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31.1.10

Cornish insults and BBC Radio Cornwall

Following the Celtic League's recent complaints to the EHRC and the subsequent media fallout in the UK's reactionary right-wing press (ie "It's Official. Cornish Don't Exist" and "It's OK to insult the Cornish as they don't exist" type headlines) I thought it wise to present some alternative points of view on the Leagues actions.


Why bother going through Radio Cornwall? They may as well just email every newspaper in the UK with confirmation and proof that the Cornish don't legally exist and inform the whole of the UK that its OK AND LEGAL for any arsehole to call the Cornish whatever derogatory name they want to and give any anti-Cornish people all the ammunition they need to prove their point that the Cornish are no different to anyone else in ENGLAND.

Another at greater length adds:


Given the historical hostility to anything remotely focussing on any 'persistence of Cornish difference' by the audio-visual news-media, and the failure to receive any direct concessions from the English Imperialist System to any actions, then the proposed action via the EHRC as declared publicly must be considered as a seriously ill-conceived and ill-considered act, irrespective of whether it was via an organisation or an individual. 

Everything that has occurred was predictable and inevitable. One presumes that the organisation anticipated all this fallout and that it will be collating and analysing all the events and presenting it as a part of its legal case?

We have seen the damage that has been inflicted, we know how, within Cornwall, it was deliberately prejudiced by Radio Cornwall – in particular, by one person that, imho, should be sacked for wilfully misrepresenting the academic opinion of two guest speakers and putting words into caller's mouths. 

The Radio Cornwall attitude and prejudice has been consistent from its inception. It would be good to know, precisely, what the EHRC actually said, but it sounds like the 'chicken and egg' conundrum that John Angarrack had already clearly spelt out. 

The only times that Radio Cornwall has presented something approaching a 'postive' Cornish facade, it has rapidly been shown to be a very very shallow facade indeed. Better for a Cornish Cornwall if it were not there at all!


The problem again seems to be the media and in this case BBC Radio Cornwall. One wonders why a Devonshire man, such as Laurence Reed, is so hostile to Cornish empowerment?

Why not contact him and ask?

E-mail: laurence.reed@bbc.co.uk

Phone: Between midday and 3pm on 01872 22 22 22

Brittany United!

Brittany United!

Charlotte's Democracy

The truly excellent Cornish Zetetics blog has come in for some criticism from Labour PPC Charlotte MacKenzie.

Cornwall Labour, aka Charlotte MacKenzie, has this to say on a Cornwall 24 thread: "CZ's refusal to publish some comments is a very real problem – doesn't he like democracy and free comment?"

Okay Charlotte, but perhaps a bigger fish to fry would be our Labour government and its desire to roll back the Freedom of Informations Act.

In June, Gordon Brown announced his intention to change the FOI act, to remove the public interest test and so introduce an absolute exemption for the royals from freedom of information rules. The official reasoning for this change is an extraordinary piece of double-speak. To quote the Ministry of Justice: “It has become clear that those safeguards [against revealing information] are insufficiently robust to protect our current constitutional arrangements, and need changing.”

As such an ardent lover of democracy perhaps you'll also join with me in condemning the Labour government for not allowing Cornwall a referendum on greater home-rule even after the residents of the Duchy produced a petition of 50,000 signatures calling for devolution. Equally we can both, with clear consciences I'm sure, deride their propaganda and lies concerning the constitutional status of Cornwall and the Duchy of Cornwall.

By the way Charlotte why is it that you NEVER criticises the rabidly anti-Cornish Mudhook blog, much loved of labour, that allows no comments whatsoever on its articles and therefore feels free, at times, to tell outright lies.

Should I go on with the list of attacks on "democracy and free comment" we have suffered under Charlotte's Labour because it's all rather depressing.

I'll leave the last words to Cornish Zetetics who writes in: An awful week for Labour:

If, despite the evidence, anyone with any progressive views is left in the mausoleum of the ‘peoples’ party’, graveyard of the hopes and dreams of all those pioneers who wanted to build democracy and equality, then for God’s sake get out while you can. Help build real hope for the future. Join the Greens. Or here in Cornwall MK.

30.1.10

The jigsaw of identity: one person, many pieces (2009)

For Diversity Against Discrimination: the jigsaw of identity: one person, many pieces (2009)

Released on the occasion of the Equality Summit in Stockholm, 16–17 November 2009, this film explores the theme of identity within the context of our societies where prejudices and stereotyping are commonplace and promoting the values of a diverse society remains a constant challenge. Through looking at the lives of three different personalities at ease with the many aspects of their identity and their place in society, the film inspires viewers to reflect upon how they see themselves and how others see them.

I'm not a racist but.....

A thought provoking article here from the generally excellent OurKingdom blog.



Many voters are 'against immigration' and against foreign aid (they say things to me on the doorstep along the lines of: "We should take care of our own; that's enough"); and yet they insist that they are not racists. This includes many Tories and the whole of UKIP - and many ordinary voters.

I've tried to introduce the idea of national minorities into the debate which has followed. Hope some take note.

Mebyon Kernow PPC Camborne Redruth Hayle - Loveday Jenkin

Kernow in the media


An awesome Scottish blog by the name of -Bella Caledonia- talks here of the recent grass roots referenda held across Catalonia on whether or not to secede from the Spanish State. Article here: 13D – This is what Democracy Looks Like.

