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27.12.07

Celtic Countries - Housing still a critical issue as 2008 dawns

Tensions over housing in the Celtic countries an issue that has bedevilled governments and administrations for decades are still an issue as 2008 dawns. 

The Celtic League General Secretary has been researching the tensions which led to violent protest in Brittany and Cornwall last year when property was burned and serious injury narrowly averted. It is not a new phenomena both Wales and Mann experienced direct action on the property issue in previous decades and there are also concerns articulated periodically in Ireland. Rhisiart Tal-e-bot says the anxieties felt in Brittany and Cornwall are legitimate and he cautions against stifling avenues for legitimate democratic expression.

'Being called a xenophobe is a small price to pay for highlighting the social inequalities that exist in the housing market today that enables outsiders to completely out price local people in the purchase of homes in their community.

Accusations of racist and xenophobe flew in the face of Councillor Seimon Glyn and his supporters back in 2001 when he dared to speak out against English people buying property in Gwynnedd. In Cornwall, until fairly recently, to propose a restriction on the sale of houses as second homes was to open yourself up to criticism that you were narrow minded and/or an extremist.

It is important for people to voice their concerns when they see that their communities are slowly disintegrating or becoming ghost towns, because young people are not able to compete in an open housing market that allows rich outsiders to buy up property as second homes. Moreover, it is the responsibility of civil society to draw attention to the difficulties that young people have to buy or rent accommodation within their speech communities, close to their family and social networks or in the area in which they have always lived. This is happening in the Celtic countries today and a variety of factors are at work that lead to the demise and gradual death of culturally (and sometimes linguistically) distinct living and vibrant communities.

Indeed trends in the labour market do have some impact on why people move in and out of communities and this has been one of the more common and traditional explanations of the movement of people. However today, the situation is somewhat different and more complicated than it has been in the past. It is a fact that in some parts of the Celtic countries, houses are being bought up by property speculators, rich people looking for second homes and older people looking for a pretty place to spend their retirement. The situation has become so acute in certain areas that it is possible to think that you are in a different country altogether from the one you visited.

Take the Mayor of Saint Ceneri, a town in the west of Brittany, for example. Mayor Tatham is not Breton or even French, but an English man from Yorkshire and the only English Mayor in the whole state of France. Saint Ceneri is in the Orne department of Brittany, where it is estimated that between 6,000 and 7,000 British people live. In eight years the number of British people living in Brittany has doubled to 10,000, according to Government statistics, and the figure is increasing. This has caused some tensions in recent years.

In the Spring of 2005 in the Breton town of Bourbriac, a demonstration occurred following a spate of 'Brits out' graffiti. Protesters chanted 'Brits out' and burned estate agent brochures'. As a consequence of the protest the French and English press descended on the town, daubing it the 'town of hate' and the group that organised the demonstration, A-stroll (meaning 'together' in Breton), decided to disband. According to one of the coordinators of the group , Guillaume Bricaud, they decided to fold A-Stoll because the members did not want to be seen as xenophobic or racists. The group said that their aim was to draw the Government's attention to the fact that young people were being priced out of the housing market.

In this instance, through the negative mass media attention that followed, the press succeeded in closing down a democratic organisation that was working to specifically address Breton community housing related issues for young people. Consequently, two years later, in the summer of 2007, an English family narrowly escaped with their lives after petrol was poured through their front door and set alight. In the same night two British owned homes in a neighbouring town were burgled and a camper van set alight. No one claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the demonstration and the attacks all took place in the west of Brittany in largely Breton speaking areas.

If no action is taken by the authorities to alleviate the strain (and this is unlikely to happen by a Government that don't even recognise the existence of the Breton language or people) or without a democratic and organised group to specifically tackle these difficult and controversial issues in an imaginative way, then inevitably tensions will erupt.

In Cornwall an 'eruption' occurred earlier this year with the burning down of several houses by a group calling themselves the Cornish Republic Army (CRA). The group also attacked the properties and made threats to prominent businessmen who they have accused of pushing up house prices.

The General Secretary of the League, Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, asked two of Brittany's nationalist party's what their view was on the situation. Gael Briand from Union Démocratique Bretonne (UDB), said:

"We accept people in Brittany from everywhere, but we notice that most of the time, these people are richer than the Bretons and live in their house only a few weeks in the year. Some others don't try to live with the Bretons. But it's the same with people from Paris.

So, in a few words, the problems are that young people are excluded from the coast and can't buy something in their own territory, some villages die because of inactivity and there are some communities where there are only English and rich people.

My article about this question will be published in le Peuple Breton in the February 2008 issue."
Christian Guillemot from Parti Breton, another nationalist political party in Brittany, made the following statement to the Celtic League:

"Subsequent to the publication of various press articles on the settlement of European citizens of British origin in Brittany and the development of negative feelings and comments concerning them, the Breton Party condemns all intimidation attempts and negative responses based simply on their geographical origin. The Breton Party highlights the historical and cultural links which unite the different nations within Great Britain with Brittany. Indeed, the Breton language and culture came to Armorica as a result of large-scale migrations from Great Britain.

The Breton Party also draws attention to the important economic role played by these British citizens both in terms of the construction and restoration of traditional buildings and the arrival of new populations and businesses in largely deserted areas. This is reflected, for example, in the rapid development of Dinard airport thanks to this new flow of people.

From a cultural point of view, the Breton Party points out that many British citizens offer a significant contribution to the Breton culture and language and support for these people depends above all on the determination of the Breton people to promote and share their culture.

The Breton Party emphasises that the right to settle in any EU country represents major progress in terms of European construction and that thousands of young Bretons currently live in Great Britain due to the limited job opportunities offered in France outside Paris.

Whilst its main priority is to enable Bretons to live in their country, the Breton Party stresses that the considerable income gap between Bretons and numerous other European regions is what penalises the former compared with purchasers from strong growth regions. The intimidation campaigns directed towards British citizens in Brittany will do nothing to support the areas most affected by desertification or to attract key firms and employment with appropriate tax systems and infrastructures"

Unfortunately Emgann were unavailable for comment, but despite these positive words from two of Brittany's biggest nationalist party's, the Celtic League believes that the difficulties that young people in Brittany (and Cornwall) face in being able to find accommodation within their communities still needs to be adequately addressed.

In Wales the situation is being tackled effectively and democratically by the language and housing campaign group Cymuned. Despite early accusations of racism and xenophobia they have campaigned successfully to change people's attitudes and have even engaged the Welsh Assembly Government in dialogue about creating a Housing Measure for Wales. This has come about after years of struggle, which also saw the burning down of holiday homes throughout the Welsh country side.

The Celtic League hope that a similar pattern of destruction of homes will not continue to occur in Brittany or Cornwall in the future and will therefore actively support and encourage any group that aims to campaign specifically on the above mentioned issues through democratic and peaceful means.'

(This article compiled for Celtic News by, Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, Celtic
League General Secretary)

24.12.07

Europe of a hundred flags closer by the day

Celtic League Press Release: Europe of 100 flags moves inexorably closer.

As Kosovo moves towards independence in the New Year Celtic League General Secretary, Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, looks at the broader implications for small States including the Celtic countries which yearn for freedom,

'It is expected that next month, or early in February, Kosovo will make its declaration of independence, making it the newest European state since Montenegro became independent on June 3 rd 2006.

