Cornwall Council: puppet of an English Administration?

Cornwall Council: a mechanism for change, or the puppet of an assimilating English Administration?

Cornwall Council Puppet

The Cornish language is now officially recognised. Also, similar to the Welsh and Scots, the Cornish themselves are a recognised ethnic group within the UK under the terms of the FCNM agreement.

Yet this recognition to prevent Cornish assimilation is undermined by the fact that Cornwall itself continues to suffer the ignominy, the assimilation, of being reduced to an ‘English county’.  An administration that serves to assimilate Kernow/Cornwall and therefore by definition has an assimilating effect upon the Cornish (the English School Curriculum fails to include Cornish history) which defies the spirit of FCNM that states:

Article 5:
Without prejudice to measures taken in pursuance of their general integration policy, the Parties shall refrain from polices or practices aimed at assimilation of persons belonging to national minorities against their will and shall protect these persons from any action aimed as such assimilation.

The result of the 2011 Census found that in Cornwall, 73,200 people from 532,273 of Cornwall’s population (14%) recorded their ethnicity as ‘Cornish’. These figures that show that the Cornish are a minority group in Cornwall their homeland. Figures also demonstrate that the Cornish being a minority do not have the numbers, the critical mass required to effect change either through referenda, or the ballot box.

It should become the responsibility of Cornwall Council to adopt a more assertive role.  Rather than being perceived as the ‘puppet’ of an English administration, it should act as a ‘mechanism for change’ to bring about a Cornish administration through the setting-up of a Cornish Assembly. Cornwall Council’s CEO Kate Kennally has stated publicly she is a ‘big believer in the [Cornwall’s] devolution deal.’

A letter sent to both the CEO Kate Kennally and Leader John Pollard of Konsel Kernow received a joint response written by Ms Kennally:

In relation to the specific subject of devolution, I am convinced that the Cornwall Deal which was agreed in July 2015 will be the catalyst to achieving greater autonomy for Cornwall, on the proviso that Cornwall can demonstrate that it has used that first tranche of devolved powers, flexibilities and freedoms to accelerate economic growth and deliver public service reform – particularly health and social care integration.

Linked to this the Leader announced at the full Council meeting on 26 January 2016 that the Local Government Boundary Commission has agreed to the Council’s request to vary the terms of the forthcoming *electoral review of Council divisions to allow for a fundamental appraisal of governance arrangements in the Duchy. It is not my place to second guess the outcome of the review or state a preferred governance model the outset. However, I fully anticipate that the creation of a Cornish Assembly or some form of devolved administration will feature prominently in the discussions.

CEO Kate Kennally.

The review of parliamentary boundaries, initiated by David Cameron, is due this month when it will become clear if Cornwall Council can demonstrate the ability of varying the Commission’s terms.  What fundamental ‘appraisal of governance’ will be negotiated in the Duchy must be the groundwork that will result in Kernow/Cornwall having a Cornish administration; a Cornish Assembly.

* Boundary Review (based on the provisions within the Act and the present electorate of Cornwall) would inevitably include the creation of a cross-Tamar “Devonwall” constituency.

 

HoC question about Cornish Geothermal Technology: but no mention of EU Funding

During a Energy and Climate Change debate (14/7/2016) Cornwall MP Steve Double, raised the issue of deep geothermal as a source of renewable energy to the newly appointed Minister of State for Enviornment, Andrea Leadsom.

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Eden Deep Geothermal Energy Project (Image: Eden Project)

 

As both these MP’s are in the pro-Brexit camp, its unsurprising that EU funding, being a factor towards Cornwall’s geothermal future , is notably missing from the debate:

Steve Double:
“What assessment she has made of the potential contribution of deep geothermal as a source of renewable energy.”

Andrea Leadsom:
“Owing to our geology, deep geothermal power is likely to make a small contribution to electricity supply. However, Cornwall is one area where the technology can work and I am pleased that this is part of the devolution deal for Cornwall. Deep geothermal heat has greater potential and we are supporting its development through the renewable heat incentive and through feasibility studies funded by the heat network delivery unit.”

Steve Double:
“I thank the Minister for that response. Deep geothermal has the great benefit of being a baseload energy source that is not reliant on variable weather conditions, and, as the Minister points out, Cornwall is one place where great potential for geothermal lies. As she is aware, a scheme is being developed at the Eden project in my constituency. May I invite her to visit Cornwall to see for herself the huge potential that there is for geothermal development there?”