A blog to follow and one which makes a point of not overlooking Kernow.

Now I am not so convinced that we need the permission of three minority Unionist parties to hold an independence referendum in Scotland. If civic society chooses, Scotland could have its referendum next year on its own terms. No wonder the British media’s reporting of this has been so woeful. Could you imagine these ideas catching on in Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Northern Ireland or even the Falkland Islands.

------------------------------



They say that the River Tamar, which today divides Devon and Cornwall, was originally agreed as the dividing point for Anglo-Saxon Wessex and Celtic Cornwall.


Later documents refer to the separate areas of "Scotia, Wallia, Anglia et Cornubia", and the UK being "divided into four parts, whereof the one is inhabited by Englishmen, the other of Scots, the third of Welshmen and the fourth of Cornish people".

To this day, Cornwall is still not officially or constitutionally a part of England but a Duchy. But despite the Cornish nationalist movement being the most active of any in England, there is now little prospect of devolution.

New Labour initially championed regional devolution but when the northeast rejected the proposal in a vote the matter was dropped and subsequent petitions by the Cornish calling for their own vote were largely ignored.


------------------------------

Finally from OurKingdom we have: Britain and Genocide.

I've included it as it has underneath some interesting comments from KernowGB aka Tyr Gwyr Gweryn.

There is a contrived 'narrow' understanding of 'genocide', which seriously detracts from the even more sinister and sophisticated 'psychological' process of genocide'. This is a process that, because it lacks the 'shock & awe' factor of the 'physical', has been insidiously at work within Britain over the past 1500 years, and which may be studied at first hand, today, by analysing what has been, and is still, happening to the Cornish people since, say 1600 - significantly more intense, and recorded, since the war!

28.1.10

Campaign Kernow – taking Cornwall to the Commonwealth Games.

The campaign to take a Cornish team to the Commonwealth Games is relaunched as Campaign Kernow.

I've already blogged about the potential of a Cornish National football team and the different tornaments in which it could participate. Why not demand a team in the Commonwealth Games? If territories such as the Channel Islands, whose only claim rests being a paradise for amoral tax dodgers, can take part then why not a constitutional Duchy inhabited by a people with their own language, history and identity. Oh wait! Silly me. It's amoral tax dodgers that can pull string in the halls of power isn't it?

Anyway over to GH:

In October 2002, I was given the vision of taking a Cornish team to the Commonwealth Games. By December 2003 I had put together a quality executive committee, which include international and professional sportsman to form the CCGA. Exactly one year later we applied for membership of the CGF, who refused us ‘ out of hand ’. Since then further researches have strengthened our claim to bring us to where we are now.

Following the refusal of application for membership in December 2004, by the Commonwealth Games Federation ( CGF ), the former Cornwall Commonwealth Games Association will continue it’s fight under the new name of Campaign Kernow. A financial target of approximately £50,000 is sought to legally prove that Cornwall has a legitimate right to recognition, and representation, as a Commonwealth Nation.

We will seek a judicial review on the CGF’s decision as soon as is possible and have great confidence in our legal position headed by solicitor, Notary Public Mr.John Kirkhope, who at present is a taking a Ph.D. at Plymouth University into the Laws of the Duchy of Cornwall. Mr Kirkhope is regarded by many as the expert on the Laws and Constitution of Cornwall.

If we could get just one pound from those that are still alive and were at Twickenham in 1991, and those younger who didn’t get to see what ‘Cornish lads and lasses can do’ our target is assured. We owe our future generations the best sporting opportunities possible, so what‘s a pound to you? Of course, you are more than welcome to make a much larger donation. I have also today released a new two track CD with £1 per sale going to the fund.

It is a sad day indeed when the so-called “ Friendly Games “ has forced us to take this action but we will not be denied our birthright, go away or take no for an answer. We are now at the point of taking what we hope will be the final step for acceptance into the Federation.

Please help give Cornwall’s future generations the very best we can give them. It’s no more than what they deserve.

Donations can be made via Paypal using the donate button on the right of this page.

Cheques/postal orders can be made payable to: The Commonwealth Games Legal Fund

Campaign Kernow Trust.
PO Box 70.
Camborne,
Cornwall.
TR14 9WZ.

Thank you.

Graham Hart

Campaign Leader, Cornish musician, sportsman and renowned Cornish campaigner.

What Price Modern Liberty? What Cornish Input?

The What Price Modern Liberty debate organised in Truro on the 23rd of January produced a sell-out event.

Henry Porter has this to say in his article cross posted to OurKingdom and Comment is Free:

We were taking part in What Price Liberty? at Truro and Penwith College in Cornwall, which was among the most impressive day-long discussions that I've attended. The sell-out confirmed another conviction of mine – that there's a great appetite for live events and intelligent public discussion, which is not being satisfied in the country.

Which country? England, UK or Cornwall which Mr Porter must know has its very own constitutional arrangements.

The popularity of this event is reassuring and lets hope it's the first of many that will occur across our little country and around the rest of the UK. As successful as it was I can't help feeling it could have been much better and far more inclusive of actual grass roots Cornish human rights and civil liberties campaigners.

Some of my, perhaps too acidic, comments left on the OurKingdom site are as follows.