Kosovo independence can only be a beneficial development for the Celtic countries own march to self determination, provided that violence does not erupt between the Serbs and the ethnic Albanians on the scale of the 1990's. A more or less peaceful transition to independence will show the world that small nations can become safely independent - even in a hugely volatile nation like Kosovo - and that it is the responsibility of the international community to support this goal in the face of fierce opposition from individual states.

The road to independence for Kosovo has been a bloody and turbulent one, where troubles have constantly dogged the two million population of ethnic Albanians and Serbs since the nineteenth century. The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) currently governs the province, along with the local Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG), with security provided by the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR). However, Serbia's sovereignty over the region is recognised by the international community, but at the beginning of 2008 this is due to change.

It is expected that the European states will recognise an independent Kosovo in different stages, with the UK and France being among the first. The EU as a whole however remain undivided and it is likely that each state will be left to make up its own mind on recognition, although European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said this week that he hopes that all European Governments will be able to reach a consensus over Kosovo.

Nevertheless it is estimated that as many as 22 of the 27 EU states are ready to recognise Kosovo as an independent country. Romania and Cyprus have openly criticised independence without UN approval and Slovakia remains hesitant. Of course Russia is fervently opposed to independence like its ally Serbia, while the United States is in favour. It is believed that the European Commission hopes that Kosovo independence will not be declared until after the Serbian Presidential elections on the 20th January and 3rd February, to avoid unnecessary upset.

The European Free Alliance/Green group in the European Parliament, which is the representative voice of nationalist political parties from four of the six Celtic nations are in favour of Kosovo independence, with the Dutch Green MEP Joost Lagendijk saying in March 2007:

"Independent status for Kosovo, under initial EU supervision, will end the years of uncertainty for Kosovo and the region. It would grant Kosovo desperately-needed access to international financial organisations and enable it to normalise its relations with the EU and realise its European prospects."

In turn, the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) Westminster Leader, Angus Robertson MP said this week that:

"It's clear that the wishes of the majority of people in Kosovo is to move towards independence, and those wishes must be respected.

"Independence in Europe is the normal state for European nations and there should to be a future for both Kosovo and Serbia within the EU."

Earlier this year President Putin of the Russian Federation commented in an interview published in French newspaper Le Figaro:

"In the West, this solution will set off separatists in Europe. Look at Scotland, Catalonia, the Basque Country…"

Indeed it seems as though the independence of Kosovo will set a powerful precedent for nationalist movements across Europe, but it is highly unlikely that they will pursue a 'separatist' agenda, as Putin or other commentators have suggested.

There are already dates set for referendums on independence across Europe with the Basque Country set to be the first in 2008, with a non legally binding (according to Madrid) referendum . This will be followed by the planned 2010 referendum on independence in Scotland and a possible referendum in Catatonia in 2014. The political situation in Belgium is also uncertain with the Flemish still largely undecided whether they want to form a state Government at all, after a general election on June 10 . Wales is also likely to hold a referendum on gaining greater powers of autonomy for the country within their term Government.

There is little doubt that 2008 will see a new independent European state emerging in the shape of Kosovo, but this will not be the last. Today, future independence and greater autonomy for the Celtic countries seems more certain than ever before, especially when viewed as a part of the current European political trend. Even though the independence of Kosovo will be a motivational force for the self determination movements of other small nations, they are by no means dependent on it in their own march to self government.'

(This article prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot)

J B Moffatt
Director of Information
Celtic League

24/12/07

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues.

TEL (UK)01624 877918 MOBILE (UK)07624 491609

Internet site at:

The Celtic League Website
The Celtic League News Group

19.12.07

‘Electric Pasty land’ a novel by Dr. Alan M.Kent

‘Electric Pastyland’ is Alan Kent ’s sequel to ‘Proper Job, Charlie Curnow !’ and follows the ongoing life of amateur rock musician, Charlie Curnow and his friends and family all of whom live on and about the notorious Trelawny Estate, just on the outskirts of Camborne in Kernow. (Cornwall)

This is a gritty yarn, not for the faint hearted, written in Cornish dialect throughout and a far cry from the glossy, tourist Kernow (Cornwall) of theme parks, surf and celebrities.

It is an extremely accurate account of life in the hinterland of Kernow (Cornwall) so well known to many of us and brings to life characters who dream of a better existence free from poverty, drugs and unemployment whilst cherishing their Cornish identities and traditions. Set in contemporary Kernow (Cornwall), it is a story I can personally identify with having worked in such areas and with such people who are mostly ignored by politicians and those in authority. The characters, although fictional, are completely believable, much more so due to the settings and places, and Dr. Kent brings them to life together with their weaknesses and strengths and rough Cornish humour. Additional reality is added by introducing overseas immigrants into the story, who are dealt with by the Cornish in much the same way as generations of their predecessors who have made our land of myth and legend their home.

Alan Kent is a Cornishman, born in St. Austell’s ‘clay country.’ He lectures for the Open University in South West Britain and is a prize winning poet, novelist and dramatist. One of his recent works was serialised for the BBC. He surely rates as one of Kernow’s leading academics and writers, having worked extensively on the literary and cultural history of the Duchy.

A member of An Kessunyans Keltek Scoren Kernewek - The Cornish Branch of the International Celtic League, Dr. Kent is a friend of mine and of Cornwall. I have enjoyed reading ‘Electric Pastyland’ as much as his many other fictional and factual works and commend this novel to one and all.

A free to use review written by: Mike Chappell

Electric Pasty land’ a novel by Dr. Alan M.Kent ISBN 978 0 9556477 2 7. Published by: Ryelands - Halsgrove House, Ryelands Industrial Estate, Bagley Road, Wellington, Somerset, England TA21 9PZ http://www.halsgrove.com/ at £9.99 (288 pages)

17.12.07

Celtic League 'Carn' Magazine requests contributors


The magazine of the International Celtic League 'Carn' requests articles for its Cornish section. These articles can be written in English or Cornish and although no payment can be made to writers, a free magazine will be sent to anyone contributing. Items may be about any Cornish current affairs, political or social issue and should be emailed to : michael.chappell@midasdsl.com

Thank you.

16.12.07

Cornish International Sport


It is with sadness that I remark upon the apparent demise of the Cornish Commonwealth Games Association and disappearance of the Cornish International Sport website.

Sport in the Duchy is a passionate affair you only have to look at our history with rugby to notice that. However it’s not just Rugby; Cornish Wrestling is one of our symbols of celtitude and the Celtic Water Sports Festival sees the creation of what is effectively a Cornish national team.

This sporting national pride needs a voice; it needs a dedicated body of people to promote the idea of Cornish national sports teams in international competitions such as the Europeada 2008 (see below). We need a pressure and campaign group to ensure that the idea of sportsmen and women representing Cornwall in international competition remains in the public imagination. Perhaps sport can galvanize Cornish national pride in a way that politics and constitution never can.



The European minorities on the ball...

European soccer fans will be looking towards Switzerland and Austria in the forthcoming year; here the long awaited European Championships „Euro2008“ will take place.

The Federal Union of European Nationalities and its member organisations, the Rhaetian umbrella organization Lia Rumantscha as well as Sedrun Disentis Tourismus do not want to miss out on this soccer mania and are inviting to a European Championship of the European minorities - the "Europeada 2008".

