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30.11.10

Yet more Tory Cornish talk!

In an effort to calm the storm over Devonwall and moreover to smooth over the -Tamar is not the Amazon- gaff David Cameron has been waving his St Pirans.

In -Cameron on Cornwall, cuts and the coalition- we are treated to the following from the PM: "I think Cornish national identity is very powerful – people feel a great affinity with Cornwall. We're going to devolve a lot of power to Cornwall – that will go to the Cornish unitary authority. That's right, but I don't think it's impossible for a Member of Parliament to represent a part of Cornwall and a part of West Devon. I don't think it's impossible."

Cornish national identity? Cornish devolution? Not bad, but haven't we been here before? Lets put this in the perspective of other promises emanating from the LibLabCons.

Before coming to power in the 90's New labour promised devolution to any 'region' that showed an interest. Shortly after that Cornwall produced a petition of 50,000 signatures calling for a Cornish Assembly. Labour promptly chucked the petition in the bin and refused to explain why.

Before the last general election David Cameron himself promised a Minster for Cornwall! After the election this gets shelved and in fact we get Devonwall instead.

"You know I promised to help you out? Well, instead I'm going to kick you in the knackers"

Leading up to the decisive vote on Devonwall in the House of Commons our Lib Dem MP's promised to fight to the bitter end. Our newly elected Stephen Gilbert even went as far as to state: "My job is to vote against the government to keep Cornwall intact". Along with his ConDem colleagues Gilbert then voted FOR the Devonwall Bill with the exception of Andrew George who voted for and against.

London's politicians do seem to talk with forked tongues.

No matter what they promise it is vital we do not let up the pressure to keep Cornwall whole! Letters and e-mails are needed more than ever before. For details please visit the Keep Cornwall Whole website. Equally we need to be thinking of the next stages in the fight if democracy fails us in the Houses of Parliament.

Should violence against women in the UK be seen as hate crime?

Should violence against women in the UK be seen as hate crime? | openDemocracy

28.11.10

Direct action at the Post Office

The general secretary (GS) of the Celtic League has written to the mayor of a Breton town, asking him to give his support to efforts in persuading the post office in the town to use the Breton language in its working practice.

The letter from the gs follows a protest earlier this month from a group of Breton language activists [Ai'ta!] who staged a sit in at Landerne/Landerneau post office. In his letter, the GS says that it is common practice for post offices to use the Welsh language and requests that the Mayor supports this initiative too. In addition, the GS copied the letter to the regional councillor for his support. The English and French language versions of the letter can be found
below.

`Dear Patrick Leclerc

Use of brezhoneg in post offices

I am writing to you following a protest in the Landerne/Landerneau post office earlier this month.

The peaceful protest involved a number of activists lying down on the post office floor in an attempt to pressure the post office system in Brittany to use the Breton language in their business. As you will be aware, the post office director took exception to the protesters and called the police. However, the point that the protesters were highlighting was perfectly feasible. In an area of Brittany where there are a large number of Breton speakers, like Landerne/Landerneau, it is only natural that a public service like the post office, makes some attempt to incorporate Breton in their working practice. It is our belief that all post offices in Brittany should also do the same.

In post offices in Wales it is a common practice for post offices to use the welsh language, even in area where the Welsh language isn't particularly strong. This encourages a heightened awareness of the language among the public and is a relatively easy and cheap way for the post office to demonstrate their commitment to cultural and linguistic diversity.

I am aware that Landerne/Landerneau already has many bilingual public signs - the Celtic League held an agm in the town in 2006 and was impressed by the bilingual signs in the train station - and that the municipality launched a linguistic plan through Yar d'ar brezhoneg in 2004. However, even though we are respectful of the efforts the municipality have made to date to make Breton more visible in the public sphere, the Celtic league believes that there is always room for improvement. For this reason we have also copied the regional councillor in on this letter, with the hope that he takes this matter up further.

I hope that you take our observations and comments into consideration and request that opportunities to use the Breton language be made more readily available for the general public in the future.

Je vous écris à la suite de la manifestation qui prit place dans les locaux de la Poste de Landerne/Landerneau au début de ce mois.