------------------------------

A 'great sucess'? That remains to be seen and is quite relative to ones point of view. For middle class down shifters from Padstein perhaps.

Did they address any of Cornwall's constitutional conundrums that allow the Duchy to fiddle in public affairs without concern?

Did they mention the unacceptable manner in which the Duchy can escape the Freedom of Information Act?

Did they discuss the governments totally unreasonable refusal to recognise the Cornish as a national minority under the Council of Europe's framework convention for the protection of national minorities? A status that would clearly empower the Cornish and thus threaten the current feudal arrangement between the Duchy and UK government.

Did they invite, or even consult, any of the longstanding Cornish organisations whose work includes human rights and civil liberties. Groups such as the Celtic League or Stannary?

A big 'NO' to all of the above.

Blow-ins from up the line who love nothing better than telling the Cornish what they need to do.

------------------------------

Guy Aitchison wrote:

So, your basic criticism of this event is that it didn't manage to organise the Cornish proletariat into overthrowing their English oppressors.

Sorry you see it like that Guy and I'm equally as sorry that you don't think the working class Cornish and their opinions matter.

Is it that you really think that groups such as the Stannary Parliament and Celtic League, who have been working on human rights issues for decades now, really have nothing to say and no place at such a conference?

My comments have nothing to do with the Cornish proletariat overthrowing the English oppressor. My point is simply that the Cornish were, without doubt, poorly represented at this conference as were Cornish human rights organisations.

Let me turn the issue around Guy. If you organised such a conference in a territory that has a very specific constitutional history, a strong identity and a very noticeable social fracture between the rich coast and poor interior what would you do?

Would you totally blank local grass roots human rights organisations and campaigners? Would you organise the event in the least local most middle class part of the territory?

"Everyone says it was an interesting event" Was everyone there? Sadly no.

------------------------------

Shortly after the conference and in response to a short e-mail Oliver Bains of Groundswell contacted me with the following wise comments:


Thanks Philip.. not sure whether you were there. Interesting comments.. all else aside I did try to give an opportunity for Cornish delegates to get stuck in with the following..

'I have no claim to Cornishness myself although my antecedent Walter Borlase, vicar of Madron, did raise an army of 250 men in Penzance to keep out John Wesley. Well done him I say, fighting for lost causes is a characteristic I recognise instantly. 

'In those days the great creative spirits were fostered by the most liberal society in the world. Our own Cornish inventors were amongst them. The brilliant portrayal in Nick Darke’s play Laughing Gas, completed so admirably by Carl Grose – of Humphrey Davy, giving his first lecture at the Royal Society at the age of 22, friend of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, James Watt and the seditious Joseph Priestley, is a demonstration of how we are enriched by those whose freedom allowed free rein to their inventiveness and creativity – a true example of John Stuart Mill’s ‘collision of ideas and intellect’. Remember that many of these people were from here, from Cornwall. This is not an abstract discussion we are having.

'And for many Cornish people a sense, and for some a reality, of oppression has existed down through the centuries, a sense of oppression under the English yoke. It reminds me that while Cornish is a minority group in the UK, so many migrants, from France, the Iberian peninsula, travellers from other parts of the kingdom, and now the EU and outside the EU, are minorities within Cornwall. We must be careful that in asserting our freedoms we also protect the freedoms of others.'

Unfortunately no-one did!


Intelligent and and well placed comments indeed, but perhaps the lack of response was due to the lack of Cornish participants and certainly due to the total lack of any input from Cornish human rights campaigners. If another event of this nature is planned then my advise, for what it's worth, is cast your nets widely. "Remember that many of these people were from here, from Cornwall", exactly and you don't need to go further afield to find some very well informed individuals with much to say about constitution and rights.

To finish I'll just take this opportunity to plug another up-and-coming talk in Kernow. John Kirkhope, Public Notary and Solicitor, will be presenting his research on the -Laws of Cornwall- in Falmouth at 2pm this Saturday the 30th of January.

27.1.10

Cornish abuse


The Kernow Branch of the Celtic League has received a reply from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) regarding a complaint the branch made in November 2009 about abusive comments directed towards Cornish people.

In his letter to former branch secretary Iwan Lemoine, the Regional Manager of the EHRC, Qaiser Razzak, said that in order for any remedy to be available in domestic (UK) legal proceedings, the Cornish would need to be defined as a `racial group' under the Race Relations Act, which has not yet been done.

In his response Mr Razzak says that:

"The Commission would like to look into this issue further as part of our Good Relations mandate. In this regard I would welcome an opportunity to meet you and discuss this matter in more detail"

In addition Mr Razzak said that with respect to the issue of derogatory or insulting comments against the Cornish, the Commission does not condone such conduct whether or not any group "have been recognised as a "racial group" under the Race Relations Act."

The full letter response can be found below.


"12/01/2010

Dear Sir,

Re: Complaint of use of derogatory terms against the Cornish

Thank you for your e-mail of 22 November 2009 and subsequent communications regarding the above complaint and the reference to the Cornish as "inbred" by the media and other individuals. 

The Equality and Human Rights Commission ("the Commission") was established under the Equality Act 2006. It works to eliminate discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, race, religion or belief, gender and sexual orientation. The Commission also has mandate to protect and promote understanding of human rights.