This European Championship of the autochthonous, national minorities will take place from 31. May to 7. June 2008 in the canton of Grisons, Switzerland. Already several teams have announced their participation - the Sorbs, Basques and South-Tyrolians are some examples. It is still possible to register further teams.

"The European Championship is a highlight of the year and we will use these events to draw further attention to the European minorities with our own European Championship", explains Andrea Rassel, Vice-president of the FUEN responsible for the European Championship Europeada 2008 on behalf of the FUEN-board. Registries will be accepted until January.

15.12.07

Colourful Kernow

How can the autochthonous, national minorities in Europe position themselves in relation to the groups of "new" minorities or respectively the populations with migration background and which role do European politics play in this context? 

The European Union decides on a motto for every year. 2007 was the year of Equal Opportunities for All and 2008 has been declared the year of Intercultural Dialogue.

A national minority that feels threatened in its existence but which must integrate freshly arrived “new” minorities is a subject worthy of study. I believe wholeheartedly in multicultural exchange and dialogue between national minorities on the one hand and new minority groups on the other. It’s the way of the world; immigration is a fact and can be a source of innovation and strength if properly handled. A constructive discourse between the new minorities and the grass roots national and regional identities of these isles could be a much more effective form of integration.

I would like to see a Cornwall where people are proud to say ‘I’m a Cornish Muslim’ ‘Black Cornish’ etc. A Cornwall where people are proud of their Celtic Cornish home but also free to maintain their own identities can only be a good thing for all residents of the Duchy.

What do the Celtic league, Celtic Congress and other groups do to reach out to new minorities and look for common ground and inter-cultural exchange? With 2008 just around the corner I call on Mebyon Kernow, the Cornish Celtic League, the Stannary and all other Cornish organisations to reach out to new minorities living within the Duchy. Make the case for Cornish culture and self determination to one and all and set the standard for intercultural dialogue in Kernow.

On another note the following letter has been received from the Office of National Statistics:

Thank you for your email of 1st November regarding the inclusion of a Cornish tick box in the 2011 Census. Apologies for the delay in replying.

As you know, as part of our review of the questions on ethnicity, national identity, language and religion (EILR) for the 2011 Census, ONS conducted a public consultation between December 2006 and March 2007. Over 600 organisations and individuals responded providing detailed requirements for information on EILR for the 2011 Census. You can read a summary of responses to this consultation at: Ethnic group, national identity, religion and language

The responses to this consultation, along with correspondence received from other users and stakeholders and a number of open and special meetings with the public and community organisations (such as the one we held in Truro) confirmed that there are many more requests for ethnic group tick-boxes than could possibly be accommodated on the Census form. In response, ONS is developing a set of criteria for fairly and transparently prioritising specific tick-box categories for ethnic groups for inclusion in the 2011 Census. The report will be published on the ONS website ( http://www.statistics.gov.uk/ ) in 2008.

For ethnic groups that ONS is not able to accommodate on the Census form, space will be provided where individuals that feel that their ethnicity is not covered by the specific tick boxes can write in their ethnic identity.

We anticipate that we will be able to make use of these write in responses to produce data on the numbers and characteristics of groups that do not have a specific tick box. As well as the legal implications, non-completion would obviously reduce the quality of data that ONS could provide on groups, which would have an adverse effect on subsequently policy development.

A White Paper setting out the Government's proposals including the wording of any questions about ethnicity and identity is scheduled to be published in 2008. However it will not be possible to confirm what questions and response categories are to be included in the 2011 Census until the consultation and question testing programme is complete and formal approval is given by Parliament in 2010.

If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us.

Kind Regards,

Ethnicity, Identity and Inequalities team


So we are just going to have to wait an see if a national minority is allowed to have its own tick box category on a census in its own homeland, seems strange that it should even be an issue though.

Partners

FUEN

YEN

13.12.07

Unlock Democracy - Europe / Single Transferable Vote for Cornish Elections

A Couple of things in from Unlock Democracy that might interest Duchy residents

Following a statement today by Constitutional Affairs Minister Michael Wills, Unlock Democracy has welcomed the government's intention to publish its long awaited review of electoral systems in January.

Commenting, Director of Unlock Democracy Peter Facey said: "While we are disappointed that the government has failed to meet its self imposed deadline of publishing this review by the end of the year, we welcome the news that the review has now been completed.


"Yesterday the Department of Communities' Councillors' Commission recommended that local authorities be permitted to pilot the introduction of the single transferable vote system for English local elections following the successful introduction of the system in Scotland. It is clear that the case for electoral reform is fast becoming undeniable."

Full text of Michael Wills' written ministerial statement:

"In the Governance of Britain Green Paper released in July this year the Government reiterated its commitment to review the experience of the new voting systems introduced in the United Kingdom since 1997, by the end of this year. The Government has completed this review and will make it ready for publication in January 2008 when Parliament reconvenes."

I for one would be most interested to see what STV does for our smaller parties like Mebyon Kernow and the Greens in any future elections to a unitary authority.

British citizens' knowledge of the policies and institutions of the European Union is notoriously shaky. Not only does this prevent us from having a meaningful national debate on Europe, it also restricts politicians' ability to make policy based on a genuine engagement with public opinion. This report is intended to begin a serious debate about Britain's future relationship with Europe. Emily Robinson tracks the developing views of British citizens as they participate in deliberative panels. Her findings provide an important insight into informed public opinion on the current and future governance of the EU. British Citizens and the European Union (pdf)

We all need to learn more about the EU if we want to make informed decisions about Cornwalls future in Europe.

The Duchy of Cornwall: Its History and Administration

On an idle internet search I came across the following - The Duchy of Cornwall: Its History and Administration, 1640 to 1660 by Mary Coate Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 4th Ser., Vol. 10, 1927 (1927), pp. 135-169 doi:10.2307/3678408 (35 page article). 

Click on the image for a closer look.

I have as yet not been able to pin down a complete copy of the text and suspect parting with cash may well be required. The material is included in JSTOR, an online journal archive made available to researchers through participating libraries and institutions: JSTOR

A question that this rare article raises in my mind though is why there is not more material produced by independent academics available to the public on the history, development and roles played by the Duchy of Cornwall? Surely the Duchy would provide a rich subject matter for historical study? Why has our institute of Cornish studies not undertaken a complete examination of the Duchy and produced something for the public?

The map above shows Duchy property and foreshore. Not bad for a private estate! But what arguments where used to obtain the rights over the Cornish foreshore marked in yellow? Two forum threads on this topic: Cornwall 24 and This is NOT England

9.12.07

Small Nations Reborn

No man has a right to fix the boundary of the march of a nation; no man has a right to say to his country, "Thus far shalt thou go and no further". Charles Stewart Parnell (1846-1891)

Europe is changing right now for the small nations. The Faroe Islands will be completely independent in 2009. Where did you hear about this? Not on the Beeb, that's for sure. Their population? Less than a quarter of Cornwall's. They are already outside the EU. Kosovo will probably be completely independent in the near future, thanks to the recent election. The Basque Country looks set to elect a pro-independence party, which has promised a referendum. Flanders and Wallonia seem set, if not for divorce, then for greater autonomy. The Channel Islands are talking independence and Montenegro is already there. There is going to be a referendum in Wales on greater powers for the Welsh Assembly. The SNP is going to have a referendum in 2010. Now more than ever it is time for Cornwall to proclaim its nationhood, the wall between us and this goal is only in the mind.

