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21.12.09

Saving ourselves then?

Considering our illustrious world leaders can't git their bleedy acts together it looks like it's up to us to save ourselves.

Lets start with Kernow and hope other nations & regions around the world do the same.

DotKer

The DotKer campaign for a top level domain name for Kernow has already been mentioned here a number of times. This article from the company AusRegistry should be of interest to all who support the campaign. Some reasons as to why we need a .ker domain name can be found here.

Kernow Bank

Banking with identity is taking off for the Breton's and Breton diaspora. Breizh Banque is an internet banking service aimed at the residents of Brittany as well as expats. Bretons anywhere in the world can now invest their money and in doing so support the Breton economy. A simple and effective idea made possible by the internet. Could a Kernow Bank internet banking facility be opened for the residents of Cornwall and the Cornish diaspora?

Cornish Co-operatives 

Considering the United Nations proclamation that 2012 will be the International Year of Co-operatives why not take the opportunity to promote co-operative ventures in Kernow. The Social Economy and Co-operative Development Cornwall Limited, a Co-operative Development Body based in Cornwall, also known as Kabin, is one potential starting point for interested parties. More on what Kabin do can be found here.

Re-localisation

On a different but connected note -Entrepreneurs Keep the Local Food Movement Hot- is a great article from Business Week that covers the re-localisation of food production and how this can play a much more critical role in economic development than commonly thought. Mebyon Kernow's Cornish Diet campaign, Slow Food Cornwall and Transition Cornwall seem to be good and timely ideas indeed.

New Economics Institute

Finally two economics think-thanks, the E. F. Schumacher Society and the New Economics Foundation, both excellent, have announced that they will be collaborating on the creation of the New Economics Institute. Surely a project that all in the Cornish movement will want to keep a close eye on.

They write:

For thirty years the programs of the E. F. Schumacher Society have been supported by its visionary members, engaged partners with staff, volunteers, and board of directors. The New Year will see a transition of the organization into the New Economics Institute (www.neweconomicsinstitute.org), merging the strengths of the New Economics Foundation of London with the history of theory and innovation of the E. F. Schumacher Society a broader context for our local programs, a deeper influence on public discussion.

20.12.09

Cornish Demarchy?

I had hoped for a response from the campaign -Newid- before writing this post but none has been forthcoming so here goes anyway.

Newid is proposing a government for Wales based on the principles of Demarchy. Their blog can be found here and an article on their project can be found here on the OurKingdom site: Demarchy – can the people rule?

Demarchy is a system by which ordinary citizens are selected at random to form citizens' juries that decide issues of public policy. Exactly as a jury is chosen for a criminal case but this time constituted to govern the country.

A party campaigning for a system that will kill off political parties! That's got have something going for it.

19.12.09

Much much more from the Hart!

What a breath of fresh air Graham Harts column is compared to the usual stale and rank exhalations we are used to from the likes of the mock 'Skipper' or fake 'Piran Pascoe'.


Click on an article for an enlarged dose of Hart ;-)

Can I suggest GH that one day you mention our often forgotten brothers and sisters across the pond in Brittany. Kernow hag Breizh bys vyken!

18.12.09

From One Kernow

The Celtic League complains to EHRC

The Celtic League complains to EHRC

KERNOW: COMPLAINT TO EHRC

The Kernow Branch has written to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to bring to their attention a race relations issue that the branch say has been brought to their attention by individuals in Kernow/Cornwall over the last few years. Iwan Le Moine told the Regional Advisor for the EHRC that the branch had been contacted a number of times regading "derogatory and/or insulting" comments about the Cornish in newspapers, magazines and radio. Mr Le Moine points out that the resources of the branch are not large enough to "deal with these complaints effectively and feel that an organisation like the Equality and Human Rights Commission and/or the Council for Racial Equality in Cornwall (CREC) should be doing this on behalf of the public."

At the 2009 Celtic League AGM in Kernow, a resolution was passed condemning the use of insulting terms against the Cornish in the media, internet and elsewhere and called upon the EHRC and CREC to help tackle this. On 1st December the General Secretary of the league, attended a meeting of CREC, who are currently engaged in a process of reorganisation in order to formalise structure and working of the organisation after a period of inactivity.