The Commission condemns the use of any derogatory words or comments to describe a group or individuals on account of their race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin. In the Commission's opinion, negative comments regarding racial groups are offensive and reinforce the stereotyping of those particular groups. 

Racial discrimination provisions are contained in the Race Relations Act 1976 ,where s.3(1) defines a "racial group" as a group of persons defined by reference to colour,race,nationality or ethnic or national origins, and references to a person's racial group refer to any racial group into which they fall. 

To date, case law has not established the Cornish as a "racial group", for the purposes of the Race Relations Act, so currently, it is not clear whether any claim of racial discrimination against Cornish people would be successful. 

It is worth noting the position under the Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities. This is an international treaty whose aim is to protect the existence of national minorities by creating appropriate conditions enabling them to preserve and develop their culture and to retain their identity. However, although binding on the UK government, it has not been implemented into domestic law and does not therefore provide a right to bring any legal proceedings.

In October 2007, the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities considered that there was "scope for covering further groups within the scope of the framework convention", mentioning the Cornish and religious groups, such as Muslims, in particular. It found that it would be possible to consider the inclusion of persons belonging to these groups in the application of the Framework Convention on an article-by article basis. It took the view that the UK government should consider this, in consultation with those concerned.

More importantly, the Advisory Committee noted that even though the UK government does not consider the people of Cornwall to constitute a national minority, a number of persons living in Cornwall consider themselves to be a national minority within the scope of the Framework Convention. In this, the Committee claimed to have received substantial information from them as to their Celtic identity, specific history, distinct language and culture.

The former Commission for Racial Equality also recommended that the Cornish could be considered a national minority under the Convention by removing the narrow criterion attached to its meaning by the government, which applied the definition of "racial group" under the Race Relations Act. However, as mentioned above, in order for any remedy to be available in domestic legal proceedings, the Cornish would need to be recognised as a "racial group" under the Race Relations Act.

The Commission would like to look into this issue further as part of our Good Relations mandate. In this regard I would welcome an opportunity to meet you and discuss this matter in more detail. With respect to a comment on the issue I wish to make clear the Commission does not condone any derogatory or insulting conduct against any group, whether or not they have been recognised as a "racial group" under the Race Relations Act.

Yours sincerely 

Equality and Human Rights Commission"


This article prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secretary Celtic League.

Issued by the Director of Information
Director of Information
Celtic League

26/01/10

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:

26.1.10

The EHRC responds on anti-Cornish abuse.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has responded to the Celtic League's complaint of anti-Cornish abuse in the UK media.

Re: Complaint of use of derogatory terms against the Cornish

Thank you for your e-mail of 22 November 2009 and subsequent communications regarding the above complaint and the reference to the Cornish as “inbred” by the media and other individuals.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (“the Commission”) was established under the Equality Act 2006. It works to eliminate discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, race, religion or belief, gender and sexual orientation. The Commission also has mandate to protect and promote understanding of human rights.

The Commission condemns the use of any derogatory words or comments to describe a group or individuals on account of their race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin. In the Commission’s opinion, negative comments regarding racial groups are offensive and reinforce the stereotyping of those particular groups.

Racial discrimination provisions are contained in the Race Relations Act 1976 ,where s.3(1) defines a “racial group” as a group of persons defined by reference to colour,race,nationality or ethnic or national origins, and references to a person’s racial group refer to any racial group into which they fall.

To date, case law has not established the Cornish as a “racial group”, for the purposes of the Race Relations Act, so currently, it is not clear whether any claim of racial discrimination against Cornish people would be successful.

It is worth noting the position under the Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities. This is an international treaty whose aim is to protect the existence of national minorities by creating appropriate conditions enabling them to preserve and develop their culture and to retain their identity. However, although binding on the UK government, it has not been implemented into domestic law and does not therefore provide a right to bring any legal proceedings.

In October 2007, the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities considered that there was “scope for covering further groups within the scope of the framework convention”, mentioning the Cornish and religious groups, such as Muslims, in particular. It found that it would be possible to consider the inclusion of persons belonging to these groups in the application of the Framework Convention on an article-by article basis. It took the view that the UK government should consider this, in consultation with those concerned.

More importantly, the Advisory Committee noted that even though the UK government does not consider the people of Cornwall to constitute a national minority, a number of persons living in Cornwall consider themselves to be a national minority within the scope of the Framework Convention. In this, the Committee claimed to have received substantial information from them as to their Celtic identity, specific history, distinct language and culture.

The former Commission for Racial Equality also recommended that the Cornish could be considered a national minority under the Convention by removing the narrow criterion attached to its meaning by the government, which applied the definition of “racial group” under the Race Relations Act. However, as mentioned above, in order for any remedy to be available in domestic legal proceedings, the Cornish would need to be recognised as a “racial group” under the Race Relations Act.

The Commission would like to look into this issue further as part of our Good Relations mandate. In this regard I would welcome an opportunity to meet you and discuss this matter in more detail. With respect to a comment on the issue I wish to make clear the Commission does not condone any derogatory or insulting conduct against any group, whether or not they have been recognised as a “racial group” under the Race Relations Act.

Yours sincerely

Equality and Human Rights Commission

The new Celtic League Kernow Branch Secretary, Michael Chappel, can be seen talking here on CelticLeagueTV about the Cornish insults, amongst other things, in the build up to his interview on BBC Radio Cornwall.

