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The dirty duchies

As revealed by the Paradise Papers both the duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster have used off-shore banking to avoid paying tax[1][2].

Not content with their already advantageous taxation and the millions of tax payers pounds spent on maintaining them in their opulent life styles, the two Duchies, and their respective Duke and Queen, evidently need more money. 

What the Paradise Papers tell us about the Queen and Charles

These feudal relics have no place in a modern democracy. An Omsav calls once again for a public enquiry into the Duchy of Cornwall and its constitutional relation to the territory of Cornwall followed by a public debate on what to do with it.  Hand the Duchy and all its rights, prerogatives and constitutional powers back to the people of Cornwall for them to decide its future.

While you might be disappointed by the almost total lack of comment from Cornish political circles on the double dealing Duke rest assured that others are trying to do the job: Paradise Papers: Write to your MP

Republic has written to MPs calling for them to investigate the finances of the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall.

Earlier this week, leaked documents in the Paradise Papers revealed that both Duchies have been investing in offshore tax-havens, which while not illegal is ethically questionable. The monarch and heir to the throne should be setting the very highest standards.

In the case of the Duchy of Cornwall, there is also an allegation of a conflict of interest, and claims that Prince Charles didn't know about an investment in his friend's company aren't credible. Whether these claims are to be believed or not, it is vital that an investigation now takes place.

The Duchies are not private estates in the normal sense. They are governed by statute and their financial management is overseen by the government. It is important to note that the Duchies are there to provide private incomes for the Queen and Prince Charles, two people with comprehensive and secretive access to government ministers, civil servants and other decision makers as well as all cabinet papers.

The opportunity for misuse of funds, inappropriate investments, exploitation of privileged access to ministers or confidential information or conflicts of interest are considerable.

Whether individual MPs support the monarchy or not, they must agree that the financial affairs of the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall should be of the highest standard of integrity and subject to proper scrutiny.

Write to your MP

Only MPs can introduce debates or ask difficult questions about royal funding and finances in parliament - so we need them to take action now.

Writing to your MP couldn't be simpler, and it's the best way to achieve the change we want to see. Visit writetothem.com to quickly email your MP about this issue - even if you think they'll disagree, they can only take action if they know how you feel about this issue. Ask your MP to write to the Treasury, calling on them to:

  • Investigate recent allegations and revelations concerning the finances of the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall
  • Publish clear guidelines on the standards royal finances should meet
  • Require the Royal Household to declare financial interests and meet the same standards on conflicts of interest as ministers and MPs


Whose Europe?

Imagine if a large part of Texas wanted to breakaway from the Lone Star State to become a US state in its own right and the people voted by referendum accordingly. Would it be forced to immediately quit the US federal republic, abandon the dollar and see its inhabitants lose their US citizenship? Would the new state in waiting be forced to reapply for membership of the USA with the rest of Texas threatening a veto? 

How about a French speaking part of the majority German speaking Swiss canton of Bern wanting to separate so as to join the French speaking Jura canton. Would the 'rebel' territory suffer immediately expulsion from the Swiss confederation and its inhabitants lose their Swiss nationality?

No, of course not! Such matters of territorial reorganisation would be handled internally and democratically with very little fuss. So why not then for a region of a member-state of the EU that wishes to do the same? Such questioning gives the lie to the idea that Europe is in anyway federal or that EU membership gives its citizens rights above and beyond those of the nation-states. Changing internal borders would have no effect upon the inalienable right to citizenship of all US nationals. For the Catalans  and their EU citizenship it's not at all the same. For them leaving Spain equals leaving the EU, for if the Catalans have EU citizenship it is only thanks to their status as Spanish nationals. EU citizenship is simply a bonus attached to having French, Spanish, German or other member-state nationality. 

Even when the legality of what the Spanish governments is doing is far from sure, the EU's institutions come out firmly in favour of Madrid. Perhaps the EU's mask has started to slip.  What we see behind the mask is not a Europe of and for the people - EU citizens with inalienable rights and EU institutions with the highest democratic standards. No, what we see instead are the member nation-states  huddled together for the purpose of self-preservation - even if the threat is an internal one from the democratic desires of the citizens themselves.

After following the events in Catalonia I'm left with the feeling that more than one member nation-state would rather sink the whole EU project and rob every European of its benefits than see part of their territory secede and become a new EU member. Is this the menace from Madrid that has kept the rest of the EU member states inline with Spanish wishes?

