

This release -Minister 'Stands Ready' to give Cornwall more 'Local Empowerment'- from MP Andrew George will hopefully inspire the new direction in charge of Kernow, but I wonder if his own party is taking note?

Mebyon Kernow party leader Dick Cole has suggested that a power sharing arrangement involving ALL parties with elected councillors would have provided Cornwall with the best form of government. It would have certainly been the most democratically representative solution. He goes on to add:

"Sadly, this was not to be. The Liberal Democrats decided that they did not wish to participate in such an arrangement and resolved to go into what they have termed ‘constructive’ opposition. “It remains our hope that everyone on the new Council can rise above political differences and pool all talents and resources to build a more successful and prosperous Cornwall.”

Prior to the press release above the Commons debate secured by Andrew George can be found here: Commons Debate 3rd June 2009.

An extract is given below:

In spite of having been opposed to it, I want to ensure that the council is a great success. The Government need to recognise that, underlying a rather frustrated local government sector in Cornwall and a rather disenchanted electorate—we will see by Friday evening what result they produce for us—there is great ambition for Cornwall. In any area there is the silliness of the extreme fringes, but Cornwall, with its own language, history and strong constitutional status on account of the Duchy, has strong arguments to promote its diversity and cultural strength. It is not a case of Cornwall wanting to cut itself off from the rest of the country and to become rather nationalistic and narrow, but rather of Cornwall wanting to enter into the celebration of diversity in the UK and the wider world, but it can do that only from a position of strength, not if it has little latitude to take decisions.

When he said "extreme fringes" and "nationalistic and narrow" surely Mr George was not thinking of the Cornish Stannary Parliament who he has often consulted on Cornish constitutional issues. Who could he have meant then? Did he mean Mebyon Kernow the party he was once a proud member of? The self same party currently offering an olive branch to the new administration in the Council with the hope that one and all can work together for the benefit of the Kernow.

Compare that to the Lib Dems who are intent on sulking in 'constructive opposition' for purely party political reasons. Not really trying to ensure the council is a great success then?

We all agree Mr George. Your document -Cornwall: A New Beginning?- is truly excellent, it hits many a Cornish nail on the head, but don't tell us tell your own party whose narrow self imposed fringe behaviour does Kernow a disservice and whose lies and corruption has seen them kicked out of power.

24.6.09

The blue vote blues 2

For a taste of Tory opinion on the Cornish question have a look at the response received below from Ashley Fox MEP for the South West.
Thank you for your email which I read with interest.

As a Member of the European Parliament I am pleased to say that it is not within my power to interfere with the Constitutional arrangements of the United Kingdom. As it happens, I do not support any form of devolved assembly for Cornwall nor for the Cornish to be recognised as a national minority.

Yours sincerely
Ashley Fox

So with the news that David Camerons new European parliamentary group is already on the brink of collapse I ask again what use are the Tories to Kernow?

22.6.09

What do “old” and “new” minorities have in common?

An interesting project below from the Youth of European Nationalities.


What do “old” and “new” minorities have in common, where do they have the same interests, what are the differences?

If you want to find an answer to these and similar questions then you should participate in the Study Session YEN organises in Strasbourg from 24-30 August. The Working Group on Politics in YEN organises this meeting together with the European Youth Centre of the Council of Europe. You will have the opportunity to exchange views with other young people from “new” and “old” minorities and to widen you perspective with the help of experts and in dialogue with the other participants.

In many countries the “new” minorities and their integration in society is a main topic in the political discussion. On the European level many heated discussions about minority rights have been taking place: in how far are the autochthonous national minorities different from immigrants and their offspring? Are their problems or the solutions the same?


The question about how YEN in future should deal with the “new” minorities is the reason behind the implementation of this Study Session.

In total 25 participants can join the session. The organisation team will assess the applications and make a selection. There will be a participant fee of 50 Euro, and travel costs will be reimbursed according to the rules of the Council of Europe.

You can apply by sending the application form until 1 July 2009 to our address.

Working language: English
Arrival: Monday 24 August 2009
Working days: 25-29 August 2009 (including city visit)
Departure: Sunday 30 August 2009

More information:

Description
Registration form

The YEN Study Session: “old” and “new” minorities in Europe is taking place in the European Youth Centre in Strasbourg and is supported by the Council of Europe.

EU elections for stateless nations

A full breakdown of the EU elections from the point of view of national minorities, lesser used languages and stateless nations can be found below.

Good luck to the Green / European Free Alliance in the European Parliament they deserve our support. The likes of Dr Csaba Tabajdi and the Intergroup for Traditional National Minorities, Constitutional Regions and Regional Languages will also be worth following from a Cornish perspective. The Intergroup provides a space where all MEPs concerned with national minority rights can come together regardless of their political party. It also aims to build relations with NGOs like the Federal Union of European Nationalities and Youth of European Nationalities in the Council of Europe.


Apart from a handful of ignored and ignorable UKIP and Tory MEPs the South West government zone has also re-elected Graham Watson (Liberal Democrat). I am assured he has been a supporter of Kernow in the past and I know he has backed the Cornwall Region of Culture project. OK that may not have convinced you of his pro-Cornish credentials but if you want to write to one of our MEPs then I really wouldn't bother with the others. Equally you can receive newsletter updates from Mr Watson by providing your e-mail address on his website.


Article taken from Eurolang

Below Eurolang focuses on some of the new and returning MEPs who will be active in supporting lesser used languages.

European Free Alliance



The EFA comprising nationalists and regionalists from across Europe stood on the most overtly pro-linguistic diversity manifesto. In the Parliament they sit with Greens.

The EFA gained a Corsican MEP, Francescu Alfonsi, who ran on a joint Greens-regionalist (Régions et Peuples Solidaire) platform. Mr Oriol Junqueras comes in from Catalonia for Esquerra Republica Catalunya, his term will be split with Ana Miranda from Bloque Nacionalista Galego (Galicia). He replaces Mikel Irujo.