La manifestation non-violente impliquait un nombre d'activistes étendus sur le sol de la Poste de Landerne/ Landerneau afin d'obliger La Poste en Bretagne à utiliser le breton d'une manière plus systématique. Comme vous le savez déjà sans doute, le Directeur de la Poste de Landerne/Landerneau désapprouva l'action des manifestants et fit intervenir les forces de police. Ce que demandaient les manifestants était pourtant tout à fait raisonnable. Landerne/Landerneau est situé dans une partie de la Bretagne où nombre d'habitants parlent couramment le breton. Il est de ce fait naturel que le service public en général et La Poste en particulier essaient d'introduire la langue bretonne comme outil de travail de façon plus systématique. Nous pensons fermement que tous les locaux de La Poste en Bretagne devraient en faire de même.

Au Pays de Galles, `the Post Office' – l'équivalent gallois de La Poste – utilise le gallois comme outil de travail de façon systématique y compris dans les parties du Pays Galles où la langue galloise n'est parlée que par une poignée de personnes. C'est une façon relativement peu chère et facile pour elle d'encourager la population à prendre conscience de l'existence et de l'utilité de la langue et de montrer son engagement pour la diversité culturelle et linguistique.

Je suis bien conscient que Landerne/Landerneau a déjà beaucoup de panneaux de signalisation bilingues. La Ligue Celte avait d'ailleurs été très impressionnée par la qualité et l'ampleur de la signalisation bilingue de la gare de Landerne lors de sa Réunion Annuelle en 2006 de même que par le plan de développement linguistique Yar d'ar brezhoneg lancé par la municipalité en 2004. Malgré notre respect pour les efforts continus de la municipalité de Landerne/Landerneau de rendre le breton plus visible dans la sphère publique, la Ligue Celte croit fermement à l'importance d'une amélioration consistante et continue. C'est pour cette raison que j'envoie une copie de cette lettre au Conseiller Régional, dans l'espoir qu'il poursuive cette affaire.

J'espère que vous tiendrez compte de nos remarques et commentaires et je vous demande expressément de permettre à la population de Landerne/Landerneau d'utiliser le breton de manière plus systématique à l'avenir.

En attendant une réponse de votre part, veuillez agréer, Monsieur, l'expression de mes sentiments les meilleurs.

Rhisiart Tal-e-bot
Secrétaire Général de la Ligue Celte

CC Cc M. Maille Pierre'

This article prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secretary Celtic League. For follow-up comment or clarification contact:

Tel: 0044 (0)1209315884
M: 0044(0)7787318666
rhisiart.talebot@...
gensec@...

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League

17/11/10

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:

http://celticleague.net
Celtic League News Group.

Direct action at the Post Office

The general secretary (GS) of the Celtic League has written to the mayor of a Breton town, asking him to give his support to efforts in persuading the post office in the town to use the Breton language in its working practice.

The letter from the gs follows a protest earlier this month from a group of Breton language activists [Ai'ta!] who staged a sit in at Landerne/Landerneau post office. In his letter, the GS says that it is common practice for post offices to use the Welsh language and requests that the Mayor supports this initiative too. In addition, the GS copied the letter to the regional councillor for his support. The English and French language versions of the letter can be found
below.

`Dear Patrick Leclerc

Use of brezhoneg in post offices

I am writing to you following a protest in the Landerne/Landerneau post office earlier this month.

The peaceful protest involved a number of activists lying down on the post office floor in an attempt to pressure the post office system in Brittany to use the Breton language in their business. As you will be aware, the post office director took exception to the protesters and called the police. However, the point that the protesters were highlighting was perfectly feasible. In an area of Brittany where there are a large number of Breton speakers, like Landerne/Landerneau, it is only natural that a public service like the post office, makes some attempt to incorporate Breton in their working practice. It is our belief that all post offices in Brittany should also do the same.

In post offices in Wales it is a common practice for post offices to use the welsh language, even in area where the Welsh language isn't particularly strong. This encourages a heightened awareness of the language among the public and is a relatively easy and cheap way for the post office to demonstrate their commitment to cultural and linguistic diversity.

I am aware that Landerne/Landerneau already has many bilingual public signs - the Celtic League held an agm in the town in 2006 and was impressed by the bilingual signs in the train station - and that the municipality launched a linguistic plan through Yar d'ar brezhoneg in 2004. However, even though we are respectful of the efforts the municipality have made to date to make Breton more visible in the public sphere, the Celtic league believes that there is always room for improvement. For this reason we have also copied the regional councillor in on this letter, with the hope that he takes this matter up further.

I hope that you take our observations and comments into consideration and request that opportunities to use the Breton language be made more readily available for the general public in the future.

Je vous écris à la suite de la manifestation qui prit place dans les locaux de la Poste de Landerne/Landerneau au début de ce mois.