The full text of the letter to the EHRC can be found below.

Qaiser Razzak
Regional Advisor
Equality and Human Rights Commission
22 November 2009

Dear Qaiser,

Condemnation of use of the word `inbred' to describe the Cornish

I am writing to you on behalf of the Celtic League to ask that you offer support for a resolution that was passed unanimously at our annual general meeting (agm) held in Truro, Cornwall on 18th July 2009.

The resolutions states:

"That the Celtic League utterly condemns the frequently used description of Cornish nationals as `inbred', amongst other insulting phrases, in the media, on the internet and elsewhere, and calls upon the Equality and Human Rights Commission, as well as the Council for Racial Equality in Cornwall to join us in taking action to tackle this outrage."

In addition, over the last few years a number of individuals have contacted our branch to complain about various comments and articles that have been written in newspapers, magazines and aired on the radio referring to the Cornish as `inbred' and being generally derogatory and/or insulting. This refers to comments made by individuals, as well as from sources on the internet, but a surprising number also come from supposedly well respected sources, such as the BBC (Radio), The Times newspaper (London), The Western Morning News, The Guardian newspaper, The Spectator and the website of Imperial College, University of London.

Over the past few years, the Celtic League (the organisation and branch) have written a number of letters to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), calling for action against different newspapers, in whose pages comments deriding and/or insulting the Cornish have appeared. However, in each case the PCC have explained to us that there is nothing they can or will do.

The Kernow Branch has very limited resources to deal with these complaints effectively and feel that an organisation like the Equality and Human Rights Commission and/or the Council for Racial Equality in Cornwall should be doing this on behalf of the public. We would therefore like your help and support in asking you for a comment in response to this letter that we can use in future, condemning racist and prejudiced comments towards the Cornish.

We look forward to your response, which we aim to distribute widely among our members and elsewhere.

Yours sincerely

Iwan Le Moine
Branch Secretary
Kernow Branch
Celtic League

Related links:

Equality and Human Rights Commission

Council for Racial Equality in Cornwall

J B Moffatt
Director of Information
Celtic League

17/12/09

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on
socio-economic issues.

TEL (UK)01624 877918 MOBILE (UK)07624 491609

Internet site at:

The Celtic League
Celtic League Yahoo Group

17.12.09

Who are the Cornish Democrats?

A new political party -The Cornish Democrats- has been registered with the Electoral Commission.

Details of when and by who can be found on the Electoral Commissions website. For the record, the new party has nothing to do with this blog. I know no more about them than can be read on the EC website.

On a related note, as blogged about back in April of 2009, the websites of what purport to be Cornish political parties can still be found on the net. The sites are: The Cornish National PartyThe National Party for Cornwall and The Cornish Communist Party. The sites are of a low quality but demonstrate an understanding of the Cornish language by their creator(s).

An e-mail sent to all three 'parties' resulted in a spokesperson from the former Cornish Nationalist Party, and now Roseland Institute, writing back claiming to have nothing to do with any of them. Why his e-mail address was provided on one of the sites was not explained but this in itself proves very little.

The spokesperson for the CNP at the Roseland Institute did suggest that they may well be standing candidates in future local elections but provided no more details than that. I was also asked if I could plug the CNP's publication the quarterly Cornish magazine, The Cornish Banner \ An Baner Kernewek. I've never read a copy but I have it on good authority that it's a quality publication. Plugged.

For the cause of greater home-rule and Cornish recognition would there be any benefit in having a number of different political parties across the political spectrum? In Brittany can be found a range of different parties and groups. Perhaps, in total, this may mobilise more people. Some may be tempted to join a leftist autonomist party who would never consider joining a centre right nationalist party and vice versa. Is this the case in Cornwall? Mebyon Kernow occupies the progressive, ecological and reformist left already, a fairly broad church stretching from the anti-capitalist left to social democrats and the centre left, but is there room for a centre right or right-wing Cornish autonomist party to compete with the Tories and UKIP?

15.12.09

Another good reason to support MK

A message here sent to me via the Mebyon Kernow Facebook group.

