Cornwall Council’s ‘Case for Cornwall‘ and the Cornish Minority.

Say NO to mass housing

As seen in local media, there has been much anger from residents at the alarming rate of housing development in Cornwall.

Cornwall Council’s ‘Local Plan’ has a housing target of 47,500 to be built in Cornwall and developers are demanding even more should be built.

Council leader John Pollard claimed that the figure of 47,500 was arrived at democratically within the council, but in reality, the council has little say in the matter as house planning figures have, in the main, to comply with Westminster’s House Planning Policy Framework (HPPF). Indeed, just recently Cornwall’s ‘local plan’ was judged unacceptable by a government inspector partly on the basis that its proposed figure of 47,000 homes being built is not enough.

Independent studies show that the housing figures are not to facilitate the natural growth of Cornwall’s current population, but rather to ensure further mass inward migration that could bring Cornwall’s already over-burdened services to a halt. Cornwall Council’s ‘Case for Cornwall’ – a project started supposedly to take advantage of a Conservative promise of delivering devolution to local authorities, had its first webcast at County Hall with members of the public asking the questions of which housing was a prominent feature.

During the debate about housing targets, a member of the public reminded council leader John Pollard that the Cornish were now a recognised minority group and as such were afforded certain protections and specifically mentioned  article 16 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) that states:

‘The Parties shall refrain from measures which alter the proportions of the population in areas inhabited by persons belonging to national minorities and are aimed at restricting the rights and freedoms flowing from the principles enshrined in the present framework Convention.’

Housing targets are being produced that will effectively dilute the supposedly protected Cornish  minority which will also serve to restrict their rights and freedoms to such services as dentists, GP’s and hospitals as Cornwall’s population is vastly increased, and in direct contravention of the FCNM to which the UK signed.

It was surprising therefore, that the Council leader and the outgoing CEO Andrew Kerr, chose not to address that important specific question.

Cornwall Council Webcast (At position 00:28:56 – 00:30:23)

Although Westminster signed the FCNM document last year, it was the work of various Cornish groups and individuals, after many years of behind the scenes campaigning and lobbying, that helped bring the Cornish within the scope of the FCNM.

The Cornish must not be dismissed or ignored as a minority group by either the councillors or officers at Cornwall Council.

Why hide our fine Cornish produce under a generic ‘Westcounty’ description?

cc-side-links-S1People in Cornwall are becoming increasingly aware that buying Cornish products not only helps our vital Cornish producers, but also serves to strengthen our Cornish economy.

The Choose Cornish campaign is a joint project between Cornwall Food & Drink and Cornwall Chamber of Commerce that has done much to persuade the public of buying Cornish produce.

“We want to encourage people to make an active decision to do just that. Very small changes by people or businesses individually can make a massive collective impact. For example, if everybody who lives in Cornwall spent just an extra 50p of their weekly grocery budget on local produce from a local supplier, it would deliver well over £10 million into Cornwall’s economy in a year.”

But how are we in Cornwall able to know what is Cornish produce when our food outlets use terms such as ‘local’ which is confusing as it could mean anywhere from Land’s End to areas that are east of the Tamar!  For us to make decisions on buying Cornish  produce we need to be informed as to what products are Cornish in the first place.

Cornwall’s hotels and restaurants, always quick to declare their support of Cornish produce within their various menus, also share a responsibility to advertise and promote the products as Cornish.  How often do we read such terms as ‘Westcountry’ and ‘Local’ used on menus rather than Cornish?

Here’s a sample of the ‘blurb’ from Trevaskis Farms online menu:

“We pride ourselves in using the very best of South Devon breed cattle for our butchery supply when available, barn-reared and free range chickens direct from the farmers we know and trust in the West Country. Our pork joints come from our own rare breed British Lop Pigs, bred by the Eustice family since 1863.”

Cornwall doesn’t even warrant a mention let alone the ‘Cornish’ adjective and similar to the Alverton Hotel dinner menu.

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Traditional Cornish Hogg’s Pudding from KernowSausages.com

Cornish cream teas are prominent at The Falmouth Hotel  and it also serves a  Full Cornish Breakfast that includes the traditional Hogg’s Pudding.  One of the more pro-active hotels in the promotion of Cornish produce is The Penventon Hotel  that has distinct Cornish products included in various parts of their lunch menu.