La manifestation non-violente impliquait un nombre d'activistes étendus sur le sol de la Poste de Landerne/ Landerneau afin d'obliger La Poste en Bretagne à utiliser le breton d'une manière plus systématique. Comme vous le savez déjà sans doute, le Directeur de la Poste de Landerne/Landerneau désapprouva l'action des manifestants et fit intervenir les forces de police. Ce que demandaient les manifestants était pourtant tout à fait raisonnable. Landerne/Landerneau est situé dans une partie de la Bretagne où nombre d'habitants parlent couramment le breton. Il est de ce fait naturel que le service public en général et La Poste en particulier essaient d'introduire la langue bretonne comme outil de travail de façon plus systématique. Nous pensons fermement que tous les locaux de La Poste en Bretagne devraient en faire de même.

Au Pays de Galles, `the Post Office' – l'équivalent gallois de La Poste – utilise le gallois comme outil de travail de façon systématique y compris dans les parties du Pays Galles où la langue galloise n'est parlée que par une poignée de personnes. C'est une façon relativement peu chère et facile pour elle d'encourager la population à prendre conscience de l'existence et de l'utilité de la langue et de montrer son engagement pour la diversité culturelle et linguistique.

Je suis bien conscient que Landerne/Landerneau a déjà beaucoup de panneaux de signalisation bilingues. La Ligue Celte avait d'ailleurs été très impressionnée par la qualité et l'ampleur de la signalisation bilingue de la gare de Landerne lors de sa Réunion Annuelle en 2006 de même que par le plan de développement linguistique Yar d'ar brezhoneg lancé par la municipalité en 2004. Malgré notre respect pour les efforts continus de la municipalité de Landerne/Landerneau de rendre le breton plus visible dans la sphère publique, la Ligue Celte croit fermement à l'importance d'une amélioration consistante et continue. C'est pour cette raison que j'envoie une copie de cette lettre au Conseiller Régional, dans l'espoir qu'il poursuive cette affaire.

J'espère que vous tiendrez compte de nos remarques et commentaires et je vous demande expressément de permettre à la population de Landerne/Landerneau d'utiliser le breton de manière plus systématique à l'avenir.

En attendant une réponse de votre part, veuillez agréer, Monsieur, l'expression de mes sentiments les meilleurs.

Rhisiart Tal-e-bot
Secrétaire Général de la Ligue Celte

CC Cc M. Maille Pierre'

This article prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secretary Celtic League. For follow-up comment or clarification contact:

Tel: 0044 (0)1209315884
M: 0044(0)7787318666
rhisiart.talebot@...
gensec@...

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League

17/11/10

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:

http://celticleague.net
Celtic League News Group.

27.11.10

What Anarchism really means

A strong thread of Anarchist thought can be found within the movement for Cornish self-determination. Resilient autonomous communities, direct democracy and autogestion are popular themes.

Anarchism however is often the victim of gross misrepresentation. The low brow UK tabloid press being experts in the field of dumbing down otherwise legitimate political positions. The recent student protests provide us with the perfect example. The essay below comes from the The Anarchist Studies Network and tries to set the record straight. I was tipped off to its existence on the generally excellent Our Scotland forum.

Direct action is part of creating direct democracy, but the student protests saw the media painting a caricature of anarchism


Protesters are never a homogenous group, but those who protested under the anti-cuts banner last week were united in the view that the marketisation of higher education should be opposed. Typically, however, property destruction magically transformed a sizeable subset into "anarchists", and gave a green light to the general dismissal of their concerns.


It's certainly true that anarchists were among the protesters. What's misleading is the media's assumption that there's a generalised relationship between anarchism and violence. Anarchism is a far richer tradition, and in the light of the media frenzy, it's worth reflecting on what it stands for.


The Con-Dem alliance is looking to roll back the state. Anarchists want this too, but the government is looking to roll back the state and let business take up the slack, thereby bringing a fictitious "free market" into every last recess of our lives. That's where the disagreement lies. Anarchists advocate practical alternatives to both this neoliberal slash-and-burn policy and the old Labour state-socialism.


Generating a market in education will benefit those who want to make money out of it. Principally, this will include profit-driven universities and businesses. Education for the purpose of developing a sense of our personal and social potential is out, while education for a fat pay cheque is in: the government takes training off its balance sheets and heaps the cost onto students. Students are in effect being asked to pay universities up to £40k for a job interview with a graduate recruiter. And if your "investment" in your future doesn't pay off, the system will claim to be blameless: the responsibility is the student's. To assume that the interests of business and society are the same is utopian.


