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31.10.09

Identity, Immigration, Equality and Cornish Devolution

Some choice quotes on identity, immigration and equality below from the Cornish Constitutional Convention's new document: The Next Push.

5. In 2000 the Cornish1 were looking forward to being recorded as a separately ‘coded’ ethnic group in the 2001 census. This breakthrough had been patiently achieved through a quiet coalition of local and parliamentary politicians, supported by officials in the local authorities and Office of National Statistics. The flow of the national discussion about cultural data, prompted by concerns about implementing policies driven by multi-culturalism, as well as by the outfall from Scottish and Welsh devolution and the drive towards a peace settlement in Northern Ireland, offered a moment when the Cornish position could be effectively and logically advocated.


16. Each aspect of Cornish evolution contributes to Cornwall’s reputation as a mature and committed place with ambitions set in the context of achieving a distinctive economic and environmental identity – we now have both the means of generating Cornish ideas and of communicating them effectively into the global debates in a wide range of disciplines. One area in which this is proving to be quietly effective is that of human rights. The anomaly of having a People whose heritage and language are internationally recognised and protected, whose identity can be recorded on the national census but whose visibility as an ethnic group in a multi-cultural society remains opaque, to say the least. The most important element of achieving progress in the human rights field is to fix an objective and to coalesce a partnership around achieving it.


19. The long-term residual influence of outmoded and often mischievously formed perceptions about Cornwall and Cornish people and their culture may, to some extent, affect the formulation of policies leading to migratory trends that can easily be construed as a subliminally inspired effort to ‘assimilate’ Cornwall and to iron out the wrinkles of difference that motivate demands for specific and tailored treatment. The distinctive historical narrative that has long been suppressed within the supposed status quo has become more prominent as historians have re-focused British historical study to take account of different national and regional perspectives, such as those of Wales, Scotland and, increasingly, Cornwall. It is simply impossible to explore the Cornish story without concluding that it has a very distinctive narrative, a culture which owes much more to its peripherality, connectivity by sea with Europe, Africa, Ireland and Wales, and to fairly new links forged as a result of emigrations stimulated by economic collapse at the end of the 19th century and a degree of religious persecution against non-Conformists in the same period.


20. This ‘difference’ informs the identity of Cornish people and underpins the conviction held by many (articulated by a few) that the Cornish form a British ethnic group, a ‘National Minority’ which has evolved as a result of the upheavals of Europe. The UK Government is unwilling to openly recognise the legitimacy of Cornish ethnicity, and, as time passes, and arguments evolve, is becoming increasingly isolated in its opinion. Attempts to formalise the position by seeking the support of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE)3 to establish case-law recognition of the Cornish, which would engage the protections of the Race Relations Act, have been constantly thwarted without good reasons being cited for the resistance.


21. We should not overstate the issue of Cornish ethnicity, or indeed of Cornish nationalism. Neither case nor their advocates seek cessation or independence. They seek an ‘accommodation’ which recognises Cornish difference within the overall structure of the United Kingdom. It is asserted that the UK would benefit from such an ‘accommodation’ because the arrangements thus secured would unshackle Cornish creativity and ingenuity and supply its outputs and ideas to the UK. The effect of Objective 1, which was a Structural Funds Programme conceived by Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which initiated the notion of regeneration by promoting ‘regional distinctiveness’, was to reveal what potential lies beneath the surface of Cornwall, wanting only the confidence that springs from being granted constructive semi-autonomy over public strategies, services and budgets to flourish and to greatly enhance productivity. It is the intense desire to flourish that nurtures the sustained commitment to seeking an ‘accommodation’. There is consensus in Cornwall around the concept of the Cornish Assembly. It finds expression in many forms in mainstream and ‘fringe’ institutions and bodies, including the main political parties in Cornwall, senior officials and holders of public office, and within a significant swathe of the general Cornish public.


35. Against the indigenous perspective was now firmly pitched the external view, propagated by people rhetorically burdened with illiberal concepts such as ‘balkanisation’, over-egging the impact of Cornish nationalism by linking it to neo-nazism rather than to the fine liberal principle of preserving and enriching cultural diversity that characterises what might be described as ‘celtic’ nationalism within the UK and the British Isles. Such assertions were founded on ignorance, either genuine or assumed, and emanated from motives that are difficult to fathom. Emanate they did, and have led to Cornwall being increasingly disabled as perceptions of Cornwall within the government have become more and more confused and detached.


44. It would be complacent to suggest that the new migrants have not altered the culture and human environment of Cornwall. However, it would be an overstatement to say that the ‘difference’ of Cornwall has been eroded or destroyed by them. Indeed, the nature of Cornwall challenges the individual, and if migrants are to flourish then they need to adapt and to learn. Those who do not bend like Cornish reeds before the gale find themselves eager to move on ere long! Population turnover is very high, whilst the number of Cornish returners is growing. In very recent times, with the new university and new job opportunities deriving from the structural investments of Objective 1, we are seeing a small but significant alteration in population structure and cultural identity as more young people choose to stay than go.


An empowered Cornwall where all citizens have the best possible chances in life and a far greater say over how the territory we all share is governed.

29.10.09

Negative Attitude to Cornish Unsurprising

Devon and Cornwall Police have refused a request from the Celtic League which had asked that those who wished could record their ethnicity as Cornish on official forms.