Andrea Leadsom:
“I am grateful to my hon. Friend; nothing would please me more than a nice holiday in Cornwall right now. I am very pleased to hear that the EGS Energy and Eden project development is progressing well and, as he knows, it has the potential to produce power for about 4,000 homes and to make a very important contribution to the local community.”

Mr Double has assured the people of Cornwall that EU funding will continue at least until ‘the legal status of the UK’s relationship changes with the EU. He has made a further assurance that “The money we get from the EU is essentially just a small fraction of what we’ve handed over. If we leave the EU, we could utilise that extra £11bn a year in a number of important sectors.”

So can those in Cornwall who are in receipt of EU funding, or have applied for EU funding for the future, be assured that when the UK leaves the EU,  Westminster will make up the shortfall?  Not really, as Westminster’s refusal to fund Cornwall adequately was the reason it qualified for the EU funding in the first place.

With the new Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to abolish the Department for Energy and Climate Change, and the Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement likely to be about public spending and deficit reduction, Cornwall’s geothermal future is not looking good.

 

 

 

EU Referendum: Immigration, the English and Cornwall

People in Cornwall have aired views in local media mainly sighting immigration as their major concern.  Most of those interviewed had regional accents that have drifted into Cornwall from the East – of the Tamar that is.  But the lack of Cornish accents is hardly surprising since the indigenous Cornish people make up just 14% of the population.

Yes, the Cornish have inhabited this island since pre-Roman times and up until relatively recently (1549) the language of Cornwall was Cornish, but it went into major decline.  You see, the English idea of assimilation is for everyone to assimilate with them, not the other way around. They resort to ‘reverse assimilation’ that was so successful in Wales and elsewhere, and decided to impose their English language prayer-book onto a Cornish speaking people.

Some 453 years later, a predominately English Westminster might have felt the pangs of guilt when in 2002, they finally recognised and agreed to fund the Cornish language.  If they did, those pangs of guilt were merely a temporary blip. Last April, they decided to cut all funding for the Cornish language.

Now here’s the thing.  After centuries of England’s imposed assimilation, it’s the English regions that are now protesting about how they are being overrun by immigrants who are failing to assimilate and are marginalising English identity.  England is now demanding people learn English.  ‘No change there then’ exclaim the surviving Celtic groups.

But the English have a problem.  Their methodology has had to change.  No longer can they charge into and claim the lands of other people to impose their identity.  They have developed a less bloodthirsty tactic to ensure the survival of their ‘Englishness’.

They call it ‘BREXIT’

Kernow/Cornwall and the European Union

No democracy is perfect or ever likely to be. The EU certainly isn’t and requires some fundamental changes.  But no one can argue about the benefits of EU structural funding that has provided for Cornwall’s growth and inward investment that is set to continue. The European funding comes from budget contributions from all EU member states.

 

Why does Cornwall receive EU funding?

Westminster: Underfunded Cornwall for decades

Westminster has underfunded Cornwall for decades. That underfunding has secured Cornwall’s place as ‘one of the poorest areas in the UK’ and wider EU.

Cornwall’s Eden Project has received millions of pounds in EU grants.  Its founder Tim Smit, has said Westminster would not have supported it in the same way.

Cornwall’s Conservative MP Sheryll Murray, has said money from Europe would be better channelled through the government.This is also the view of Cornwall’s other Conservative MPs including Scott Mann; Steve Double; George Eustice and Derek Thomas.

Cornwall MP, Sheryll Murray

This is a remarkable claim to make and evidence of ‘cognative dissonance’ in the minds of our MPs considering it was Westminster’s refusal to fund Cornwall adequately in the first place that guaranteed Cornwall’s EU funding.

 

So what has the EU done for Cornwall?

 

EU Funding to Cornwall

Over the last decade, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has benefited from EU investment to accelerate its transition towards becoming a sustainable, service-driven economy

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Programme

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Programme is the European economic regeneration programme for the region. Running from 2014-2020 it will contribute to the EU ambition to deliver smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

Cornish EU Funding:

£7.1 million for development of Pendennis Shipyard

£50 million invested into contructing the Eden Project

£4 million to redevelop Truro & Penwith College, including new buildings and the refurbishment of existing buildings