But anarchists do not believe that state socialism is the only alternative to the undemocratic inequalities produced by neoliberalism. Socialising property does not have to mean nationalising it – that would simply be substituting one set of bosses for another. What about genuine collective worker ownership of industry and services; what about universities democratically run by academics, students and support staff, instead of largely unaccountable and overpaid managers and technocrats?


More widely, couldn't we radicalise the co-operative model and have all companies democratically owned and run by managers and workers? Couldn't we expand and federate worker co-ops, mutuals and collectives? The movement for fan-ownership of football clubs is a further indication that these kinds of alternatives work. The challenge is to think through their potential, and anarchism provides such a framework.


But how does all this differ from the "big society", you might ask? In brief, the Tories are trying to mutualise the welfare state in preparation for privatising it. Individuals will be made responsible, but they will be given none of the power. Charities, voluntary associations and so on will be allowed to organise a village fete but the neoliberal structures of power will not be challenged. Wouldn't it make more sense to start by mutualising the banks?


As it stands, politicians have managed to protect the banks while everyone else takes the pain. As the cuts pinch the poor and the rich get no poorer, it will become clear whose interests are being served. As worker militancy grows and protests become more frequent, the demand for ever stronger, authoritative states will become louder, civil liberties will be curtailed (again), and those at the top of the tree will tell us that they have some special right.


Modern liberal democracies garner the opinion of some adults of voting age once every five years as a solution to pre-determined elite bargaining. Who voted for the Con-Dem coalition? When the governments that are voted in then routinely ignore the will of the people, be that over wars, cuts, or the minutiae of policy, we see modern representative democracy for the sham that it is. Allowing protest only on condition that it will never present a challenge to government is part of that same sham.


Because this fake democracy doesn't work and the interests of anarchists could never be represented by a political party, direct action is the tactic of choice. And direct action is part of the process of creating direct democracy. It produces results by raising the profile of causes and often halting practices many object to.


As well as a tactic, direct action is also a means for self-empowerment. It is a component of the society we hope to create, where people take control of their lives into their own hands and confront the root causes of injustices directly, without representatives. This sometimes includes property damage, but anarchists take seriously the notions of liberty and equality: that people are capable of speaking and acting for themselves and become even more capable through practice rather than representation.


The threat to a liveable world comes not from anarchists, but from governments and capitalism. Before the current crisis is used as a front to take us even deeper into a neoliberal nightmare, let's reconsider alternatives.


*************************************************************


(The Anarchist Studies Network is a specialist group of the UK Political Studies Association. This piece was collectively written but does not necessarily reflect a consensus view)

This seems an appropriate time to give a hat tip to the Kernow Anarchists Network and the campaiging they do for Cornwall's communities. KAN manage to give recognition to Cornish difference without betraying the egalitarian principles of anarchism. For that they should be clearly distinguished from the National Anarchist Movement, a strange Frankenstein's monster of ideas that advocates racial separatism. Make no mistakes the NAM -already mentioned on One Kernow- is but one of the latest incarnations of the extreme-right. As a movement it is invested with plenty of old hands from the far-right and neo-fascist circles. They might link to Warlinnen on their website but can anybody take the idea of a racially pure Cornish community seriously? Sounds like a recipe for inbreeding, bad food and extreme boredom to me.

In the spirit of One Kernow and as far as I'm concerned Cornish culture is not the possession of any imagined pure Cornish race. Cornish language and culture is part of humankind's heritage and should be open to all who wish to celebrate it. Perhaps residents of the Duchy and those of Cornish ancestry feel a particular attachment to Cornish culture. Perhaps they should consider themselves the caretakers of Cornishness responsible to the rest of humanity for preserving their piece of the human cultural jigsaw, but it is not any one groups exclusive possession.

23.11.10

Cornish by English

The threat to Cornish integrity posed by the reform of UK Parliamentary constituencies « England's Left Forward

Cornish Independence: should people support it?

Some blog opportunities above for Cornish comment. Please do visit the sites and leave your thoughts.

22.11.10

Love to hate

After a blatant attempt by a new member of the Cornwall 24 forum to use the actions of 30 Islamist extremists -Muslims Against Crusades (MAC)- in order to whip up hatred against Kernow's placid Muslim community I thought it apt to share the following from Hope Not Hate.

Plague on both their houses!

I particularly like the way in which the author makes it quite clear that both groups of nut jobs need each other to exist and feed off each other. I can almost see them all at knocking off time taking of their apparel of English fascism and Islamic fundamentalism and going for a curry together.