The force excuse their inertia on the issue citing mandates determined `nationally'.

The attitude is unsurprising given that the Force was one of those that scored least positively in the Celtic League Pan-Celtic survey of police forces in relation to their attitude to Celtic identity and culture.

The full response from the Constabulary is set out below:

Inspector John Jackson
Diverse Communities Team
Devon and Cornwall Police HQ
Exeter EX2 7HQ


16th October 2009


Dear Mr Tal-e-bot


Thank you for your recent communication regarding the issue of recording Cornish as an ethnicity classification.


As you will be aware the requirement for recording ethnicity is nationally mandated and not something we, as a service, have control over.


There is a faculty within our recording perimeters to record an ethnicity code of 'other' where the proscribed self defined ethnicity codes are not accepted by the person as being of relevance to them. This will be a letter followed by the number '9'.


However, the nationally mandated system does not allow for 'text' to be input only the code number. I would point out that the question you raise is equally true of any 'white other' background, say French, Polish etc.


As such and in line with mandated requirements we will not be looking to alter the way in which we record, input and store ethnicity data. Should this position change in the future I can assure you your comments will be taken into consideration.


Yours sincerely


John Jackson Diverse Communities Team

See related article on Celtic News here

(Material for this article supplied by Rhisiart Ta-e-bot)
J B Moffatt Director of Information Celtic League

27.10.09

The Cornish Democrats other places

DARKIE DAY: FROM THE ONE KERNOW BLOG


COOPERATION BETWEEN CORNWALL AND FINISTERE: FROM THE BRETON CONNECTION BLOG

Both important subjects so I've copied them over from the two side projects of the Cornish Democrat.

Break up the Banks! Keep the money in Kernow!


Good article here -Breaking the Banks- on the theme of the financial crisis and after. A couple of choice quotes below:

When an institution becomes so important that it cannot be allowed to fail, that implicit state guarantee removes any incentive – other than a purely moral one – to behave prudently. If the banks didn’t already know that the taxpayer would insure their losses, they do now. None of the new regulations proposed to require banks to hold more capital, change their remuneration packages and so on get anywhere near tackling this issue. And unless it is tackled the banks will simply carry on as before and we’ll all end up insuring them as before.

Now the reason to separate deposit taking and payment systems from the rest of banking is that these two activities are broadly speaking the things we need banks to do for our economies to keep functioning. These were not the areas of the banks that failed, but they would have disappeared along with everything else if major banking groups had been allowed to collapse. So we bailed out a whole load of speculative proprietary and frankly dodgy trading activities that should have gone to the wall in order to keep the cheques flowing and people’s savings in tact. Monumentally expensive and entirely avoidable. We literally can’t afford this to happen again.

Why not go one step further and use the Cornish Community Banking system or a Cornish Credit Union? Equally the Local Exchange Trading Schemes in Cornwall provides an alternative system for those sick of lining the pockets of others. For more information on alternative economics try: New Economics Foundation.

Darkie Day



I found the interesting reportage above on the Cornwall facebook site. Someone had attached it to a number of topics with the epitaph "Cornwall is racist". The short documentary is produced by the group - For Young Black Men ( 4YBM ).

Thankfully the individual did not write 'the Cornish are racist' as this of course would have been racist itself. To ascribe essential characteristics to a people, nation or ethnic group (stupidity, criminality, racism, etc) is itself racist. It would after all be just as inaccurate and racist to say that all afro-carribian people are homophobic.

That being said however within the Duchy there is to be found widespread intolerance and racism. The BNP does not have an exceptional vote share in Kernow but they are present. Low in numbers they may be but far-right nationalists, usually British and English but occasionally (sadly) Cornish, do exist and are known to instrumentalise Darkie Day for their own ends. First the offensive and racist elements are pushed to the fore by far-right activists. Then when anti-fascists and the government take an interest, the BNP, of course, is the first to shout about 'political correctness gone mad' and 'British traditions being undermined'.

Coming to Darkie Day itself no apologies will be made for it here. The offensive and racist elements should be removed. However we need to look past the current racist phenomena, which IS instrumentalised by the far-right, to the roots of a Celtic British minority tradition. We also must think about the limits of political correctness to ensure we are not manipulated by fascist troublemakers. A sensible suggestion for the modification of Darkie Day can be found here: Darkie Day.

Unity is Strength

It is sad and counter productive that very worthy campaigns, groups and NGOs, such as 4YBM, that do a great job for one minority group or another (racial, ethnic, religious, sexual etc) often treat the white population of these Atlantic isles, from Lands End to John 0'Groats, as one homogeneous ethnic group.

An English cockney from the East End, ethnically, may have more in common with his Afro-Caribbean neighbour than he does with a Welsh speaking hill farmer or Cornish fisherman.

The truth in fact is that these isles contain a rich ethnic tapestry that includes the Cornish, Welsh and Scottish national minorities. If a group like 4YBM wants to fight intolerance in Cornwall then they should connect a respect for the indigenous Cornish identity with their justified combat against racism. This, I feel, would be a much more fruitful strategy than to ignore all Cornish difference and treat them as simply English bumpkins too far from the big smoke to know what's good for them. Isn't to ignore the Cornish minority and their needs to give passive and implicit support to imperialistic English nationalism and anglo-cultural supremacism ?

For more thoughts on this subject see the blog post: Open Kernow.