Dear friends,


From now until the General Election, support with leafleting, fundrasing and donations has never been more necessary, especially when the political pundits are saying things like this about us:


Voting MK... for a change


Please help, Dick Cole and the other candidates need YOU to help them get out the vote in 2010.

All progressives, ecologists and democrats need to get behind MK. If you want change for Cornwall there is really only one way to bring it about and that is not by voting for one of the London based parties again.

Vote for a change!

Equality South West is looking for feedback

Equality South West is looking for feedback.

Why not take some time and let them know what you think about their work. The survey can be found by clicking here. Feel free to circulate the survey.

Equally you might like to remind them about the Cornish national minority, the problems it faces and their responsibility towards its protection. Leaving aside the Cornish issue it is important for members of society to engage with such groups and help the move toward a fairer Kernow.

France: identity in question


Taken from the Open Democracy website: France: identity in question

It’s a familiar story. Every time France is in trouble, and when its politicians are in need of public support, they reach for a supposedly unfailing remedy: the nation.


The process can take many forms: nostalgia for past “grandeur”, fear of “foreign invasion”, return to “tradition”, reaffirmation of “national identity”. All are connected by the search for a vehicle to unite the French behind its leaders. The thread of continuity in this effort crosses generations and political boundaries: from Marshall Pétain invoking the “peasant roots” of a defeated France in 1940, to General de Gaulle's insistent “grandeur”; from François Mitterrand's election poster of 1981 that portrayed a quiet village with its church-steeple, to Jacques Chirac’s castigation in 1991 of “noises and smells that drive French workers next door insane”.


And now it is Nicolas Sarkozy’s turn. In November 2009, the president opened the latest grand débat sur l'identité nationale about what it means to be French: a project always destined to be controversial, but one made unnecessarily toxic by its political definition and resonances.

The full text can be found at the link provided above.

The website for the Grand débat sur l'identité nationale. If you speak French why not leave some comments in support of Frances national minorities.

France: identity in question


Taken from the Open Democracy website: France: identity in question

It’s a familiar story. Every time France is in trouble, and when its politicians are in need of public support, they reach for a supposedly unfailing remedy: the nation.


The process can take many forms: nostalgia for past “grandeur”, fear of “foreign invasion”, return to “tradition”, reaffirmation of “national identity”. All are connected by the search for a vehicle to unite the French behind its leaders. The thread of continuity in this effort crosses generations and political boundaries: from Marshall Pétain invoking the “peasant roots” of a defeated France in 1940, to General de Gaulle's insistent “grandeur”; from François Mitterrand's election poster of 1981 that portrayed a quiet village with its church-steeple, to Jacques Chirac’s castigation in 1991 of “noises and smells that drive French workers next door insane”.


And now it is Nicolas Sarkozy’s turn. In November 2009, the president opened the latest grand débat sur l'identité nationale about what it means to be French: a project always destined to be controversial, but one made unnecessarily toxic by its political definition and resonances.

The full text can be found at the link provided above.

The website for the Grand débat sur l'identité nationale. If you speak French why not leave some comments in support of Frances national minorities.

13.12.09

Turning a blind eye

Thisiscornwall aka Northcliffe Media aka The Daily Mail Group give us one more reason to flush their rags down the pan, and now stay well clear of their website.

It seems posting on their forum can even put your reputation at stake.

Whoever controls the Thisiscornwall website has been very indulgent recently regarding the moderation of their forum. It appears one (or a group of) extremely hostile anti-Cornish contributor(s) had a freehand to post highly insulting and libellous material on the forum. This was only stopped when threats of legal action followed. More details can be found on this thread at Cornwall 24: Internet Stalkers.

One C24 regular writes:

This scandalous affair, coming close on the heels of the recent anti-Cornish diatribe of Northcliffe Media Ltd columnist 'Piran Pascoe' in the Northcliffe Media Ltd owned 'West Briton' strongly indicates that the Daily Mail/Northcliffe Media Ltd consortium that exerts majority control over the paper media information stream in Cornwall has an agenda that is not in Cornwall or her people's best interests.

A Devolution Enabling Act

A transcript of Peter Facey's speech to the Campaign for an English Parliament's Future of England debate can be found here on the -English Parliament online- website.