But perhaps one of the finest examples so far of Cornish produce  promotion is at the  Tregondale Manor Farm

If it can be Cornish it Will be Cornish

No such generic terms of ‘Westcountry’ or even ‘British’ that serves to hide, rather than promote our Cornish produce.

If it can be Cornish, it will be Cornish!

And should become the motto of ALL our Cornish outlets.

Cornwall has yet to have a voice in Westminster, but do we care?

Today, 56 Scottish MP’s will ensure Scotland’s voice is heard at Westminster. Mebyon Kernow, the only party that exists to give Cornwall a similar voice, is not present at Westminster.

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The man who will cut your benefits
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The man who will scrap your Human Rights

The last election results came from Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly which ensured the Tories had a slight majority (figures suggest 43% of the Cornish electorate voted Tory) that will ease their way towards slashing £12 billion of welfare benefits.  Included in their usual display of empathy will be the scrapping of the Human Rights Act that will ensure Westminster can screw the Cornish minority ever harder without any recourse.

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The Tories also plan re-introduce their gerrymandering of Cornwall’s ancient border with ‘Devonwall’.   The Cornish party, Mebyon Kernow, has ojected strongly to the concept explaining that legislation would lead to a ‘Devonwall’ seat and would undermine Cornwall’s territorial integrity as Cornwall is a historic Celtic nation which should be protected.  Especially as the Cornish have national minority status which also reinforces why Cornwall should be a respected historic entity.

Also (and similar to an earlier Southwest Region construct) ‘Devonwall’ would serve to statistically exclude Cornwall.  Statistics that would explain Cornwall was underfunded and one of the poorest parts of UK/EU, would have remained hidden, depriving  Cornwall of  the EU funding for which it qualified.

We can only hope that the 56 Scottish MP’s will act as a Cornish voice.

Those who gave their vote to the Westminster parties, rather than heeding the warnings from Mebyon Kernow, will now get the Westminster policies for which they voted; much to the annoyance of those who did heed those warnings.

The people of Cornwall who would wish to have strong voice at Westminster (rather than the Westminster parties that invariably tow the line of their political masters) can join Mebyon Kernow.

You will contribute to the continuing growth and strength of the membership that will give Mebyon Kernow a voice to challenge Westminster’s policies, and to establish a law-making Cornish Assembly within the UK.

Mebyon Kernow membership here

The masters of Mebyon Kernow are in Cornwall – the people of Cornwall.

The people of Cornwall have spoken: and they want more of the same?

Apparently content with the way Westminster governed during the last five years, Cornwall has voted for  ‘more of the same’ over the next five years.   Can we assume that Cornwall’s electorate have not been troubled by the austerity and cuts after all?

Of course not, not all of them anyway, especially the Cornish minority group of which most are working class. There are people in Cornwall who have money and enough of the stuff not to worry about a failing NHS because they can afford to go private.  Housing is no problem for them either, as they’re likely to be multi-property owners; ‘2nd homes’ is a misnomer as many own more than two. These are the people who can afford the Tories.

The Conservatives have earned a second term and this time without the Liberal Democrats. With an overall Commons majority, they can do what they like; which they probably did anyway and would explain why the LibDem faithful dumped them quicker than a bout of diarrhea.

Scots give Labour a ‘braw skelp’

What was probably the biggest factor that enabled a Tory second term, was the scare tactics adopted by Cameron of a possible left wing Labour/Scottish National Party alliance blocking them from power. Further aided by Murdoch’s propaganda publications, it gave the English a similar bout of bowel dysfunction and gave their vote to the Tories.

Conversely, all that negativity directed towards Scotland, gave the Scots  good reason to give Labour a ‘braw skelp’ (although Labour getting into bed with the Tories during the Independence Referendum was also a factor) and the gave the Tories a ‘braw shoogle’ as they voted  for the SNP.

All that, coupled by the fact that barely 50% of the Cornwall’s electorate could be bothered to get of their backsides to vote, also gave the Tories more chance of success.   It’s a bit hypocritical of  the so-called ‘poppy facists’ who are quick to vilify those not wearing a poppy, but don’t bother voting for the very democracy soldiers died for.

Give Cornwall a voice in Westminster

There are people of Cornwall who remain in poverty from Westminster’s austerity policy; the underfunding that forced Cornwall Council to make savage cuts to their services (and more to come).  But if the working class Cornish can re-discover some of the passion, that independence of spirit they had backalong, then all is not lost.