Jill Evans (Plaid Cymru) was successful in Wales, while the SNP just missed a third seat with Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smyth re-elected. It is anticipated that they will be joined by Bishop László Tokés who returns to represent the Transylvanian Hungarians in the EFA. The Cornish party Mebyon Kernow, while not gaining a seat, did well beating the Labour party and winning 7% of the vote in Cornwall.

Greens


The Greens/ regionalist alliance had a huge success in France, equalling the Socialist vote, gaining 8 seats, and winning 14 MEPs overall in France. Nicole Kiil-Nielsen joins from Brittany. Several new Finnish Greens are very supportive on Sami issues while Raul Romeva from the Catalan Greens kept his seat.

EPP


Strong supporters for the Hungarian national minorities are Kinga Gal and Csaba Sogor who will go to the centre-right EPP group. The conservative Fidesz party did well in Hungary returning language Intergroup members György Schöpflin and Pal Schmitt. Slovakia sees Edit Bauer return for the Hungarian party Magyar Koalíció Pártja, she will also sit with the EPP.

ALDE


The new Swedish Finn MEP, Carl Haglund, comes in to replace Henrik Lax. He will join Finnish MEP Hannu Takkula in the Liberal ALDE group. Ramon Tremosa comes in for the Catalan CiU party, and ex-speaker of the Basque Parliament, Izaskun Bilbao, won for the Basque party (PNV).

GUE


Bairbre de Brun (Sinn Fein) held on to her seat with an increased majority.

ASDE (PES)


The Socialists announced on Friday that they have formed alliance with the Italian Democratic Party to create the Alliance of Socialists and Democrats for Europe. Catalan Maria Badia i Cutchet, who helped overturn this spring’s multilingualism report, comes back along with Csaba Tabajdi from the Hungarian socialists.

Ones to watch

However, despite the success of many progressive candidates the elections also saw gains from the far right in central and eastern Europe, many of which are noted for their hostility to national minorities and lesser used languages.

Jobbik in Hungary campaign against the Roma and won 3 seats; the Slovak National Party (1 seat) and the Greater Romania Parties (3 seats) denounce the Hungarian national minority; and Ataka, (2 seats) Bulgaria’s ultra-nationalist party, attacks, verbally, that country’s ethnic Turks. The Freedom Party in Austria doubled its vote to win 2 seats.

In Spain the conservative PP won the most seats, one of their leading MEPs Mayor-Oreja stated before the election that Basque, Catalan and Galician should not have official status in the EU. In Brussels they sit with the EPP.

In England, UKIP, despite their own MEP’s expenses scandal, a policy to close down the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly, as well as for the UK to leave Europe, gained one seat giving them 13 seats. The far right British National Party won two.

Meanwhile, Latvia saw the last head of the Latvian Communist Party Alfreds Rubiks win. Rubiks, who spent six years in prison for trying to overthrow the country's first democratic government since the Second World War, has made no secret of his dismay over the collapse of the Soviet Union. (Eurolang 2009)

European Parliament elections site

21.6.09

Question Time comes to Kernow

Picked this up off the Cornwall 24 forum. THE BBC panel show Question Time is to visit Cornwall on Thursday, June 25th.

It would be excellent to have a strong Cornish presence in the audience. Apply to be in the audience: click here. Note that applying to be a panellist also allows you to register your ethnicity as Cornish. You can also suggest a panelist: click here.

Again seeing some of our elected Mebyon Kernow or pro-Cornish Independent council members invited onto the panel is worth a little of your time.

19.6.09

The Gibraltar 8

8 votes for Mebyon Kernow in Gibraltar, 14,922 in total across the South West government zone and 11,534 in the Duchy itself.

Now if only these Gibraltar 8 along with all the others who voted for MK could be persuaded to either join the party or get involved in another part of the Cornish movement. We would be a truly unstoppable force for the good of Cornwall and all who live and work in the Duchy.

Labour and the Lib Dems are in disarray and generally the big three London based parties can't seem to help but discredit themselves week after week. Now more than ever it is time to build on the democratic, reformist, ecological and progressive alternative to Tory, Lib Dem, Labour (i.e London) that MK offers.

Cornwall and its communities deserve the best so what not help ensure they get the best.

Perhaps now is a judicious moment to restate Mebyon Kernows core values.

The Core Values of Mebyon Kernow - The Party For Cornwall

Mebyon Kernow - the Party for Cornwall is a modern and progressive political party. It is a party of principle, campaigning for a better deal for Cornwall and a fairer, more equitable World.

We exist to fight for ALL the people of Cornwall, with a political programme that puts Cornwall first and offers an alternative to the London-centred parties.

It is our belief that the historic nation of Cornwall, with its own distinct identity, language and heritage, has the same right to self-determination as Scotland and Wales. We should have more say in how our lives are run and Mebyon Kernow is leading the campaign for the self-government of Cornwall, through the establishment of a legislative Assembly.

We will play our part in building a confident and outward-looking Cornwall, that has the power to take decisions for itself. To achieve this, our detailed policies are founded on the core values of prosperity for all, social justice and environmental protection.

PROSPERITY FOR ALL

Mebyon Kernow is committed to a society based on real equality of opportunity, helping people to achieve their full potential in life. We want Cornwall and its communities to be successful, with all residents sharing equally in that success through thriving businesses, worthwhile and secure employment, decent wages, access to genuinely affordable housing and good quality public services.

SOCIAL JUSTICE

The Party for Cornwall is committed to a just and fair society. We believe that effective public intervention is needed to combat poverty, tackle social deprivation and fight for the disadvantaged. We will strive to build strong inclusive communities with free and equal access to well-funded education, healthcare and welfare services, run for the benefit of everyone.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

Safeguarding the environment is central to Mebyon Kernow's policies. The World faces severe environmental crises, which require radical action on a worldwide basis to promote real sustainability. Mebyon Kernow - the Party for Cornwall will not shirk from difficult decisions to protect and enhance the environment for future generations.

