Over the last couple of decades, the long fought campaigns by Cornish groups and individuals were rewarded when their ethnicity was finally recognised and afforded the protection by their inclusion within the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.
The decision was lauded by media all over the country (followed by the usual derogatory remarks that followed on various online forums / blogs that have become de rigueur when Cornish identity is recognised as anything other than English) and included Cornwall Council leader John Pollard, who was quoted by the BBC as saying the new status would not bring any additional funding or powers to the council or to Cornwall.
Given the time and effort that went into having the Cornish minority afforded protection (due to Westminster’s intransigence) this was an extraordinary statement to have made, and has left many to wonder whether the principles of the FCNM which is a legal document have been fully understood:
‘The Framework Convention is a legally binding instrument under international law, the word “Framework” highlights the scope for member states to translate the Convention’s provisions to their specific country situation through national legislation and appropriate governmental policies.’
Over the years, one of the biggest bones of contention for the Cornish people has been second house ownership, and the overwhelming housing target of 47,500 houses imposed by Westminster and implemented by Cornwall Council.
However, contrary to studies that have shown the housing target of 47,500 was vastly overstated, (another 100,000 incommers) and that a figure of around 30,000 was a more realistic, allowing for the further growth and continuity of the Cornish population, Cornwall Council decided to go ahead. Which then begged the question, what can be the reasoning for the extra 17,500 houses? An over-centralised government; a government with a “presumption in favour” of development that is turning Cornwall into a developers’ paradise that allows for further inward migration into Cornwall.
Treliske Hospital asks sick people to say away
The situation will deteriorate further as the building of 17,500 extra houses for more incomers, many of whom will be elderly and will require the use Cornwall’s already over-stressed infrastructure (eg; bed-blocking at Trelisk; Traffic chaos; Over-worked GP’s/Dentists), will also serve to effectively alter the proportions of the population in areas inhabited by Cornish people belonging to a national minority, further restricting the rights and freedoms flowing from the principles as described in Article 16 and enshrined in the present Framework Convention:
“The purpose of this article is to protect against measures which change the proportion of the population in areas inhabited by persons belonging to national minorities and are aimed at restricting the rights and freedoms which flow from the present framework Convention.”
Surely article 16, contained in a legal document, gives Cornwall Council the powers to reject Westminster’s housing target for the more sensible lower figure?
It should be noted that The Party for Cornwall – Mebyon Kernow, was 100% supportive of the lower housing target for Cornwall. And the reason why the party is fully committed in its aims for a law-making Cornish Assembly that will devise policies that are best suited for the people of Cornwall, rather than being controlled by the vastly over-centralised, London based government.
That is surely something the people of Cornwall should consider when arriving at the ballot box on 7th May.