Cornwall’s fightback against a contemptible Westminster must start now. Mebyon Kernow doesn’t have the finances of the Westminster parties, and is virtually ignored by an Anglo-centric BBC.

Help Mebyon Kernow to help you. Support  the Cornish party  Mebyon Kernow – the party for Cornwall,  by becoming MK members.  This will build the strength in depth to enable MK to win local elections and general elections.

Give yourselves a voice in Westiminster – join MK today! 
Unwaged – Only £8 a year!

Online registration:
https://www.mebyonkernow.org/support/membership/

Download forms for your family and friends here:
https://www.mebyonkernow.org/documents/membership_application_form.pdf

Richard G. Jenkin: A Great Son Of Cornwall

Richard G. Jenkin: A Great Son Of Cornwall
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Mab Meur A Gernow

(1925 – 2002)


Richard G. JenkinFrom the 1950’s through the 1990’s, Richard Jenkin was at the very centre of Cornish cultural and political life and an important figure in the revival of Cornish consciousness. Chair of Mebyon Kernow – The Sons Of Cornwall, twice Grand Bard of Gorsedh Kernow, President of the International Celtic Congress, and President of the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies, he was also a writer, editor, poet, preacher and speaker, and tireless champion of the Cornish language.

The following extract is from a chapter  of the book, ‘Richard G. Jenkin: A Great Son Of Cornwall’ and will resonate with as many Cornish patriots today as it did in 1964, maybe more so considering the forthcoming May election:

Breathing The Fire Of Cornish Patriotism

One of Richard Jenkin’s most cogent analyses of Cornish Nationalism and its place within a wider framework, ‘Nations and Nationalism Today’, appeard in the first issue of the redesigned New Cornwall in January 1964.

For Harri Webb, editor of Plaid Cymru’s The Welsh Nation, its ‘sentitive analysis’ of the subject could not have been bettered. Over the next decade, Richard would continue to write articles which explored the twin themes of Cornish identity and individual freedom.

During this period the idea of regionalism became popular in the political arena and beyond, and was challenged by him in such editorials and articles as ‘Regionalism and Cornwall’, “Thou Shalt Not Covet’, ‘Unite and Unite’ and ‘Creeping regionalisation’.

The regional idea was only of value, he thought, if true devolution of power was considered, as opposed to what he called ‘administrative devolution’ which was seen by some politicians as a means of escaping responsibility by granting the appearance of local control while withholding the reality of power.

‘Cornwall,’ he concluded, ‘has shared many experiences with England, some pleasant, others unpleasant, but Cornwall originated in a different tradition from that of England and after a thousand years the Cornish community is still determined to remain Cornish.  

To be amalgamated with English territory makes Cornwall less able to be herself.  There must certainly be co-operation, but equal co-operation preserves identity while merging destroys it.

Cornwall must refuse or resist anything which does not leave her identity intact or allow her people to follow their destiny in their own way. Cornwall is the territory of a nation and Cornwall is the only ‘Region’ for the Cornish’

It would go some way in acknowledging the great man if those 73,200 people who stated that they have a Cornish national identity, and all those who share an affinity with Cornwall, would give their support and vote Mebyon Kernow on May 7th.

The book Richard G. Jenkin: A Great Son Of Cornwall, was produced in association with Gorsedh Kernow and with funding from a number of other organisations.

First published by Francis Boutle Publishers

The Cornish Assembly: Mebyon Kernow and party leader, Dick Cole

Mebyon Kernow, the only party that exists to work wholly on behalf of the people of Cornwall, receives little recognition in the form of publicity to highlight the fact.

Mebyon Kernow had recently written to the BBC Trust stressing its disappointment that the BBC would not be allowing MK to have a Party Election Broadcast at the forthcoming General Election.  So it was something of a media ‘coup’ by MK that the party for Cornwall had managed to get a slot on the BBC’s Politics Today programme.

 

If there were  campaign medals for politicians, then surely Mr Cole would top the list.

iuWe often hear about the ‘independent mind’ of the Cornish people; that stubborn ‘never say die’ spirit from a minority group unwilling to throw in the towel.

But it is  evident that  Dick Cole is the embodiment of that independent mind; the epitome of that  ‘never say die’ attitude is testament to the fact that  Dick is still here; still fighting with that same passion, that same commitment, as when he joined Mebyon Kernow some eighteen years ago – and Cornwall needs him now – more than ever.