Mebyon Kernow is international in outlook. Our vision for Cornwall and the World is underpinned by respect for the diversity of the planet, both its human cultural traditions and its natural environment. We believe that nations and regions must work together to promote greater understanding, foster peace and help reduce global inequality, so that all peoples, families and individuals can live their lives free from conflict, poverty, exploitation and environmental degradation.

Democratic Renewal Now! Update

An update below from Unlock Democracy on two campaigns for democratic reform.

With Parliament finally getting around to publishing records of MPs' expenses, yet blacking out huge amounts of pertinent information, it does not look as if the current crisis gripping our political system shows any sign of abating soon. Do something positive about it by attending the Vote for a Change Rally on 9 July and writing to your MP about the Citizens Convention (Accountability and Ethics) Bill campaign.

Rally for a Change, Thursday 9 July, 6.30pm

Methodist Central Hall, Westminster

The
Vote for a Change campaign is holding a rally on Thursday 9 July to put pressure on politicians to hold a referendum on electoral reform. There will be music, poetry and the chance to put leading politicians on the spot. We will publish more details when we have them but this is definitely an event not to be missed. To register or for more details email mailto:emailnaomi@voteforachange.co.uk

To help promote the event, you can download a flyer to pass on to your friends or colleagues:
Opens pdf.

Citizens Convention Bill

We've had a tremendous response to the Citizens Convention (Accountability and Ethics) Bill campaign and hundreds of you have now written to your MP. If you haven't done so already, click here to fire off a short email to your MP (the easy way, courtesy of 38 Degrees) and see our website for more information about the Citizens Convention Bill itself.

18.6.09

Unions without the union?

A Cornish Trade Union movement that represented Kernows workers but also supported our right to greater home-rule. Is it too much to hope for perhaps?

Nevertheless the article below from Gregor Gall is a welcome contribution and will hopefully go some way to help to change attitudes on the British left towards independence movements.

An expanded version of Gregor Gall’s chapter in the book -Breaking up Britain- is available as a
FREE download here

Left politics has traditionally been founded on internationalism, taking inspiration from the historic appeal to workers of the world, regardless of country, to unite together in common purpose. Herein lies the source of the accusation wielded by some on the left against others on the left that giving any support to any independence movements on mainland Britain will lead to a fundamental, irrevocable and unwelcome fracture to the working class. The fear is that the unity of the working class movement in Britain will be broken, leading to retreat and defeat as well as the end of the socialist project.

Those on the left who support the right of the peoples of Scotland and Wales to national self-determination are castigated as nationalists while those arguing against these nations' self-determination are held by the other side of the left to be unionists. Such a division reflects of an age old schism amongst the left between the polarities of what pass for understandings of nationalism and internationalism.

The internationalism that the ‘unionist' left subscribe to is the product of an interpretation of internationalism as transnationalism and non-nationalism where nations are regarded as insignificant and regressive units of social identity.

But if internationalism is to be understood properly, it is a concept consisting of relationships between nations in a social world where nationalities are distinguished amongst and between themselves in order to reflect their cultures and identities - these remaining vital and thriving sub-global units of social organisation.

And in any project of leftwing social transformation, the role of organised labour as a mass body of workers is critical. So a salient question for this chapter is: has Britain always had a labour movement in the singular, that is, has there always been a British labour movement? These are important questions for it is assumed by many left-wing critics that the ‘break-up' of Britain would have wholly negative consequences for the labour movement in Britain. Put bluntly, as it often is, the splitting the working class by ending the unitary union would prevent the realisation of socialism in Britain.

So just how grounded are the fears of the ‘unionist' left? First, those of a labourist persuasion believe mistakenly in abstract notions of working class unity that supposedly determine the effectiveness of unions à la ‘unity is strength'. So the standard accusation that independence will split the unity of the working class is preposterous when that unity cannot be demonstrated to either exist in any meaningful, manifest sense or to be capable of delivering effective outcomes.

Rather, it is the willingness to collectively mobilise (with the requisite strategic and tactical deftness) to pursue interest representation which determines efficacy. So it is not the united action of miners in a previous age or postal workers or civil servants today north and south of the border which determines its strength. It is the action itself and there is no reason to suppose that postal workers in England fighting their separate (English) Post Office employer would be any less effective if their Scottish counterparts were not fighting with them. Furthermore, there is no reason to suspect why workers of one employer north and south of the border would not want to fight together against their same employer.

Second, a fairly convincing case can be made that the labourist political tradition within the union movement has been a block on such effective mobilisation because of the division of economics (dealt with by unions) from politics (dealt with by the Labour Party) and the considerable influence of the Labour Party in urging union moderation in the economic field for fear of unions making Labour politically unelectable. Aspirations of relations of unity must allow for the building of strength for unity in strength is only manifest if based on action (not inaction) and on activity (not passivity). The cases of the industrially militant but political party unaffiliated RMT and PCS unions since the early 2000s highlight that the relatively more unconstrained environment they have constructed for themselves. And the RMT itself has shown that effective industrial militancy under company-level bargaining - that, is amongst Scotrail and the plethora or other rail operators in England - has been achievable.

Third, and in a different way, organisational structures do not determine efficacy. In a globalised era, and notwithstanding that unions still need to develop levers over nation-based states because those states are still powerful actors, the actions of nation-based unions require some reconfiguration in order to act against transnational players, whether these be employers or supra-state agencies. In this era and in this sense, whether unions are Scottish- or British-based is not the salient issue for what has now become salient is how these unions mobilise in concert with sister unions elsewhere in Europe or North America to effectively bargain with employers and regulatory regimes which operate across national borders.

Fourth, dealing with employers which operate north and south of the border of an independent Scotland will require unity in collective action between different unions and amongst different workers. Workers in a separate Scotland would not necessarily need to be in separate unions from their brothers and sisters in England or Wales for, as with Ireland, workers can be in the same union which organises workers in a set of companies within a sector and which operate across the British Isles.


Lastly, the growth of ‘super-unions' in Britain has not made a strong case for the organisational aggregation of union members in a small number of very large, cross-Britain conglomerate unions being more effective than their dispersion amongst a larger number of smaller unions. This again suggests the abstracted notion of unity in the form of organizational structure has again, unfortunately, become totemic. And, under such super-unions, membership participation and control are harder to facilitate as is the representation of legitimate sectional interests.