Without any surprise whatsoever the first comment left at the bottom of the article is an attack directed at Facey for his use of English and Cornish as equal national identities when describing his own family heritage. Thank god some things, swivel-eyed English nationalists for example, can be relied upon in this chaotic world of ours.

Although Peter Facey, director of Unlock Democracy, is clearly not in his right mind either, as evidenced by the "people of Devon know that they are equal if not better than the people of Cornwall" comment, his idea of a Devolution Enabling Act should still interest a few here.

An extract of the transcript can be found below.

We should have two principles.

Firstly, it should be driven from the bottom not the top, so that either local authorities or people via petition can trigger it. That would encourage competition between rival campaigners. Those of you who campaign for an English Parliament would have an opportunity to trigger a referendum, pull down power, and have an English parliament, if you persuade the people of England that that is what they wanted. But also other people, like the campaigners in Cornwall - who have raised 50,000 signatures for a Cornish Assembly - could actually have a Cornish Assembly, if they could get it.

And the second principle would be that power, once devolved, could not be taken away and back to the centre without the consent of the people in that area.


To me, that seems like it could be a step in the right direction towards respecting the right of both the Cornish and English nations to greater self-determination. A vital missing ingredient however is our actual de jure constitutional position. For the Cornish to have a just settlement this too must be figured into the equation.

Whilst on the subject of Unlock Democracy they are in the process of re-launcheding their Democracy and Human Rights Hub with its regular e-mail newsletter. Full details can be found on their website. In the past they have featured the DOCHA website as well as articles from CoSERG and the Constitutional Convention. Please do get intouch with them if your organisation produces anything you think may be suitable for inclusion.

12.12.09

Like trying to get information from the KGB

Nationalisation of the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall

House of Commons debates, 13 May 1975.

An extract:

We as Members of Parliament may not know, are not allowed to know and never will know who is getting what for doing what. In other words, there is a complete lack of public accountability in these matters. To ask for information about the Duchy of Lancaster and still more about the Duchy of Cornwall is like trying to get information from the KGB. Journalists have told me that they have telephoned the Duchy of Cornwall office genuinely seeking information and have been told to mind their own ruddy business. So would I be, but I secured such information as I could garner from the annual accounts.

Brought to you by the excellent TheyWorkForYou.com website. Nothing seems to have changed there then. The UK's democracy shows its limits once more. What we, the 'citizens' of the UK (and Duchy of Cornwall?), are allowed to know is certainly circumscribed. For the sake of national security I can understand the need for secrecy, but just so that inconvenient constitutional facts are kept in the closet and away from public scrutiny? Are we all happy with that? Is that a real democracy for mature authentic individuals?

The already mentioned blog -Confirm or Deny- now has topics on the Duchy of Cornwall so lets hope the pressure keeps mounting.

10.12.09

The Democracy Club

Here's some quick publicity for the Democracy Club

We are building a network of election volunteers to help mySociety and TheStraightChoice in the run up to the next general election, and hopefully beyond. We want your help to achieve this.


In elections these days, all major candidates have a huge team of volunteers behind them, helping them produce and distribute leaflets, get publicity in the local news media, raising their profile and painting a generally rosy picture of them.


But the public gets no such help. They are given election leaflets, party election broadcasts, newspaper interviews with candidates, but they are not given solid, factual information, or simple unbiased analysis of the truth value of these publicity campaigns, especially not at a local level.


We feel that the public needs its own team of volunteers to help them. We want you to be one of those volunteers: gather information on candidates, their leaflets, and local news coverage of them; or publicise vote analyses in local papers around the country; or do other tasks we haven't even thought of yet.


With your help, we can give the public the same support that the candidates already get.


What's the background to this site?


Our friends at mySociety, which runs some of the best-known democracy and transparency websites in the UK, often get approached by people who would like to volunteer to help with websites like TheyWorkForYou.com and FixMyStreet.com. This site was conceived as a way for someone to contribute to transparency and accountability projects like these without having to learn how to be a computer programmer.


What is the site actually for?


