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29.11.09

Confirm or Deny / Duchy or County?

The Duchy of Cornwall in the press again.
"The Old Duchy Palace was once the administrative centre for The Duchy of Cornwall" writes the BBC, but what do they understand by 'Duchy of Cornwall'? Clearly the Palace was the administrative centre for the constitutional and territorial Duchy that covered (covers) Cornwall. When did this Duchy become a private landed estate for the benefit of one man? What acts of parliament effected this changeover?

A very interesting blog here -Confirm or Deny- on one mans experiences with making request for information under the Freedom of Information Act. Of particular interest to the Cornish might be this selection of posts concerning the constitutional status of the Duchy of Lancaster.

Quoted: A while ago now I appealed to the ICO and made the case that the Duchy of Lancaster is a public authority for the purposes of the Environmental Information Regulations.

Clearly one of the problems with the Duchy of Cornwall is almost identical i.e that it's a body of governance dressed in the robes of a private estate, therefore enabling it to avoid request for information under the FOI act. For a great exposé of the Duchy of Cornwall visit: The Duchy of Cornwall Human Rights Association. Equally if you want to make a request for information under the FOI act consider this website: What Do They Know.

27.11.09

Money Dreckly



The CD has received the response below from the campaign group -Equality Trust- to an e-mail titled: The poorest region of the UK? Cornwall! 

I'm afraid we don't have anything very relevant as our focus is inequality rather than poverty, except to say that when countries are very unequal - as it the case in the UK - it is the poorest communities that suffer the most. If the gap between the highest and lowest earners was halved the whole of society would benefit, but the most significant gains in health and wellbeing would be concentrated among the least well off.

Good luck with your work and very best wishes

So how about some Slow Money as a solution to Cornwall's problems? A way of promoting Cornish business and retaining more of our money in the Duchy. Note that the related campaign, Slow Food,  is already up an running in Kernow. Both the campaigns fit perfectly into the logic of -Small is Beautiful- which is opportune as I've just received E. F. Schumacher's landmark book by the same name. The principles of Slow Money can be found below and please notice the focus on hyper-local investment to support business in your back yard.


In order to enhance food security, food safety and food access; improve nutrition and health; promote cultural, ecological and economic diversity; and accelerate the transition from an economy based on extraction and consumption to an economy based on preservation and restoration, we do hereby affirm the following Principles:

I. We must bring money back down to earth.

II. There is such a thing as money that is too fast, companies that are too big, finance that is too complex. Therefore, we must slow our money down -- not all of it, of course, but enough to matter.

III. The 20th Century was the era of Buy Low/Sell High and Wealth Now/Philanthropy Later—what one venture capitalist called “the largest legal accumulation of wealth in history.” The 21st Century will be the era of nurture capital, built around principles of carrying capacity, care of the commons, sense of place and non-violence.

IV. We must learn to invest as if food, farms and fertility mattered. We must connect investors to the places where they live, creating vital relationships and new sources of capital for small food enterprises.

V. Let us celebrate the new generation of entrepreneurs, consumers and investors who are showing the way from Making A Killing to Making a Living.

VI. Paul Newman said, "I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer who puts back into the soil what he takes out." Recognizing the wisdom of these words, let us begin rebuilding our economy from the ground up, asking:

What would the world be like if we invested 50% of our assets within 50 miles of where we live?

What if there were a new generation of companies that gave away 50% of their profits?

What if there were 50% more organic matter in our soil 50 years from now?


Currently Slow Money is only running in the USA however the idea has potential for other regions of the globe and why not Kernow?

The Socialist Party of Brittany - Breizhistance


A new party from the Breton left has been created to campaign for independence and equality for Brittany. The Socialist Party of Brittany- Breizhistance has absorbed  the former independentist left -Emgann- and, if reports are to be believed, welcomed numerous new members.

Good luck to the SPB-Breizhistance with solidarity from Kernow.

The Socialist Party of Brittany - Breizhistance


A new party from the Breton left has been created to campaign for independence and equality for Brittany. The Socialist Party of Brittany- Breizhistance has absorbed  the former independentist left -Emgann- and, if reports are to be believed, welcomed numerous new members.

Good luck to the SPB-Breizhistance with solidarity from Kernow.