So the crux of the matter for unions here is to develop practices and structures which are both more participative and democratic as well as effective in collective interest representation. The forms of organisation this could take be would autonomous regions for Scotland within existing Britain-wide unions or even separate unions in Scotland which work with others unions wherever they be. Either way, unions need to develop levers of power to wield against the various actors which operate in different arenas and at different levels. The one certainty is that collective grassroots mobilisation of a genuine transnational nature will become a pre-requisite for effective unions.

17.6.09

Learn about the EU

The European Commission Representation in London is providing a free training course on the EU and its current key issues, sources of EU information both European and national and outcomes and conclusions from the European elections.

The course is aimed at people new to the subject and at those who want to bring themselves up to speed with new developments.

The training course offers the chance to:

* meet representatives of the European Commission, European Parliament and EU information networks
* find out from senior officials what the EU is all about and what issues are going to be making the news
* hear about the support available to help you provide an effective service

Anybody whose job requires answering questions about Europe, any librarian, youth worker, a Citizens Advice Bureau volunteer or member of local government/social enterprise organisation that works in the public or voluntary sector is eligible for the free training.

Venue: 2nd July, European Commission, Representation in the UK, 8 Storey's Gate, London SW1 3AT

For further information and to register online, please click here.

15.6.09

Cornish Libertarians







I've received the following response to the Cornish Question from the South West branch of the Libertarian Party.

I took their test and came out 50% liberal so plenty to disagree about, but wouldn't it be far better, if Cornwall (and South West of England) are to vote eurosceptic, that they vote for this lot instead of UKIP? A party that recognises Kernows distinctiveness and right to greater self-determination rather than a gaggle of corrupt former Tories who have nothing but scorn for Cornish identity and home-rule.

The Libertarian Party of the United Kingdom has a central tenet that Government should be devolved to the individual as close as possible and should be as small as possible. Therefore apart from Defence and Foreign Affairs there is nothing that cannot be more effectively devolved to the County or regional level, and this includes Taxation.

We take our inspiration from the the Swiss Cantonal system, that has created a strong Federal system, without undermining the cultual and language differences of each Canton. In Switzerland it is well know than the individual has a greater direct say via referenda, less well known is that each Canton has different Taxation rates set by its particular needs.

As a Party we believe that the EU is an undemocratic institution, bent on an Imperial Project, that has never had the assent of the peoples of these Isles and is therefore illegal. Nearly Seventy per Cent of the population agree with this point of view. Our relationship with Europe should be the same as Norway and Switzerland.

We do not accept that England as a Nation should be broken up into artificial 'regions' to be largely governed from Brussels, therefore despite the Financial Bribes offered by giving legitimacy to the EU by standing in their elections, the LPUK will not lend stand in those elections.

Should England wish to have its own Parliament, or a regional cantonal system, that is something that should be decided by referendum by the people of England


Whilst LPUK South West largely mirrors the 'EU Region' of the South West, we recognise that our region is made up of two distinct entities that of Wessex and Kernow, we also extend the Region into Hampshire as it is part of Wessex.

We see that Jersey,Guernsey, Gibraltar and the Isle of Man, are thriving communities that are self ruled, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland have limited self rule, but do not have any current control over taxation, therefore we see that Kernow is more a victim of being part of the Westminster ruled United Kingdom, where the 'Minister for the South West' Ben Bradshaw is in post solely because he has the only Labour seat in the South West & Kernow in Exeter. He is not representative of the political views of Wessex or Kernow.

Kernow under a Libertarian Government would have the full rights of being governed by its historic 'Stannary Parliament' as are the Channel Islands are governed by the States, and the Isle of Man by the Tynwald. It could set tax rates for business and individuals that would attract both employment and capital, this would create a stronger entity or nation than corrosive 'handouts' from Westminister or Brussels, which reduces Kernow to that of an 'Indian Reservation' nominally independent, but in reality part of a dependancy culture. Kernow would have to vote itself independant cantonial status by Referendum, not 'granted' it by an LPUK Government.

Equally any of the old Saxon Kingdoms, Wessex, Mercia, Northumbria could through Referenda become Cantons.

We do not subscribe to Blut und Boden policies of Nationalist Parties, but do recognise cultural difference as does the Swiss Cantonal system.

We would argue that a Libertarian self governed Kernow would attract business and people attracted by a political regime that values Liberty above all else, this would be incompatable with saying only Cornish born and bred could live in Kernow.

What Kernow currently needs is investment and work, not EU or Whitehall dependency, as such we hope to be fielding candidates in the next General Election in Cornwall, on a platform of a Libertarian Kernow

Regards Andrew

LPUK Chairman

www.lpuk.org

14.6.09

The blue vote blues

There is no doubt about it, in Kernow, the South West government zone and United Kingdom the right has come out on top. 


Perhaps due to a large abstention, the fact remains Cornwall (plus SWGZ) is sending Ukippers and Tories to the European Parliament. What will the Duchy get for its large support of the right? How will UKIP and the Tories defend Cornwalls interests in Europe? UKIP is famously in favour of wrecking the EU so I doubt if Cornish economic or cultural issues will be high on their agenda.

That leaves the Conservatives, but here we have David Cameron's decision to lead the Conservative party out of the centre-right European Peoples Party in the EU parliament. This will leave the Tories in Europe isolated and keeping the company of extremists and the hard state-nationalist right.

T.G Ash sums up the situation well with this question from his article -The farce of Cameron's Latvian legion is bad for Britain and bad for Europe- How would you describe a British politician who prefers getting acquainted with the finer points of the history of the Waffen-SS in Latvia to maximising British influence with Barack Obama? An idiot? A madman? A nincompoop?

The picture is similar across the EU. The French state, again due in large part to abstentionism, has also seen a victory for the right (the UMP plus hangers-on), whilst the left and centre (Parti Socialist & MoDem ) like Labour and the Lib Dems have taken a good slap across the chops.

