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31.3.11

St Pirans debate denied

A Councillor's motion calling on Cornwall Council to debate asking the (UK) government to create a public holiday on St Piran's day was refused yesterday.

Chair of Cornwall Council, Cllr. Pat Rowe, said that the debate would not go ahead because of `resource implications', leaving one of the supporters of the motion `bemused'. The motion was proposed by Liberal Democrat Councillor Anne Kerridge, following the publication of a government While Paper issued earlier this month. The White Paper – an authorative government report that can be used to help to solve a problem - aims to consult on a proposal to allow a public holiday on either April 23, for St George's Day, or on October 21 to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. However in Cornwall Cllr. Kerridge rightly pointed out this month that:

"There's no reason to impose a one-size-fits-all bank holiday solution" adding that "many countries have different holidays on different days in different regions."

Cllr. Kerridge said that:

"St George's Day or Trafalgar are irrelevancies here compared to our pride in Cornwall and our national saint."

Supporter of the motion Cllr. Rowe said:

"Cornwall was incensed to have lost its integrity now that parliamentary constituency boundaries are being redrawn. The Government owes us one, and a small compensation would be the creation of a St Piran's Day holiday."

Even though the White Paper suggests making St George's Day a public holiday in England, it also points out in parenthesis that this will be St David's Day in Wales, but no comment is made regarding St Piran's Day in Cornwall. Scotland already celebrate their national saint day on 30th November (St Andrews) with a puiblic holiday.

The proposed Cornwall Council motion read:

"Cornwall Council notes the recent government white paper on changing bank holidays and instructs the chief executive to respond that any change in Cornwall should lead to the creation of a public holiday on St Piran's Day to reflect our unique cultural heritage."

The Kernow Branch of the Celtic League has been a long time campaigner for making St Piran's Day ( 5th March) a public holiday in Cornwall and have written once again to all town councils in Cornwall this year asking them to consider making the day a holiday for their staff. This year the Branch also created the first online Cornwall Council petition calling for the Council to make St Piran's day a public holiday. The aim of the petition is to raise 5000 signatures by early next year, which according to the Council's own rules, will compel a full debate to be had on the issue.

Links : White paper (pdf) : Petition please sign and circulate!

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.

Cornwall Labour - read and learn.

How the London political classes see Scotland | openDemocracy: The British political elites, from politicians to civil servants and think tanks in the London village no longer have any emotional, gut or instinctual feel for the multi-national, hybrid, patchwork nature of the UK; that doesn’t mean automatic break-up, but it doesn’t auger well, and it does make any sense of common story or mission more unlikely.

It's time for Cornwall Labour to address the Cornish question in a progressive way as opposed to constantly trying to ignore it. Help us campaign for Cornwall specific institutions - primarily a Cornish assembly - that will produce an open and inclusive civic Cornish identity. One based around shared citizenship and democratic rights.

29.3.11

Cornwall Labour not Cornish?

At the moment I don't live in Kernow. I was born and grew-up there but, like many young Cornish folk, I had to leave the Duchy to go to university. Between 1998 and 2002 I lived and worked back in Kernow but I was drawn away again, first to London then to Paris, by the love of my life. In the months to come my next big move will be to Brittany, Cornwall's sister nation across the British Channel. Will a return home to Cornwall be on the cards one day? I certainly hope so, but finding a job in one of Europe's poorer regions is no easy task.

For many legitimate reasons I have not wanted details of my private life to be too closely connected to my political blogging. I'm not running for election, politics is not my career and I don't hold any public office. I'm not even a journalist. I'm just a simple blogger. I don't really see any problems in anonymity. Perhaps some will see evidence of cowardice. Perhaps they are not entirely wrong, but does a prospective employer need to have direct access to all my political writings? With my friends, on the other hand, I have always been open about my political opinions and place of residence. Until recently all my Facebook friends, via my real name account, will have been in no doubt as to my politics and home address. Here I am guilty of a great naivety perhaps.