26.11.09

Cornish from the Hart

Some sense drifting back into the Cornish press? Go GH! And my advice? Make bridges rather than enemies. The Cornish movement, if it exists as such, is spread across such a wide political terrain. From the Stannary via members of various political parties to Green activists, including along the way your ordinary guy and gal on the street. The key is to get them all moving in the same direction.

25.11.09

Welcome to England / Powsaws a'gas Dynnargh



This made me laugh. 'Welcome to England' tagged as you enter England from the Duchy via the Cremyll ferry at Plymouth. Taken from a thread on the Cornwall 24 forum.

This is perfectly acceptable direct action considering the lies emanating from the establishment concerning the Cornish question. All power to the spray-can-holding-hands of those that did it. Spread your funny and creative tags across Kernow.

A Cornish Banksy in the making perhaps? They should certainly put together a website or blog of their work in Cornwall.

19.11.09

Cornwall Ecology

Following Cornish Zetetics call for a coalition of Mebyon Kernow, the Cornish Greens and any other progressive democrats from the Duchy in time for the next general election here's an idea.

Okay, the French Republic is quite different from the United Kingdom, and the problems faced by the sister nation -Brittany and Cornwall- are far from identical, but perhaps some ideas can cross the British Channel.

To stand in the recent European elections the French Greens, the regional autonomists -Régions et Peuples Solidaires- and a selection of personalities from various NGOs came together to form Europe Ecologie. A project that met with great success including an electoral score rivalling that of the French Socialist Party (the main left-wing party) and a Corsican nationalist elected MEP.

Could such an electoral platform work in the Duchy and across the rest of the UK for the next general election? In Kernow we could expect MK, the Greens and various other independent ecologists and democrats to campaign together under the themes of autonomy, democracy and ecology. Could the same be said for the rest of the UK? Considering climate change, financial crisis and expenses scandal perhaps the British public are more than ready for a progressive ecological alliance to bring in much needed changes.

The SNP, Plaid, MK, the Greens, English regionalists (or nationalists?) and any other democratic reformers campaigning under one green flag for a top to toe reform of our creaking system has got to be worth a vote. Perhaps Scotland is off on its own trajectory, I doubt if the SNP will be persuaded to join such a platform, but for Cornwall, England and Wales, surely a broad democratic and green alliance is possible.

18.11.09

Cornish Constitutional Convention AGM 09

Just to throw a couple of divergent points of view into the mix concerning Cornish devolution. 

First we have -The Cornish Assembly. Next push? Or last gasp?- a rather negative take on the Cornish Constitutional Conventions progress. Then below can be found a report on the Conventions 2009 AGM from


Last year we took the decision that, in the run-up to the unitary council, it would be prudent to keep a low profile. We did not wish to confuse things, or to get the campaign too entangled in the process.


In the previous year we had succeeded in working with both ‘camps’ – districts and county – as they put together bids for a unitary council. The successful bid, submitted by CCC includes clear statements that the formation of a unitary council is a step along the way towards a Cornish Assembly. The Cornwall (Changes Order) 2009 has required the council to be set up according to the provisions made in the bid. That means that it is built into the strategy for developing the Council that it moves towards a Cornish Assembly. What stands between that provision and achieving it is the political will of the Council.


This is a problematic issue. Mr Lavery, in whom I have confidence and with whom I have an ongoing and constructive dialogue, is quite open in his declaration that we are moving towards the Assembly. The overall membership of the council probably constitutes the strongest body of support for moving forward of any we have seen since we began this campaign.


The Liberal Democrats are now nailing their flag to the Assembly mast. The rank and file of the Conservative back benches is varied but, in the right conditions and with clear encouragement, it stands to be persuaded. Some of the leading Independents are also leading advocates for the Assembly. And, there is, for the first time, a Mebyon Kernow group, which is establishing itself strongly despite its small numbers. This is especially the case with its Leader, Dick Cole.


The Conservative Party is reconciled to the devolved parliaments and assemblies, and is keen to see powers devolved to more local levels. It remains to be seen the extent to which the next Government, whether it be Labour, Conservative or a coalition including the Liberal Democrats, with the possibility of a Mebyon Kernow member somewhere on the green benches, will embrace further devolution. Economic conditions are not favourable.


However, the twin drivers of climate change and new technologies are influencing social trends. The recent success of the Sustainable Communities Act, both in becoming law, and in attracting as much as the LGA can cope with in terms of new ideas, is evidence that the demand for local accountability, and for local democratic authority over public services and strategy is gaining ground.