However we must recognise the phenomenal success of the electoral platform Europe Ecologie, regrouping Greens, independent ecologists and democratic regionalists from around the French state. 16.28% of the vote and 14 MEPs, up from 6 in 2004, one of whom is a Corsican autonomist.

We have Plaid and the SNP fighting their own corners and the English Greens going head to head with Mebyon Kernow in the South West. Each for his own with cooperation happening only after the event inside the EFA/Green alliance in Europe.

Oh well, the UK isn't France, but all the same, wouldn't it have been good to see Cornwall as well as the rest of the SWGZ send someone useful to the European Parliament?

Is there a glimmer of hope for a voice for Cornwall and its needs in our only MEP, Graham Watson, not from the right or hard right? One to be contacted perhaps.

12.6.09

Cornish Youth

Following the elections if anybody from Kernow X, the Cornish youth movement of Mebyon Kernow, is looking for projects to engage with here are two suggestions.

The First is AtmosphEUROPA: leadership contest for minority youth.

AtmosphEUROPA is a contest for young leadership talent from minorities of any kind. This contest is organised by the Intercivil Society and the Intercultural Communication and Leadership School, in partnership with the European Civic Forum and others, and is supported by the President of the European Parliament. It aims at making politics in Europe more exciting for youth. This will involve young voices, fresh faces and fresh young ideas in the debates on the big challenges of today: climate change, social conflict, growing new poverty. The contest is open to young persons under 30 and of a minority background and living in Europe. The deadline for submissions is 18 July 2009.

Read more here.

The second is the Cornwall Youth Forum. A worthy project that needs some real Cornish input.

European petition planned against the BNP


An online campaign, supported by Searchlight, to make an anti-BNP statement to the European Parliament on 12 July. They have over 60,000 signatures already. Sign the petition and upload your photo.

Please lend your support against these racists, by clicking here.

11.6.09

Browns Aspirin for the British Cancer

A quick scan of this announcement -Statement of Constitutional Renewal- from the Priministers Office reveals some typical spin. I just stinks of panicked Labourites.

On the one hand we have:

So as a next step, the Justice Secretary will set out further plans to look at broadening the application of Freedom of Information to include additional bodies which also need to be subject to greater transparency and accountability. This is the public’s money. They should know how it is spent. I should also announce that, as part of extending the availability of official information and as our response to the Dacre Review, we will progressively reduce the time taken to release official documents.

So is the Duchy of Cornwall going to come inside the FOI act? It spends public money and fulfills the roll of a public body, the Crown Estate, in the Duchy i.e Cornwall.

Response:

As the report recommended, we have considered the need to strengthen protection for particularly sensitive material and there will be protection of Royal Family and Cabinet papers as part of strictly limited exemptions. But we will reduce the time for release of all other official documents below the current 30 years, to 20 years.

So no then. Equality but certainly not for all.

Mutterings of electoral reforms can also be found but are they heart felt or just more placatory propaganda to save a dead government walking. Only the un-proportional Alternative Voting system has been mentioned and then no public referendum promised. Surely they must understand that we want a choice along with a firm commitment.

Finally of Cornish interest we have the following: "the Communities and Local Government Secretary will set out how we will strengthen the engagement of citizens in the democratic life of their own communities as we progress the next stage of devolution in England - so we must consider whether we should offer stronger, clearly defined powers to local Government and city-regions and strengthen their accountability to local people".

The new Unitary authority for the Duchy is in place and it's a prime candidate for the further devolution of powers. Let the new hands on the wheel in Duchy hall demand devolution. Let's see an end to the undemocratic quangocracy in the the UK and the unwanted meddling of distant uncaring London in Cornwall's affairs.

All that can be said is that what's on offer from Brown is a pretty poor response to the UKs political crisis and seems more like an attempt to save the establishment for the few rather than reform it for the citizens ... sorry ... subjects. I hope the Cornish movement lends its support to the Citizens’Convention Bill from Unlock Democracy. It really is the least we all deserve.

The bill received its first reading in the House of Commons on Monday (8 June). Supported by a cross party group of MPs (Martin Caton, David Drew, Jim Dowd, Norman Lamb, Julia Goldsworthy, Norman Lamb, Norman Baker, Douglas Carswell), the bill would establish a citizens’ convention of randomly chosen members of the public to look at ways to make the UK political system more accountable. Among other things, it will bring forward proposals to: 


*Bring elected representatives to book when they step out of line.

*Change the way in which Parliament is run to ensure that the government is properly held to account.

*Decide on our electorla system.

To stand a chance of becoming law, the government will have to allow it time in Parliament to be properly debated and scrutinised.

10.6.09

One Cornwall One Planet

One Cornwall One Planet is a cross party ecological campaigning platform that contains a number of Independents as well as Julie Tamblin of Mebyon Kernow. They have close ties with the Cornish Greens and the Transition Town movement in the Duchy.

We are at a turning point in our history. We know the challenges that face us. Climate change on an unprecedented scale; a continuing, and irrevocable reduction in fossil fuels; a world financial and economic system under stress and threat of collapse; an unsustainable world population.
Their full manifesto can be downloaded from: OneCornwall OnePlanet Manifesto

Congratulations to one of their number, Bob Egerton, who was elected to the Cornwall Council. On their website it states that Bob won't be joining the Independent group because "the range of views and policies across that group will be wide and many of the councillors in that group will not be sympathetic to the views and policies of One Cornwall One Planet. "

So why not join MK instead Bob?

Celtic Solidarity

Scottish MSP introduces motion into Scottish Parliament congratulating and supporting Mebyon Kernow and its campaign for an Assembly. 


Nice to see some in the Scottish movement don't ignore the Cornish question. Many thanks to our supporters in other stateless nations around Europe.

Dear All,

Kenneth would appreciate your support for the motion below.

Kenneth Gibson (Cunninghame North) (Scottish National Party): Mebyon Kernow, The Party for Cornwall.