You may want to look at: A National Conversation

"Choosing Scotland's Future"... It is prefixed by the quote from parnell above.

In this light I would like to reprint an old letter sent by the The Center for World Indigenous.

I was please to receive your detailed message and reply to your important question on the "national" character of the Celts and more specifically the political identity of nations in the United Kingdom.

You will want to note that the Kernow has been "mapped" by our Bernard Q. Nietchmann Chair for Fourth World Geography Dr. Richard Griggs. The Encyclopaedia Britannica published the Griggs map "Fourth World: Resurgent Nations in the New Europe"
as did the National Geographic Society in 1994. If you are on the map, you not only exist as a political and cultural identity, your people exist as a nation.


Fourth World: Resurgent Nations in the New Europe

Like the other nations presently under the control of the English, the Cornish are a bedrock nation that persists in their culture, political identity and their demand for recognition. As you know there are many thousands of what we at the Center refer to as Fourth World nations enclosed inside the claimed boundaries of more than 192 states. Like the Irish, the Isle of Man, the Scots and the Welsh there are more than 40 languages spoken inside and across the boundaries of European states.

Andrew Donaldson makes a strong case for the Cornish language and for Kernow itself in the Centre for Rural Economy Working Paper Series (#42, December 1999) noting:

Europe’s minority languages are described by European Bureau of Lesser Used Languages as “some of the oldest languages in the Western World” which also have “rich cultural, literary and folk traditions” (EBLUL)
. These languages belong to nations which have been termed "Fourth World" (Griggs, 1995), that is ethnic groupings which predate the formation of the current state boundaries and now exist with varying degrees of political, cultural and linguistic autonomy within established states. Encroachment of the state is seen as a key factor in the decline of many minority languages by Williams (1991), who terms these linguistic communities "stateless nations".

Kernow has a strong case for its own national political identity and we would endorse that claim.

On the matter of the UK’s hold on Kernow and its territory I would suggest that the English have no more claim on this territory and people than would France or Spain. Indeed, as the political question continues to arise throughout the world as pertains to the status of Fourth World nations located inside the boundaries of existing states we note that this is one of the most important political issues before the international community especially in the face of failed and failing states. A nation, as we all know from our understanding of the Latin is: A people sharing a common language, history, customs, language and culture. A state is a social or intellectual construct organized to standardize and universalise within specific boundaries a central power, set of laws, police power, sovereignty (word of god) and recognition by other states. A nation is an organic, cultural construct that derives its meaning from the dynamic, evolving and intimate relationship between a people, the land and the cosmos. That human beings have naturally grouped and regrouped themselves for more than 100,000 years in this fashion stands as strong testimony to the bedrock nature of Fourth World nations.

The grouping of a people in a relationship to the land and the cosmos constitutes them as a nation. This notion is further strengthened by evidence provided by recent DNA studies that demonstrate while human beings have a common origin over their migrations during the last 50,000 years their adaptations to land and cosmos in particular ecologic areas eventually become imprinted in their DNA. This then indicates that human beings migrate globally but become rooted locally...thus the distinction of nations and their cultures. This strongly reminds us that human beings need not become bigoted toward different nations claiming superiority one over the other. Since all cultures are differently conditioned by the environmental circumstances and the influence of the cosmos they can only be understood as different—neither superior nor inferior—ultimately all are human beings.

Organizations like the Center for World Indigenous Studies exist to support and advance the national character of Fourth World nations. In the end, the survival and continuity of a Fourth World nation depends on the vitality of a people’s culture and the determination of their spirit. The culture is more likely to be maintained even in evolved fashion if the relationship to territory and the cosmos is maintained. If a people are removed from their land (as is often the desire of a state) the ability to practice cultural ways is significantly hampered. If the relationship to the cosmos is obstructed (as occurs with organized, trans-state religions), then the ability of a people to speak their language and to know their own mysteries is undermined. Trans-state corporations are often the enemy of the Fourth World nation because they have nothing (no land, resources, no special knowledge), but wish to confiscate or otherwise steal the wealth and resources of Fourth World nations. Organized crime plays an important role in obstructing Fourth World nations by virtue of their single minded greed by illicit means for power and wealth they seek to corrupt Fourth World peoples. All of these obstructions exist and have come into being in only the last 400 years, and they now pose immense challenges to the continuity and security of Fourth World nations.

For these reasons, at least, Fourth World nations like the Kernow seek to affirm their national identity and to exercise their own power and wield their own wealth. At the moment, nations like Kernow have a United Kingdom serving as the prime beneficiary of Kernow wealth and power. If the Cornish wish to maintain this relationship, then that is their choice. If, however, the wish to change their political status then they are obliged to assert their national identity in the social, economic, political and cultural realms.


The Center for World Indigenous Studies

Whalley whispers sweet nothings in the ear of the Cornish movement

Council Leader Whalley hints at new partnership and new role for Convention. “There is something inevitable about the journey to a Cornish Assembly!”

Cornwall Council Leader, David Whalley, spoke at the annual conference of the Cornish Constitutional Convention, held in Truro on Saturday 1st December.

In a lengthy and wide-ranging speech Mr Whalley spelled out the role played by the Convention in articulating Cornwall’s ambitions for the future. He also said that there is an opportunity to forge new partnerships in Cornwall to respond to signals from the government it that it would be interested in radical, positive change.

David Whalley said:

We are at the beginning of a process, and we have a strategy to achieve our long term ambition to ensure that decisions about Cornwall, which affect Cornwall and shape Cornwall, are made in Cornwall. The Government is beginning to see the light. It is aware that it is too centralised and that change is essential. The government sees Cornwall as a place which can be a test-bed for new ideas and new thinking. We need to persuade the Government that we are not only ambitious but also capable – we need to prove we can do the job. Just as we are looking for devolution from the Government, so we are preparing to devolve powers and functions to the local level. Devolution is a principle and we are committed to achieving it. In the medium term, we are looking to completely realign the public sector in Cornwall, and to roll back boundaries between different institutions. The unitary council is one step along the way. We have a long-term strategy. There is something inevitable about the journey to a Cornish Assembly. We see things happening around us – the dissolution of the regional assembly, changes in the way the RDA engages with sub-regions. It is important to note that Cornwall is the only ‘county’ area to be designated a ‘sub-region’. We are moving forward in creating a Cornish Development Agency. We are confident that strategic planning powers will come back to us after the regional assembly goes. These are signals which we need to convert. In the longer term we need to respond to the signal from Government that we should not wait to be told what to do – we should prepare to present new proposals. The Convention has been very influential in shaping thinking in Cornwall, and in shaping the perceptions of ministers and senior civil servants. How will the Convention respond to the new situation which it has contributed to creating? Will it change, and become even more involved in shaping Cornwall’s future?

Also present was Blair Thomson, Chair of the Cornwall Strategic Partnership. He agreed that, as work gets under way on forming the unitary authority, more and more people within the process are asking: ‘Why don’t we go the whole hog, and form a single organisation to run all Cornwall’s public services’.