We're asking people to sign up to be constituency volunteers. Initially they will be asked to carry out volunteer tasks for both our friends at mySociety, and our friends who run the wonderful election leaflet website TheStraightChoice.org. What this means is putting yourself forward to help with tasks such as:


1) Helping to establish who is standing for election at the next general election in your constituency, so that we can tell the public about them, share that information with other websites, and gather information on their political views


2) Which local campaigns and issues need putting to candidates in order to have a clear record of candidates views on the issues that matter to local people


3) What election materials are being sent around, containing what promises and what accusations


We promise we won't hammer you with requests — you'll never get more than two emails a week — in fact the sum total of volunteering between now and the general election could easily be less than a dozen hours. But it's all super important, because only real people like you know what issues are critical in every corner of the country. Together we can do a better job than any of the newspapers, and without the political spin too.

8.12.09

The Democratic Society

The information and invitation below comes from a group called -The Democratic Society- an organisation which claims to "write about, think about and work on improving participation and democracy".

Thanks for your email, sorry for the delay in replying.

We're just really starting out here at the Society. We've formally been established since 2006, but we're run on a what-time-you-can-give basis, and we're all busy people. We'll be ramping up our work from 1 February, when I start working for the Society part-time on fundraising and projects.

We are a non-partisan and non-aligned organisation, meaning that we generally avoid expressing support for specific causes or political movements, but Cornish devolution raises a range of interesting democratic issues and there are a few ways in which we could work together:

1. We have a popular blog and twitter stream, and I'd be happy to offer you a guest post on the blog, to talk about how the democratic and participative elements of Cornish devolution might work.

2. We have expertise in assessing and supporting democratic governance at local and national level. Although we do charge for consultancy, we could support your organisation or the County Council in thinking about participation and governance structures either for a public discussion on devolution or greater democratic engagement with Cornish issues.

3. We will be working in the next few months on a website and plug-in for democratic debate and engagement. It probably won't be launched until the summer, but you could use it for online engagement to support point (2).

More generally, I'd be very interested to be kept up to date with your work - it's a fascinating area both geographically and politically.

5.12.09

Liberty all round!

"It is impossible to want the liberation of of one nation without wanting the liberty of others"

Such is the principle I was reminded of on reading an article on the website of the newly formed Breizhistance - Socialist Party of Brittany. Of course they go much further and add that national self-determination is nothing without a democratic control of the national economy by the people for the people, but lets just rest on the first principle for the moment.

The sentiment expressed in this sentence is, to my mind, one of the fundamental qualifiers for all progressive movements for self-determination. How could one want recognition and home-rule for ones own nation and not that of another? How can Cornish autonomists not be moved by the struggles in Brittany, Tibet or the Basque Country.

Self-determination does not equal independence.

Lets not forget that when talking of Cornwall only a minority want independence from the UK, and those that do, more often then not, want some form of European (me) or Celtic federal arrangement. Many more simply want recognition as not being part of England.

It's still startling to hear people equate Cornish separation from England as being the same as full independence from the UK (and EU?). It seems for many recognising that Cornwall is not England is tantamount to dynamiting the small stretch of land that attaches Kernow to the rest of Britain leaving Cornwall sail of in some form of Celtic autarky. Ironic when you consider in the 19th century it was the Duchy of Cornwall that actually proved that Cornwall was not, in a constitutional sense, part of England. Recognising that Cornwall is not part of England would not suddenly mean an end to all commerce and exchange with England, the rest of the UK or Europe, that needs to be hammered home!

Finally, many more in the wider Cornish movement are content to campaign for a greater degree of decision making ability to be given to Kernow inside or outside of England. Self-determination does not always equal independence but rather a more adapted political settlement to any one national question.

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation offers this definition:

Essentially, the right to self-determination is the right of a people to determine its own destiny. In particular, the principle allows a people to choose its own political status and to determine its own form of economic, cultural and social development. Exercise of this right can result in a variety of different outcomes ranging from political independence through to full integration within a state. The importance lies in the right of choice, so that the outcome of a people's choice should not affect the existence of the right to make a choice. In practice, however, the possible outcome of an exercise of self-determination will often determine the attitude of governments towards the actual claim by a people or nation. Thus, while claims to cultural autonomy may be more readily recognized by states, claims to independence are more likely to be rejected by them. Nevertheless, the right to self-determination is recognized in international law as a right of process (not of outcome) belonging to peoples and not to states or governments.