Of course there is no claim that the daily experiences of a young black person and a white Cornish person are the same. The former may suffer direct and hostile prejudice on a daily basis whereas the latter is denied cultural rights in his/her schools and community. The public is now well aware of the problems faced by new minority groups, but what does your average UK citizen know or think about the situation of the Welsh or Cornish national minorities?

Between minority groups there can be many differences and much misunderstand but it is this blog authors opinion that unity is strength and, where we can, we should work together.

25.10.09

The UK media worse than the BNP?


A truly fantastic exposé of the racist UK press. It's not just Kernow that suffers these bigoted fools.

22.10.09

Which devolution?

The POWER2010 campaign continues to drive the much needed discussion on democratic renewal in the UK. Recently an article by Billy Bragg called -Has our very stability made us complacent?- was featured on their blog.

Praising Spanish democracy Bragg suggests that asymmetric devolution -devolution to regions of varying sizes- would work for the UK.

The article originally appeared on the Guardian website and can be found here.

Such asymmetric devolution to the historic regions of England (including Kernow) has long been a favourite of many a Cornish campaigner as well as groups like Devolve and other English regionalists.

Following the failure of the governments plans to devolve power to their artificial government zones many within the wider Cornish movement believe that the case for Cornwall can be made inside a larger program of devolution to English regions of varying sizes but of more historical and cultural significance. See the map above as a selection of possible regions. Such devolution would return stability to the lopsided UK system (see West Lothian question) following devolution to Scotland, Wales and the Six Counties.

Following this scheme Scotland, Wales and Cornwall would all end up with a certain form of 'national' recognition and respect for their territorial integrity, but what of the English nation divided into regions?

It seems on this question Cornish nationalists are pulled in two conflicting directions.

On the one hand we are tempted by the quite realistic possibility of regional devolution as long as Kernow is its own region. On the other hand we often defend the right of nations to recognition and self-determination. Even the devolutionists in Cornwall who swear blind that they are not nationalists will still fight tooth and nail to protect the territorial integrity of the Duchy and reject all suggestions of a Plymouthwall or Devonwall region. Is England a nation? Does it deserver the same rights and respect for its territorial integrity as our Cornish Duchy?

You may well find one or two English nationalists ready to countenance Cornish devolution, but the division of their country into regions? Never! An interesting if rather wordy view on this problem can be found on the Britology Watch blog here - England: the unstated ‘real’ name of the British state.

So given that England is a nation and also has a right to self-determination what are the chances that Cornwall would be singled out for devolution after the creation of an English parliament? I'm not alone in thinking we would have a cat in hells chance. Such a parliament, surely based in London, would centralise power and greedily hold onto it.

So damned if we do damned if we don't. I'd be interested in any thoughts on this question and I also recommend that all interested parties feed their views back to the POWER2010 campaign.

Irrespective of what any future government chooses to do perhaps the situation described above is all the more reason to: 1) fight for Cornish recognition as a national minority and 2) demand a full elucidation of our legal constitutional position as a Duchy now. Both campaigns, if successful, would strengthen our position whether faced with the creation of an English parliament or regional devolution.

20.10.09

Popular Sovereignty for Cornwall

I don't know how seriously to take this story but according to an insane village idiot it appears a replacement for the Cornish national flag, the St Pirans or Gwen ha du, has been mooted in the Duchy.

The republican Cornish Tricolour, it has been suggested, would be more inclusive and secular as well as being indicative of a people searching for freedom. We'll wait and see on that one perhaps.

If their is a problem with the current Cornish flag then I think it is its overuse on everything from bad pasty packaging to tourist signs. Have some respect for the national flag and leave it a dignified place in our communities whatever its design.

On another republican note it has been suggested that -localism is republicanism. The suggestion being that popular republican sovereignty, i.e power and sovereignty resting with the people, would be the ultimate form of localism or devolution.

Whilst I agree with popular sovereignty as a necessary pillar of any modern democracy I don't see it as being the solution to all our woes. Popular sovereignty would not guarantee the rights of historic nations and national minorities within a larger state. Only autonomy and constitutionally recognised cultural rights can ensure the Cornish nation has a future.

Power devolved up from the grass roots to an elected government is all well and good and a must for any future Cornish body of governance, but if the majority in a British Republic decided to give power to a government that ignored the needs of its national minorities and centralise all decision making.......

18.10.09

Cornish Zetetics

AN UNFAIR DEAL FOR CORNWALL
A truly great yet depressingly accurate article from Cornish Zetetics.

.

An example not to follow Keith

OneK has mentioned a couple of times now the silence eminating from the English Democrats Cornish candidate for Newquay Keith Riley on the subject of the alliance his party has with the white fascist England First Party.

The following is taken from a Welsh blogger.

The English Democrats have links to the ultra nationalist and white supremacist England First Party, headed by notorious fascist and ex-BNP fundraiser in the US Mark Cotterill. Cotterill is described by the American civil rights group Southern Poverty Law Centre as a "key British neo-fascist", and was an associate of James Wenneker von Brunn, the violent anti-semite and white supremacist who fatally shot a security guard in the recent attack on the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. Von Brunn had attended meetings of Cotterill's American Friends of the BNP. Cotterill was deported from the US and subsequently fell out with mein fuhrer Nick Griffin, hastening Cotterill's departure from the BNP. He then joined the openly neo-Nazi and now defunct White Nationalist Party, before again falling out with his political masters - with suggestions that Cotterill may have been all too willing to co-operate with the authorities. Cotterill then formed the England First Party. As I believe the saying goes, you can tell a person - or in this case a party - by the company they keep...