David Whalley said that he thought that by 2009 public services would be ready to move towards a more cohesive approach, and that by 2013 we would be ready to move forward in negotiating a new agreement with Minister about the evolution of future governance in Cornwall. He concluded, in answer to a question by veteran county councillor, Alistair Quinnell, by saying:

Without the Cornish Constitutional convention, the future ambition for evolving the governance of Cornwall would not have been articulated. It is a shared ambition.

Re –elected Convention chairman, Bert Biscoe, said:

It’s been good to hear what David Whalley thinks, and to hear that we have influenced his thinking. I hope that we may be able to discuss changes in the way the Convention might contribute to the evolution of future policy as we build the vital consensus which we need to achieve the best possible governance for tomorrow’s Cornwall.

Contact: Bert Biscoe 01872 242293 bertbiscoe@btinternet.com

The above is taken from the Cornwall 24 forum.

On 29th Oct 2007 Lib Dem MP Andrew George stated in a press release:

Just because the Government has approached the whole Regional Devolution agenda in entirely the wrong way, does not mean to say that the project itself should be ditched. If Scotland is benefiting from devolution then Cornwall should learn from this and increase the intensity of its own campaign for devolution to a Cornish Assembly.

All very good and far be it for me to suggest that the Liberal Democrats have a history of whispering sweet nothings in the ear of the Cornish movement when they wish to rally support in difficult times. When they promised to campaign for a Cornish Assembly did they mean to say Unitary Authority? Did Andrew George have any idea of what the rest of the Cornish Lib Dems had planned for Cornwall? Interesting words from David Whalley but haven’t we had this smooth talk before? Less talk more action! For starters how about a guarantee that no more services such as the Fire Services will be centralised out of the Duchy.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights and the UK opt-out

Bruxelles - Brussel, Wednesday, 05 December 2007 Ecrit par Davyth Hicks

The Charter of Fundamental Rights will take on legal force under the Reform Treaty and is due to be 'solemnly proclaimed' by the Parliament, Council and Commission in Strasbourg on 12 December. It is anticipated that the Charter will help secure linguistic rights for those language groups that continue to be discriminated against in the EU.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights brings together in a single text a whole range of civil, political, economic and social rights of European citizens. It is divided into six chapters: Dignity, Freedom, Solidarity, Equality, Citizenship and Justice. Supporters of the Charter have hailed it as an expression of the EU's commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms and step forward from the 1999 Amsterdam Treaty where they were first mentioned.

For Eurolang readers it is important because Article 21 clearly embeds linguistic rights in the EU and gives grounds for appeal in cases of discrimination on the grounds of language and being a “member of a national minority”. Appeals will go to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Article 21.1 states: 1. “Any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation shall be prohibited.” Article 22 states that, “The Union shall respect cultural, religious and linguistic diversity.”

While these rights will only apply to acts and legislation emanating from the EU, it will, in theory, give those language groups which are still continuously discriminated against, such as Breton and Occitan speakers in France, some grounds for redress if they are discriminated against in any EU based acts and legislation.

Interestingly, the Parliament, in Michael Cashman’s Report going through the Committee on Justice, Civil Liberties and Home Affairs (LIBE), is also reviewing the EU Council and Commission proposals for the remit of the new Fundamental Rights Agency. The proposal failed to include language as a basis for discrimination even though it is in the actual Charter for Fundamental Rights, quite odd if you consider that the Agency is being set up to help implement the Charter. To date, some LIBE Committee MEPs have tabled an amendment to include ‘language’ thanks to the efforts of Eurolang and EBLUL. The Report will be discussed next week in Strasbourg and Eurolang will report on the outcome.

Jo Leinen speaks about the new Charter

German MEP Jo Leinen (PSE) is Chair of the Parliament's Constitutional Affairs Committee, he has also acted as reporter on the issue. The European Parliament’s press team spoke to him about what the Charter means in practice.

1. The Charter of Fundamental Rights (CFR) was signed in Nice on 7 December 2000. Now the Charter will be solemnly proclaimed on 12 Dec in the EP in Strasbourg. Why this new solemn proclamation seven years on? What has changed?

The Charter forms an integral part of the new Treaty of Lisbon, so it will become legally binding for the European institutions. It is the first time that the European citizens can actually claim their rights before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. We have to proclaim the Charter with the three institutions to have a public act. When the Treaty is adopted these 50 freedoms and rights are part of the EU’s legal framework.

2. With the new reform Treaty of Lisbon the CFR becomes legally binding; does that mean if an EU Member State violates, for instance, the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, it could be brought before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg?

The Charter applies only to acts and legislation of the European Union whether they are directly implemented by the Commission or indirectly implemented by Member States, regions or the local authorities. It does not apply to purely national activities; these are under national fundamental rights acts of the national Constitutions.

3. How will the Charter relate to the European Convention on Human Rights (adopted under the auspices of the Council of Europe in 1950)? From now on, where should a European citizen turn to if his or her fundamental rights have been violated, to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg or the EU court in Luxembourg?

The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights of 2007 is more modern, and more comprehensive than the Human Rights Declaration. In the EU Charter we have modern rights like the right to have a good environment, right of consumer protection, right to have a good public administration or right to data protection, or the prohibition on cloning of human beings.

We are lucky in Europe because our citizens enjoy a double system so there is no deficit in the human rights protection; on the one hand we have the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU; and on the other hand we have the Human Rights Convention of the Council of Europe. I think this is a unique system in the world.

The EU will be a contracting part of the Human Rights Convention of the Council of Europe and the two courts for human rights protection, the one in Strasbourg and the one in Luxembourg, will very closely cooperate so the citizens are really 100% covered and protected. Whatever case comes up it should go either to Strasbourg or Luxembourg.

4. How do you personally feel about the Charter?

After emerging from the atrocious World War II with 50 million dead and a lot of human rights violations through Nazism and Communism afterwards, I think human rights protection is the soul of Europe and the heart of European identity. It is what identifies us from Poland to Portugal. We all stand for values of a civilisation expressed in the Charter.

Nevertheless the Charter is a milestone in European unification especially because it symbolizes that the EU is not only a big market but it also protects its citizens. It is an expression of the Europe of citizens and not only a Europe of markets and states.

5. What is the next step?

This is the final step. This is what we have been waiting for over 50 years.

Press release from the European Network Against Racism (ENARBrussels, 19 October 2007


EU Treaty: EU member states cannot ‘pick and choose’ when it comes to European fundamental rights. 


As EU Heads of state and government celebrate their agreement on the new ‘Lisbon Treaty’ at a summit meeting in Lisbon on 18-19 October, the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) welcomes the fact that the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is now recognised in the Treaty as legally binding. We also welcome the inclusion of a number of positive provisions relating to democracy and non-discrimination, amongst others. 


However, we are very disappointed that some countries have circumvented their obligations in terms of the EU’s fundamental rights. The Charter’s new legal status is an important step forward for ethnic and religious minorities across Europe in the protection of the fundamental rights to non-discrimination, religious freedoms, social rights, etc. 


However, the Polish and UK opting out of the Charter undermines the commitment to respect for the key values of equality, fundamental rights and respect for diversity. ENAR is very concerned that the fundamental rights of EU citizens will not be adequately protected as a result of this opt-out, and calls on these countries to live up to their responsibility to protect citizens’ rights. 