EU beware! Many regionalists, autonomists and democratic nationalists - until recently all convinced EU federalists dreaming of a Europe of a hundred flags - are becoming increasingly disenchanted at a time when the EU needs all the friends it can get. Let the peoples of Europe seize back control of the European project from the hands of our self-centred nation states and their self-serving bureaucracies.


Why do we want Cornish self-determination?

Found this info-graphic on the blog: 50 shades of federalism. The rest of the article can be found here: Is Spain a federal country?

I suppose we could answer that by saying that in any case it's a little less federal today. 

Interesting to note that - even after devolution to Scotland, Wales, London (WTF) and the 6 counties of Northern Ireland - the UK is far from the top of the class when it comes to granting its territories the freedom to be innovative and adaptable, and conferring on them the responsibility of self-reliance. France doesn't even make the list.

In the restricted circles of the Cornish scene debates on what degree of autonomy is required and how to obtain it are the norm. Why not pause for a moment and ask the oft neglected question: Why do we want greater self-determination for Cornwall? Many treat a devolved assembly, independence or some other form of autonomy as ends in themselves. We want greater self-determination, but to determine what and to what end? When all Cornish campaigners can answer that question calmly and with impeccable logic we'll be a little closer to obtaining it. 

Given then that greater autonomy cannot be an end in itself - i.e. once obtained everything will be perfect - what do we want it for? If we cannot use greater home-rule to transform Cornwall and Cornish society why all the effort? Independence and autonomy are tools in the states-persons tool box, so which parts of the Cornish machine are we going to fix with them and how?  I might add if all that is intended by obtaining 'Cornish independence' is to reproduce the same imperfect UK society but on a smaller Cornish scale then you can count me out.


Kernev-Veur : Panelloù difesonet er c'hirri-boutin

An article here in the Breton language newspaper Ya! concerning the vandalism of Cornish language phrases on buses in Kernow. 


Remember Malta


Could you stand for Cornwall in the 2017 elections?

The voters of Cornwall will soon (May 4th) be going to the polls to elect 123 unitary councillors (and hundreds of town and parish councillors) to serve the people of Cornwall for the next four years.

A number of Mebyon Kernow candidates have already been selected, and we are grateful for their commitment to standing up for Cornwall. Many more people who are unable to be candidates have pledged to help others with their campaigns, and we are also grateful for their promises of help.

But we need more people to put themselves forward as MK candidates, so that a greater number of people have the opportunity to vote MK in May. If you live in Cornwall and might be willing to stand, please give us a call to find out more.

For Mid Cornwall, ring Cllr Dick Cole on 07791 876607.
For North and East Cornwall, ring Cllr Andrew Long on 07812 597257.
For West Cornwall, ring Cllr Loveday Jenkin on 07718 763566.

Please consider what you might be able to do in the next few weeks to promote MK and hopefully increase our overall number of candidates.


Cornwall reported or Cornwall distorted? @cornwallreports

On the face of it Cornwall Reports seems to be a very interesting idea but if I have a doubt it's due to the principle name attached to the project. My concerns about Graham Smith have been spelt out elsewhere (click here), they don't need to be repeated here.

What can be added however is a little detail that came to mind on reading his name. Once, in a pique with Mebyon Kernow, Smith, on his impartial BBC blog, quoted George Orwell on nationalism - the objective being undoubtedly to paint MK as evil nationalists. The irony! An employee of a state-controlled media mouthpiece quoting George 'Big Brother' Orwell in an attack on a small political movement that defends the rights of a dissenting minority. When this was pointed out on his blog no response was forthcoming. 

A thought for the day: Perhaps if Mr Smith, the Labour party and a long list of others had spent more of their time examining and taking apart the arguments of the Anglo-British nationalist and xenophobic UKIP rather than focusing their attention on the likes of MK, Plaid and the SNP (competitors with Labour) we wouldn't be in the mess we are today.

Anyway, what they have to say for themselves can be found below. Should they be awarded the benefit of the doubt? I suppose so.

Cornwall Reports is a project to reinvent journalism.  It is part of a mission to re-establish the primacy of rationalism and objective facts, using technology to finance the gathering and dissemination of news.  Like the pamphleteers of the 17th and 18th centuries, Cornwall Reports seeks to make a fundamental contribution to democracy.