National Minorities and the European Parliament

Following last years EU elections the European Parliament Intergroup for Traditional National Minorities, Constitutional Regions and Regional Languages held its first meeting in December.

The Intergroup is formed by MEP's from across the political spectrum (no extremes) who share the common character of being involved in the protection and promotion of National Minorities. From a Cornish perspective the only MEP from the South West Government Zone who might have any interest in the Intergroup, and be willing to speak for the Cornish, is Liberal Democrat Graham Watson, himself a Scot. Note that Graham's European political party, the Alliance of Liberal sand Democrats for Europe (ALDE), is represented on the Intergroup by Finlands Carl Haglund.

The most recent statement issued by the National Minority Intergroup concerns the Lisbon Treaty and can be read here.

Although the Intergroup operates only in the European Parliament, and therefore within the institutions of the European Union, it does maintain friendly relations with the Council of Europe and various associated bodies such as FUEN and YEN (I note however that the Cornish no longer have representation within FUEN).

You can read more on the two European institutions -the European Union and the Council of Europe- by following the links.

I'll finsh by drawing your attention to the following: “Minority languages need more respect” says Commissioner Hammarberg (From the Council of Europe).

Strasbourg, 25.01.2010 – “Language rights have become an issue of contention within several European countries. Their denial undermines human rights and causes inter-communal tensions” said Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his latest Viewpoint published today.

“The spelling of personal names on passports, the displaying of street names and other topographical indications, the language used in schools, the language requirements when communicating with the authorities and the possibility to establish minority media are some of the main issues being raised by minority representatives” said Commissioner Hammarberg. “Mature political leadership is particularly needed in order to address these issues abiding by human rights standards.”

Stressing that language is an essential tool for social organisation and individual identity, the Commissioner calls on European governments to better take into account the needs of the minorities. “All too often authorities have not listened carefully to them when policies have been developed. It is crucial that governments maintain close communication with persons belonging to national minorities and seek a thorough and continuing consultation.”

24.1.10

Devolution 10 years on.

Devolution’s impact on low-income people and places: Interesting reading from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Equally on their blog can be found -Devolution's Difference- from Jim McCormick.

22.1.10

Conan Jenkin / Skol Dy'Sadorn

Following the predictable criticisms and attacks form English nationalists on the Times website, Conan Jenkin has responded on Cornwall 24 concerning the new Cornish Language pre-school project. 

People will be glad to know that the first Skol Dy'Sadorn was a great success with 8 children and ten parents. The next one will be taking place tomorrow and it is expected that numbers will increase.

Just to clarify things for a few people who dislike any kind of Cornish language promotion. This project is costing peanuts to the taxpayer (about 50 pounds a week) and the money is coming from money which has already been allocated for Cornish language promotion. Indeed Movyans Skolyow Meythrin (MSM) are keen to eventually dispense with any funding from the Cornish Language Partnership so that their limited resources can be used for other Cornish Language projects.

All the educational professionals involve have given their time freely, as have all the directors to establish the school. MSM is a community interest company which means it is not publicly funded and like any company will welcome grants from public bodies. Some people have raised the issue of our directors having a range of ethnic origins. Of the four company directors, two were born in Cornwall and two weren't, for us that doesn't matter because we welcome ALL the people of Cornwall to join in our venture and are against any kind of discrimination. Any parent or child living in Cornwall should have the opportunity to learn Cornish.

We hope you can join us or can encourage someone you know who is interested to either attend or help out.

Contact details on: Movyans Skolyow Meythrin.

21.1.10

The Laws of Cornwall



Can I suggest that everyone should go to this and/or future talks on the same subject. You'll understand why, in a constitutional sense, we are perfectly within our rights to consider Cornwall as distinct from England.

19.1.10

Cornish rights = Civil rights

A very quick post here to highlight two developments. The first is from the Cornish Stannary Parliament. The CSP, it seems, have taken a step up the ladder, away from European institutions, and are now trying to open a dialogue with the United Nations. Their latest letter (to the UN) detailing the plight of the Cornish national minority can be found here on the One Cornwall blog.

The second is a conference called -What price liberty?- that is being held in Truro this Saturday the 23rd of January. The aim is to debate the future of civil liberties, their protection and enlargement in the Duchy and UK. More can be read here on the OurKingdom blog.

Come join the celebration of Kernow

A new Cornish cultural association named Celebrate Kernow, designed to promote all Cornish culture in an inclusive and refreshingly relaxed way, is going through its birthing pangs.

"Celebrate Kernow" will work in 2 ways

1) Online - The Cornish Culture website will be adapted to be the guide and voice of the association and will have a regular DOING CORNISH CULTURE EMAIL NEWSLETTER. The working group for Celebrate Kernow can be found here on Facebook.

2) On the ground - "Celebrate Kernow Communities" will be founded by interested parties in various areas around the Duchy. They will meet once a month to make music, tell stories, speak the Cornish language, read poetry, eat food, talk dialect and celebrate feasts & festivals. These will be as informal as possible and held in sympathetic taverns or community centres.

A central executive exists a Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer, but will only meet once or twice a year. All day to day communication will be online.