It has now become evident that my personal details have been circulated amongst Labour activists in Cornwall. How they got them I can only speculate but suffice is to say a couple of well known Cornwall Labour people had access to my details via Facebook. Friends? When I dared criticise the party on Twitter someone from within their ranks lost no time in circulating my private details to his/her fellow activists. Today, when in debate with Labour people on Twitter, it is usual for them to state where I live in an effort to invalidate anything I may have to say about Kernow. Please remember!  I'm neither a politician nor do I want to be. I am just a member of the public. Yet Labour activists still felt it perfectly acceptable to circulate my private details and then use them in the public domain in an effort to discredit my opinions.

The more than alarming message must be: Beware if Cornwall Labour have access to your private information. 

I would like to point out to those Labour activists that I have  never used their personal details - place of birth, place of residence or anything else - in any of my blogs. I had always considered such school yard antics a little demeaning. I'm a Cornish man currently living abroad who blogs about Cornwall. Labour activists think it proper to point this out in personal attacks against me. Should I now feel it acceptable to return the favour? Until now I've purposely avoided using peoples personal details. Maybe it's time to change.

An interesting detail then is that the vast majority of the Labour activists who so gleefully circulated my personal details are not from Cornwall. Most of them are from England.

Why should it be that so many Labour people in Kernow come from out-of-Duchy? A surprising number seem to have drifted down from London and around - down-shifted - after city burnout. Others appear parachuted in for specific elections only to disappear after election defeat.

Could this explain Labours continued hostility to the Cornish question and their almost total failure to incorporate Cornish distinctiveness into their policies?

We all remember how 'local' Labour refused to support the campaign for a Cornish assembly and instead slavishly followed their superiors in Westminster in their efforts to impose a South West assembly - now happily scuppered. Even after Cornwall produced a petition of 50,000 signatures calling for a referendum on a Cornish assembly - asking for democracy - 'local' Labour turned a blind eye.

Equally, who can forget Labours dogged and irrational refusal to recognise Cornish culture under the Council of Europe's framework convention for the protection of national minorities? Did 'local' Labour speak up on behalf of their Cornish constituents? Of course they didn't.

So is there a connection between the English origins of  many in Cornwall Labour and the parties anti-Cornish behaviour? Is the fact that the Cornish identity is an alien identity to these people the reason they serve it so badly? Are some English who move to the Duchy anti-Cornish?

Thankfully I think I can say that in the majority of cases the answer is no. When we take a look at the membership of groups such as the Celtic League, Mebyon Kernow, Cornish Constitutional Convention and any number of Cornish cultural organisations we soon find they contain people of diverse origins including many from England. Enlightened individuals who understand that when you move to a new place, certainly  a place like Cornwall, you should approach its culture with respect and a little humility. God protect me from the ignorant who move to other  countries in search of better weather or a different style of life only to treat the local culture with disdain.

Perhaps herein lies the problem with Cornwall Labour. Those attracted to Labour are attracted by its British state-nationalism. Of course I can't expect everybody who moves to Cornwall to support devolution but to be so fervently and actively opposed to Cornish empowerment certainly poses questions as to the way these people think. Is it that after moving into a place like Cornwall some people develop a sense of guilt when faced with the endangered national minority identity? Does this same sense of guilt then quickly turn to a simmering dislike of that which makes them feel guilty? 

24.3.11

Sleeping rough in a Duchy

19.3.11

Radio Free Cornwall and other developments

Radio Free Cornwall on Facebook. Please join and let others know. I can invite other users as admin and I'm open to making it collaborative so let me know if you're interested.

Other developments in the Cornu-blogosphere include: Indigenous Tweets - a site that allows you to find other Cornish speakers on twitter. The site also caters for a growing number of other minority and indigenous languages. A nod to Breton and Welsh tweeps here. How bout the same for Cornish Dialect users?

Mebyon Kernow now have a website running for Illogan. Good idea, now how about other MK personalities creating their own blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. They are free and so easy to set up and run that it seems a wasted opportunity not to do so. If time is a problem you can set up your blog so that once you've posted an article it's automatically shared on Twitter and Facebook. I'd be more than happy to help anyone do this. 

Finally two new pro-Cornish blogs to be born are Our Cornwall and Save Cornwall.


We the people or me the Duke?

The Executive Guide to how they control power in Britain | openDemocracy We do not live in a popular democracy, in which ‘we, the people’ control the way we are governed. Instead, we are subjects in a country ruled through Parliament by an executive which sits in the legislature and controls it.

Not to mention unelected feudal institutions such as the Duchy of Cornwall that seem to have far too much say over what happens in Kernow: “A Mysterious, Arcane and Unique Corner of our Constitution”: The Laws Relating to the Duchy of Cornwall (pdf).

Time to relocalise

With both fossil and nuclear fuels looking less likely by the day to offer us any kind of future perhaps it's an auspicious moment to highlight the work of the Transition Cornwall Network.

You don't have to accept climate-change or peak-oil to acknowledge the benefits for Cornwall of a comprehensive relocalisation of economy and infrastructure into the Duchy.

What is relocalization? Relocalization is a strategy to build societies based on the local production of food, energy and goods, and the local development of currency, governance and culture. The main goals of relocalization are to increase community energy security, to strengthen local economies, and to improve environmental conditions and social equity. The relocalization strategy developed in response to the environmental, social, political and economic impacts of global over-reliance on cheap energy.

Something there to interest Cornish farmers, fishermen and other producers perhaps. Such a relocalised society with an economy brought closer to home would go hand in glove with greater Cornish home-rule. To move towards an new form of society that is both more resilient and has less impact on the environment - do we really have any other choice left? Read more here: The Transition Handbook

16.3.11

Cornwall Census 2011 with Kernow King



Very funny. Please watch.

CROWNS - Little Eyes

15.3.11

The English Broadcasting Corporation

BBC News - English Democrats want vote on Monmouthshire Welshness. Of course! The BBC would never miss the chance to promote a minor English nationalist party with dubious connections to the British far-right would they?

When can we expect the BBC to write about the Cornish movement or a Mebyon Kernow campaign in this way? Will they ever undertake a serious and impartial investigation into the Duchy and its constitutional status? You know? Do some journalism... Won't be holding my breath.

Anyway, as can be seen here the 'impartial and non-party political' Campaign for an English Parliament (CEP) jumped on the story and fed it to all its members and followers. Is this really an issue for the CEP to be dealing with? Of course not. The only reason it gets any coverage from them is the preponderance of English Democrats in the CEP's membership. When I pointed this out on their blog my comments lasted all of 15 minutes. English free speech? Not for those who cut too close to the bone. My exact words were:

There are serious constitutional and cultural questions over Cornwall's status as an administrative and ceremonial county of England but can we expect the EDP to call for a referendum on this and then the CEP to spread the story around the net and to all its members? Of course not. Two-faced reactionary nationalists. The EDP, and their shady connections to the British far-right, are a shame on the English nation and the CEP seems to do more than its fair share to promote this disagreeable little party. Why? Is it because the CEP is dominated by EDP members? Lets have a look at some membership statistics. Surely the English people deserve to know.

Among moderate English nationalists and the likes of UKIP there appears to be a consensus that, due to their collaboration with racist far-right parties, the English Democrats are simply not frequentable. Have the CEP heard? Do they care? Perhaps the will also be blogging articles from the BNP and EDL as long as they pander to aggressive imperialistic English nationalism. Equally, when it comes to a land grab in Wales the CEP, the 'impartial and non-party political' paragons of democracy and fair-play that they are, clearly can't help but rub their hands together in glee. Does this display of English fair-play extend to the Cornish question? Don't be silly. Democracy is only welcomed by the CEP when it comes to carving off a piece of someone elses country - absolutely not when it comes to the possibility of loosing a part of their own. 

Perranporth St Pirans March 2011

14.3.11

The Cornish Music Network

The Cornish Music Network MORE Live Cornish bands playing MORE Live music in MORE live music pubs to MORE live people.

13.3.11

Official labour market statistics for Cornwall

Official labour market statistics for Cornwall. Comments from a Facebook follower and very old friend: The unemployment figures don't seem to be too far out of line with the national average. It's when you look at average hourly wages that you start to see the biggest disparities.

Immigrants are not the enemy

inority groups are not the enemies of Cornwall. They are simply different and stand out thus making them targets for people who have got so lost in the individual they have lost sight of the universal. Unity in Cornwall to build our future together is the only humane option.

Let me add fascists of all kinds to my list of Cornwall's enemies from the previous blog. Those from the far-right who try to reduce Cornish culture to a regional subset of some imaginary ideal of white British Christian heterosexuality. If you limit and isolate any culture with such artificial boundaries then you will watch it wither to nothing. Let's ensure Cornish culture is a welcoming one so that in the future new Cornish will feel happy to record themselves as Cornish-Asian, Black-Cornish or any other combination.

Then an honorary mention must go to capitalist carpet-baggers of all origins who see in Cornwall, its culture and environment, nothing but a quick profit, to hell with its future. The land of second homes and holiday lets serviced by a cheap and disposable workforce. Cash in now while Cornwall is still a green and pleasant place to escape the city. Let me add to this category all multinationals and entrepreneurs who see cultural homogeneity as the easiest route to a profit - opening the same type of bar, the same type of restaurant and the same type of shop across our land. Welcome to the list all those who pedal their awful plastic pop music, their nihilistic pop culture and their sole-less disposable plastic trash of all types from Pedn an Wlas to Taigh Iain Ghròt

11.3.11

The English are not the enemy

The English are not our enemy. The English are our neighbours and our friends down the pub. They are our lovers, partners, work colleagues, family, customers, fellow union members and much much more besides. The Cornish are partly English and the English are partly Cornish. Together we are all clinging on to this crazy roller-coaster of existence.

LibConDem politicians who swear blind that they will protect Cornwall only to vote for Devonwall, along with the vast majority of the rest of their coalition, deserve nothing but contempt. A Duke that abuses our constitution for his personal comfort should be the focus of all our anger. Central governments that direct their Anglo-British nationalism at us and hammer us with South West or Devonwall regionalism should be given no quarter. Policies that see services and skilled jobs drained out of Kernow for the benefit of cities in England must be resisted. If we have an enemy it's the establishment that refuses our rights. It's those that wish to force Cornwall into an English county box and consign our culture and history to oblivion.

The vast majority of English people however have no idea about the Cornish question. If they did, if they had all the facts, I suspect they would be supportive more than anything. After all, how could any right-thinking person want to deny the cultural and political rights of another?

Recording your ethnic and national identity as Cornish, and your country of birth as Cornwall, is not being anti-English, it's just being pro-Cornish. It is not an expression of anti-English sentiment and should not be seen as such. Writing in Cornish on the census is simply expressing that one thinks Cornish culture and identity deserves greater recognition and that the Kernow is special.

9.3.11

The rising of the women means the rising of us all




Why are the French surprised by Marine Le Pen?

BBC News - Marine Le Pen poll rating shock for French politics. What get's me is that polite French society is shocked by the fact that the far-right are so strong.

Anybody who's travelled around France will have noticed the huge amount of streets, squares, parks etc named after French generals, war hero's and battles. One would have also noted the number of monuments to the grandeur de la France and wars past. National triumphalism is the term.

The French state is run as the well-oiled clockwork machine with its centre in Paris. An almost military style of bureaucracy is applied to the civil service and society in general.

The fanatical Jacobin republicanism applied across the French state -all must be equal so all will be forced to be the same- has resulted in the various populations -Breton, Corsican, Catalan, Occitan, Arpitan, Flemish, Alsatian, Norman etc- having their grass-roots identities torn away from them to be replaced by the homogenised product of a militaristic state - the French citizen. Indeed the French state has a long and less than glorious history of meddling with the identities of its citizenry.

....and then they are suprised that the militaristic, identity obsessed,  far-right has such a big audience!

Why are the French surprised by Marine Le Pen?

BBC News - Marine Le Pen poll rating shock for French politics. What get's me is that polite French society is shocked by the fact that the far-right are so strong.

Anybody who's travelled around France will have noticed the huge amount of streets, squares, parks etc named after French generals, war hero's and battles. One would have also noted the number of monuments to the grandeur de la France and wars past. National triumphalism is the term.

The French state is run as the well-oiled clockwork machine with its centre in Paris. An almost military style of bureaucracy is applied to the civil service and society in general.

The fanatical Jacobin republicanism applied across the French state -all must be equal so all will be forced to be the same- has resulted in the various populations -Breton, Corsican, Catalan, Occitan, Arpitan, Flemish, Alsatian, Norman etc- having their grass-roots identities torn away from them to be replaced by the homogenised product of a militaristic state - the French citizen. Indeed the French state has a long and less than glorious history of meddling with the identities of its citizenry.

....and then they are suprised that the militaristic, identity obsessed,  far-right has such a big audience!

7.3.11

Liguistic Diversity - Cornish

6.3.11

Africa United

With Libyans continuing to shed their blood for freedom (with or without the help of UK special forces) the CRBlogger would like to reiterate his support and express his deep admiration for the people of North Africa who have given so much in the name of freedom.

Sweep away the tinpot dictators and their imperial paymasters. In doing so you are teaching the world a valuable lesson and one that must never be forgotten.

Sovereignty rests with the people!

Looking to the future - a united and federal Africa could change the face of the world. Freedom for all peoples and solidarity between all people in humanities birthplace.

Credit Unions are Good for Cornwall

By their very nature and structure, community based credit unions are a good local solution. Membership is only open to those who live or work within a specified area known in credit union terms as the “Common Bond”. The two largest credit unions in Cornwall have the same Common Bond – Cornwall and the Isles of Scillies.

It has been estimated. If all the interest payments made in a single week to non-Cornish Banks, Building Societies and other lenders; by companies and individuals based in Cornwall were paid in One Pound Coins it would require six large articulated trucks to move the cash from Cornwall to London.

Now credit unions cannot answer all the problems. At present credit unions are not able to offer accounts to businesses, other than sole traders. Where credit unions can make a difference is in individual finance.

All credit unions are cooperatives, owned and run by their members. Each member has a single voting share – regardless of how much money they have saved in their account, or the size of their loan. They are, what is termed, “a not for profit company”! This is misleading, credit unions strive to make a profit. However when a profit is declared, those profits are used for the benefit of the membership, paid in the form of a dividend.

A credit union is run by its members. Each year there is an A.G.M. members are elected to the Board of Directors for a term of 3 years, each year one third of the Board stand down. At the AGM the annual dividend is set.

One thing that worries people is security. “How safe are my savings?” is often the question asked. Credit Unions are regulated by the FSA, the same as banks and building societies, (but without the so-called “light touch”! which was applied to the banks). Savings in credit unions are covered by the same Financial Services Compensation Scheme as covers savings in banks and building societies.

Credit Unions recycle money back into the local community. At present approximately two thirds of the money saved with Kernow Credit Union, is out on loan to members. Although it is inevitable that some of this money is spent outside Cornwall, a large percentage is spent on locally purchased goods and services. This is not only to the benefit of members of the credit union, but also benefits the wider community. The more people who save and borrow with their local credit union the greater beneficial impact the Cornish credit unions will have on the Cornish economy.

Kernow Credit Union’s strapline is:
Erbysyon ha Gendonow Ewnhynsek ha Teythyek
Local and ethical savings and loans

For anyone who claims to be a Cornish Nationalist, a Cornish credit union is the only answer. If a nationalist saves and borrows with a UK bank or other financial institution, they are supporting those institutions’ shareholders, and the bankers’ bonuses. Credit Union directors are by law unpaid. The paid employees of credit unions do not receive bonuses. Many of the people in a credit union are unpaid volunteers.

At present there are 4 credit unions in Cornwall, however I am only mentioning 2 of them as the 2 smaller ones are in the process of merging with one of the larger credit unions – Kernow Credit Union. These mergers are not because the credit unions have accounts problems, but because alone they cannot generate the income to pay employees. Merger with Kernow Credit Union was seen as the best option.

Therefore realistically the choice is between these two credit unions.

Kernow Credit Union Ltd., the head office is The Chambers, Penryn Street, Redruth. Telephone 01209 314449. When the merger process has come to a conclusion, it will have service points from Bude, down to Saltash and as far as Carbis Bay.

The other choice is a credit union operating under the trading name, Cornish Community Banking based in 11a Francis Street, Truro. Telephone 0800 0556873. 

The two smaller credit unions are: North Cornwall Credit Union (Telephone 01840 213841) and SECCURE South East Cornwall Credit Union (Telephone 01579 346999). Other information on credit unions in Cornwall is on the Cornwall Council Website.

This article does not form the official view of any Cornish credit union. I have written as an individual, and have represented my personal view. Although I have tried to ensure that contact information for the credit unions is accurate.

5.3.11

Campaign Against Criminalising Communities


Some interesting pdf doc reading above from the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities.

Dialogues, 5 questions à Léna Louarn

Dialogues, 5 questions à Léna Louarn

Gool Pyran lowen - Happy St Pirans day!

Gool Pyran lowen - Happy St Pirans day!

3.3.11

The new politics of Cornish identity

Fear and HOPE | The new politics of identity is a report from the Searchlight Educational Trust. One to be read and digested by the Cornish movement. A quote taken from the foreword of the report is below:

The real floating voters, primarily ‘identity ambivalents’ – appear to be on a journey away from all major parties. This poses the very real threat of a new potent political constituency built around an assertive English nationalism. This is not the politics of the BNP, but of a reframed English identity politics that includes various ethnic groupings. Moreover, lazy arguments of English island ‘exceptionalism’ and moderation are questioned. Put simply, unless political parties step up and provide a new language of material wellbeing; of identity and belonging then these political forces might refract into more malign forms. As such, the political class has been warned.

As such isn't it about time the left started to accept post devolution Britain with its re-emerging Scottish, Welsh, English and Cornish national identities. We need a tolerant and progressive approach to the multi-national UK not more centrally imposed British state-nationalism. If the grass-roots national identities are ignored and maligned then the far-right has a free licence to prosper and position itself as their only defenders. Perhaps this is nowhere more evident than with English identity and the sadly right-wing English nationalist movement.

Is Cornwall immune? The situation is far less dramatic than in England but, we have already seen efforts from the BNP and UKIP to build upon their pro-Cornish credentials and pretend to be the only true defenders of Kernow. Cornish nationalism does have a healthy dislike of the more aggressive and centrally derived forms of British and English nationalism. Equally, as a movement, it is firmly rooted on the libertarian left of the political spectrum. Complacency should be avoided however. The temptation of British nationalism - more acceptable to the Cornish sensibilities of some than English nationalism - should not be underestimated.

A new politics of identity is needed that respect the various British national identities - Cornish included - and around them builds the aspired-to open and tolerant society. Devolution to Scotland and Wales has created strong civic national identities that are welcoming and inclusive in these countries. Civic Welsh national identity can now have many different ethnic, racial and religious faces. It's no-longer the simple preserve of the Welsh national minority. For those undecided on the question of a Cornish assembly I'll leave you with the following quote from Before the referendum tomorrow, ask what devolution has done for Wales:

Post-devolution Wales has become a more inclusive and welcoming community increasingly shaped by a shared commitment to equal opportunities and human rights.