30,000 people marched through Hayle in a demand for democratic accountability in Cornwall for the development and management of the health service. Recent clashes over high level interventions such as critical cancer treatments highlight two contrasting views of how the health service should develop in Cornwall. The situation is itself becoming critical. If we do not stand and fight for our health services to be delivered in Cornwall, for Cornwall at standards that ensure that Cornish people get equal standards of service without being required to travel long distances that foster hardship and encourage further ill health, then we will see the thin edge of Ann James’ wedge grow thicker and thicker. Cornwall will be placed at a serious and unjust disadvantage.


We must ask ourselves what we mean in practice when we call for our Assembly. What will it do?


Taking Wales as a model, we can assert that, it will provide over-arching strategic guidance for local government services; it will take on strategic leadership in the fields of transport, planning, economic development, housing and climate change-driven policies relating to energy, waste, agriculture and communications, and cultural development; it will also embody the democratically accountable management and leadership of the Health Service in Cornwall.


In this last aspect Mr Lavery is quite clear – we want to put ourselves in a position as quickly as possible to move forward on the realignment of health service priorities in Cornwall. This is a key objective. It is complex and requires winning the confidence of the government (whoever that may be). But, the tide of events is with us. The hierarchical, Ministry managed health edifice is crumbling – in Cornwall this is literally true. One of the key decisions that must be made soon is what to do about the main tower block at Treliske. It is for the new Council and the Cornish public to force this issue into including the expensively clumsy situation of having one PCT and three acute trusts, and only one district general hospital in a peripheral region with over 500,000 people and a summer population rising to over one million at any one time.


We need two district general hospitals – one in the west – Hayle, perhaps! – and one in the East – Bodmin, surely! We also need a centre for high level acute interventions which has high levels of specialist investment to ensure that Cornish citizens are able to reasonably access an equable quality of service to that enjoyed in, say, Berkshire, Yorkshire or Wales.


The Convention has published a new pamphlet which sets out two key thoughts –


One – that we should now build our assembly from the strong platform of a successful unitary council, and


Two – that, in doing so, we will cause the least disruption to democratic structures whilst improving local accountability by re-democratising a tier of delivery-focused local Government.


We will incorporate in the Assembly not simply the strategic issues of local government, but also a Cornish Health Authority, and possibly a Cornish Police Authority (or, at least, a democratic accountability forum for the Police in Cornwall).


We have come to the point where these are election issues between the mainstream parties. We have come to the point where the new Council is on a journey towards delivery of the assembly. We have come to the point where, as David Whalley, former Leader of Cornwall County Council, said to us three years ago at our AGM:


‘There is an inevitability about the journey towards the Cornish Assembly’.


So, I am, as usual, optimistic, and I believe that we can be assured that we have, yet again, made progress towards our goal. We are not engaged in a high profile public campaign because it is important to match public expectations to what is practicably achievable. The Cornish Assembly is now the mainstream issue in forward-moving Cornish politics. It is one of those developments that officials and government now assume will happen. It remains up to us to make it happen – but we are now operating in a much more constructive environment. It is, as I have always stressed, a long term campaign which will have ups and downs – and, most of all, it needs faith, self-belief and a cheerful, intelligent disposition. Onwards!

15.11.09

Mebyon Kernow Conference 09

ALL WELCOME AT MEBYON KERNOW CONFERENCE

Mebyon Kernow Annual General Meeting and Conference takes place on Saturday November 21st 2009. The venue will be the Public Rooms in Bodmin.

The morning session covers the Annual General Meeting and a discussion about campaign strategies. In the afternoon, there will be a number of speeches from leading MK members and parliamentary candidates.

This afternoon session starts at 2.00 and is open to members of the General Public. If you are not already a member of MK, why not come along and meet the MK activists in your area? You would be most welcome.

For more information, email: mebyonkernow AT btinternet.com

The Cornish Language

A few reasoned blog posts below on the subject of the Cornish language and road signs in the Duchy.

CORNISH LANGUAGE POLICY 
From Mebyon Kernow party leader and Cornwall Councillor Dick Cole.

CORNISH LANGUAGE SIGNS TRIGGER INDEPENDENCE
From the Cornish Zetetics blog.

CORNISH LANGUAGE SIGNS
The Insane ramblings of a village idiot.

The subject of our Cornish language being used on road signs in Kernow has prompted the usual knee jerk reaction from assorted British and English nationalists, Tories and Ukippers alike.