Regularly, throughout the year, 'new skills' weekends will be held for people to broaden their Cornish cultural skills based in one of our towns.

The groups primary aim will be to increase participation in Cornish culture and shall be open to all, regardless of race, gender, religion sexuality and anything else. Our interpretation of Cornish culture will be dynamic and youthful, but this in no ways wishes to exclude older generations.

IT WILL BE FUN and open to all. We will work in partnership with all other Cornish groups to compliment their work, however we will look outwards to try and get new people.

More from the mastermind behind Celebrate Kernow here: Not bad for the village idiot.

17.1.10

Cornish Language Schools

I've received the following from the Celtic League Kernow Branch.


Cowetha wheag

Today three members of the Celtic League launched the Cornish language pre-School Group which was filled to capacity by children and parents on its first day 

I am sure that you would all wish me to pass on congratulations to Rhisiart, Emilie and Conan for a magnificent achievement !

Television, Radio and Newspapers were present and so there has been wonderful media coverage.

May I draw your attention to one particular article in the Times, which is at the link here, where 'disgusted of England' are already beginning to leave their quite unnecessary and unpleasant comments.

May we invite you to leave rather more positive comments in response to these shortighted individuals who would not know or understand diversity if it smacked them in their faces!

16.1.10

Climate change and the Cornish perspective

Prompted by the arguments put forward at the start of this Cornwall 24 thread I thought I'd throw my own two-penneth worth in.

That and the cartoon is quite good.

Reducing carbon emissions necessarily entails a relocalisation of our societies and economies. This should translates for Kernow as better public transport, an increased importance given to local produce, much greater energetic self-reliance and stronger local government. Yes, I know, these are not arguments to prove or disprove human kinds negative impact on global climate change. That's not the object of this post. However the aforementioned  realities of relocalisation are sure to please any Cornish autonomist, or so one would think.

Mebyon Kernow understand this as is shown by their Cornish Diet amongst other campaigns and policies. What surprises me though is the hostility towards Climate Change theory voiced by a tiny, but vocal, minority in the wider Cornish movement. Addicted to their gas guzzling lifestyles or simply the type of person who automatically takes the contrary view to the majority (i.e. a mule headed Cornish idiot)? Either which way they're doing the fight for Cornish autonomy no favours.

Tories committed to anti-fascism?

Anti-fascist MEP threatens legal action over expulsion by ToriesWhat do our Cornish Tory candidates have to say on this issue and the wider concern that their party is allied to some fairly shady characters in the European Parliament?

15.1.10

An update on Power 2010

After some serious web badgering by me I have obtained the response below from one of those involved in POWER 2010.

@ The Cornish Democract

No, and you're right. I think the guide would have been better had it mentioned Cornwall and this is an omission on the part of the guide writers.

Although regionalism was by far the most popular idea for decentralisation within England at the submissions phase it would have been better to mention the fact that devolution could take place to the county level and that there is demand in Cornwall for this type of devolution fuelled, in part, by the anomalous constitutional position of Cornwall.

I can only explain this as an oversight - it's not a deliberate attempt to deny Cornish representation. The possibility of having a referendum on a Cornish assembly would be provided for by, reform 10, the citizen-initiated referenda reform, so the mechanism to have that vote could have made it through (although admittedly Cornwall wasn't mentioned in relation to that in the Guide).

If it's any consolation devolution to national and new sub-national levels was very unpopular on the day and I doubt acknowledging the Cornish question would have changed this. There was a general mood amongst participants that was hostile to new layers of politicians or new units of government.

ps - I hadn't been ignoring you, there's just a fair few comments on the process that I've needed to respond to (as well as a lot of work to do).

Sadly it is no longer possible to vote for reform 10 -citizen initiated referenda- but POWER 2010 does propose other reforms that may interest the Cornish movement. Directly elected Mayors, stronger local government, proportional representation and a written constitution being examples of what you can vote for by clicking this link: http://www.power2010.org.uk/votes

13.1.10

The first MK MP?

From the thisiscornwall website: Will 2010 be the year of the first MK MP?


In their New Year Message, MK’s team of parliamentary candidates have invited local people to look beyond the main London-based political parties and cast their votes for Cornwall in 2010. With a General Election expected in May/June 2010, MK is hoping that voters will turn to it in ever-increasing numbers.

The joint New Year Message has been released by Dick Cole (St Austell and Newquay), Loveday Jenkin (Camborne and Redruth), Simon Reed (St Ives), Loic Rich (Truro and Falmouth) and Joanie Willett (North Cornwall). It reads as follows:

“2009 was not a good year for politics. Faith in the political process is at an all-time low after the MP expenses scandal, the re-emergence of discussion about constitutional reform generated plenty of hot air and little else, while here in Cornwall we had the unitary council imposed on us despite massive local opposition.

“Government action to tackle the economic down-turn, caused by recklessness in the banking sector and the failure of government regulation has cost billions. And it will be ordinary people who will end paying for years to come as the main London parties try to out-do each other in coming forward with plans for severe cuts to public spending, job cuts in the public sector and reductions in service provision.

“Cornwall needs MPs that will stand up and fight for the best interests of local people and to protect public services.

“Over the last twelve months or so, the Lib Dems and the Conservatives have spent a small fortune promoting their Westminster hopefuls in Cornwall. There is a better alternative and we appeal to one and all to look beyond the main London-based political parties and consider supporting a Cornish political party 100% committed to local communities.