"Fundamental rights and the fight against discrimination must be a priority for the EU and this is reflected in the EU’s new treaty", said Bashy Quraishy, ENAR President. "But the opt-outs of the Charter of Fundamental Rights undermine the very basis of the EU’s commitment to fundamental rights and as such hamper the development of a culture of Human Rights that can contribute to the achievement of peace, democracy, mutual respect and shared responsibility, tolerance and participation, justice and solidarity."

The final step?!

Not if you live in the UK Mr Leinen and perhaps especially if you are Cornish and have to live with a feudal institution like the Duchy of Cornwall. Might I remind readers that the Duchy of Cornwall seems to exist outside the law yet still has the right to interfere in our lives.

To give effect to the UK’s opt-out, a protocol to be added to the future reform treaty will state that:

The charter does not extend the ability of the [European] Court of Justice, or any court or tribunal of the United Kingdom, to find that the laws, regulations or administrative provisions, practices or action of the United Kingdom are inconsistent with the fundamental rights, freedoms and principles that it reaffirms.

In particular, and for the avoidance of doubt, nothing in Title IV of the charter creates justiciable rights applicable to the United Kingdom, except in so far as the United Kingdom has provided for such rights in its national law. 


The effect of this protocol will essentially be that the charter cannot be used to challenge current UK legislation in the courts or to introduce new rights in UK law. The outgoing UK prime minister, Tony Blair, attending his last EU summit in June, said that the outcome of the talks made it ‘absolutely clear that the Charter of Fundamental Rights is not going to be justiciable in British courts or alter British law’.

Charter of Fundamental Rights

LIBE Committee

EU Council / Commission proposal for the Framework and remit of the Fundamental Rights Agency

European Parliament Report (Jo Leinen) on the Charter of Fundamental Rights

The English Question and Regionalism

The following is a response to the article, The Real story of Prescotts Regions, written by Peter Davidson of Unlock Democracy.

@Peter Davidson,

I agree in large part with your position however when you write “a deeply embedded culture of control freakery characterised in a ‘we know best’ approach to policy formulation”, is that not also true for you and for supporters of devolution from within labour and the progressive left?

The insistence of the supporters of English regionalism to stick to the artificial government zones and ignore anything that does not follow this plan is almost as infuriating as the English Parliament brigade. “You can have devolution but only in the form we are offering” that is what you and the government seem to be saying. Then to top this piece of control freakery off, you are suggesting that peoples identities can be engineered and moulded to fit the artificial government zones they happen to find themselves in. Yes, of course, if you think the national/regional identities of people can be broken and remodelled to suite the geographical fantasies of pen pushers and accountants then I suppose you are right.

What we need to be offered is real devolution to the real regions.

You write “The government confirmed that referendums would be held where sufficient interest was expressed to warrant plebiscites. Eventually they settled on the three most peripheral English Regions (discounting the claims of SW. England to this title)”. Then call your article “The real story of Prescott’s regions”. Now I think you know that this is not the full story don’t you?

The government where hugely embarrassed by the Cornish campaign for devolution which culminated in the petition of 50,000 signatures for a Cornish Assembly. We showed sufficient interest but it seems not of the right sort. You blame Whitehall mandarins for blocking devolution to the government zones, Okay, but where was your support when a region, albeit one of a different size and cursed with a feudal duchy, asked for devolution?

You and other progressives had a golden opportunity to back devolution in Cornwall if only you had been a little bit more flexible. Prescott himself recognised this!

Taken from the blog OurKingdom:

The North Needs Positive Discrimination
Regions for England can work
The Real Story of Prescotts Regions

1.12.07

With the unitary authority secured, now for the roadmap to the Cornish Assembly

With the unitary authority secured, now for the roadmap to the Cornish Assembly.

Council Leader Whalley to speak at an Assembly campaign meeting. The title of his speech is: ‘With the unitary authority secured, now for the roadmap to the Cornish Assembly!'

The meeting will occur at Truro Town Hall (upstairs, over the Tourist Info Centre in Boscawen Street) on Saturday 1st December at 11am.

David Whalley, Leader of Cornwall Council, will speak at the Annual Meeting of the Cornish Constitutional Convention, which leads the campaign for a Cornish Assembly. As local authorities prepare to merge into a unitary authority so campaigners are looking forward.

The Cornwall Council bid to the Government said: The creation of a single council for Cornwall will be a significant step towards meeting our aspiration for a more radical and ambitious model of governance, with closer integration of all public services at strategic and local level; a shift from a model of local government to one of local governance. ‘A new authority for Cornwall will seek to explore with its partners the negotiation of a new agreement with central government, one that sets out a clear vision and takes advantage of opportunities for the strategic coordination of public sector activity. The agreement will outline the case for the devolution of powers from central and regional government.’ ‘Cornwall has all the attributes of a dispersed city (or ‘poly-centric’ region). We believe unification (of local authorities), and the increased capacity this will bring, is an essential prerequisite.’

One Cornwall, One Council (Part 1)2007 The forward-looking ambition of the Cornish bid for a unitary authority strongly reflects the case developed by the Cornish Constitutional Convention. In his speech, as work on the new authority gets under way, Mr Whalley will be looking ahead, and calling for cooperation to achieve the transformation in governance with a Cornish Assembly.

Convention chair, Bert Biscoe, said: ‘We are very glad that David Whalley will be speaking at our annual meeting. New and exciting developments are only ever achieved through partnership. We were glad to see such strong statements included in the unitary bid documents.

The Convention has worked hard to establish a creative and positive framework for moving towards a Cornish Assembly. We know that the Government is willing to see new ideas tried in Cornwall, and the Unitary bid, which has been approved, made no secret of our ambitions. This is a moment for letting the new organisation take shape, and ensuring that the ambition and the positive relationships both within Cornwall and with the government are maintained and developed.’

Contact: Bert Biscoe 01872 242293 bertbiscoe@btinternet.com

Taken from Cornwall 24

Ethnic Violence in Cornwall

Over the last 3 centuries Cornwall has gone from being on the leading edge of the industrial revolution to being one of the poorest regions of Europe receiving objective one funding from the EU as a result. 

In the October 2001 Business Age Magazine Kevin Cahill, an author and investigative journalist for the Sunday Times, wrote the “The Killing of Cornwall”. He notes that the London Treasury extracts £1.95 billion in taxes out of Cornwall's GDP of £3.6 billion. The Treasury returns less than £1.65 billion, so there is a net loss to Cornwall of 300 million pounds, where the total earnings figure is 24% below the national average. Is this some form of negative Barnet Formula?

Low wages, unskilled Mac Jobs, poverty, social problems, and rocketing housing prices are the often hidden face of the optimistically named “English” Rivera. Coupled with this we have seen the centralisation of services, institutions and government (followed by the skilled jobs they entail) out of the Duchy much to the benefit of various undemocratic and faceless ‘South West of England’ quangos.

Due to a complex nexus of factors over recent years there has been an increase in Cornish ethnnic awareness. In parallel to this development little respect has been shown by central government for Cornish territorial integrity or the Cornish identity. This is a phenomenon which sadly has a long historical precedent within the UK. Take for example the recent debate about the Union flag. Not only are the Cornish excluded from the Union Jack but it is not so long ago that you needed planning permission to fly a Cornish St Pirans flag in Cornwall. Following government regulations one could have flown the flag of North Korea in the Duchy with no problems but not the Cornish flag.