I've hesitated in the past in giving too much support to campaigns like Hope Not Hate as more often than not they seem dominated by the British state-nationalist left (Unions, Labour etc) and therefore viscerally hostile to the recognition and empowerment of the UK's stateless nations. I hope one day they prove me totally wrong. What are Plaids and the SNP's relations like with such organisations? Does the Celtic League have any ties with them?

Anyway a good campaign can't be knocked. All power to its organisers.

The Atlas of Stateless Nations in Europe

The new book -Atlas des Nations sans état en Europe- has finally hit the shops.

It's publication had been delayed but now available to the Francophonic world is a smart new atlas in which can found a chapter on the stateless nation that is Kernow amongst many others of course.

Lets hope the English translation is soon to follow. I'll certainly be available to help with as I was for the French version. It's a very gratifying experience to see ones name in print. Okay enough trumpet blowing.

To mark its release I thought I'd reproduce an essay on self-determination by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation UNPO below:

All peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

What is Self-determination?

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.

The preferred outcome of an exercise of the right to self-determination varies greatly among the members of the UNPO. For some, the only acceptable outcome is full political independence. This is particularly true of occupied or colonized nations. For others, the goal is a degree of political, cultural and economic autonomy, sometimes in the form of a federal relationship. For others yet, the right to live on and manage a people's traditional lands free of external interference and incursion is the essential aim of a struggle for self-determination.

Self-determination in International Law

The principle of self-determination is prominently embodied in Article I of the Charter of the United Nations. Earlier it was explicitly embraced by US President Woodrow Wilson, by Lenin and others, and became the guiding principle for the reconstruction of Europe following World War I. The principle was incorporated into the 1941 Atlantic Charter and the Dumbarton Oaks proposals which evolved into the United Nations Charter. Its inclusion in the UN Charter marks the universal recognition of the principle as fundamental to the maintenance of friendly relations and peace among states. It is recognized as a right of all peoples in the first article common to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which both entered into force in 1976. 1 Paragraph 1 of this Article provides:

All peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

The right to self-determination of peoples is recognized in many other international and regional instruments, including the Declaration of Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation Among States adopted b the UN General Assembly in 1970, 2, the Helsinki Final Act adopted by the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) in 1975, 3, the African Charter of Human and Peoples' Rights of 1981, 4, the CSCE Charter of Paris for a New Europe adopted in 1990, 5, and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action of 1993. 6, It has been affirmed by the International Court of Justice in the Namibia case 7, the Western Sahara case 8, and the East Timor case 9, in which its erga omnes character was confirmed. Furthermore, the scope and content of the right to self-determination has been elaborated upon by the UN Human Rights Committee 10, and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 11, and numerous leading international jurists.

That the right to self-determination is part of so called hard law has been affirmed also by the International Meeting of Experts for the Elucidation of the Concepts of Rights of Peoples brought together by UNESCO from 1985 to 1991, 12, it came to the conclusion that (1) peoples' rights are recognized in international law; (2) the list of such rights is not very clear, but also that (3) hard law does in any event include the right to self-determination and the right to existence, in the sense of the Genocide Convention.

The inclusion of the right to self-determination in the International Covenants on Human Rights and in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, referred to above, emphasizes that self-determination is an integral part of human rights law which has a universal application. At the same time, it is recognized that compliance with the right of self-determination is a fundamental condition for the enjoyment of other human rights and fundamental freedoms, be they civil, political, economic, social or cultural.

The concept of self-determination is a very powerful one. As Wolfgang Danspeckgruber put it: "No other concept is as powerful, visceral, emotional, unruly, as steep in creating aspirations and hopes as self-determination." It evokes emotions, expectations and fears which often lead to conflict and bloodshed. Some experts argued that the title holders should be or are limited in international law. Others believed in the need to limit the possible outcome for all or categories of title holders. Ultimately, the best approach is to view the right to self-determination in its broad sense, as a process providing a wide range of possible outcomes dependent on the situations, needs, interests and conditions of concerned parties. The principle and fundamental right to self-determination of all peoples is firmly established in international law.

20.11.10

Fight the ConDem Nation!

The Cornish Republican supports Falmouth Fight the Cuts. From the website: We will not stand by while the Con-Dem government makes savage cuts to our education and social welfare.

Hear! Hear! We will not stand by and watch the Con-Dem government destroy Cornwall's territorial integrity either! The Cornish Celtic League is already in contact with the people behind FFTC. lets hope more of the Cornish movement gets involved too.

National self-determination and social justice go hand in hand. Where is  a Cornwall Workers Union when you need one?

17.11.10

The Relubbus Roundup

Nyns eus goon heb lagas, na ke heb scovarn. There is no down without an eye, nor hedge without an ear.

Putting the 'R' Back into the 'County' of Cornwall!! From the ever funny Relubbus Roundup. If you haven't already visited the Roundup then don't hesitate. You'll soon see what you've been missing.

14.11.10

UK Government pursuing right-wing agenda in Cornwall and Wales


Cabinet office manual may be basis for constitution

Cabinet office manual may be basis for constitution: ePolitix.com:

"The manual is believed to contain guidance on important constitutional questions such as the monarchy and Privy Council, the role of the prime minister and ministers, collective cabinet decision making, ministers and Parliament, minsters and the law, ministers and the civil service, relations with devolved administration and local government and relations with Europe and international institutions."

....and perhaps the Duchy of Cornwall. lets hope the document is quickly released uncensured into the public domain and that it contains yet more information on the complex relationship between the Duchy, Cornwall and the United Kingdom.

Talk of "localism" is a sham without real constitutional power to local government

Talk of "localism" is a sham without real constitutional power to local government | openDemocracy

12.11.10

One Kernow shutting-up shop

Created largely as a response to racist incidents in Quenchwell the One Kernow blog, formerly Cornish Against Racism, is going to be closed down due to lack of interest.

Created initially as an anti-racist focal point for the wider Cornish movement it must be said that interest in the blog and what it could become has been disappointing.

One Kernow's posts will be imported into the CRB and the blog deleted within one week unless a person comes forward with an interest in taking the project further.

Rest assured that the Cornish Republican will continue to blog on the themes found in One Kernow.

11.11.10

Write to the ConDems

Following my previous blog post on our two-faced ConDem MP's I think it's time for some answers don't you?

Please write to our Cornish MP's and ask them why they voted for the Bill that will create a Devonwall parliamentary constituency. You can contact them here using the Write To Them website. Equally you could write to your Lib Dem MP and ask for an explanation on the tuition fees U-turn.

Equally, party to some disinformation released by Lib Dem Adam Killeya under the pretence of Keep Cornwall Whole I'd just like to set the record straight. In an e-mail sent out by Adam he writes that:

"Cornwall was discussed, and the issue provoked the greatest number of MPs voting against the Government since the election, including all six Cornish MPs, but was defeated 315-257"

Not quite true Adam. Perhaps you are letting your loyalty to the Lib Dems get in the way of the facts. In reality 95% of Con Dem MP's voted AGAINST the pro-Cornwall amendments even if our six Cornish MP's voted for them. When these amendments were rejected by the House of Commons our 6 MP's voted FOR the Bill that, if it becomes law, will create a Devonwall parliamentary constituency. Simply ignoring these facts and carrying on as if nothing's happened will undermine the KCW campaign. People will come to see KCW as nothing more than a public image damage limitation exercise on behalf of some highly compromised Cornish Con Dem MP's.

Anyway I'm not going to let two faced politicking get in the way of a vitally important campaign. Keep Cornwall Whole is now asking us to write to the Lords. If you want to do this via e-mail you can do so by clicking on their names here: Lord Strathcylde, Lord McNally and Lord Wallace. Write to them and keep writing to any one else you think will listen.

10.11.10

MK’s Annual Conference : Come one and all.

MK’s Annual Conference will be held at the Public Rooms in Bodmin on Saturday November 13th and the Party will be marking its 60th anniversary with a new publication and a celebratory event.

MK’s Annual Conference

The main purpose of this year's Conference will be to plan ahead for the next five years and decide on our approach to future elections to Cornwall Council, the European Parliament and Westminster. Our approach to a range of pressing issues, such the savage cuts to the public sector and attacks on the integrity of Cornwall, will also be debated and agreed.

Registration will commence at 10.30, when tea and coffee will be available. The morning session will start at 11.00 and the event is anticipated to finish at about 5.00.

Celebrating sixty years

Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall was founded on 6th January 1951. To mark our important 60th anniversary, a commemorative publication is to be produced and a celebratory event will be held in January 2011.

The commemorative publication

This publication is presently being written and it will be an A4 booklet. It will include numerous photographs, press clippings and other images from the 1950s through to the present day.

Anniversary event

On Saturday 22nd January 2011, MK will be hosting an evening event at the Lowenac Hotel in Camborne to celebrate the Party’s 60th anniversary. It will include music and other entertainment, reminiscences of the Party’s campaigns and achievements, as well as a significant buffet. The doors will open at 6.00 and the entertainment will be from 7.00 until late! Tickets will cost £10 each and we hope that you will be able to join us at the event.

Further information and contact details here:
Mebyon Kernow website.
Party leader Dick Cole's blog.

Cornwall ConDem(n)ed?

All except one of our ConDem MP's voted for Devonwall.

It's true that our six ConDem MP's proposed and voted for amendments that would have protected Cornwall's territorial integrity. However when the amendments were rejected  by the House of Commons -some might say a forgone conclusion- our fearless MP's still voted for the Parliamentary Voting and Constituencies Bill. The Bill that will result in the creation of a Devonwall parliamentary constituency if it should become law. It must also be noted that the vast majority of Lib Dems and Tories voted against the pro-Cornwall amendments and for the Devonwall Bill.

Lets put this in some context.

Before the election the Tories promised Cornwall a minister and appointed Mark Prisk Shadow Minister for Cornwall. Not only have they totally reneged on this promise but they've driven the dagger deeper and undermined Cornwall's thousand year old border with England. The icing on the cake being that Mark Prisk joyfully voted for Devonwall and against the pro-Cornwall amendments.

Both our Tory and Lib Dem MP's have outdone themselves in Cornish patriotism: "This is Cornwall that is England!" "Cornwall is a Duchy" "Cornwall a fifth nation" etc etc etc. The level of lipstick Cornish nationalism has been unprecedented in the Duchy recently. Nonetheless, one by one, they voted for Devonwall. Following the party whip, their mapped out party career plans and/or their desire for AV keeping Cornwall whole lost out.

Considering the Cornish Lib Dems long-standing professed pro-Cornishness we can only marvel at the level of hypocrisy and cynicism they've shown in voting for Devonwall and against everything they've claimed to stand for in the Keep Cornwall Whole campaign. Saying one thing -loud and proud- but then voting in the opposite direction, I'm not the only one that sees this as yet another blow to voter confidence in politics and politicians.

Still, making spectacular U-turns on electoral promises seems to be a Lib Dem speciality of late.

The irony of ironies being that this voting and constituencies reform is about restoring public confidence in politics and politicians. Sadly as a convinced supporter of electoral reform I can see nothing more than a shallow attempt by the ConDems to boost the credibility of the political establishment by offering the non-choice of AV or FPTP dressed up as deep and empowering electoral reform.

6.11.10

Why is Labour so hostile to Cornish devolution?

We all know that when Labour was pushing for devolution to the artificial government zones, the South West Region being one of them, Labour absolutely refused to consider Cornwall only devolution even after receiving the petition for 50,000 signatures calling for a Cornish assembly.

It's no secret that the Labour government was highly embarrassed by UK's rejection of their plans for regional assemblies whilst Cornwall was the only territory to show any real interest. I should be noted that at the time Jude Robinson, Charlotte MacKenzie and the rest of Cornish Labour, now all ardent defenders of Cornwall's territorial integrity, did not supported the creation of a Cornish assembly but rather wished to see Kernow disappear within a much larger South West government zone run from Bristol. No political opportunism there then.

Has anything changed in their inflexible attitude? Following a Twitter conversation with some local Labour activists I fear not. At least two Labour supporters [1][2] resident in Cornwall were incredulous that Cornish devolution should even be considered. The usual attacks then followed including the accusation that "isn't it all a bit isolationist wanting to cut Cornwall off?" or words to that effect. I think I was accused of some form of racism at some point as well. Anyway, when I pointed out to them that Labour had championed Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish and English regional devolution, in other words and following their logic 'isolationism' the conversation was cut short. Funny that.

It should also be noted that during our exchange a Labour activist who has access to my personal details, I suspect via Facebook, was quick to provide our two Labour ladies with information about my private life which they happily employed against me in our debate. Thanks for that to the brave and responsible Labour activist so happy to spread peoples personal details around the web. How very moral of you.

I pose this question now as from Labours ranks can be heard rumblings of English regional devolution once again. One example is this speech to the Cambrian Society from MP David Blunkett where he proposes a Yorkshire assembly. Equally we have -The real battle for the future of the English regions is just beginning- by Kevin Meagher on Labour Uncut. Of course in both examples no mention is made of Cornwall. One has to ask why. They are not totally ignorant of our campaign. The petition of 50,000 certainly got their attention. So why their deliberate refusal to discuss Cornwall in the context of the debate on devolution and the English question?