“A vote for MK will be a positive statement that we want Cornish communities to thrive, our economy to prosper and a clear statement that we are confident in the ability of local people to make the political decisions that matter.

“A large vote for MK would make headlines. The election of one or more MK MPs would cause a political earthquake and be one of THE stories of the election – putting Cornwall well and truly on the map.”

Further information

Glenn Renshaw, MK’s candidate for the South-East Cornwall seat, recently stood down for family reasons. A new candidate is presently being selected.

12.1.10

The Celtic Web

A couple of developments on the internet to report.

The first is the launch of a site called One Cornwall from the Duchy based company FTI. The site allows users to create their own blog and connect it to their Twitter account. The front page of One Cornwall displaying a selection of latest blog posts and tweets. I'm guessing they still have some work to do on the site but it seems it will be a powerful support to Cornish community blogging.

The next is a site called the United Celtic Nations. Again a networking and blogging site but this time with a larger scope focusing on all the Celtic nations.

11.1.10

Cornwall Powerless 2010

Sometimes letter writing results in positive developments. Even if it is just the Cornish question being featured on another website progress has been made. However disappointment is also not uncommon.

Following last years consultation exercise the Power2010 campaign has produced a list of proposals to renew British Democracy. The pdf file of all 58 proposals can be found here: Power2010 Deliberative Poll Guide to Reforms. The ideas were submitted for the consideration of a cross section of the UK public in a deliberative poll on 9th – 10th January

Whilst it contains many good ideas for reform, and I'll emphasise that point, at no time is Cornwall mentioned. A surprise considering our various demonstrations for greater home-rule, not least of which being the 50,000 signatures on a petition calling for a Cornish Assembly. None of the propositions under the 'Devolution and Local Government' section allow for the creation of a Cornish Assembly. All we are served up with is a choice between an English Parliament or devolution to the same old government zones such as the South West or North East. We've been down that road before I think. Additionally no mention is made of our particular constitutional status or the need to reform it in consultation with the people of Cornwall.

For any campaign or organisation to talk about devolution and local government reform yet ignore Cornwall and one of the UK's largest popular demands for devolution strikes me as odd to say the least and smacks of wilful intent.

I had my doubts as to the authenticity of their open consultation last year due to the large number of blog posts the Power2010 website carried arguing for either an English Parliament or devolution to the standard government zone 'regions' yet not one proposition that would allow for Cornish devolution. Not surprising as key figures within the Power2010 (and OurKingdom) are open about their English nationalism and supporters of an English Parliament.

Their finalised propositions on devolution and local government can be found below.

Chapter five: Devolution and Local Govt

Devolution

42. Hold separate referendums on membership of the Union in England, Scotland and Wales
43. Forbid Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs voting on issues only affecting England
and Scottish and Northern Irish MPs on matters affecting only England and Wales
44. Hold a referendum on establishing an English Parliament
45. Hold a referendum on the strongest form of devolution amongst the nations
46. Move to a region based federal system of Government

Local Government

47. Introduce directly elected mayors into population centres
48. Increase the decision making and taxation powers of local councils
49. Increase the salaries of local councillors
50. Select some councillors by lot from the local population
51. Allow local people to elect the heads of key services, such as the police.
52. Commit to a duty of meaningful public consultation through a deliberative process

Then elaborating on the only ray of sunshine for Kernow.

46. Move to a region based federal system of Government

Federalism is a system in which power is divided between a central governing authority and constituent political units. In Britain the central authority would be a national Government and the constituent political units would be regional government.

"Federalism works in Australia and Canada. Why not in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland?"

Britain would be divided into regions, for example the North East, the North West, etc. Each region would have its own assembly or Government elected by its constituents. The national Government would be elected by the entire electorate. The national and regional Governments would have their own protected areas of authority. For example, each region might have power over its healthcare and education provision while the national Government would retain authority on the issues deemed relevant to the country as a whole, such as defence policy and international relations. There are many different variations on the federal form of Government operating in different countries. The United States, Canada, Brazil and Germany are just some of the countries which use forms of federalism.

Arguments in favour

· It is fundamental to any democratic system that Government is receptive to the local demands of citizens and a regional Government may be better equipped to recognise and meet these demands.
· Regional Governments would give a voice to areas distant from Westminster and would therefore challenge the London-centric nature of British politics.
· Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have their own assemblies or parliaments and these are widely considered successful. Regional Governments could have similar powers over healthcare and education.

Issues / arguments against

· It would be difficult to determine how power should be divided between the national and regional Governments. America has been operating a federal system for over two hundred years but there is still debate about how power should be shared.
· An additional ‘layer’ of politicians will make people feel as though politics is even further removed from them.
· The additional cost of establishing new parliament buildings and paying for all the new politicians and their staff would be extremely large.
· Evidence suggests that the public do not want regional Governments. New Labour considered introducing regional assemblies in a number of areas in England. One referendum was held on this issue in the North East and 78% voted against the proposal.

"Evidence suggests that the public do not want regional governments" Really? So the petition of 50,000 calling for a Cornish assembly, a Goverment of Cornwall Bill from one of our MP's and a well supported and long running campaign for devolution are what exactly?