Perhaps the first radio interview of Peter Davis, Mayor of Doncaster and English Democrat, will provide some inspiration for our Keith. Davis is a former UKIP member and the father of Tory MP for Shipley, Philip Davies.

Or perhaps not.....

Peter Davis interviewed by Toby Foster of BBC Radio Sheffield

Interview transcript from BBC Radio Sheffield , 8th June 2009

Toby Foster (BBC Radio Sheffield ) : Thanks very much for joining us. I said that we didn’t see it coming - did you see it coming? Did you expect to win?

Peter Davies (Mayor of Doncaster) : Well, well not really. A great friend of mine told me the night before I was going to get a great shock, and that I would win. I was thinking of saving the deposit at the time.

TF : I can imagine. What was it you think that made people vote for you?

PD : Well we were the only party who gave a distinctive agenda to the electorate. All the others talked waffle. I looked at all the leaflets, I couldn’t make anything of them all, they were all the same.

TF : You did give a distinctive agenda, you’re absolutely right, you made some real points on that. Let’s just have a look - let’s have a look at them shall we? The first one of course I think’s an easy one - you’re going to cut the mayor’s salary.

PD : That’s the first thing this morning

TF : Down to £30,000 a year. Now, some people could look at that Peter and say, well, you get more than that for running a supermarket these days. Surely a council deserves… a bit more respect?

PD : No, the council deserves somebody who’s going to run it properly, and it deserves somebody who’s prepared to give their services partly free, in a sense - at one time all local government councillors did all the free, er, it’s become a gravy train and I’m not prepared to be part of that.

TF : So what about the people who work for you? The deputy mayor, other people in the departments - are you cutting their wages as well?

PD : Er, well, I’ve discussed that with-, well not- not the people in the departments, I can’t- I’ve no control over what they’ve been given, but the deputy mayor and the rest of the cabinet will discuss that at, at the earliest opportunity.

TF : Well, you say you’ve no control over people in the departments, one of the big things on your campaign was that you’re going to cut ‘PC jobs’.

PD : Oh yeah, that’s a different thing altogether, er-

TF : Which jobs are those?

PD : Well, er, I’m going to look into that. Things like Diversity Officers, er, the things that are usually advertised in the Manchester- , well, it’s not the Manchester Guardian now - in the Guardian…

TF : Right, so have-, so, so hang on, so so there are politically…

PD : I mean, I can’t give you a full list at the moment, but I will…

TF : But that’s what you put on your manifesto - you must have had an idea on your manifesto what you were talking about?

PD : Yeah, yeah, all these people who are, sort of, controlling thought processes and this sort of thing, and er, erm… every department is riddled with this sort of nonsense these days.

TF : So currently then, this morning, Doncaster Council is riddled with people who are, who are doing this kind of nonsense, ah… and they’re on notice, are they? People are going to lose their jobs?

PD : Er, very likely.

TF : But we don’t know who they are, yeah? But certainly Diversity Officers…

PD : Obviously I… I’m… well, that sort of thing, yes.

TF : So, the Diversity Officer who’s getting ready for work this morning at Doncaster might as well not bother?

PD : Well, he’s… he’s in employment at the moment…

TF : But he won’t be for long?

PD : …I think, I think we ought to be talking about what we’re going to do sort of, er, now and, er, what I’ve discovered - that might be a more fruitful discussion.

TF : Well, I mean… these are the reasons people voted for you. Very bold points, as you said. Er, you’re going to cut translation services for non-English speakers - that’s a very bold point. It’s more than likely illegal, isn’t it?

PD : I dunno… again, I’ve got to find this out. It’s-

TF : Well it is - let me tell you it is, under the European Court of Human Rights it’s illegal.

PD : -Well, well, well let… we’ll look into this - we’re getting council’s opinion on what I can do and what I can’t do, and that’s…

TF : No, no, you said in your manifesto you would definitely do it.

PD : Yeah, well, I… well, I, er, if, if somebody comes in the way and stops me doing these things, then that is an insult to democracy.

TF : So what was the point of your manifesto? You might as well have said you were going to fly to the moon if you’re just going to say now that you can’t do it.

PD : No, look… I’m going to do my best to do it. If I can’t, I shall tell the electorate why I’ve not been able to do it, and who’s stood in the way of it. The-

TF : Well, the law’s standing in the way of it.

PD : -Just a minute, just a minute. The electorate clearly want me to do that. The law needs changing, then, doesn’t it?

TF : Well, you say the law needs changing-

PD : If we get a new government, then we might get rid of some of this ludicrous legislation, and be able to run our own country again.

TF : Okay, now you’re going to cut the number of councillors from 60 to 20.

PD : That is another difficulty, and the first-

TF : Can’t do it, can you?

PD : Er, well, we can appeal to their moral consciences-

TF : So you can’t do it, can you?

PD : Look, you keep telling me what I can’t do. I’ll find out what I can’t do, and if I can’t do-

TF : You are finding out now, I’m telling you, Peter, you can’t do it. You’d have thought you’d have thought of this before you started.