What of England

Does England have the same right to self-determination? It should be noted that the a large majority of English nationalists fall short of the qualifier described above due to their stance on the Cornish question. Interrogate many of them and equally you'll soon notice that they don't give a pigs ear about the plight of any other stateless nations either. A nationalist movement that truly is insular, xenophobic and turned in on itself, English nationalism, as manifested by the EDP, EFP and others, is far from internationalist.

There are some notable exceptions to this English nationalist refusal of the Cornish question. One such individual offers us this in his blog article: The national dimension to constitutional reform

1. Formal recognition of the fundamental human right of national communities to determine their own form of government (popular sovereignty), and to decide whether they wish to constitute a national community or not


2. On this basis, a formal process to determine which actually are the national communities of the United Kingdom, including, for instance, a referendum in Cornwall to decide whether Cornwall should be considered as a nation or not; and an even more contentious process for the Northern Irish to decide whether they regard the Province as a nation in its own right. If the people of Ulster chose not to become a nation, the Province could probably be considered as a self-governing British region, which would not be very different in practical terms from being a self-governing British nation

Anyway the Cornish Democrat would like to wish the very best of luck to PSB-Breizhistance and here is hoping to see them making links in Kernow.

3.12.09

Cornish rights trampled under Labour votes.

It comes as no great suprise that the UK parliament -dominated by MP's from England- voted against the inclusion of a dedicated Cornish tick box for the 2011 UK census.

The amendment to include a tick box for Cornish national identity was proposed by MP Dan Rogerson. More on this and how MP's voted can be found here. The vote was rejected by 261 votes to 49.

Dan Rogerson writes on the Cornish Tick Box Facebook group: "The Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru supported me. Labour opposed it. The Tories sat on their hands". Labour MPs voted 261 against and 1 in favour and are thus the only party to pro-actively vote against. Equally not a squeek could be heard from Tory 'Shadow Minister for Cornwall' Mark Prisk. So there we go, if you were wondering who not to vote for.

The UK's democracy shows its limits. Would the world community be happy if a similar question concerning an unrecognised minority were given over to the state majority to decide? Within a multinational state such as the UK (plus Crown protectorates) where one nation, England, has the vast majority of elected representatives, as well as the administrative and financial capital, it's no shock that the interests of the other nations are sidelined to the point that one of them, Cornwall, even has its existence denied.

Devolution to Scotland, Wales and the Six Counties has started the process of redress but Cornwall finds itself still buried within the English political system with its specific needs and national identity ignored.

However as noted on Cornwall 24 a critical point to bring to all Cornish residents attention is that it will still be possible to register Cornish in three separate categories in the 2011 Census:

National identity
Ethnic Group
Language.


All three will have the 06 code, and all three will be counted throughout Britain.


Not enough has been made of the 100% recognition given by Parliament of Cornish as both a National Identity and as an Ethnic Group. Even the FCNM Draft Report call the Census categories 'standard'.


There will not be a dedicated tickbox, which would have made things clearer, which is regrettable, but everyone can write, and it will not be difficult to fill in CORNISH on the line.


Publicity to inform and encourage people to write in CORNISH will be funded by the ONS, and organised by Cornwall Council. There will be an undercount, but nevertheless, if many thousands record that their National Identity is Cornish and many thousands record that their Ethnic Group is Cornish and thousands record that their 'first' language is Cornish, then much can be done with the data, especially as Cornwall Council is going to start encouraging institutions and businesses to make use of the information available from the next Census.

The importance of the above information  cannot be overstated. We should all do our utmost to ensure everbody knows what their Cornish options are for the 2011 census both in the Duchy and wider UK.

On a different but closely related note, below can be found a letter from the Celtic League to the UK government concerning the UK's application of the Council of Europe's framework convention for the protection of national minorities (FCNM). The governments handling of the FCNM has been described as duplicitous malpractice and its hard not to agree. Of all the UK's national minorities why are the Cornish the only ones to have been singled out and refused recognition under the FCNM? Of course if the Cornish officially recognised  as a national minority under the FCNM then the above tick-box fiasco would never have been allowed to happen. The recognition and protection of minorities should not be simply thrown to the mercy of such brute majority lead democracy. Would the future of Tibet be secure if voted on by the rest of China?