As I emphasised above Power2010 makes some very good suggestions worthy of support, but personally, as a campaigner for greater Cornish home-rule, I don't see much point in continuing the journey with them.

Read the pdf document then make your own minds up as to the value of Power2010.

New Books


8.1.10

Alliances for the regional election 2010



So far the following alliances have been formed in Brittany for the forthcoming French regional elections.

The UDB will be campaigning alongisde the Greens inside Europe Ecologie Bretagne. This is a subdivision of the  state-wide Europe Ecologie coalition of  Régions et Peuples Solidaires, the French Greens and various other personalities. Europe Ecologie did remarkably well in last years European elections rivalling Frances principle left-wing party. Certainly one to watch.

The Parti Breton has joined the electotal list -Nous te ferons Bretagne- (We'll make Brittany for you). Headed by political personality Christian Troadec, the left-wing mare of Carhaix, the coalition includes the PB as well as independent ecologists and other local personalities.

That leaves Breizhistance and L'Alliance Fédéraliste Bretonne. Previously Emgann (Breizhistance) has allied itself with the trotskyist French far-left, but nothing as of yet has been formalised.

Alliances for the regional election 2010



So far the following alliances have been formed in Brittany for the forthcoming French regional elections.

The UDB will be campaigning alongisde the Greens inside Europe Ecologie Bretagne. This is a subdivision of the  state-wide Europe Ecologie coalition of  Régions et Peuples Solidaires, the French Greens and various other personalities. Europe Ecologie did remarkably well in last years European elections rivalling Frances principle left-wing party. Certainly one to watch.

The Parti Breton has joined the electotal list -Nous te ferons Bretagne- (We'll make Brittany for you). Headed by political personality Christian Troadec, the left-wing mare of Carhaix, the coalition includes the PB as well as independent ecologists and other local personalities.

That leaves Breizhistance and L'Alliance Fédéraliste Bretonne. Previously Emgann (Breizhistance) has allied itself with the trotskyist French far-left, but nothing as of yet has been formalised.

7.1.10

A community language once again

Spread the word

Good tip here from Friends of the Earth.

No use for those magazines you bought for the train ride home? Why not donate glossy mags that you've finished with to doctors, dentists and hospitals as a re-use alternative to recycling.

So all those old issues of MK's Cornish Nation, the Celtic League Carn, the CNP's An Baner Kernewek or Cornish World, why not give them away.

Make sure they get read again before they're recycled.

5.1.10

The complaint to the EHRC about anti-Cornish insults

The Celtic League's complaint to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (see below) seems to have stirred up a fair bit of press coverage.



If you feel strongly about this issue and would like to add your voice to the complaint please do contact the EHRC as well as your local MP and Councillors (as well as anyone else you think may be interested). Some suggestions as to who to copy your complaint to are:





The letter from the Celtic League.


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 frequency used description of Cornish nationals as ‘inbred’ amongst other insulting phrases both 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 remedy the ongoing insult caused.” 

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. These references also come from individuals in a private capacity and also from sources on the internet, but a surprising number also come from supposedly well respected sources like BBC Radio, The Times newspaper (London), The Western Morning News, The Guardian newspaper, The Spectator and a website of Imperial College London. 

Over the last several years, the Celtic League (the organisation and branch) has written a number of letters to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) calling for action against different newspaper articles that have derided and/or insulted the Cornish in some way. However, in each case the PCC have explained to us that there is very little or nothing they can or are prepared to 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 for the public. We would therefore like your help and support in asking you for a comment in a response to this letter that we can use in the 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 

Branch Secretary

Kernow Branch

Celtic League

4.1.10

One Big Echo of a Much Nicer Place

The Cornish Democrat has received the e-mail below and is only too happy to help Cornish writers. I've not read the book but it's now on my list.

I thought your members might be interested in hearing about my new collection of comic stories called One Big Echo of a Much Nicer Place.

All the stories are set in Cornwall, and a real Cornwall at that. As the blurb says, it ‘scratches away the false veneer of chic bistros and trendy surf shacks to enter a Cornwall that few from outside realise exists...’

Reviews have been good so far. ‘Very funny,’ says the Cornishman. ‘His stories invariably possess a great sting in the tail,’ says the West Briton. And Colin Wilson, author of cult 1950s tome The Outsider states: ‘Martin Philp is a highly original writer of great talent. His odd blend of humour and tragedy must be quite unique.’

Published by Scryfa, One Big Echo of a Much Nicer Place is available in bookshops in Cornwall for just £7.50. You can also buy it securely online from the One Big Echo website

3.1.10

Peter Tatchell


All at One Kernow were saddened to hear of the health problems facing human rights campaigner and friend of the Cornish nation Peter Tatchell.

One Kernow would like to wish Peter a speedy recovery for 2010, and we would like to join with Peter in wishing you a Happy New Year for 2010!

Bledhen Nowyth Da!

Wishing you a Pink, Green and Red New Year. 


Wishing the world equality, peace, liberty and justice. 

Huge thanks for your support in 2009. It is treasured. 

From many small streams, a mighty river flows. We are the small streams that can make a mighty river for human liberation. 

Warmest regards for 2010, 


Peter 


To catch up with my campaigns, see here:


If you are willing and able to make a donation towards my human rights work in 2010, see here: