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26.5.12

Yes Scotland




24.5.12

A Breton perspective on English regionalism

Kuitaat lestr ar Rouantelezh-Unanet: an article in Breton about English regionalism from the new site 7seizh.info. The plan is to publish articles on 7seizh.info in French, Breton, English and Gallo.

A Breton perspective on English regionalism

Kuitaat lestr ar Rouantelezh-Unanet: an article in Breton about English regionalism from the new site 7seizh.info. The plan is to publish articles on 7seizh.info in French, Breton, English and Gallo.

23.5.12

Cornish not welcome at the games


This is the moment Andrew Ball carrying the Olympic torch had the Cornish flag taken from him just before he reached the Tamar. I'll leave you make up your own minds about the incident and how it reflects on the Anglo-British establishment's relationship with the Cornish identity.

Agence Bretagne Presse host to the far-right once more

Sadly Agence Bretagne Presse has once more allowed the publication of press releases from the far-right group Jeune Bretagne on its website. For this reason the Breton Connection will no longer be linking to ABP. Jeune Bretagne form part of the Bloc Identitaire a French political party widely classified as being extreme right.

To bad! It seems the lessons of history have not been learned by some Bretons.

Agence Bretagne Presse host to the far-right once more

Sadly Agence Bretagne Presse has once more allowed the publication of press releases from the far-right group Jeune Bretagne on its website. For this reason the Breton Connection will no longer be linking to ABP. Jeune Bretagne form part of the Bloc Identitaire a French political party widely classified as being extreme right.

To bad! It seems the lessons of history have not been learned by some Bretons.

20.5.12

Cornish dirt cleaned off for the torch

It seems the repaint of the Land's End visitors centre has cleansed the Cornish out of the picture. The St Pirans flag, Cornish emblem, and the Cornish language for Land's End - Penn-an-wlas - have been removed. 

The place is an abominably tasteless tourist trap that has defiled a magnificent natural landscape but isn't this so very symbolic of how Cornwall is seen by the Anglo-British system? 

Great for weekend breaks and our drunken drugged kids to go surfing in, but good god, keep that authentic Cornish culture out of my face!

Authentic euroscepticism in a nutshell

Federal Union | Authentic euroscepticism: The idea that the rest of the EU should solve its problems together under shared, democratic, legitimate institutions is so abhorrent that we should wish recession on ourselves in order to prevent it.

19.5.12

Time for Cornwall to change tack



Perhaps a new approach to the governance of Cornwall is needed? Being run as an English county and being seen by London as an inconvenient periphery hasn't worked for Kernow. Cornwall is still getting a raw deal, despite the promises. The question is though do the people of Cornwall have the daring and desire to strike out on a new path?

18.5.12

Taking back the BBC

This "It's essentially a very big and powerful quango" is one of the many thought provoking statements that can be found here - Taking back the BBC - on OpenDemocracies latest project OurBeeb.

Another one is: “the important thing about the BBC isn’t that it’s biased towards left wing or right wing views, but towards the establishment’s worldview”. 

I'm sure these are ideas many Cornish campaigners can sympathise with whilst also wishing to see a reformed more democratic and accountable BBC that respects Cornwall’s unique identity but avoids any form of privatisation - baby bathwater - disaster.

For the Cornish movement then to engage with OurBeeb. OpenDemocracy also produces the excellent OurKingdom a place where the Cornish question has been welcomed. I've tried to incite leading members of the Cornish scene to write for OurKingdom in the past with very little effect. A shame and an opportunity lost.

Protecting our unique CORNISH heritage

The History of Cornwall from the Cornwall Heritage Trust. I've got to say they don't do a bad job of recounting Cornish history but why not use the adjective 'Cornish' in the title? The word exists so why not make use of it? After all calling heritage 'English' doesn't seem to pose a problem.

They write: Cornwall’s prehistory and history help us to understand Cornwall today. The Duchy’s story is different from the rest of Britain: more survives here from the Neolithic and Bronze ages than in any other part of mainland Britain; the Romans made little impact on Cornwall; the middle ages saw Cornwall struggling to come to terms with being seen as part of “England”; and, to a huge extent, Cornwall can be seen as being as much a cradle of the industrial revolution as any other part of the country.

17.5.12

A new French approach towards Brittany remains to be seen

Yesterday (15th May 2012) a new French President was inaugurated in Paris, but whether this means a new French approach towards Brittany remains to be seen.

President Hollande has promised Bretons that he is prepared to consider the ratification of the European Charter for Regional and/or Minority Languages and increased powers for the Breton Regional Council, but as yet has made no commitment on whether he would support the reunification of Brittany.