CELTIC LEAGUE PRESS INFORMATION

FRAMEWORK CONVENTION REPORT

The General Secretary (GS) has responded to the UK government's draft report to the Council of Europe (CoE) on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.


The report – the third of its kind since the government ratified the Convention in 1995 – sets out what it has done to promote equality and diversity across a range of different areas relating to culture and language. However, as the gs argues in his letter to the department of Communities and Local Government (CLG), the report is failing in its duty to the CoE by excluding the Cornish and "are being treated as virtual pariahs by the very state that is supposed to protect them".


The GS says that he looks forward to a revision of the draft before it is presented to the CoE. The full text of the letter can be found below.


"The Rt Hon John Denham MP
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government


Dear Rt Hon John Denham MP


Draft UK Government Third Compliance Report to the Council of Europe on the Framework Convention for the protection of National Minorities


I am writing to express my utter disappointment at the exclusion of the Cornish and their language from the draft third compliance report to the Council of Europe (CoE), published in October 2009.


The document covers activities and issues relating to language, culture, equality and society in Wales, Scotland and the north of Ireland throughout the report, but no mention was made of Cornwall or its people. There was not even an outline of the work undertaken with the Cornish language, which the UK Government recognised in 2002 - and has subsequently funded since - under part II of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages. The Cornish Language Partnership – set up as a direct result of government funding – has done excellent work in helping to revive the Cornish language, but was not consulted as part of the report. It is most unusual that the only mention in the report to do with the Cornish language is that it is one of 25 "UK and foreign languages" in which a qualification is available.


In addition, in view of the fact that the UK Government recognised the `separate identity and distinctiveness' of the Cornish in its second compliance report, it is surprising that no mention is made of the Cornish people in its subsequent report.


The CoE's Advisory Committee's ruling that the UK Government's `racial group' criterion is too rigid to accommodate the Cornish has been completely ignored.


It is my belief that the UK Government is failing in its duty to the CoE in producing this report, because of the omission of the Cornish people and language. I would go so far as to say that in excluding the Cornish in this way the UK Government is showing a total contempt for the Cornish and actively discriminating against them.


The Cornish are one of the ancient peoples of Europe and are recognised as such throughout Europe. They have a language that is actively supported and funded by the UK and local government structures and yet are being completely ignored in this draft report. It would probably be fair to say that the Cornish are the largest unrecognised minority living in either Cornwall or the UK and are being treated as virtual pariahs by the very state that is supposed to protect them.


We look forward to an immediate revision of the report before it is presented to the Council of Europe.


Yours sincerely


Rhisiart tal-e-bot
General Secretary
Celtic League

1.12.09

Economy Green Paper for Cornwall

Economy Green Paper

Friday 27 November 2009

Cornwall Council Statement of Economic Priorities and Strategic Intent: Towards a distinctive, high-value, knowledge-based 'green' Cornwall with opportunity for all

Cornwall Council's first 'Green Paper' is on the economy. Green Papers produced by government have traditionally been consultation documents, and this one by Cornwall Council is no exception in that it presents the council's ideas on a way forward and asks for detailed feedback. It sets out our initial ideas on priorities for Cornwall's economic development - both growth and regeneration - and how the council might work with partners to deliver these priorities and we invite comments from partners, businesses and the wider community.

With the help of the responses and ideas submitted in response to this green paper, we can then put together specific proposals for Cornwall that are likely to have widespread support.

Please respond to the prompts and questions and give your views on other relevant matters of concern. We are committed to working in partnership with all major players and the community in Cornwalls development, and we particularly value your contributions which will turn this green paper into definitive proposals and propositions.

This is a major opportunity to have your say in the future of Cornwall, and we hope to hear from you and to work with you to make our aspirations a reality.

The draft consultation document can be found on the Council's website. Responses can be made via the on-line form which can also be found at the address below.

Deadline for responses is Friday 22 January 2010