Thursday, 24 April 2014

Cornish nationalism takes the stage

Mebyon Kernow - The Party for Cornwall

With all eyes on the Scottish referendum for independence next month, one other small section of the "Celtic fringe" has now come back into the public eye. The BBC reports:

Cornish people will be granted minority status under European rules for the protection of national minorities.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander will make the announcement on a visit to the county later.

Dick Cole, leader of Mebyon Kernow, which campaigns for Cornish devolution, said: "This is a fantastic development. This is a proud day for Cornwall."

The Cornish will gain the same status as other Celtic communities the Scots, Welsh and Irish.

The small, but growing Cornish Nationalist Party announces:

Speaking on behalf of Mebyon Kernow, Party Leader Cllr Dick Cole said:

“This is a fantastic announcement for Cornwall. I am absolutely delighted that the Government has recognised the Cornish people as a National Minority and it is great to see that all the Celtic peoples of these Islands – the Cornish, Irish, Scottish and Welsh – are now afforded equal protection under the Framework Convention.

“People have been campaigning on this issue for over fifteen years and I would like to pay a heartfelt tribute to everyone who played a part in the long running fight to secure National Minority status.”

How this will influence the Scots is not known, but one interesting fact is that Mebyon Kernow is not campaigning for independence, just devolution. Their blog tells us that:

The first issue that I want to address is:

"Cornwall wouldn't be able to survive as an independent country"

Of course this is a completely misleading and nonsensical argument against the Mebyon Kernow proposal for a law-making Cornish assembly.

The statement is utterly irrelevant to the argument in favour of a Cornish Assembly and is typical of the scaremongering tactics that are used by unionist politicians.

It is irrelevant because I can't think of a single serious and well established organisation that is campaigning for Cornish independence from the UK. Mebyon Kernow's campaign is for devolution of power - not to become a stand alone nation state.

Our ethos is that decisions are best made at the lowest level possible - a principle known as subsidiarity.

We believe that there is a democratic mandate for genuine law making powers to be devolved to the people of Cornwall. Fifty thousand people have signed declarations that they believe that a Cornish assembly is required to set the right democratic priorities for Cornwall - so we are not alone!

Not only do we believe that there is a democratic mandate but we also believe that an Assembly is actually the best way to begin to tackle the distinct social and economic problems that we face here in Cornwall. How can a remote government in Westminster understand the nuances of Cornish culture and blend of economic factors that make up our society.

Let's be clear - Mebyon Kernow is not asking for SS Kernow to be cast adrift from the fleet - we simply want to have a Cornish captain with the power to run his/her ship to the best of their ability.

Cornwall doesn't need to be able to survive as an independent country - but couldn't it do a whole lot better for its people if it were able to look to itself to solve problems?

Exactly what should be considered in Scotland Wales and Ulster to be honest. Devolution is an acceptable form of democracy for the various recognised nations with the UK. Breaking up the country at a time when we should be looking to unity in the modern world seems to me somewhat of an anachronism.

Scotland (and Wales) should likewise remain within the UK framework. Ulster of course remains a seemingly unsolvable enigma.

The Cornish have the right idea.

Unity with devolution within a hopefully one day united Europe, though that will be a long way off given the obvious rise of UKIP and their xenophobic outlook.

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