For the record - THE SIGNS WILL COST NO EXTRA AND WILL NOT BE HARDER TO UNDERSTAND! Anybody who claims otherwise is either misinformed or lying.

On being a successful region in the UK, Europe and wider world the Cornish Constitutional Convention has the following to say in its document, The Next Push:

In this ‘market place’ it is essential to be culturally defined, creative and outwardlooking, and environmentally engaged. Successful regions will be those that are both efficient and business-like, and easily recognisable. The key recognition factors will be the drivers for promoting a region’s brand identity and must, therefore, relate positively to key brand values. This is as true in governance terms as it is in the commercial arena.

The Cornish language is a part of our 'brand identity'. It's part of our identity that marks us out and will be good for Cornish business. Moreover it is part of the worlds intangible cultural heritage and, in my opinion, is not only a question of Cornish rights but also Cornish responsibilities. To all the Duchies residents. You are the caretakers of Cornwall. You have a responsibility towards its environment, culture and heritage.

14.11.09

Our Kingdom / Our Duchy

A couple of posts below from the re-looked and generally excellent UK democracy blog, OurKingdom.

THE UNSPOKEN CONSTITUTION 2.0

A new wiki website has been created where users can contibute to writing down our Unspoken Constitution. In the article linked to above there is already mention of the Duchy of Cornwall so perhaps our Cornish Constitutionalists could put their extensive knowledge to use and contribute to the wiki site. The site creators write:

So, we are now launching The Unspoken Constitution 2.0 – a wiki version of the text originally proposed by Rosemary Bechler and produced for us by James Graham at Unlock Democracy. Anyone can add to or amend the text – all we ask is that that anyone joining our team of editors and contributors seeks to capture the reality of our constitutional order in the same irreverent and satirical style in which the original has been composed.

There is every chance that this wiki website will sent to many decision makers and widely read so perhaps a solid Cornish contribution on the Duchy is a must.

QUANGOS - STILL UNDEMOCRATIC AFTER ALL

The title speaks for itself really. Significant new research on quangos -Who's In Charge (pdf)- has been published by the Local Government Association (LGA) and reported in the Daily Telegraph as further evidence that quangos are ‘unrepresentative, closed to scrutiny and offer bad value’. The OK article ends with:

The questions we should be asking our quangocrats, regardless of how much they are paid, were outlined by Tony Benn long ago: ‘What power have you got? Where did you get if from? In whose interests do you exercise it? To whom are you accountable? And how can we get rid of you?’ And as Tony Benn also reminded us: ‘if you cannot get rid of the people who govern you, you do not live in a democratic system’.

For how long will the Cornish tolerate being governed by a collection of undemocratic quangos and opaque bodies such as the South West Regional Development Agency, Government Office of the South West, English Heritage, The Duchy of Cornwall etc etc etc?

13.11.09

Thinking about the Future of Politics?

Lead by the Institute of Public Policy Research (ippr), seven leading think tanks have come together to make the case for systemic and radical reform to our political system.

The think tanks - Centre Forum, Demos, Fabian Society, ippr, Policy Exchange, Progress, and Reform – are united in calling for fundamental and far reaching changes to the way politics is conducted in the UK.

Interestingly, from a Cornish perspective, is the consensus that the UK political system is too over-centralised and that there should be significant devolution of power away from Westminster to local, accountable bodies. Step up the Cornish Constitutional Convention and their new document: The Next Push (pdf)

More on this collaboration and the connected booklet can be found here: Think Tanks unite in call for fundamental reform of politics in wake of expenses scandal.

Equally following the release of the excellent spoof Unspoken Constitution (pdf) by the Democratic Audit, they, along with Unlock Democracy, are inviting the public to rewrite the UK’s “Unspoken Constitution” on a new wiki website.

Commenting, Director of Unlock Democracy Peter Facey said:

“By adding comments and their own input online, the Unspoken Constitution will become a true people’s constitution involving the public in an exciting and original way. We’ve already made a couple of changes of our own – for example the rule that no Act of Parliament can receive Royal Assent until a member of the royal household says so in Norman French. Events over the past month alone have included plenty more material for people to insert.”

The Director of Democratic Audit Stuart Wilks-Heeg added:

“The aim of the Unspoken Constitution has been to highlight in a mischievous way the flaws in our system and act as a catalyst for wider public debate. In inviting the public to add their own comments, I see no better, and no more democratic, way to stimulate the discussion we intended.”