Considering recent developments within the Duchy i.e. death threats sent to Cornish activists, the targeting of symbols of English identity for vandalism / protest and the creation of clandestine Cornish nationalist groups, I think it worthwhile posting the finding of a study on interethnic violence undertaken by M. Lim, R. Metzler, Y. Bar-Yam of the New England Complex Systems Institute.

Global Pattern Formation and Ethnic/Cultural Violence, Science 317, 5844 (2007)

Concluding remarks:

We identify a process of global pattern formation that causes regions to differentiate by culture. Violence arises at boundaries between regions that are not sufficiently well defined. We model cultural differentiation as a separation of groups whose members prefer similar neighbors with a characteristic group size at which violence occurs. Application of this model to the area of the former Yugoslavia and to India accurately predicts the locations of reported conflict. This model also points to imposed mixing or boundary clarification as mechanisms for promoting peace.
This is not an apology for Cornish terrorists nor is it an attempt to over state the scale of the problem, it is just a call for reflection. Were the CNLA / CRA inevitable? When you throw into the mix the ease of communication via the internet thus facilitating the creation and coordination of clandestine groups, poverty and housing problems are we still so surprised by the CRA? Wasn’t the writing on the wall?

Copied below is an interview between a person claiming membership of the CRA and a journalist called Per Svensson: http://periscope.a4r.org/

PS: News of the existence your organisation has been covered in many newspapers and periodicals. Can you explain to me the structure of the Cornish Republican Army ?

CRA: We have a Head Council person, a quartermaster, a fundraiser and two area commanders in charge of two person units in the West and East of Kernow. We have twelve two person units in the East and West. No Unit knows the identity of any other so ensuring maximum secrecy and security should arrests occur.

PS: Detail for me what actions you have initiated or taken part in?

CRA: We tested a firebomb in the old Brewery in Redruth earlier in the year. Later that method was employed in property burnings at Cathedral View and Malpas in Truro and also in Penryn. We have smashed windows at the English chef Rick Stein´s Restaurant in Padstow. We have damaged several cars in Morrison´s Supermarket Car Park in Newquay and Asda´s Supermarket Car Park in St. Austell which were displaying English flags. We have removed English flags from campsites in Mullion and Newquay and issued warnings to tourist attractions flying the English flag in Holywell Bay, Perranporth and elsewhere. Our younger members have been spraying grafitti.

PS: What is the aim of your actions?

CRA: To draw attention to the fact that Kernow is a Celtic Country under English domination. We detest the English flag as this represents a sign of dominant imperialism. We hope that house and show room fires may diminish the value and desire to have second or expensive properties in Kernow and which make Cornish people homeless. We want people to know that Kernow is not England nor ever has been.

PS: Why do you not use democratic means to achieve your ambitions?

CRA: Democracy has failed in Kernow. Many Cornish organisations have campaigned for years to achieve home rule for Kernow and have failed. Anything like home rule is unlikely in Kernow as the Celtic population is diminishing. We believe that direct action is the only way.

PS: Have you tried asking your Government to consider a federal solution as is the case in many modern European Countries? Surely that is a better solution than the type of direct action you appear to advocate?

CRA: A federal Cornish State would be an ideal solution and has become reality in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. As for Kernow - forget it - the British Government at Westminster would never ever consider it for us.

PS: Your type of action seems to require very little funding. Why do you fundraise?

CRA: To help with expenses of our people and to hire in the best lawyers should arrests ever occur. Money does buy justice.

PS: What is the state of your funds?

CRA: We are not prepared to say. They are very healthy.

PS: What is the source of your funds?

CRA: From within Kernow, Wales, Ireland and the USA.

PS: Do you have a bank account?

CRA: What do you think? Cash in Euros Dollars or Pounds is our way and can be easily converted.

PS: Have any of your people been arrested?

CRA: No.

PS: If so, are you prepared to name them?

CRA: As above.

PS: If none of your people have been arrested, why does your police department arrest Cornish people who are active in politics?

CRA: Because the English run police are anti Cornish and seek to cause fear.

PS: I have read of arrests of your members. Do you know the people who have been arrested and do you not consider your organisation responsible for those arrests?

CRA: None of our people are members of any other Cornish or Celtic organisations. None of those arrested are our people. Yes, we know of the other people who have been harrassed by the police and can name them: JB, DE, HR, TL, GH and DL. None of them are of our organisation although they may have claimed to be. Actually, the reason we changed our name from the Cornish National Liberation Army to the Cornish Republican Army was due in part to copy cats who sang songs about us and who said they were supporters. Perhaps when our name was taken, these people did not realise that we were already in existence. This is the police state that modern Kernow has become.

PS: Some people say that you are comprised of disaffected children, internet players or cranks and do not actually exist and that you have very little support. Can I request your comment please ?

CRA: None of our current membership is unemployed and all have jobs. Our Chief Council person is Cornish and has detested the English authorities and the police all his life. Yes we exist. If we did not would the police have set up a special unit at Launceston Police Station to investigate us and would Inspector MR of Truro Police Station have made the comments he did about the fires? Would we have been mentioned in the Westminster Parliament? Also, since our creation last year, we have had many applications to join and have heard that Cornish World and the Sun Newspaper have received many requests to be placed in contact with us. Also, friends in the Welsh Republican Army have been contacted by many people about joining us. We have to be very careful with these applications as they may be police informants. Even we have been surprised about the level of support and interest. If we did not exist, then why would the police be arresting various people, why would they ban local press coverage of our activities, why do they not relay our communications with them onto the press, why would they raid the offices of the West Briton paper and seize material relating to the Camborne Pool and Redruth Regeneration project and other papers, why are they constantly seizing JA´s books from everyone? Yes, we are here and will shall be continuing next year with a few surprising actions. Watch this space !

PS: What contacts, if any, do you have with other organisations either in Cornwall or overseas?

CRA: We have contact with the Welsh Republican Army and with people in Ireland. Last year, we met people from ETA in Hendaye in the French occupied Basque Country and set ourselves up based on their structure of two person units. They are probably the most succesful organisation of their type after the IRA and have achieved virtual independence for the Basque Region of Spain. Those who give money we shall not name.

PS: If you have contacted other organisations, how do you go about setting up such contacts?

CRA: Messages left on internet sites and so on.

PS: Is yours a class war?

CRA: No. Ours is a war for the Cornish plain and simple.

PS: Do you have access to firearms?

CRA: No comment.

PS: What types of firearms do you possess?

CRA: As above.

PS: So far, you have apparently restricted yourselves to acts of damage. Would you endanger lives?

CRA: We will do our best not to.

PS: What are your future plans?

CRA: 2008 promises to be an interesting year for the English occupying forces and their establishment. Beyond that, no comment.

28.11.07

Cornwall Joins the Call to Climate Action

The environment and Cornwall have strong links, and whatever the policies of Cornwall Council (i.e incineration) people in Cornwall tend to be very concerned about the quality of our natural environment. However climate change is a huge threat to this with potentially devastating consequences.

In a few days time the UN climate talks will start in Bali (3rd - 14th December). Consequently December 8th has been called as a Global Day of Action to demand that world leaders take the urgent and resolute action that is needed to prevent the catastrophic destabalisation of the global climate.

Key to this call is that the world move towards a stronger emissions reductions treaty that is both equitable and effective in preventing dangerous climate chantge.