My prediction? Devolution to English regions will be part of Labours election promises in their attempt to retake power in future election battles. They want to finish the job the started with devolution to Scotland, Wales and the Six Counties, but what form will their regions take? Will they show a little more flexibility on what they consider a region? Let me suggest some election promises for Labour to make in Kernow:

1) Return Cornwall's territorial integrity.

2) organise a referendum on Cornish devolution.

If you give us this you'll win in the Duchy.

4.11.10

Lines on a map

In defence of keeping Cornwall whole a certain El Dafydd El posted the following contribution to my article on the WalesHome.org website.

I think the reason why many people in Cornwall feel aggrieved by the new cross-Tamar constituency is simple.

We live in a constitutional democracy. If you wish to influence your MP on specific Cornish issues – mainly language and culture, things which are unique to Cornwall and no other place on earth has the slightest interest in – then having an MP whose constituency is only partly in Cornwall partly negates the existence of that entity but also puts specific Cornish issues even further down the list. It effectively means that Cornish issues are doubly marginalised – firstly by being a marginal culture and secondly by being of marginal interest in a constituency which doesn’t feel part of the entity within which your culture makes sense.

The effect of this isn’t a plurality of languages and cultures as you seem to allude to in your hiraeth for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but a centralisation and standardisation of culture. By the by Jeff, my guess is that, had you been in the A-H Empire you wouldn’t have seen it as a great mosaic of nations but would have viewed it as full of nuisance nations who just didn’t understand the need to all speak German! In an age of mass democracy my guess is that the Empire would have come to an end (maybe bloody due to centralist tendencies in Vienna and especially Budapest) to squash the ‘nationalists’ … all in the name of common sense, modernism and equality of course.

Likewise, I have to say your thinking, whilst not harking back to the Dark Ages does hark back to another Dark Age for many minority languages and cultures – the deterministic, Darwinian Victorian Age. You seem to want to ridicule differences and cultures in the name of what, modernism … hasn’t modernism created enough wars and genocides over the last 150 years already?

One of the big pluses the royalist UK has over republican France is a certain respect for inconsistency and tradition over rationalisation and dogmatism. As a socialist then maybe you prefer the dogmatism, but there’s a strong streak of live and let live and practicality in British socialism too. Why not make an exception for Cornwall? Would it not show a certain grace and civility? Why your need to belittle people and cultures? Britain as an island has lost a language (Cornish) and now has the opportunity to revive it. Isn’t that an interesting, lively, exciting, beautiful thing? Is it really such a problem?

Lines on maps are there because they create political and cultural realities; facts on the ground. Not having a ‘line on a map’ means you have no way of creating a different political and cultural reality. Or, rather, you have a line on a map for Cornwall and it is in Lands end which means it should be treated no differently from Surrey or Yorkshire which means it will be no different to Surrey or Yorkshire.

3.11.10

Yorkshire Devolve!

The creation of a campaign for a devolved Yorkshire Assembly gives the Cornish movement one more opportunity to pose a tricky question. English regionalism or English nationalism?

Yorkshire Independence is the name of the website but devolution is what's being proposed. The arguments for a Yorkshire Assembly, well put and logical, will be nothing new to Cornish campaigners. We want nothing less, and perhaps a little more, for Kernow. Their campaign seems sincere and they have already had some interesting and positive responses from various politicians. I've exchanged a few e-mails with the people behind Yorkshire Independence and they are open to any possible cooperation with other democratic nationalists and regionalists from the UK and further afield.

As a nationalist though I find myself troubled by the conflict that pitches English regionalism against English nationalism.

If all English regionalists supported the artificial government zones (i.e the South West, North East etc) and only this form of devolution then my choice would be clear. However this is not the case. The Wessex, Mercian and some other English regionalists do recognise the Cornish nations right to be a region and to have great self-determination. Equally within a framework of asymmetric devolution across England Cornwall's aspirations to an assembly would fit quite comfortably. We would be fools to refuse such an offer. Is the recently granter Cornish LEP, along with others such projects, a move toward asymmetric devolution?

On the other hand if my opinion was formed by the bile spat at Cornish campaigners by all but a tiny minority of English nationalists then again my decision would be simple. However I'm a nationalists and cannot but defend the right of all nations to self-determination. If the English want an all England parliament then they should have one.

Between pragmatism and idealism, what position should the Cornish movement take when it comes to the English question?