Over-centralised Westminster

We have seen over the decades how the Westminster parties, of all colours, have continued with their marginalisation of Cornwall.  Over the last five years we saw the attempted ‘DevonWall’ an insult to Cornwall that sought to erode Cornish political boundaries, which is still very much on the agenda and something that the next government might impose.

Again, the Westminster parties have, because of their lack of funding, overseen Cornwall’s position as being of the poorest areas in the UK / EU, and the reason that  Cornwall qualifies, and relies upon,  European funding.

Now, we are told, Westminster wants to keep its hands on Cornwall’s EU funding as well; to be spent on what London, situated 300 miles away, thinks what is best for Cornwall.  Which is exactly why Cornwall and her people exists in the position of poverty that Westminster has created.

Cornish self-determination

It’s vital therefore that we, the people of Cornwall, support MK’s aspirations of a Cornish Assembly.  Not independence, but a law-making government that would enable devolution; the drawing-down of certain powers from London that are best suited for Cornwall’s progression.

We must stop running ‘lemming-like’ towards the Westminster parties that maintain Cornwall’s position of poverty. Let’s give Dick Cole the support; show him that Cornish people still retain that stubborn ‘never say die’ spirit that he and MK have shown; that ‘independence of mind’ that refuses the continual marginalisation of Cornwall by the over-centralising Westminster parties.

It’s about a Cornwall of the future – YOUR future.

Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall Mebyon Kernow Donations Mebyon Kernow Volunteers Mebyon Kernow Membership

A Cornish stadium or a stadium of assimilation?

The ongoing stadium for Cornwall saga received another set back during a Cornwall Council meeting that resulted in its deferral, but despite the disappointment felt by stadium supporters, there are people who question the whole concept of a so-called stadium for Cornwall.

For while the facility is promoted as being the stepping stone for Cornish talent that will further enable that talent to play at the highest levels, where exactly are these highest levels?  The highest echelons of English sport that will likely be rugby, and even worse for Cornish and Cornwall’s identity – it will be English rugby

. . the charity shop cloak of an ‘English county’ administration

There exists in Cornwall a belief that to tag something ‘Cornish’ makes it so – it doesn’t.  Unlike the Cornish people who, after centuries of assimilation, have had their ethnicity officially recognised, Cornwall’s own identity remains that of an ‘English county’ – a stadium for Cornwall does not mean a Cornish stadium.

Cornwall must rid itself of the charity shop cloak of an ‘English county’ administration to become a fully fledged, law-making Cornish Assembly.  A Cornish Assembly, like that of Wales, would serve to enshrine the identity of Cornwall in a similar fashion as the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities did for the Cornish people themselves. Until that happens, any Cornish talent will likely be assimilated by playing ‘county’ rugby as very few have followed the example of Cornishman Luke Charteris who has played for Wales at at the highest level.

The Cornish and the Welsh are from the same cloth that was torn asunder by the very people who imposed Cornish assimilation. It must not be forgotten too that the Cornwall RFU isn’t Cornish. It remains a subordinate club of the English RFU that facilitates Cornish players’ progression to the English national team, a facility which is certainly not in the spirit of the FCNM.  So much for Cornish recognition.  It would therefore greatly benefit Cornish identity if the Cornwall RFU cut the ties to the English RFU and held negotiations with a view to  reforming under the Welsh RFU.  In fact, all sporting groups in Cornwall should form links with Wales; cut the ties that binds Cornwall to an England that has such a negative effect upon the identity of Cornwall.

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The Cornish and the Welsh are from the same cloth

Of course, financial constraints will likely trump any Cornish ethnicity/identity considerations thus ensuring that most Cornish sports people will  continue to shun their own Cornish ethnicity for an English identity and its larger pay-packet.

But until Cornwall is in the secure position of having its own unique identity recognised and enshrined within a Cornish Assembly, then any proposed ‘stadium for Cornwall’ will be a stadium of assimilation; a stadium that will erode Cornish identity into becoming an English identity; a stadium that will likely host English games that would see the English flag of St George flying from its masts rather than the Cornish flag of St Piran; Cornish players wearing the English rose rather than the Cornish shield of fifteen bezants.

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English flags flying at a Cornish stadium?

Does the recent hard-fought Cornish recognition mean it can be cast off like an old smock leaving  future Cornish generations reduced to playing under an English identity?

Be careful what you wish for Cornish people – because you just might get it.