£173.2 million for Combined Universities in Cornwall

£3.9 million for the Aerohub Business Park near Newquay Airport

£6.7 million improving Land’s End and St Mary’s Airports

£53 million to bring superfast fibre broadband to 95% of the Duchy

£9.9 million establishing the Health & Wellbeing Innovation Centre at Treliske Hospital

£4.7 million towards the Peninsula Dental School, part of which is based at Treliske Hospital

£949.760 towards a new operations facility for the Cornish Air Amblulance

£24.3 million redeveloping Newquay Airport

£19.9 million constructing and developing the Wave Hub renewable energy project in St Ives Bay

There is a further £1 billion due to be invested in Cornwall over the next 7 years:

Camborne School of Mines: Funding for Cornwall’s Deep Geothermal Projects
Funding to develop deep geothermal projects is being provided through the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Programme. Running from 2014-2020 the European funded economic regeneration programme for the region will contribute to the EU ambition to deliver smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

 

‘Westminster gives Cornwall the crumbs from the top table

while the EU provides the opportunity for the full menu’

If you aren’t already on the electoral register, you must register by 7th June if you want to vote in the EU referendum on 23 June!

Have Your Say On Cornwall’s EU Funding
Register to vote here – it takes 2 minutes!

Cornwall’s expats can register to vote also

 

 

Cornwall’s failure to support Mebyon Kernow ensures that the policies of London can override the decisions of local people

Cornwall Council welcomed an historic [sic] Cornwall ‘Devolution’ Deal but in reality, and unlike Welsh devolution that has done much to enshrine Wales identity, the council has merely accepted a watered-down form of continued ‘English’ devolution; retaining the current English identity that fails to address one of the major issues facing Cornwall – planning.

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Cornwall Council leader, John Pollard
The housing policy House Planning Policy Framework (HPPF) was designed by Westminster  to be carried out by Cornwall Council in a Cornwall of finite resources.   Cornwall Council accepted Westminster’s ‘Local Plan’ assertion that supposedly makes the planning system more local, less complex and more accessible.  If this means giving developers the power to over-rule the decisions of local people – then it has been successful.  The council has accepted a form of ‘devolution’ for Cornwall that means not opposing Westminster’s housing target policy.

Cornwall Council’s ‘Devolution’: Health and Social Care

“Cornwall  faces  demographic  challenges  that  are  likely  to  put  pressure  on  resources  in  future  years.  For  example, the  population  of  Cornwall  contains  more  residents  over  the  age  of  75  than  the  average  for  England.  This group is expected to continue to  grow significantly”.

That statement suggests that the council has some understanding of the problem.  But It’s not just the over 75’s, it concerns all inward migration to Cornwall, and its happening now, not in ‘future years’.  We see the evidence in the decline of Cornwall’s delicate infrastructure (hospitals, surgeries, dentists, care homes, etc) creaking under pressure of Cornwall’s current population; along with, as some suggest, the homeless people of other regions that are purposely sent to Cornwall.  Yet, rather than focussing on Cornwall’s current growing population, the council has supported the HPPF housing numbers that encourages  MORE inward migration to Cornwall.

What are the people of Cornwall doing about it?

Over the years various media, websites, social media and blogging sites, have highlighted the negative effects mass housing is having in an area of creaking infrastructure and finite resources.

images.duckduckgo.com

It has become regular feature to see people protesting against the mass housing that is being imposed upon Cornwall.  Residents of St Ives are expected to vote on a new plan which could stop people from buying a ‘second’ home in the seaside town.  The term ‘second home’ has become somewhat of a misnomer as these people can have multi-property portfolios; life’s achievers?

Cornwall’s electorate voted for these people. All of whom responded by voting to cut £30 a week from their disability ESA claims

But these protesters are very likely to vote (if indeed they do vote) for the Tory/Lab/Lib etc; political parties of Westminster. An over-centralised administration that imposes the very policy they are protesting against! The old cliché remains true that people get the ‘government they deserve’ – along with its policies.

Does Cornwall have a political party?

Yes. Cornwall has its own political party, Mebyon Kernow – The Party for Cornwall.  It is leading the campaign for a Cornish Assembly (not an independent Cornwall) that will deliver to the people of Cornwall powers to make bespoke policies for Cornwall – including planning.

MK has always fought against mass housing in Cornwall.  Only last Thursday, MK councillor Andrew Long again condemned the London government’s enforced ‘National Planning Policy Framework’ following last week’s Cornwall Council Strategic Planning Committee meeting and its approval for over 600 houses to be built on two sites at Helston and Callington.