These are some of the promises that have been made by other French politicians of the left before about Brittany, but is there any sign that President Hollande is different?

On the face of it Hollande comes from the same mould as other French politicians from the Jacobin tradition. He is a member of a mainstream political party and a career politician from a middle class Catholic family background. He is a graduate from the famous École Nationale d'Administration, which has given birth to many high flying civil servants and politicians, he is pro-European and of the left wing of the party. Like President Mitterand before him Hollande had some right wing influences in his early days, with his father standing in local elections on the extreme right, but he has in his mature years has developed into a nominal reformer advocate of French institutions.

Again like Mitterrand when he first became President, Hollande similarly knows that he has some way to go to make the Socialist Party popular with French voters and to help ‘unify’ a disaffected and in many ways disjointed French state. With a record number of voters in France voting for the French right wing – including in Brittany – in the first round of the presidential elections, Hollande is under no illusion that his first few months in office will be a difficult time. With legislative elections due in June 2012, Hollande must quickly win back popular acclaim for his party and the confidence of voters in order for the Socialists to stand any hope of making gains in the parliamentary elections. Without a majority in Parliament the new President is unlikely to be able to achieve the popularity for his party that was at one time enjoyed by President Mitterrand. Hollande may have won the Presidency, but it was only by a small margin. As the European media has discussed in recent days, the burden of responsibility has fallen squarely and fully on Hollande's shoulders.

It can be expected that Hollande will have more pressing issues on his mind than the Breton language and regional government. With the Euro currency in free fall and the challenge of trying to persuade a stubborn Angela Merkel to back track on austerity measures put in place with the support of President Sarkozy, it seems unlikely that the President’s attention will turn to Brittany any time soon.

Again Breton’s are in the limbo position that they have been in before – waiting to see if French politicians will deliver on promises made before their election to office. How long the Bretons will have to wait to see if President Hollande will deliver on his promises is anyone’s guess, but if he is going to move in favour of Breton linguistic and democratic rights, it is not likely to be until after the June elections. It may nevertheless be worth people writing to President Hollande before the June elections, asking for confirmation from him that he will act in favour of the Breton cause. 

For comment or clarification on this news item in the first instance contact: Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, General Secretary, Celtic League Tel: 0044 (0)1209 319912 M: 0044 (0)7787318666. The General Secretary will determine the appropriate branch or General Council Officer to respond to your query.  


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.

A new French approach towards Brittany remains to be seen

Yesterday (15th May 2012) a new French President was inaugurated in Paris, but whether this means a new French approach towards Brittany remains to be seen.

President Hollande has promised Bretons that he is prepared to consider the ratification of the European Charter for Regional and/or Minority Languages and increased powers for the Breton Regional Council, but as yet has made no commitment on whether he would support the reunification of Brittany.

These are some of the promises that have been made by other French politicians of the left before about Brittany, but is there any sign that President Hollande is different?

On the face of it Hollande comes from the same mould as other French politicians from the Jacobin tradition. He is a member of a mainstream political party and a career politician from a middle class Catholic family background. He is a graduate from the famous École Nationale d'Administration, which has given birth to many high flying civil servants and politicians, he is pro-European and of the left wing of the party. Like President Mitterand before him Hollande had some right wing influences in his early days, with his father standing in local elections on the extreme right, but he has in his mature years has developed into a nominal reformer advocate of French institutions.

Again like Mitterrand when he first became President, Hollande similarly knows that he has some way to go to make the Socialist Party popular with French voters and to help ‘unify’ a disaffected and in many ways disjointed French state. With a record number of voters in France voting for the French right wing – including in Brittany – in the first round of the presidential elections, Hollande is under no illusion that his first few months in office will be a difficult time. With legislative elections due in June 2012, Hollande must quickly win back popular acclaim for his party and the confidence of voters in order for the Socialists to stand any hope of making gains in the parliamentary elections. Without a majority in Parliament the new President is unlikely to be able to achieve the popularity for his party that was at one time enjoyed by President Mitterrand. Hollande may have won the Presidency, but it was only by a small margin. As the European media has discussed in recent days, the burden of responsibility has fallen squarely and fully on Hollande's shoulders.

It can be expected that Hollande will have more pressing issues on his mind than the Breton language and regional government. With the Euro currency in free fall and the challenge of trying to persuade a stubborn Angela Merkel to back track on austerity measures put in place with the support of President Sarkozy, it seems unlikely that the President’s attention will turn to Brittany any time soon.