That the Parliament:

Congratulates Mebyon Kernow (MK), the Party for Cornwall, on winning three seats in the 4 June 2009 local authority elections, three more than the Labour party;

Considers Cornwall to be a unique and historic nation with its own culture, traditions and Celtic language, Kernowek, now undergoing a revival;

Considers that MK is a progressive party campaigning for greater Cornish self-government and a just, fair, sustainable, prosperous, more confident, inclusive and outward-looking Cornwall;

Supports MK’s call for the establishment of a Cornish assembly, and wishes it every success in fighting for a better deal for all the people of Cornwall.

8.6.09

Equality and Diversity Forum Newsletter

To sign up for the free Equality and Diversity Forum electronic newsletter click here.

The newsletter is emailed every two to three weeks to a growing number of subscribers, including: local authority, health and educational service providers; voluntary organisation workers; lawyers; academics; government officials and individuals with an interest in equality and human rights.

The newsletter contains information about new equality and human rights developments, policy and publications, as well as details of forthcoming events and job vacancies

7.6.09

The Cornish Election Results Commented

Mebyon Kernow has three good men, Dick Cole, Andrew Long and Stuart Cullimore, on the council and obtained around 17% of the vote in the 33 wards contested.

In the European elections the Party for Cornwall has achieved its best-ever 'national' election result. MK polled 11,534 votes (7% of the total) in the Cornish part of the South West Euro-constituency, pushing the Labour Party into sixth place in the Duchy. In many places in Mid and West Cornwall, MK was polling over 10%.When votes from the Isles of Scilly, Gibraltar and throughout the massive South West seat (including Bristol, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire) were added in, the MK total finished at 14,922 in front of Libertas, No2EU and a number of others.

A modest success but certainly to be built on.

The result of the European Election in Cornwall were as follows: Conservative Party 46,589 UKIP 39,954 Liberal Democrats 29,436 Green Party 13,361 Mebyon Kernow 11,534 Labour Party 8,483 BNP 5,118 Pensioners Party 3,944 Christian Party 2,168 English Democrats 1,781 Katie Hopkins (Ind) 1,117 Socialist Labour 1,058 NO2EU 890 Fair Pay, Fair Trade 660 Libertas 608 Jury Team 519 WAI D 107.

Well done to ALL the MK candidates who stood and personally I'd like to thank you for your hard work. Please keep it up. Let's look forward to future elections whether Town, Parish, Council, General or European. Get out there and work your arses off for your communities and Cornwall. Involve yourselves in community projects and get yourselves into the media. The Trelawny Alliance is one example of a group that needs you now.

To increase membership as well as numbers of future candidates must also be a priority. All Liberal and Labour supporters disillusioned with their respective parties, and all people who just want to work for Kernow, why not join the young and dynamic MK team. The only Team Kernow.

Equally gratifying to see such pro-Cornish independents as Bert Biscoe (Cornish Constitutional Convention), Graeme Hicks, Julian German, Neil Plummer and Mark Kaczmarek, among others, elected. I'd love to see them join MK one day, but here's to them all working alongside the MK men for the good of the Cornish Nation.

No Greens elected even if St Ives was a close call. It was a shame to see MK and the Greens standing against each other in a few seats. Wasted efforts from two parties that share so much. Understandably any MK / Green electoral pact was scuppered by MK standing in the EU elections. This is something that needs to be considered carefully next time around. I hope they understand the publicity opportunity the European elections offered MK. For the future will it be possible to combine MKs need for publicity with a Green alliance?

And what of the Cornish Nationalist Party that supposedly re-grouped to fight the council elections? Where are they? Did any of them stand?

As for the Conservatives who are now the largest group on the Council, perhaps it's time to reminded them of their party leaders 'Duchy' comments and the recommendations of the Kilbrandon Report on the UK constitution which supports his choice of words. What can we expect from the 'Shadow Minister' for Cornwall and all the recent talk of localism and empowering the people? Lets see what they have in mind.

Post script.

* In order to be allowed party election broadcasts, MK would have had to stand candidates in nine regions. Due to this unfair arrangement, MK were denied media coverage, though many minor parties including the BNP, Christian Party, the Jury Team, Libertas, No2EU and Socialist Labour were allowed coverage.

* The Green Party and UKIP were both allowed two European election broadcasts, as well as one each for the local elections. MK had more local election candidates than the Greens and UKIP but were not allowed coverage because we do not stand outside of Cornwall.

* At the same time, there was very little coverage of the European election in local newspapers and MK had little opportunity to feature on reports on local television.

5.6.09

Support a Cornish Charity with Everyclick

Why not help the Cornish Charity of your choice by using Everyclick as your homepage instead of Google, Yahoo or some other corporate monster? I've set mine up to raise funds for the Cornish branch of the Celtic Congress.

The sum raised so far is tiny but with more people involved it could be an interesting additional way to raise money for your charity of preference. The Gorsedh and Federation of Old Cornwall Societies are also options along with a number of other worthy Cornish causes.

Everyclick gives you lots of ways to raise more money for charity: search the web shop collect sponsorship donate, give and reclaim Vouchers.

The Crying Need to Renew British Democracy

Following the recent MPs expenses debacle and the announcement from the floundering Brown of a -National Council of Democratic Renewal- here are a couple of projects worthy of following for Cornish democrats. 

I'll just add that Brown seems to have missed the point, yet again, that the UK is clearly a multinational entity. The Scots and Welsh likely to resist being pulled into such a 'national' council or any of its outcomes without having their own individual say.

Unlock Democracy has spearheaded the launch of the Public Accountability Bill along with a cross party grouping of MPs and MEPs. Among other things, it will bring forward proposals to: Bring elected representatives to book when they step out of line; Change the way in which Parliament is run to ensure that the government is properly held to account; Decide on our electoral system. Peter Facey adds:

“There is a danger at this stage that politicians see this as little more than an opportunity for a bit of one-upmanship and point-scoring. This approach has undermined democratic renewal for decades. We will only make progress now if politicians learn their lesson and take a back seat in the process. The Public Accountability Bill is designed to enable this to happen.”