Click here for the Unspoken Constitution wiki.

11.11.09

A Duchy already devolved?

Following the release of -The Next Push- and the related Cornish Democrat blog post some interesting feedback has been received.

First are the links below from the Council of Europe's Congress on Local and Regional Authorities sent in by a colleague. Relevant to Cornish autonomy the two documents suggest political autonomy is economically and environmentally beneficial for a 'region'. Long but interesting reading they only seem to strengthen the Cornish case.

Regions with legislative powers: towards multi-level governance.
Good governance: a key factor for the sustainable economic development of regions.

Secondly, the letter below from Cornish constitutional researcher, John Kirkhope, to the Cornish Constitutional Convention, has been passed to me by the author for publication here.

Cornish Difference

I have recently read your publication "The Next Push" with interest. In particular I note sections on "Roots of Difference" and the reference to the War of Five Nations.

I am a Research Student in the Laws of Cornwall, a topic of interest to Constitutional Lawyers, but not one which is given sufficient attention within Cornwall for whatever reason. Maybe because amongst some people there is much claimed which over states the case.

I have researched, and continue to research, Cornish Law, and in that connection I have provided advice to Andrew George MP including a legal opinion which has been passed to the Lord Chancellor.

The Stannary Law of Cornwall is still part of the law of England and Wales.

It probably grew out of mining law going back to the Romans, certainly it used concepts such as "usufruct" which are found in Roman Law and still in continental systems but not within the English system of law.

It certainly predates the Anglo Saxons. The Stannary Courts may have been abolished the law has not. It can claim to be oldest part of the law of England. It was decided as late as 1979 that it was still possible to claim to be a "privileged tinner" and claim rights under the ancient charters. You can still bound land in Cornwall.

The point is Stannary Law is still current law, of limited application certainly, but still good law. It is not some historical oddity, the rights granted by the ancient Stannary Charters could certainly be claimed by China Clay workers for example.


The Convocation of the Tinners of Cornwall still exists, in theory, as a legal institution. To quote one very eminent Professor of Law it was uniquely powerful having the right to veto Westminster Legislation as well as Royal Charters and Duchy ordinances. It did exercise its power of veto.

There was no and there is no legal institution which could claim the power of the Convocation within the United Kingdom.


Then there is the Duchy which has exercised the minds of eminent judges and the Government's Law Officers since 1600 and before. It has been called a "great mystery", a mode of descent "unknown to common law" a "peculiar title" and a "very singular constitution". In one case the courts decided "all the courts within the Dutchy are conferred upon the (Duke) as sovereign".

As you have mentioned Wales has successfully claimed difference based on language, culture and ethnicity but it cannot claim a parallel unique independent legal system, being home to a legislature of such great power or the rich history of the Duchy. There is no county within England that can claim the extraordinary complex legal history that Cornwall has. I could not imagine being a Research Student into the laws of Somerset of Berkshire, for example. A L Rowse once famously said Cornwall like Wales is not part of England. There is a real question mark in law over the constitutional status.

I am happy to share with you copies of the papers I have produced for Mr George should you wish to see them. I would simply suggest then when considering Cornish Cultural differences you should not overlook Cornwall's unique and extraordinary legal history.

John Kirkhope BA (Hons), LLB (Hons), Dip NP, TEP

Public Notary

10.11.09

Cornish debates « Devolution Matters

Cornish debates « Devolution Matters

The next push for a Cornish Assembly

Though largely unknown by many democratic reformers from around the UK, the Cornish Constitutional Convention and its drive for a Cornish Assembly continue with the release of - The Next Push (pdf).

Following hot on the heals of the Government of Cornwall Bill (pdf) produced by MP Dan Rogerson, the new paper comes at an opportune time. The debate on how to reform the UK's creaking democracy is well under way at POWER 2010. Current suggestions include: the creation of an English Parliament; further devolution to Wales; and, regional devolution within England. Why not throw the idea of a Cornish Assembly (pdf) into the mix once more.

The present starting point for the Convention's call for change is the newly created Cornwall Council. Can this Unitary Authority become a Cornish Assembly? The document's author responds with the following :


It is not difficult to see, or to achieve when the time comes, a set of changes which would enable the Assembly to be developed without any great change in structure. A slimmed Council would become the Assembly, assuming a higher role; the Delivery Areas would be democratised to become the delivery-driven local government of Cornwall, working with the Parishes to deliver services.