The premise is that as technology lowers production costs, so the value of media reduces, finally, to that of its content alone.  The ambition of Cornwall Reports is to eventually produce content which is financed entirely by its consumers.  In short, you will pay for only what you read, without the hidden costs of adverts, pop-ups, surveys and clickbait. Cornwall Reports is just journalism, pure and simple.

In the 21st century, the Cornwall Reports project will have to challenge the might of global publishing giants such as Facebook and Google – which today effectively act as gatekeepers to almost every digital word read online.  Cornwall Reports must therefore fight an asymmetrical war in which size alone does not matter.

The business plan calls for Cornwall Reports to build a brand identity free of advertising (the growing prevalence of ad-blocking software already poses a severe threat to conventional online news media) and ultimately to make its content invisible to search engines.

Cornwall Reports becomes viable as an ad-free online newspaper once it has 1,000 subscribers.  The sooner that day comes, the better – we estimate about one year.  If you would be willing to be among the founding subscribers, and would like to take advantage of the rewards that includes, then please email theboss@cornwallreports.co.uk and we will get in touch.


Bauman's legacy

Bauman's legacy | openDemocracy: Zygmunt knew that we don’t die wishing we owned a bigger television, but longing for more time to be with the people we love, doing things we love doing. It is how he would have died.


A Charter for Cornwall

The Cornish countryside is disappearing at an alarming rate. Our landscapes are being degraded and urbanised and the character of our towns and villages is changing forever. Tranquility, the environment and our heritage are ruthlessly ignored. Our young people are finding it more and more difficult to find an affordable home yet, meanwhile, housing continues to be sold off as second 'homes'. Our hospitals and schools cannot cope and our roads are ever more congested. Unfortunately, Cornwall Council seems determined to ramp up housing and population growth even more.

There has to be a better way. But to change the actions of the Council, we have to change the actions of the Councillors.

We will be calling on candidates seeking election to Cornwall Council in May 2017 to sign up to the four pledges of a Charter for Cornwall.

* reduce Cornwall Council's excessive housing targets and put local needs first

* restore social rented housing and increase genuinely affordable housing

* reduce the number of second homes

* support the devolution of strategic planning to Cornwall

We will then see who best to vote for to obtain a council more committed to Cornwall, its countryside and its culture.

For more see: www.charterforcornwall.com

You can help:

a) share this message as widely as possible.

b) suggest any amendments to the principles or pledges. The final wording won't be decided until the next phase of the campaign in early February.

c) support the Charter for Cornwall by getting in touch with us and leaving your email address on our contact form.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.


Our aim is to bring about unity in diversity

The Rojava Embassy: Freedom and Form | New Compass: Unity in diversity

There was much critique by speakers of the centralized nation-state. Especially the way in which the form the nation-state takes erodes and assimilates the colorful diversity of society through engineering the creation of a singular language, culture, and nation. In the same vein, speakers lauded the importance of democratic confederalism as a model, put into practice in Rojava, which nourishes and protects each ethnic and religious group within its system. In this context, there was also an emphasis on the ecological pillar of democratic confederalism, described as a way of encompassing each unique aspect of the various languages, cultures, religions, and peoples present in Rojava. As Sînam Mohammed, European Representative of the Democratic Self-Administration of Rojava, simply stated: “Our aim is to bring about unity in diversity.”

Ar c’herneveureg, yezh-c’hoar ar brezhoneg – Radio Kerne

Ar c’herneveureg, yezh-c’hoar ar brezhoneg – Radio Kerne: Ar c’herneveureg, yezh-c’hoar ar brezhoneg.

Cornwall podkast « A’ whye wor kewsel kernewek ? » Komz a rit kerneveureg ? Hiziv an deiz e vez kavet ur mil den bennak gouest d’ober gant ar c’herneveureg, yezh geltiek Kerne Veur a zo bet adsavet e-kerzh an XIXvet kantved. Koulskoude ne oa ket mat ar jeu eviti a-raok, dre ma oa aet da goll er bloavezhioù 1700. Bet eo bet Benjamin oc’h atersiñ Ronan Trémel a ra war-dro kentelioù kerneveureg e Kallag. Ul levr evit deskiñ e-unan a oa bet embannet ivez gant Ken George : Holyewgh an Lergh.