Andrew Long MK

Like all political parties, MK requires support to make it effective for the people and the area it exists to represent.  Until the Cornish and the people of Cornwall reject the political parties of Westminster, their enforced planning policies, and to then offer their support/vote for MK, they must expect policies devised in London, supported by officers in Bristol, and carried out by Cornwall Council.

Loveday Jenkin Mebyon Kernow for those who care for Cornwall

Join/Support MK in their campaign: Mebyon Kernow
Download: “Towards a National Assembly of Cornwall

Related Links:

The Cornish: state housing policy and the FCPNM
Our Cornwall Statement on Population Growth
Our Cornwall: Penzance & Penwith: Threat From Council Of Huge Increase In Development
Our Cornwall: Grim future looms as Cornwall Council gives up
Cornwall: a developer’s paradise?
Cornish Housing: What’s Planned for Your Town?

Will Cornwall remain relegated to the backyard of someone else’s region?

Mebyon Kernow: Towards a National Assembly

On the 2nd of April 2016, Mebyon Kernow – The Party for Cornwall, held its Spring Conference at Lys Kernow (New ‘County’ Hall) and launched the revised version of its key policy document “Towards a National Assembly of Cornwall”.

The document is wide-ranging and gives the understanding that a Cornish Assembly is NOT independence.

The document introduction begins:

“Mebyon Kernow believes that the historic nation of Cornwall,

with its own distinct identity, language and heritage, has the

same right to self-determination as other nations such as

Scotland and Wales”.

MK Conference 2016 1
MK 2016 Spring Conference  (Photo Niall Curry)

 

A legislative National Assembly of Cornwall with powers to create primary legislation that would include Agriculture, fisheries and food; Arts & Culture; Housing; Environment & Heritage; Planning (that would include a National Planning Policy Framework for Cornwall) etc.

A Cornish Assembly will also serve to enshrine Cornwall’s identity as Cornish.  Cornish people have long maintained that Westminster deliberately undermines Cornwall’s unique identity by imposing an English administration that enables assimilation, which is contrary to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCPNM) which states:

Article 5

2) Without prejudice to measures taken in pursuance of their general integration policy, the Parties (in this case, UK) shall refrain from policies or practices aimed at assimilation of persons belonging to national minorities against their will and shall protect these persons from any action aimed at such assimilation.

But the assimilation is evident.  Cornish heritage becomes ‘English’ heritage. The school curriculum is an ‘English’ curriculum to the extent that, even though the Cornish people preceded the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons, they are ignored. Also, a Cornish Assembly would dispense with the ignominy of Cornwall = ‘England’.

 

Cornwall Council

Mebyon Kernow leader Dick Cole, has explained Cornwall Council’s so-called ‘Cornwall Devolution Deal’:

“Extremely feeble and lacked ambition.  It only allowed very, very limited new powers to the unitary authority, while giving other responsibilities to unelected bodies with little democratic legitimacy such as the Local Enterprise Partnership.”

What is the point of Cornish recognition if Cornwall itself isn’t recognised?

Cornwall Council leader John Pollard, announced at a full Council meeting that the Local Government Boundary Commission (LGBC) has agreed to the Council’s request to vary the terms of the forthcoming electoral review of Council divisions (Devonwall = further assimilation) to allow for fundamental appraisal of governance arrangements in the Duchy.

Will Cornwall’s leader assert the case for a Cornish administration to the LGBC?  Or simply acquiesce to the current English administration, and to then later proclaim a victory for Cornwall?

Without a new democratic settlement to deliver devolution, a distinct Cornish administration, then no matter how Cornwall Council ‘dress it up’ it isn’t Cornish devolution at all.  It’s merely watered-down English devolution that ensures Cornwall and the Cornish remain relegated to the backyard of someone else’s region.

Can the Cornish minority survive alongside an English majority?

“The uniqueness of Cornwall rests on the survival of a distinct people – the Cornish people.”

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That is a quote taken from Bernard Deacon’s excellent book, ‘The land’s end? The great sale of Cornwall’ and the ‘survival’ of the Cornish people is no exaggeration.  In 2011, a Duchy-wide campaign aimed at those people who identify as Cornish were urged to write ’Cornish’ on the 2011 Census. The result was 73,200 people from 532, 273 of Cornwall’s population (14%) recorded their ethnicity as Cornish.  The Cornish are a minority group in their own homeland of Cornwall.