Envisaged as part of a wider program of asymmetric devolution, the arguments for Cornwall to be treated as its own region are re-examined and clearly re-stated. Additionally, although sure to irk both English nationalists and English regionalists alike, analysis of previous failed attempts at regionalisation within England can also be found. Take for example the following two extracts:

23. Nobody asked Cornwall if it wished to be subsumed into a macro-south west regional zone. It’s a pity that a Government, flushed with electoral success and reforming zeal, with Wales and Scotland excited by the prospects of devolution, and with a unique opportunity to de-centralise and to invigorate by not being jealous of power and control, did not take a moment to ask around. If it had set about regionalisation by asking for proposals for a regional network that could effectively replace the outworn legacy of World War 2 rationing and munitions supply, which included the enormous and dysfunctional ‘south west’, it would have received some innovative ideas which would have created a patchwork of regions, big and small, some founded on expediency, some upon industrial synergies and one – Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly - founded upon an historical, constitutional and cultural base and with a rapidly emerging will to positively address its growing economic failure and social deprivation.

24. John Prescott, whose energy lay behind the regionalisation thrust, described in his preface to the White Paper, Your Region, Your Choice, how regions had emerged, like the Potteries in Staffordshire, that were bonded by the cultural forces of certain industries. These, he said, were outmoded, and needed to be replaced by units of a certain size, that could lead regeneration and provide a framework for social renewal. How sad, with hindsight, that Mr Prescott did not see that his discard of what he perceived as being sentiment (but which was actually organic region building) and its replacement with artificial constructs – zones - labelled ‘modern’ - was throwing away a key attribute of any successful region – that it means something to the people whose region it is and who populate it and drive it. By assertively setting aside the past Mr Prescott set the seal on the failure of his initiative to shape the future before it had even started.

Could Cornish devolution be considered as a possibility outside of a wider program of English regionalism? Could it run as a stand alone project? Cornish aspirations for greater home-rule seem to run counter to both devolution to a South West Region and the creation of an English Parliament. To nationalist for the English regionalists and too regionalist for the English nationalists. How best then to navigate the difficult passage between the supporters of English regionalism, those of an English Parliament and general government inertia? Will the message contained in Billy Bragg's homage to Catalonia be taken on-board?

Faced with such a daunting array of opponents perhaps our de jure constitutional status and Cornish identity should be pushed to the fore along side the standard arguments for devolution. An English county alone will not be granted devolution, but a territory inhabited by a national minority and vested with a legal status not dissimilar to a Crown Dependence is another story. Within the document the importance of the Cornish identity as an actor in region building is stressed, but constitutional issues are barely mentioned. This is unusual considering the investigations of MP (and Convention member) Andrew George. Equally surprising is the absence of any mention of the Cornwall European Region of Culture Campaign and its recent progress. One would have thought that, even with its flaws, such an initiative went hand in hand with Cornish regionalism.

What is the 'next push'?

Taking this document to Cornish civic society and building a large consensus for change are the tasks that lie ahead. Already a number of different political parties and independent politicians support Cornish recognition of one form or another. It's now for them, and other interested parties from the UK, to work with the Convention and engage with both the Cornish and UK public.

I'll leave the last words to the Convention so that their critical question for Kernow's future can be posed here:

85. There is everything to gain from continuing the ‘change agenda’ in Cornwall by setting the objective of forming the Cornish Assembly. It is gain for the UK Government, in terms of more efficient public service delivery and much-improved economic performance. Reputationally, the central government stands to gain much prestige from being seen to be taking an enlightened and open approach to ensuring good governance in a difficult, peripheral region. The empowerment of Cornwall would create self-belief and purpose, which would inspire and ignite creativity and skills, leading to Cornwall regaining her position as a wealth generator, innovator and trading catalyst. The question is simple: ‘Do we dare? And, if we do dare, then can we come together to achieve it? And, if we can come together in Cornwall, then can Westminster and Whitehall rise to the challenge of discarding old, deeply embedded perceptions and looking afresh at how to promote cohesion and productivity through empowering ‘difference’ and releasing the energy of a potently creative community?

This article was cross posted to OurKingdom and can be seen here also: Next steps for the Cornish Constitutional Convention.

8.11.09

Cornish Cultural Updates

Cornwall Council to consider Cornish language policy and commitment to indigenous Cornish Culture. More on this can be found in this pdf document.