PD : This is quite a pointless discussion. Completely pointless.

TF : Why?

PD : Well - I’m sitting here telling you what I want to do, you’re telling me I can’t do it. I’ll find out - not from you, from other people - if I can do it or not.

TF : Why didn’t you look at to see-

PD : That’s where we go. And then we tell the electorate what’s going on.

TF : Why didn’t you look to see if you could do it before you asked people to vote on it?

PD : Because people want this to happen. And it’s time we-

TF : We all want free speech, Peter, but why didn’t you look into it to see if it could happen before you asked 14,000 people to vote on it? You know what’s going to happen - they got upset with the political processes in Doncaster before, they disliked Martin Winter. You’ve come along, you’ve waved this flag, knowing you can’t back any of it up and they’ve voted for you. How are they going to feel when they realise they’ve been hoodwinked?

PD : They’ve not been hoodwinked, I’m a man of my word, and I shall do everything that I can to put this into practice. And that is something that Doncaster ’s not had before.

TF : You’re going to cut the Gay Pride funding.

PD : Yep.

TF : Erm, how much did Doncaster Council fund Gay Pride?

PD : Haven’t got a clue, I haven’t looked into… I haven’t got the details, I… I haven’t even started-

TF : About right, isn’t it? So how much did… how much was it worth to Doncaster ?

PD : How…er, what?

TF : The Gay Pride march. 8,000 people in town for a day.

PD : I don’t know. They can still come. There’s nobody stopping them coming.

TF : So you don’t know what it costs, you don’t know what it earns, but you’re banning it?

PD : I’m saying that… hard-pressed taxpayers money should not be spent on promoting any type of sexuality whether it’s straight or gay.

TF : But for all you-, but for all you know it could be making a fortune for the town - you don’t know, you’ve not even looked at it.

PD : Well, it, er… it may, it may or it may not, I’m telling you what I’m not doing, and again it was on the manifesto, it was quite clear people appeared to like what I was saying.

TF : Yeah, but the stuff on the manifesto we’ve already realised - you can’t do anything about it.

PD : I think it’s time we finished this interview, it’s quite pointless. I’ve… I… It’s really wasted… I wanted to say a few things this morning that might have been-

TF : Tell me what you want to say.

PD : …that people might have wanted to listen to.

TF : Tell me what you want to say.

PD : Well, I wanted to point out that this morning I was going to, er, see that two social workers were returned to the childrens hospital, er, which were taken away some time ago for some unaccountable reason. I was going to say we’re getting rid of Doncaster News at the earliest opportunity, and I also wanted to point out that this very weekend I’ve discovered that Doncaster is twinned with nine separate towns, er, that the Mayor… the ex-Mayor had a car, for what reason I don’t know. It’s quite reasonable that the Civic Mayor has a car, but why the elected Mayor has one, God only knows, er, and it looks to me like a Daily Telegraph moment, where I shall be discovering things every day that, er, can be got rid of.

TF : Okay… none of that really means anything, does it? Let’s have a look at Doncaster News. You’re getting rid of Doncaster News, that’s a, er, flyer… er, paper that goes to every home in the borough isn’t it, to tell them what you’re doing?

PD : Well, it was to distort… er, what Mayor Winter was doing, yes.

TF : So now you’re stopping communication with the people of Doncaster ?

PD : No - communication will be through the Doncaster Free Press, though Radio Sheffield if we can get some sensible interviews-

TF : Heh.

PD : -and, er, the free newspapers.

TF : So the people who work on Doncaster News, then, are they out of work as well?

PD : I don’t know, I don’t… I, I, don’t know what their full… I’ve… I… I’ve not even got… been in the office yet, I’ve… I’ve not even-

TF : This is the problem, isn’t it-

PD : -had the briefing from the Chief Executive-

TF : You actually don’t understand the laws, you don’t understand-

PD : Okay, I’m stopping this interview, it’s a complete waste of time, er, you’re not asking any sensible questions, and er, I really don’t want to continue.

TF : Peter, all I’m asking is how you’re going to deliver on your election manifesto?

Cooperation between Cornwall and Finistere

CELTIC LEAGUE PRESS INFORMATION

COUNCIL COOPERATION

Cornwall Council recently played host to a delegation from the General Council of Finistere in Breizh/Brittany to further develop a 'Protocol of Cooperation' that was signed between the two councils in August 2009.

The protocol was set up so that Cornwall and Finistere can work together on areas of common interest and follows the signing of a letter of intent for cooperation between the two councils in May 2008. However, It wasn't until August of this year that the protocol was formally agreed to. Councillor Carolyn Rule, Cornwall Council cabinet member for the Economy and Regeneration, said:

"We have a lot in common with the General Council of Finistere in terms of the challenges we face and it was great to meet up with our opposite numbers.

"We looked at a whole range of issues and learned from each other about enhancing the quality of life of residents and achieving the highest quality of local government."

The Breton delegation that visited Cornwall this month took part in a series of meetings with their opposite number in Cornwall Council and were also given a presentation on Cornwall¡¯s current bid to be the European Region of Culture in 2014. This month a Cornwall ¨C Finistere Co-operation Officer, Aline Chever, will begin work to develop the main goals of the protocol for the next two years.

The main goals of the protocol are:

To develop common actions and possibly apply for joint application to European funding.

To identify common interests.

To exchange knowledge and experiences.

To share networks and to enable stakeholders to develop actions in common areas of interests.

¡¡
Some of the action points that were identified as areas of common interest between the two councils included maintaining identity, sustaining economic development and education.

It was agreed that the frame of the protocol should be flexible in order to adapt to emerging issues and activities.

At the Celtic League's annual general meeting 2009 - held in Cornwall - different possibilities of furthering cooperation between the Celtic countries was extensively discussed, including the possibility of encouraging more councils within the various nations of working together more closely on particular issues. (Note; this resolution complimented an earlier resolution on this subject agreed some years ago at an AGM in Alba)

Even though the League is encouraged to see that some cooperation is taking place on an inter Celtic level between Cornwall and Finistere, joint cooperation on a Cornwall and Brittany wide level would be better desired.

This month the League will decide what sort of model of Celtic cooperation would be best for the organisation to promote.

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

Cooperation between Cornwall and Finistere

CELTIC LEAGUE PRESS INFORMATION

COUNCIL COOPERATION

Cornwall Council recently played host to a delegation from the General Council of Finistere in Breizh/Brittany to further develop a 'Protocol of Cooperation' that was signed between the two councils in August 2009.

The protocol was set up so that Cornwall and Finistere can work together on areas of common interest and follows the signing of a letter of intent for cooperation between the two councils in May 2008. However, It wasn't until August of this year that the protocol was formally agreed to. Councillor Carolyn Rule, Cornwall Council cabinet member for the Economy and Regeneration, said:

"We have a lot in common with the General Council of Finistere in terms of the challenges we face and it was great to meet up with our opposite numbers.

"We looked at a whole range of issues and learned from each other about enhancing the quality of life of residents and achieving the highest quality of local government."

The Breton delegation that visited Cornwall this month took part in a series of meetings with their opposite number in Cornwall Council and were also given a presentation on Cornwall¡¯s current bid to be the European Region of Culture in 2014. This month a Cornwall ¨C Finistere Co-operation Officer, Aline Chever, will begin work to develop the main goals of the protocol for the next two years.

The main goals of the protocol are:

To develop common actions and possibly apply for joint application to European funding.

To identify common interests.

To exchange knowledge and experiences.

To share networks and to enable stakeholders to develop actions in common areas of interests.

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Some of the action points that were identified as areas of common interest between the two councils included maintaining identity, sustaining economic development and education.

It was agreed that the frame of the protocol should be flexible in order to adapt to emerging issues and activities.

At the Celtic League's annual general meeting 2009 - held in Cornwall - different possibilities of furthering cooperation between the Celtic countries was extensively discussed, including the possibility of encouraging more councils within the various nations of working together more closely on particular issues. (Note; this resolution complimented an earlier resolution on this subject agreed some years ago at an AGM in Alba)

Even though the League is encouraged to see that some cooperation is taking place on an inter Celtic level between Cornwall and Finistere, joint cooperation on a Cornwall and Brittany wide level would be better desired.

This month the League will decide what sort of model of Celtic cooperation would be best for the organisation to promote.

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

17.10.09

Dead Cornish?


Extracts from the BBC article below:

An estimated 7,000 languages are being spoken around the world. But that number is expected to shrink rapidly in the coming decades. What is lost when a language dies?

But with the "strong will" of Israeli Jews, he says, the language was brought back into everyday use. Now it is undeniably a living breathing language once more.

Closer to home, Cornish intellectuals, inspired by the reintroduction of Hebrew, succeeded in bringing the seemingly dead Cornish language back into use in the 20th Century. In 2002 the government recognised it as a living minority language.

So what has Kernow lost and regained in with the death and rebirth of our indigenous Celtic Cornish language?

Ask yourself this simple question. Do you want a world where there is only one language and one culture that follows it?

A Big MacGlobalEnglish with homogenised culture fries to go.

The Unspoken Constitution and Cornwall

The excellent Democratic Audit from the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex has produced a "unique, satirical account of how we are governed in the United Kingdom" entitled the Unspoken Constitution.

They write: After a party conference season dominated by rival proposals for slashing public expenditure, concerns about the state of our democracy appear to have been quietly returned to the back burner. As Parliamentarians return to Westminster, we hope our provocative pamphlet will help re-open the debate on constitutional reform, which shows every sign of shutting down, just months after it had dominated the UK news agenda.

Accompanied by glowing endorsements from various democratic reformers the full pdf document can be found here: The Unspoken Constitution.

Interesting stuff and perhaps the rotten heart of our democracy is best illustrated by Article 3 of this spoof constitution:

Government, like every subject, shall be free to do whatever is not unlawful. The government shall decide what is unlawful.

More choice quotes from the Unspoken Constitution can be found on this OurKingdom article.

So what of Cornwall and the Duchy? Below are some relevant quotes. Note that where it states Monarch one can substitute Duke of Cornwall:

5.2. The heir to the throne (Duke of Cornwall) shall also be given licence to advise the Prime Minister and other ministers in confidence, to approve or dismiss plans for new buildings in sensitive areas, and generally to interfere in public policy.

5.3. The monarch shall enjoy great personal wealth and possessions, an annual salary and allowances along with certain members of the royal family, and sundry other possessions,
privileges and immunities.



5.4. He or she, along with members of the royal family, shall be exempt from parliamentary
scrutiny or criticism, from Freedom of Information legislation and from regular tax regulations.

5.5. Acts of Parliament shall not apply to the monarch, unless it is expressly provided for.

So sadly little on the Duchy or Cornwall's constitutional position. Hendre, a Welsh contributor to the OurKingdom blog, has suggested the following addition that I'm sure our Cornish constitutionalists [1][2][3] will agree with:

5.2.2 The heir to the throne shall bear the title Prince of Wales and at all times pretend that a long defunct Principality of Wales still exists while at the same time pretending that an un-defunct Duchy of Cornwall is a farming estate".


Still it clearly states that the Duke (or agents for the Duchy?) can interfere in public policy. So the question then must be: has the Duke or other Duchy representative advised or interfered in the decision making process concerning Cornwall and the Cornish? Over subjects such as Cornish devolution or the recognition of the Cornish as a national minority has the Duchy had its say?

Our constitutionalists such as the Stannary Parliament or J. Angarrack answer that question with a resounding yes.

So convinced of this point are they that any doubt expressed in their position on the Cornwall 24 forum will soon be drowned in abuse and accusations of being some form of establishment agent. A phenomena I find sadly counter productive. Even accepting that the Cornwall 24 forum comes in for the attention of unwelcome trouble makers, political opponents and even establishment agents surely the fact that hundreds of innocent web suffers also pass through the forum should be enough of an incentive to persuade Cornish campaigners to be showing their most reasonable and professional faces. One would have thought so but alas no.

Think of it this way. Imagine you had to take part in a public debate with an underhanded and crafty opponent. Do you think the best course of action would be to turn up drunk, ignore any form of reasonable debate and quickly resort to childish insults? What would the crowd of spectators make of that? Am I missing something?

Anyway it seems clear now that in a certain legal constitutional manner the Duchy of Cornwall, which is coterminous with the territory of Cornwall, has much in common with a Crown Dependency even if on a day to day basis it is run as a simple county of England (article Government of Cornwall). Our constitutionalists argue that the current Duchy authority, UK Government and perhaps general UK establishment will do anything to prevent the Cornish obtaining: 1) Knowledge of Cornwall's true legal position and then 2) Any control over this constitution or the rights it gives to the Cornish people. From this perspective a Cornish populace empowered by a strong devolved assembly and/or recognition as a national minority would be a threat to the comfortable unspoken constitutional arrangement between the Duchy and the government.

Imagine Cornwall flipping form common-all-garden English County to UK Crown Dependency over night? Cat among the politicians. Cornwall suddenly acceding to a level of autonomy only dreamed of by Scottish Nationalists would be bound to cause massive constitutional waves.

Why there was nothing 'human' about Jan Moir's column on the death of Stephen Gately

It comes as no surprise to us at OneK to read the article from Jan Moir in the Daily Mail.

The article -A strange, lonely and troubling death-, that can only be described as homophobic tripe, is perfectly disected by the Guardians Charlie Brooker here.

Residents of Kernow should be aware that the media group that owns the Daily Mail and produces such right-wing populist clap trap also has a near monopoly on the Cornish press.

A blog post examining this subject can be found here on the Cornish Democrat.

The Cornish national minority has also long suffered from the intolerance of this media group.

15.10.09

Cornwall in Europe: the Conference from the Federal Trust






From the Federal Trust28th October, 'Cornwall in Europe' At 31 Jewry Street, 4.30 for 5.00pm until 7.00pm.

This conference, organised jointly with the Cornish cultural group CERES, will provide an opportunity to understand better the European links and networks in which Cornish representatives participate. It will also provide an opportunity to learn more about one of the historic regions of the United Kingdom from representatives of Cornish cultural and intellectual life.

The speakers are as follows: Sue Hill, Director WildWorks the theatre company who will speak on Cornwall's history and distinctive traditions; John Fleet of CERES on the organisation's work at cultural heritage and socially-related levels; David Aynsley, Cornwall & Devon Constabulary, on Cornwall's participation in the Council of Europe's Disadvantaged Neighbourhoods Programme; and Carleen Keleman, Convergence Partnership Office for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, on European funding and Cornwall's achievements. It should prove a stimulating and interesting evening and we would be delighted if you would join us for a drink afterwards.

17th November - 'Today's UK: A Federal Embryo?'


This half day conference is to mark the launch of a new Federal Trust pamphlet by Dr Andrew Blick, Devolution and Regional Governance: A Federal UK in Embryo? It will discuss the extent to which thye devolution programmes enacted under the Labour governments since 1997 represent development towards a federal UK. Consideration will be given to the devolved settlements for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London, as well as arrangements for regional governance in England.

Please let us know if you would like to register for either of these two occasions now. Further details on the November event will be sent out later. In the light of the recent Irish vote, you may be interested in this recent European Policy Commentary:
After the Irish referendum.

Hot Dry Rocks Revisited


Energy firm plans geothermal power plant to feed the UK grid and help regenerate a local community

It's sustainable, brings skilled jobs to the Duchy and increases our energetic self-reliance. Lets hope it sees more success than the old Hot Rocks project of the 70's and 80's.

14.10.09

The CRA stikes back

CORNISH 'TERRORISTS' DECLARE WAR ON STUDENTS

Oh no! Not again! But still it gives the gutter press what they love, and after all, who's interested in the real problems facing Kernow in the 21st century? Certainly not the dumbed down and and ill educated British public that's for sure. It's got to be said that their choice of targets -first celebrity chiefs and now students- leaves a few question marks over....well....everything. I don't expect I'm the only one to smell a rat.

10.10.09

Cornish Money


With the arrival of the Brixton, Lewes and Stroud pounds why not re-launch the idea of a Cornish currency?

OK perhaps a currency for the whole Duchy is not on the cards but we have a few towns, along with their catchment areas, that would benefit from their own local monies.

Local currencies have been featured on this blog before and the arguments rest the same.

A pound spent locally would keep building wealth as it circulated, instead of leaking out of the Duchy, up to London and then out to the global economy. Longer term, a local Cornish pound would build economic resilience by supporting local businesses and producers, reducing our carbon footprint and helping unemployed and underemployed people. Something to think about for people committed to promoting local business and produce.

The idea has been circulating for a while now in Cornish Transition circles but with no result to date. Equally Local Exchange Trading Schemes operate in various Cornish towns but they don't have the same symbolic weight as would holding notes in your hand.

My continued advice to any group setting-up a local Cornish currency? Make them Cornish. Use some of our Celtic language for example and other symbols of Cornish distinctiveness on the notes. Previously I had suggested that a 'seal of approval' could be sought for any currency from our very own Cornish Stannary Parliament. I don't know how realistic this proposal is but why not open a dialogue to find out? Union is strength and working together we will get much further.

A guide to creating local currencies can be found here at the E. F. Schumacher Society.

6.10.09

Kernow's not for sale!

Save Our Unspoilt Land(SOUL).

Taken from the CoSERG website: SOUL is a newly formed (July 2009) action group formed by like-minded people in the St Austell area outraged at the proposal by Wainhomes a housing developer with its south west office near Okehampton, Devon, to build 1,500 homes, a care village, primary school and retail and employment space on a 126-acre site to the west of Carclaze.

We can add the above to a list of other single issue campaigns that includes LoveWadebridge.com, the Trelawney Alliance, STIG and Friends of Penzance Habour. Perhaps I've forgotten some?

Different groups with different aims but can a link between them be found? Can they be brought together into something much bigger and more effective? Protection of community and/or environment, a desire for action and an understandable disaffection for the traditional political route are perhaps common themes.

An apolitical pressure group that looked to involve Cornish citizens in the protection and governance of their communities and environment then.

The already mentinoned Cornish Social & Economic Research Group (CoSERG) does provide some focus for the issues dear to the hearts of the above campaigners but how about an active umbrella group that operated over the whole of the Duchy? Personally I've given up on hearing anything new from the erstwhile but great Cornish Solidarity. They would've seemed the perfect platform for joint action if they hadn't slipped into such a deep hibernation.

If the London based political parties and strapped on politicians aren't up to the task perhaps it's time to end the divine right of political parties (and interesting article for all those who can't stand party politics). A far better example from England's capital, London Citizens, perhaps provides a template for a unified Cornish group. Taken from their website:

London CITIZENS is a powerful grassroots charity working with local people for local people. Our goal is social, economic and environmental justice. We meet that goal by training people of all ages, faiths and backgrounds to take action together for change. Our dynamic campaigns have secured many victories for the people of London. Beginning our journey twelve years ago as TELCO, our membership today includes over one hundred civil society organisations across the city.

Business Cornwall


A refreashing point of view from Cornwall Councils Chief Executive Kevin Lavery below.
Taken from an interview on the equally interesting website for Business Cornwall.


BC: Do you think Cornwall has enough control at the moment?

KL: No, not at all. It should have greater influence…

BC: Who controls Cornwall? Is it Whitehall? The RDA?

KL: If you look at the total spend in public services in Cornwall, you’ll probably find the Council is about a quarter of the total value. There’s a lot of money spent on health, JobCentre Plus, the Ministry of Defence, the development agency and so on and so forth. I’m not saying the Council should have control of all of that, but it should have much more control than it does.

BC: Do you have a view on a Cornish Assembly?

KL: I think that is probably political at the end of the day, but what I would say is that if we can create a strong unitary with a much greater influence over other public services like health and the economy, you are making significant steps toward that.

I wonder what the Tory/Indy administration think of that?

4.10.09

POWER2010

Unsurprisingly POWER 2010, which already seems to contain a fair few English nationalists within its organisational staff, has kicked off the debate with the Campaign for an English Parliament.

IDEA OF THE DAY: ENGLISH PARLIAMENT

Equally the UK democracy blog OurKingdom and its organisers seem to have decided in favour of an EP but both sites still provide opportunity for Cornish feedback. Feel free to leave comments on the POWER2010 discussion above. Every chance should be taken to put the Cornish case.

1.10.09

Cornish Blogs

At last an interest in blogging is starting to emerge among the Cornish movement.

Recently to appear was the blog from Cornish World's editor Nigel Pengelly. This was closely followed by the excellent Cornish Zetetics a blog on politics and current affairs which is, as was noted on C24, "something that's actually smart, funny and enjoyable to read". Lets hope this is the beginning of a trend. More blogs please!

The above can be added to the list that includes blogs from Mebyon Kernow's Dick Cole and Simon Reed. Have I forgotten anybody?

Now perhaps a method for linking them all up so that they refer to each other and support Cornish campaigns. A few suggestions can be found in this old CD article.