Again Breton’s are in the limbo position that they have been in before – waiting to see if French politicians will deliver on promises made before their election to office. How long the Bretons will have to wait to see if President Hollande will deliver on his promises is anyone’s guess, but if he is going to move in favour of Breton linguistic and democratic rights, it is not likely to be until after the June elections. It may nevertheless be worth people writing to President Hollande before the June elections, asking for confirmation from him that he will act in favour of the Breton cause. 

For comment or clarification on this news item in the first instance contact: Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, General Secretary, Celtic League Tel: 0044 (0)1209 319912 M: 0044 (0)7787318666. The General Secretary will determine the appropriate branch or General Council Officer to respond to your query.  


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.

16.5.12

The Duchy is not democratically accountable in any meaningful sense

The following is a transcript  of a speech made Labour Lord Berkley in the House of Lords concerning the Duchy of Cornwall. Queen's Speech -15 May 2012. It makes for interesting and somewhat concerning reading in a 'modern democracy'.

Given that today's debate includes legal issues, I thought it would be useful to suggest that this legislation should be extended to clarify the status and role of the Duchy of Cornwall. I raised this briefly during debate on the Legal Aid and Sentencing Bill, for reasons I will explain later. The main issue to be resolved is whether the Duchy is a private or public body, something in between or outside the law completely. As a representative of the Duchy claimed at a hearing of the First-tier Tribunal of the General Regulatory Council, which I quoted,

"the Duchy is not democratically accountable in any meaningful sense".

I believe that it is time that it was. I have since uncovered a further list of rights, duties and obligations that the Duchy still has. Some are effectively dormant, some are used occasionally and some rather more frequently, but there is the threat of use and a lack of democratic accountability on all these counts. I shall quickly list them. One involves the harbour authority of the Isles of Scilly, which includes the right to create by-laws and breaching them would be a criminal offence, which would be rather odd if a private person was able to do it. The Duchy is a major landowner in much of Cornwall. Some say it is a good landowner, some say otherwise, but that is no great surprise. What is missing is the leaseholders' ability to get enfranchisement or be able to buy the freehold of their property. If they were council tenants they would have been able to do that for years, but you cannot do that with the Duchy. The Duchy also has the right to Crown immunity. I understand that between 2003 and 2008 it made some £43 million in capital gains and did not pay any capital gains tax on that sum.

I turn now to more interesting issues. The Duchy has the right to any whale, sturgeon or porpoise that gets landed in the county. I am not sure whether the present Prince of Wales would exercise that privilege, and quite right too. The Duchy is the Receiver of Wrecks, and again, why is this different in Cornwall? It also has the right to the gold and silver mined in the county. It is interesting to note that apparently the Crown Estate is challenging this right. It is not the Government and it is not the Royal Family challenging each other; perhaps there is an argument for putting them all into one pot.

The Duchy owns the foreshore and fundus in Cornwall, so if you want to play on the beach or use a ferry, you have to pay a sort of tax to the Duchy. I believe that it is proposing to charge those people who want to use metal detectors on the beach £50 to do so. That is not done anywhere else in the country, so why should Cornwall be able to do it?

The next two things are much more difficult. Bona vacantia and escheat concern treasure trove, something that we all understand. Basically, it means that the Duchy has the right to ownerless property, goods and treasure. Is that a right for a private individual or a public body? There is also an obligation to meet part of the costs of the head of state-something we have debated often enough-and to submit accounts to Parliament. There is a right to be consulted on and give consent to Bills that affect the private interests of the Prince of Wales. That, too, is a good one.

No doubt there are many more of these issues, but the most important one is that the Duchy has the right to be represented by the Attorney-General. It would be nice to be represented by the Attorney-General at no cost. This is really why I tabled an amendment to the legal aid Bill because it is unfair that people who have a dispute with the Duchy have to provide for their own costs while the Duchy can use as much of the state legal machinery as it wants. Again, that is pretty unfair.

What should be done about this? There is a Bill in the Queen's Speech which I mentioned earlier. At the moment we have the Duchy of Cornwall owned by Prince Charles as if it was his private fiefdom. It does not have any democratic accountability. Its tenants are left effectively without any means of making complaints because they know that if they do so, they will be treated rather badly. Why should an unelected body not only have such powers, but go on to claim that it is not even a public body at all, as it has done? It is as if it sees itself as sort of floating above the riff raff as it is not democratically accountable in any meaningful sense.