The European Regions Of Culture Campaign is also organising a conference in Aberfal (Falmouth) on the 13th of November. They write:

The European Regions of Culture Project is calling for a new award for rural regions: European Regions of Culture (EROC). Just as European Capitals of Culture celebrates urban European living, our goal is to harness rural culture to create a better, more sustainable future for rural, isolated and peripheral regions individually, collectively and in Europe as a whole.

Full details and booking form here. Probably important that plenty of representatives of Cornish culture go along and make their views known.

7.11.09

To Tom and other visitors

Recently, browsing Cornwall 24,  I came across the eloquent words of a JenniferA. They are in response to the seemingly eternal criticism that to promote Cornish culture and campaign for greater home-rule is in some way racist and/or anti-English. 

JenniferA's contribution and the original discussion thread can be found here: To Tom and other visitors

From my limited experience of other fora, this forum is no different in that some people post statements with a degree of vehemence and vitriol that they would never deploy in face-to-face conversation. It goes with the territory.


However, the views are so stridently expressed, that even a casual visitor can spot the deranged, deluded and distressed and tell them apart from those seeking to exchange knowledge and views so as to learn and inform.


This forum does a lot of good in that respect. For instance, its language forum provides an outstanding service and is a real prize to be treasured in the preservation and promotion of Cornish culture.


This ‘political’ section also delivers a valuable service in offering a platform for public (throughout the whole world!) discussion of matters important to the Cornish.


It is an open stage and anyone can come on to it. You will therefore sometimes read the outlandish, the reprehensible, the weird and the simply batty. However, you will, for the most part, also hear genuine voices of ordinary Cornwall.


Tom, most Cornish people know that they stem from a Celtic race – different from the English. Language is the most obvious badge of nationhood. However, don’t be fooled by the fact that English is overwhelmingly used in our little land. The English language has conquered the world, so it is not surprising that it also swamped this peninsular little country on in the far West.


But look and all the usual badges of nationhood are still there – language (Kernewek is alive and growing), culture, custom, outlook and so on. The Cornish often only realise the differences for themselves when they first leave Cornwall.


Celebration of being Cornish is like celebration of being part of a family. It can happen without denigration of anyone else. Cornish nationalism is like that of the Irish, the Scots and the Welsh. It is founded on celebration of national consciousness. It is positive.


It is wholly unlike the nationalism of UKIP or of the BNP [add the English Democrats to that list], which is a celebration of rejection and negation, not to say, in the case of the BNP, of racial hatred itself. These are parties known for what they oppose, not for what they affirm. They are known primarily for what they are against. Yes, they may have adherents here in Cornwall. The Cornish are no different from anyone else in that we also have our loonies.


The Cornish do though have a sense of national difference. So it is not surprising that the Cornish want some recognition of their sense of difference, like the Scots etc. Some may want full independence, but most, almost certainly, do not.


In a hundred years, Britain has gone from being the world power of Pax Britannica to being very much a declining and secondary power – a reluctant member of a grouping (Europe) that itself must work hard to maintain its interests against the growing BRIC powers of the future. Trying to have an independent Cornwall is as much of a denial of reality as trying to have an independent Britain – only the Canute-minded pursue it.


However, we can have our language taught in our schools, we can have our own police force and so on. We can have meaningful regional government in Cornwall.


It is the precise nature of that government that is the stuff of debate and discussion here.


Jennifer

Cornish Zetetics: The democratic deficit

Cornish Zetetics: The democratic deficit

One more cutting post from what's shaping-up to be the best Cornish politics and current affairs blog going. Glad to see I'm not the only one filled with anger when our corrupt political elites urges us to 'move on'  following the expenses scandal. Isn't exactly the same thing happening with the financial crisis? Isn't a dysfunctional economic system, that forced all of us to put our hands in our pockets to save it, now being defended by our elites who simply urge us to 'get over it' and 'move on'. Anyway Cornish Zetetics offers this as a step in the right direction:

The unionist parties offer no way out, more concerned on protecting their own perks. Isn’t this the time for MK to urge the Greens and any other progressives they can find and re-launch a Reclaim Cornish Democracy campaign in good time for the General Election in six months time?

Wasn't the Cornish Constitutional Convention supposed to be exactly that?

2.11.09

English Regionalism at POWER 2010

IDEA OF THE DAY: MORE POWER TO REGIONAL GOVERNMENT