The Electoral Reform Society, focusing on the electoral system, has equally launched its -Vote For Change- campaign that is demanding a referendum on electoral reform before the 2010 general election.

The expense crisis reveals a nation governed by a political elite that has stopped listening and who are accountable to no one but their party machines. Too many MPs seem more interested in changing their homes than changing the world.

Our society faces real problems - mass unemployment and growing poverty, the threat of climate chaos and an erosion of our civil liberties to name but three. These all require effective government working on behalf of the popular will.

Yet our whole political system is close to collapse. Just when the system needed to be strong it has been brought to its knees. Only the British people can put this right. We demand a new electoral system that makes everyone’s vote count.

Alongside the next general election there should be a binding referendum on whether to change to a new more proportional electoral system. This should be drawn up by a large jury of randomly selected citizens, given the time and information to deliberate on what voting system and other changes would make parliament more accountable to citizens.

4.6.09

What’s On in Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month?







Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month

The people known as Roma live in most countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Their language is Romani. Many of the people known as Gypsies who live in England and Wales are of Romani origin, while some people known as Travellers are of Irish origin or are New Travellers.

In Cornwall we have many Gypsy and Traveller people who have lived here for many generations as well as many who travel to Cornwall from time to time.

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities across Britain will be celebrating the second GRTHM in June 2009 following the successful event of last year.

The Equality and Diversity Service (CSF), TravellerSpace, the Library Service and Pool Business & Enterprise College have organised some events. You will find information about what we are doing in Cornwall overleaf. Programme of events in Cornwall below.

Patricia Knight, the national coordinator of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month says:

"Britain's 300,000 Gypsies, Roma and Travellers have lived, worked and travelled throughout Britain for over 500 years, yet we have been almost entirely written out of British history. Go to most museums, libraries and schools and nothing about our history and culture is kept or taught. The result is a widespread ignorance about who we are, which sometimes turns to hatred, fear and misunderstanding, but always has an impact on Gypsy and Traveller lives."

"So this June, Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities are coming together, with central government backing, to continue the long overdue task of educating the British public about who we are and where we come from. We're doing it for one simple reason: If people do not realise that we were an important part of Britain's past, they will never accept us as a crucial part of Britain's future."

All of June: Story telling in libraries across Cornwall from Torpoint to Penzance.

2nd-12th June: Gypsies and Travellers Photographic Display in The Fal Building , Truro College This exhibition is intended to demystify and raise awareness of this little understood minority group. Further information from cypf.equalityanddiversity@cornwall.gov.uk 01726 77113

6th June: The Richard O'Neill Story Telling Show. Acorn Arts Centre, Penzance. Richard O'Neill is a traditional Romany Gypsy storyteller. His fascinating tales, including The Kung Fu Cat, the Horrible Headteacher, and the Hidden Romany Gold, will keep even the youngest members of the audience enthralled. 2 pm Adults £5, children £3 (there is a £1 booking fee per transaction). Box Office 01736 365 520 There is a £1 booking fee per transaction http://www.acornartscentre.co.uk/

17th June: St.Day Gypsy and Traveller Women's Group Open Morning. 10.30am at Teyluva Children's Centre, St.Day Meet the group members, watch a short film, learn more about Gypsy & Traveller culture, eat cake and admire our displays of photos and artwork - for further information contact TravellerSpace Tel: 01736 366 940 email: tspace@travellerspace-cornwall.org

16th-19th June Exhibition at Pool Business and Enterprise College 10 am - 3 pm daily The exhibits this year will give the children the chance to show how much they have achieved at school. Also included will be history, Interactive DVDs, Recipe booklets, Language booklets, Music and Dance. On the last day the children are going to do a concert for their parents and members of the public.

30th June Equality & Diversity Service Children, Schools and Families Open Day 10.30-4.00 The Stable Block, Pondhu House, St Austell PL25 5DP All day Gypsies and Travellers Photographic Display – This exhibition is intended to demystify and raise awareness of this little understood minority group.

During the day we will be showing films to celebrate Gypsy, Roma and Traveller culture. Please book a seat as space will be limited. Our resource base will be open to view resources available to loan and copies of Fowey Fair and Here today & Gone tomorrow will be on sale. 11am The First Traveller DVD: Stories, poems, songs, music and drama from the Travelling Communities 12 noon Coming & Going DVD: Filmed in and around the 2008 GRTHM Coming and going takes abroad view, going back to India and forward through history.

The centuries of hardship and persecution have forged an iron resolve to protect and celebrate the culture through music, storytelling, art and song. 1pm Gypsy Cornwall a collection of photographs by Neal Johnston 2pm Romani Tales CD: stories told that help to understand the Gypsy and Traveller Culture and way of life Further information from cypf.equalityanddiversity@cornwall.gov.uk 01726 77113.

2.6.09

The Idiots Guide to the European Parliament



A good if simplistic guide to how the EU parliament works above on YouTube. Explained as easy as possible under consideration of the changes caused by the Treaty of Lisbon, which is not in force yet.

1.6.09

Looking for funding?

If you are looking for some funding to help promote a diversity project in Kernow, then maybe one of the streams below is for you.

The Home Access Programme

The Government has announced that the Home Access Programme, a £300 million programme that aims to deliver equal learning opportunities to the 35 per cent of families that currently have no access to the internet at home is to be rolled out across England in autumn 2009. The objective of the programme will be to help all pupils aged 5-19 in state maintained education in England have the opportunity to access the internet and enhance their learning at home. The programme which was initially piloted initially in Oldham and Suffolk has already processed more than 7,500 applications since its launch in February 2009. The Home Access programme will be working with local authorities, schools, colleges and third sector organisations to ensure that families are provided with the support and guidance they need to realise the benefits of having access to technology at home. Link here.

Film Publications Fund 2009/10

The UK Film Council has announced that it is inviting applications from limited companies, charities and other incorporated organisations based in the UK through their Film Publications Fund. The fund aims supports print and online publications as a way to encourage debate and interest in the UK film industry. Grants are of between £1,000 and £20,000 and are available to support current and new publications - in print or online; books; academic publications; information for under-served parts of the film industry. The deadline for applications is the 12th June 2009. Link here.