I suggest that it is time to modernise the Duchy and put it on a modern footing, or possibly dissolve it. The problem of revenue for Prince Charles could be solved through the Crown Estate because this year the Government have introduced a new law which says that the Royal Family should get 15% of the Crown Estate's revenue. I did ask whether the Crown Estate has a forward budget and I was told it does not, but as it is to get a slice of all the revenue from the windmills that are being put up around our coast, I think that there is probably plenty of money around. I suggest that Duchy tenants should be allowed the right to buy their houses or properties as if they were council tenants, which in any case would be good revenue for the Treasury. Most important, the Duchy should not have Crown immunity and we should not need to ask permission to promote Bills that affect the Prince of Wales's private interests. Moreover, the free legal services of the Attorney-General, although very nice, should be abolished. All these things are pretty important in order to bring the Duchy into the 21st century.

It may even be best to transfer all the residual rights to the Crown Estate and abolish the Duchy completely. Land could be handed to the local council. Would it be nationalised or was it nationalised already? That is a debate we can have, but anyway it could be done on the basis of localism, with surplus going to the Treasury. The harbour of the Isles of Scilly could be transferred to the council, or turned into a trust port, with enough land to help it. There is an awful lot to do and a lot of uncertainty about all this, and it is very unfair on people who are trying to do business or take action against the Duchy that there are all these things stacked up against them. I hope that the Government will look at this and take it forward.

In closing, I must challenge the statement by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace of Tankerness, in his response to me in that debate in January, when he said it was for the courts to decide whether a body is a public authority. He might be right if it is just the Human Rights Act we are talking about, but I suggest that it is for Parliament to decide and it is for the Government to start this process. I hope they will soon.

Essentially the above encapsulates much of what our various Cornish constitutionalists have been saying for decades. I hope a large enough section of the public will one day get to see clearly who has been lying and who has been defending truth and rights. 

9.5.12

How did Brittany vote and what next?

Clearly my contribution (see previous blog) has had the desired effect.

The Parti Socialist, supported by Breton autonomists (UDB) and the Greens (Europe Ecologie), has attracted a large majority of votes in the second round of the French presidential election in Brittany.

François Holland, the new president, has promised to ratify the European charter for minority languages. This would undoubtedly aid the recovery of the Breton language. Equally he has promised to decentralise further powers to Frances administrative regions. Nothing however has been offered with regards the reunification of Nantes and the Loire Atlantique county with the rest of Brittany.

We will wait and see. The promises above are fragile and would be easy enough to renege upon.

The next step will be the legislative elections in June where the French parliament will be chosen. A president without a majority of MP's in parliament would be hamstrung.

How did Brittany vote and what next?

Clearly my contribution (see previous blog) has had the desired effect.

The Parti Socialist, supported by Breton autonomists (UDB) and the Greens (Europe Ecologie), has attracted a large majority of votes in the second round of the French presidential election in Brittany.

François Holland, the new president, has promised to ratify the European charter for minority languages. This would undoubtedly aid the recovery of the Breton language. Equally he has promised to decentralise further powers to Frances administrative regions. Nothing however has been offered with regards the reunification of Nantes and the Loire Atlantique county with the rest of Brittany.

We will wait and see. The promises above are fragile and would be easy enough to renege upon.

The next step will be the legislative elections in June where the French parliament will be chosen. A president without a majority of MP's in parliament would be hamstrung.

The Story of Cornwall - a must watch!


Horn Of Plenty from awen productions cic on Vimeo.

8.5.12

Mebyon Kernow for hope not hate

Why do some peddle the myth that being pro-Welsh independence means you're anti-English? English for Plaid.

Mebyon Kernow and the wider Cornish movement also suffer from the same misconceptions fed, undoubtedly, by the same two faced politicking of LibLabCon. 

First all nationalists are portrayed as rabid xenophobes cut from the same cloth as the BNP and second defending Cornwall or Cornish culture automatically means one is anti-English. Such are the labels the UK centralist parties want to stick on us. 

The initiative from Plaid linked to above is an interesting effort to counter such propaganda and one that MK should take note of. Why not go a step further and engage with an organisation like Hope not Hate? At least put a badge for their website on the MK homepage making it clear where we stand.

7.5.12

The internet does have its uses

4.5.12

When it's Cornwall's turn to vote...

The Lib Dems have taken a whipping in the 2012 Local elections

When it's Cornwall's turn to vote will we remember: Devonwall, uni fees, NHS, pasty tax, regionalised pay, police cuts, urbanisation, scrapping EMA, tax cuts for the rich, tax increases for the poor, cuts to social benefits and above all the very important role the Lib Dems played in pushing all this through? 

Thanks to Tredhek for 99% of this blog.

3.5.12

Er-maez - a contribution to the presidential election

Er-maez in this context you could roughly translate from Breton as sling your hook.

Er-maez - a contribution to the presidential election

Er-maez in this context you could roughly translate from Breton as sling your hook.