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.

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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.

Could Cornwall lead the way towards a steady, sustainable economy?

We live in a world of finite resources.  Cornwall’s resources are becoming even more finite as we see greenfield sites such as Heamoor and Carbis Bay given up for development.  Cornwall, known for its natural, rugged beauty, is being urbanised.

At the rate at which Cornwall’s land is being developed, people are asking the question, ‘when will it all end’?  But end it will, and for the simple reason there will be no land left to develop. It’s time to say enough must mean enough, not more.

Instead of being what many describe as the end of the UK, the land’s end, Cornwall could be at the forefront of exploring specific strategies to conserve our natural resources, stabilise Cornwall’s population, create jobs with the aims of maximising our long-term well-being instead of short-term profits.

It won’t be easy. People demand choice; a sense of entitlement that demands them having more rather than enough; one house isn’t enough, one car isn’t enough, then one job isn’t enough.  But does having more make people feel happier when having more can bring its own set of worries and concerns?

Those who belive that exponential growth can continue in a rural Cornwall, of finite resources, are either  madmen or developers.


Cornwall is rural,  an agricultural land that is vital to sustain its population.  Yet for many people more is a good idea.  An employee can have more money; business managers, more revenue; politicians, more national income that may effectively attract votes.  But it’s beyond reason for people to work even harder to have more than enough.

Planned housing developments in Cornwall have become almost daily news in the local press.  Developers are given permission to build, not for the actual growing population of Cornwall, but rather on what the population will likely to become and based upon more inward migration.

How can it be ecologically sustainable to build in an area, dependent upon the farming that feeds our people, when we are constantly told ‘we need to build more’.  If the answer is to build on more land, for more housing, for more people, then the question must be asked: what to do when the land is full?

‘But it’s our right to live where we want’ is often the claim and in an earlier age that would have been entirely possible and likely required.  But in today’s Cornwall, were land is vital resource, it is becoming less possible and indeed, undesireable. Surely, these so-called ‘rights’ should rest with the people and children to where they are born?  For them have job security that ensures they have enough, rather than exacerbate the situation by building for more inward migration.  How do we reconcile Cornish people being left with no alternative but to move out, and becoming the problem ‘incommer’ to another area?

A Period of De-growth

For the good of Cornwall’s economy, its footprint must fit within the capacity of the ecosytems that contain it.  But it’s hardly possible with developers building more housing that encourages more inward migration.

To ensure Cornwall can make the transition towards an ecologically sustainable land, a period of de-growth is essential.  To continually build for more when Cornwall retains its reputation as having one of the highest number of rough sleepers is illogical to say the least; surely the exitising population has the right of a house to call  home.  The phrase ‘affordable housing’ has for decades been strapped to new development, but remains largely affordable only to more incommers.

At the first international conference on de-growth held in Paris 2008, a definition of degrowth was provided:

‘We define degrowth as a voluntary transition towards a just, participatory, and ecologically sustainable society. . . . The objectives of degrowth are to meet basic human needs and ensure a high quality of life, while reducing the ecological impact of the global economy to a sustainable level, equitably distributed between nations. . . . Once right-sizing has been achieved through a process of degrowth, the aim should be to maintain a “steady state economy” with a relatively stable, mildly fluctuating level of consumption.’

Cornwall Council has made much of its case for ‘devolved’ powers and should be at the forefront of devising policies that will enable Cornwall’s economic and ecological sustainability, rather than the continued, unsustainable development area that Cornwall has become – before it’s too late.

Kernow/Cornwall: A country in its own right

Country: A territory distinguished by its people, history and language.
Kernow/
Cornwall is such a territory.

The arrival of the first Celtics in Britain was between c1000 – 600 BC and according to some scholars, possibly as early as 2000 BC.

South west Britain was inhabited by a celtc tribe known as the Dumnonii, who held the area for centuries.  The later occupation of Britain by Rome (circa 45 AD) had little presence west of the Tamar and therefore little influence.

The emergence of territorial Dumnonii sub-groupings, and what is now Cornwall, is identified by its Late British name, Cornouia, the land of the Cornovii. The Welsh describe a succession of Dumnonian Kings through the 9th century, and a 10th century memorial to King Ricatus that today stands in the grounds of Penlee House, Penzance, Cornwall.