BIG Announces Second myplace Funding Round

The Big Lottery Fund (BIG) has announced that it will be launching the second funding round under the 'myplace' programme in June 2009. The aim of myplace is to support projects that deliver world class facilities for young people. myplace has already made £240m of grants to 62 projects in England. They are planning on investing a further £31.6m through grants of between £1m and £5m. The second round will focus on projects that have already invested significant energy in well-developed plans for a world-class youth facility driven by the active participation of young people and their views and needs. In contrast to earlier funding rounds, and in the light of the limited funding available, eligibility for Round 2 will be restricted to projects located in the one third most deprived areas of England. Of those areas that have already had a previous myplace award, only those with large youth populations will be eligible to put forward additional projects. BIG do not expect to fund more than 10 projects through Round 2. Further eligibility and assessment criteria, including a final list of eligible areas will be published in June. Link here.

Standard Life Charitable Trust

Standard Life has announced the proposal to establish the Standard Life Charitable Trust later on in the year. The initial investment of around £5 million will come from the company's unclaimed assets trust, while the remainder will come from funds left over after a change to shareholder cash dividend payments. The Trust will be used to enable Standard Life to continue its approach to corporate responsibility and to support their community investment programmes. Link here.

Action Earth Grants

Local community groups that are working towards helping to protect England's biodiversity have the opportunity to apply for funding of up to £50 through the Action Earth Grants. The grants which are sponsored by the supermarket chain Morrisons are available to local environmental projects that are practical and visual; have an immediate or lasting benefit to the environment; involve volunteers (new/existing); and take place between 1st March and 31st July 2008. Each group can submit up to three projects. The final deadline for submitting applications is the 7th July 2009. Link here.

Life Plus Now Open for Applications

The European Commission has announced that that the third call for proposals under the Life + Programme is now open for applications. The Life + programme is the EU’s main fund for supporting environmental projects. Under this call for proposals, the Commission will be supporting projects under the following headings; nature and biodiversity; environment policy and governance; and information and communication. A total of €250 Million is available for this call and the total available to the UK is in excess of €19 million. Project proposals should be sent to the relevant national authority no later than 15 September 2009. Thereafter, national authorities will send project proposals on to the European Commission by 22 October 2009.The European Commission has also scheduled workshops for potential LIFE+ applicants in each EU member state. Within the UK the workshop will be held on the 26th June at the Park Crescent Conference Centre, London. Interested organisations should contact Joanna Pachucka at lifeplus-uk@stellaconsulting.com.

About the Modernisation Fund Grants Programme

The first phase of the Modernisation Fund Grants Programme is aimed at helping you understand your needs better. During June and July organisations delivering services that meet the needs of communities affected by the recession will be able to apply for £1,000 bursaries to pay for initial advice to explore how they can become more resilient and increase their impact by working more closely with others. Early applications are encouraged and will stand more chance of being successful. Visit http://www.modernisationfund.org.uk/ to find out more.

Do UKIP have a pact with the BNP?

Within the Telegraph article -UKIP’s efforts to win over middle-England- the following telling statistics can be found.


It may not be an official pact, but the BNP is free from a Ukip challenge in 80 per cent of the seats it is contesting, while Ukip has no BNP challenger in 85 per cent of the seats in which it is standing.

Has UKIP formed an unspoken pact of non-agression with the fascists BNP? Both want out of the EU, and they’re both strongly anti-immigration. Both parties know that they are competing for much the same relatively small fringe of discontented anti-EU, anti-immigration voters. It would make sense for them to cooperate but will they be honest about it?

At least the English Democrats have not tried to hide their alliance with the white nationalist England First Party.

Stop hate at the polls

CAR would like to draw readers attention to a new project entitled 38 Degrees and their recent campaign Stop Hate at the Polls.

They say:

Are you planning to vote in the European Elections next Thursday? Thousands of British National Party (BNP) supporters will definitely be turning out. Help make sure we all remember to vote - let's keep the BNP outnumbered.

Please vote and help stop the BNP and/or any other party from the extreme right.

Vote Cornwall

Perhaps I and others have spent too much time on Cornwall 24 explaining why not to vote for this or that party so here goes. 

Off the top of my head here are some reasons to vote for Mebyon Kernow bearing in mind that people across the South West government zone will be able to vote for them in the Euro elections.

1) If you want elected representatives who live in the Duchy and who will put Cornwall and ALL here residents first then MK are really the only choice. When I write 'ALL' that's exactly what is meant. This video from Plaid -Why do some peddle the myth that being pro-Welsh independence means you're anti-English?- rings 100% true for Mebyon Kernow. MK are the only party who are totally committed to giving more power to all Cornwall's residents whilst equally being 100% against all forms of prejudice.

2) If you want to vote for Cornwall and see it as being more than just the toe end of England and a holiday resort/retirement home then MK is your party.

3) If you want to vote Cornwall as well as green then MK is your only choice. I've plenty of time for colleagues in the Green party for England & Wales but they still recognised Cornwall as being party of the South West of England.

4) If you see the historic nations and regions of these Isles and Europe as a treasure and source of strength, if you value diversity, then vote MK. Vote for cooperation and diversity together.

5) If you wish to a) register your protest at the recent political scandal; b) state your disillusion with the big three London parties and/or c) express your anger at the economic crisis then a vote for MK will allow you to do just that. A clear protest vote without having to support the Fascist BNP or corrupt UKIP. This is applicable to all residents of the South West.

6) If you think the UK is overly centralised in London and that the state needs radical democratic reform then a vote for MK will carry that message loud and clear. Again this applies to all peoples of the South West.

7) If you want a party that is neither blindly europhilic nor rabidly europhobic then MK is your eurorealist choice. MK are committed to a green, democratic Europe that protects its citizens and their jobs. An EU for the people and peoples of Europe not just the bankers.

Please feel free to add to the list.