There remains some confusion in the minds of those who believe, indeed insist upon, that the Cornish are English and that Cornwall is England. However, they are wrong in their beliefs both culturally and constitutionally. A constitution, existent in Duchy Charters which have been so effectively hidden by the overlaying of a ‘county’ administration, it can be forgiven that some fail to understand and even question Cornwall’s true status.
The Cornish have campaigned over many decades for a devolved Cornish Assembly. Not independence as some assert, but an elected assembly within the UK. Mebyon Kernow , Cornwall’s political party, is leading the campaign to shift some of the most beneficial powers from Westminster, to the communities of Cornwall.
Cornwall’s current position is that of an ‘English county’ administration, which has not only served to erode Cornwall’s historic and cultural identity, it has also been at the mercy of Westminster’s underfunding to such an extent, that Cornwall is now one of the poorest areas in the UK/EU and as such, become dependent upon EU funding.
Back in 2001, a 50,000 signature declaration from the people of Cornwall was presented to Westminster with the objective of establishing a devolved Assembly for Cornwall (Senedh Kernow). This declaration was completely ignored and seen a snub to the Cornish community by the Labour government of the day; the same government that refused to include the Cornish within the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.
Indeed, why should the Cornish, with their own unique language, history and culture, have to fight for Cornwall’s recognition in the first place when it should be recognised by Westminster in the same way as it does Wales and Scotland.
English devolution will mean devolution according to what Westminster is willing to concede, rather than what Cornwall’s communities require
It will come as no surprise then (and what could be construed as a further snub to the Cornish) that today’s announcement from Westminster to relinquish some of its powers through devolution, has decided to start, not with Cornwall, but the north of England – to boost its economy. Is this outcome a failure on the part of Cornwall’s MP’s (some of them formed the last government), those at Cornwall Council, Cornish activists, or is this just another example of Westminster’s subliminal contempt for the Cornish minority?
Whoever or whatever, it should be understood by those involved, that a form of English devolution will mean devolution according to what Westminster is willing to concede, rather than what Cornwall’s communities require. Also, it will not serve to enshrine the identity of Cornwall in a similar fashion as the Framework Convention severed to enshrine the identity of the Cornish themselves. Instead, the Cornish will continue to suffer the ingnominy of Westminster and the various media outlets, describing the UK population as; Scottish/Scotland, Welsh/Wales and English/England – but never Cornish/Cornwall.
If you feel that Cornwall, with its own language, history and culture, should not continue to be administered as an ‘English county’ but as a progressive, inclusive and confident Cornwall, under the administration of a Cornish Assembly, then please sign the online membership form.
Mebyon Kernow: Membership
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