At this stage, Cornouia has become Cornubia (Latin), the Cernyw (Welsh) and the Kernow (Cornish) with the language of Dumnonia evolving into what becomes Cornish.

The departure of the Roman legions from Britain sees the arrival of the invading tribes from Angeln and Saxony (c500 AD), from which the English identity eventually evolved, to the shores of eastern Britain.

As the centuries pass, we see the Anglo-Saxon’s continuing advances into west Britain and in c577 AD, a battle of Deorham Down near Bristol, effectively divides what the Anglo-Saxons referred too as the ‘West Welsh’ (the Cornish) from the Welsh.  (‘Welsh’ or ‘wealhas’ being the Saxon word for stranger or foreigner.) Cornish historian, Craig Weatherhill (Cornish Place Names & Language) has the modern name, Cornwall, first recorded as Cornwalas in 891.

Weatherhill explains that, despite claims by some history books that Cornwall was conquered by the English King Ecgbert, in fact the English neither conquered nor subjugated it.

Although Ecgbert crossed the Tamar to “face a combined Cornish – Viking army that resulted in victory for Ecgbert, he could not follow it up with outright conquest. Renewed Viking activity on Britain’s east coast called his forces away from Cornwall and within a year Ecgbert was dead. This was the last known battle on Cornish soil between Cornwall and the English.”

Cornish independent spirit

The Kernewek/Cornish language that hundreds of Cornish people died to preserve, is also reflected in Cornish place-names (over 80%) that are derived from the same Cornish language (its development suppressed, which enabled its decline by the imposition of an English Language Prayer Book in 1549) which is now officially recognised.

Even further testament to the proud, independent spirit that overcame the centuries of attempted assimilaiton, this Cornish nation, these people bound by a common descent, language and history, have retained their identity which has also become officially recognised.

But it’s not over.  Cornwall has little influence in how it is governed.  Policies made in Westminster, carried out by Cornwall Council, ensures Cornwall remains relegated to the backyard of someone else’s region.

Policies such as the National Planning  Policy Framework (NPPF) allows Cornwall to be at the mercy of developers who have been given the right to build in numbers to suit MORE inward migration, rather than the natural progression of the Cornish population, which will effectively dilute the very Cornish identity the UK Government recognised.

Dr Bernard Deacon:

“ . . . as Cornwall is subjected to a process of de-Cornishization, its communities re-engineered and its countryside ransacked in the drive for profit, a growing number of voices are being raised in protest. Change is in the air, anger mounts. The issue now becomes the best strategy for the future for those who have concluded that we cannot afford to continue this insane and unsustainable growth project. How might we channel the righteous anger of the people at what is going on around them into effective action?”

Cornish votes for Cornish laws

The Cornish spirit that has served so well down the centuries must now reassert itself – onen hag oll.

Craig Weatherhill:

“The councillors and officers who claim to represent Cornish residents need to have it hammered home to them that, if they do not change tack, show real courage and leadership for the good of Cornwall, and not for the good of developers, then history will revile them for all time. They will become pariahs, their names a hissing in the street, their reputations – like the duchy itself – ruined forever”.

Indeed.

Cornwall Council ( its ‘Case for Cornwall’ aimed at delivering  devolution to Cornwall, is already being treated with disdain) and the Cornish, after the centuries of fighting assimilation, must not now allow themselves to remain the puppets of Westminster, and demands should be made similar to the call for ‘English votes for English laws’.  In Cornwall, that would become ’Cornish votes for Cornish laws.’

Cornwall Council must ensure that a minority group shouldn’t be allowed to suffer at the expense of the majority, which is why the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities came into being,  and why the UK government applied its signature – in recognition of Cornish identity.  After all, what’s the point of recognising the Cornish minority only to reduce that minority even further?

Related resources:

Cornish History Timeline
Cornish Place Names and Language
The Cornish Language Partnership
We need leaders with backbone as Cornwall faces most serious threat
Cornwall: A developers’ paradise? Don’t moan, organise 1: the problem re-stated
‘Stand up for Cornwall’ a spectacular flop
Our Future is History
Cornwall Information: What makes Cornwall unique
Cornwall Information: The Anglo-Cornish War of June – August 1549