The remaining 459,073 people, of which most will be the English who, during earlier centuries of their inward migration to Cornwall, learned the Cornish language and continue promote Cornwall’s history and culture that  has ensured the Cornish will never be in a state of mere ‘survival’.

Of course the last paragraph isn’t what really happened .  Assimilation has always been demanded from the English.  All is fine just so long as immigrants arriving into English communities become ‘English’ but this is contrary to their arrival in Britain and their own failure to assimilate.   In Cornwall during 1549,  an English language prayer book was forced upon a predominately Cornish speaking nation.  The Cornish, fighting against a professional army were eventually put down, but the ensuing slaughter of hundreds of bound & gagged prisoners ensured the Cornish were effectively subdued, or at least enough to prevent further uprisings.  Cornwall was to become a place where all things English were deemed ‘superior’ while all things Cornish were branded ‘inferior’ – particularly their language.

This assimilation remains today and becomes apparent when the Cornish face derision from all quarters (including Cornwall’s tabloids) when having the temerity to ask that their history and language be taught in Cornish schools.  ‘It’s a dead language’ is the cry from those who killed it.  ‘Ancient history’ is the term used to negate Cornwall’s early charters that state Cornwall is ‘extra-territorial’ to England, while the English feel entitled to promote an ‘ancient’ 13th century Magna Carta as a ‘symbol from oppression’.  They should have shown that document to the Cornish people of 1549.

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Cornish schools are ‘classed’ as English schools and the Anglo-centric curriculum takes precedence over all things Cornish.  The history of Cornish people is ignored until an English presence has been firmly established, ensuring Cornwall’s school children have little choice but to ascribe to an English identity.  The Royal Cornwall Museum doesn’t allow for the appearance of the Cornish in its timeline until a reference is made to the inventor Richard Trevithick in 1804.

There are English people, particularly those that have moved to Cornwall, that have the intellect and a shared empathy with Cornwall and the Cornish who do much for Cornwall’s identity.  Sadly, and similar to the Cornish, they are in the minority.  An early article by Hywel Williams could explain why most English people, or those described by Williams as ‘Anglo-celtic Uncle Toms’  have a sneering, belligerent attitude towards Cornwall as being anything other than ‘English’.

The Enemy Within?

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Cornwall’s Tory MPs see a Cornish Assembly as a ‘nationalist’ agenda rather than being a positive mechanism that will enshrine Cornwall’s identity as Cornish in a similar fashion as the Framework Convention enshrined the identity of the Cornish themselves.  Instead, they prefer the current ‘English’ administration that serves to further assimilate Cornwall’s identity into an ‘English’ entity.

bloody nationalistsCornish MP, Scott Mann says “There have long been calls in Cornwall to pull up the hypothetical drawbridge over the Tamar and to cut ourselves off from Plymouth and the rest of Britain”. He goes on to say that while he’s “rightly proud of our heritage, traditions and culture, but we do ourselves a disservice if we continue to naval-gaze. Our young people deserve better than that.”

Maybe Mr Mann would have directed derogatory accusations of ‘naval-gazing’ against India when it claimed independence, or indeed any other former colony that required their independence  be returned.  In this case he has has contrived to conflate aspirations of a Cornish Assembly with independence when it’s NOT about independence.

Westminster’s Plans are EVEL

Some people remain unaware that on Wednesday 12th, December 2001, a delegation from Cornwall presented a declaration consisting of over 50,000 signatures for a Cornish Assembly.  The Labour Government at that time did not respond to the petition but continued with its aims of placing Cornwall within a ‘South West region’ that is indicative of a Westminster determined to keep Cornwall ‘English’.

The government has now pushed through plans for ‘English votes for English laws’ (EVEL).  Wales has its own government with devolved powers,  Scotland is knocking on the door of independence, and an overwhelming majority of MP’s represent England, Westminster is now virtually an English parliament and unlikely to acceed to aspirations of a Cornish Assembly.

Cornwall Council is invariably held responsible for making cuts, but in reality the blame lies firmly with Westminster’s austerity measures. Cornwall Council is forced into making the savings in areas that helps to ensure  the funding of Cornwall’s essential services can continure.

  With the full effects of austerity still emerging in Cornwall,  maybe those who are feeling those effects more keenly will be encouraged to offer their support for Mebyon Kernow.

An upsurge of Cornish support for Mebyon Kernow would at least serve to make Westminster more respectful of Cornish aspirations.