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”.
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:
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’.
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.”
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.