Many people from Cornwall are going up to the march in London, getting a National Express bus up from Newquay on Friday night, coming back over Saturday night, so if you want to join us - feel free!. Or if you live in East Cornwall there is a bus going up from Plymouth, leaving Bretonside at 6.30 am.

And of course, we'll be bringing Cornish flags along too!

For more information on the demo both in London and around the world, or for details of the Plymouth bus, check out the link above.

24.11.07

The Cornish Media

The BBC is also facing charges of a lack of support for Scots and for Cornish due to a failure to mention either language in its statement of Public Purposes, a mission statement for the corporation which is committed to implementing under the terms of the BBC charter. The document states that the BBC’s output should support the UK’s indigenous languages “such as Gaelic, Welsh, Irish and Ulster Scots”, but fails to specifically mention either Scots or Cornish.

The above is taken from the Eurolang website.

What excuse does the BBC provide for this less than even handed treatment of the UK's indigenous minority languages? I think all Cornish TV licence payers have a right to know and should certainly ask. I don't think anybody is asking for 50% of programs to be in Cornish but is it right that the language should be relegated to the odd half hour on local radio? Have the Cornish public been asked about the cultural content of BBC productions broadcast in the Duchy?

The problem is not just the BBC but with the lack of independent media sources in the Duchy in general. National minorities, distinct cultural regions, indigenous peoples or whatever designation you want to use must be provided with a pluralistic media that allows them fair access.

It is in this vein that I am happy to reprint a letter produced by J Angarrack of the civil rights group Cornwall 2000.

ELECTION 2004: CORNWALL 2000 REACT TO WESTERN MORNING NEWS ASSISTING IN NORMALISING THE VIEWS OF ENGLISH SUPREMACISTS AND XENOPHOBES.

INTRODUCTION

This short paper constitutes an analysis of the letters page of the Western Morning News daily newspaper in the ten week period leading up to the elections to the European Parliament of June 10th 2004.

The author is director of civil rights organisation Cornwall 2000. He undertook his investigation after Cornish minority rights activists had, for many months, been complaining that whilst they were experiencing difficulty in having letters published, the ethnic majority and those at the other end of the political spectrum appeared to be having little difficulty.

This paper is primarily intended to inform the Council of Europe's Advisory Committee to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities [FCPNM]. However, it will also be of interest to concerned individuals, academics and non-government organisations working in the field of minority rights. It will also contribute to the debate on whether the interests of free and representative expression, and therefore the democratic process, would be better served by Cornwall acquiring some form of independent news media.

CONTENTS:

1. BACKGROUND.
2. CASE STUDIES.
3. THE UKIP FACTOR.
4. THE UKIP MESSAGE.
5. THE MISSING CORNISH DIMENSION.
6. CONCLUSION.
1. BACKGROUND.


1.1 As with most of the written news media in Cornwall, the Western Morning News [WMN] is part of the Daily Mail Group. The Daily Mail produces news articles that are sympathetic to those on the right of British politics. Its agenda is largely centralist, Anglophile, Royalist and Eurosceptic.

1.2 The WMN serves a population of approximately two million people over a catchment area extending through Cornwall, Devon and an indeterminate area to the east. The paper produces a Cornwall edition and describes itself as "Cornwall's only local daily paper". In many areas of Cornwall, the Daily Mail Group have acquired a monopoly on the dissemination of local/regional printed news matter.

1.3 The Cornish are a pre-English minority group constituting some 175,000 - 200,000 people mostly living in their historic homeland of Cornwall/Kernow. A recent survey by Plymouth University found that, if given the opportunity, over a third of pupils in Cornwall schools would identity as Cornish. Elements within the group strive to maintain their region’s constitutional position and the group’s unique social outlook, linguistic heritage and cultural identity.

1.4 UK Census 2001 carried a 'Cornish' ethnic group category. Some public authorities carry out ethnic monitoring of the Cornish. The Cornish language has been accorded international protected status. The Council of Europe has urged the Government to extend the cultural, educational and other benefits of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities to the Cornish.

2. CASE STUDIES.

2.1 The Press Complaints Commission [PCC] is the newspaper industry vehicle of self-regulation. The PCC has a Code of Practice which states: "The Press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to a persons race. In particular, newspapers must not publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted material". However, the Cornish experience of this organisation has given rise to a widely held belief that, as those responsible for determining whether a newspaper has breached the code rely on funding from the owners of the very same newspapers, it is a less than satisfactory vehicle of regulation.

2.2 The WMN often publish inaccurate, misleading and distorted information about the Cornish. This includes their social circumstances, historical background, economic profile and the constitutional position of their territory. Attempts to have these inaccuracies corrected rarely produce results.

2.3 There are also instances where WMN reports have removed the ethnic Cornish dimension. On other occasions deeds which cast the majority group in a less than favourable light are left out of reportage. I have highlighted examples of this practice in other publications, however, one relevant instance occurred in May 2001.

2.4 When reporting on a South West Regional Assembly meeting held in Exeter on May 19th the WMN failed to describe to its readers the scene of flag waving, UKIP leaflet distributing, elements shouting down panellists. When their `European Conspiracy` theme failed to win them any friends they resorted to aggressive heckling in the base language of the xenophobe, the homophope and the white supremacist. My letter to the WMN highlighting these events was not published.

2.5 A recent example of the WMN publishing material designed to denude the distinctive history of the Cornish, undermine their self-awareness and endorse an 'official' version of history which retrospectively backdates English hegemony over Cornwall occurred on 10 February 2004. Although the story centred on an Anglophile myth, my letter calling for the claims to be substantiated, and offering a correction of the misleading picture being presented, was not published.

2.6 However relevant the above may be, this paper explores the ten week period leading up to the EU elections of 10 June 2004. As such, the period under review begins on 1 April 2004. During this period I submitted for publication a number of letters which addressed issues raised by the newspaper itself.

2.7 An opportunity to test WMN letter publishing policy arose on April 9th when a WMN feature writer accused the Cornish of being inter alia: socially bankrupt, unfunny, pathetic, ham-fisted and futile; the cause and source of irritation with supremacist attitudes and an identity that is both amusing for onlookers yet so completely unnecessary. Cornish letters of protest, clarification and defence were not published.

2.8 Another opportunity occurred on April 15th when a WMN feature writer adopted a supremacist posture by claiming that the actions of 'other' 19th century imperial powers were "unspeakable", whereas British imperialists acted out of benign paternalism. In the lead-up to European elections the constant vainglorious misrepresentation of Anglo-British history has important social and political implications for us all. However, my attempt to provide balance by offering an alternative appraisal was not published.

2.9 On 18 May 2004 the WMN published a letter from a prominent charity refuting one of the many United Kingdom Independence Party [UKIP] derived myths then being printed in the paper. My letter applauding this action and explaining that the UKIP is driven by a phalanx of similar myths that have xenophobia as the common denominator was not published.

2.10 On 19 May 2004 the WMN published a letter asserting that the proposed ban on hunting, a Right to Roam Act, speed cameras, increasing fuel costs, house price rises and salary discrepancies? are "European idiocies" which the public should "fight". My letter highlighting the fact that there is an increasing tendency in some quarters to blame 'outsiders' for perceived problems of our own making was not published.

2.11 In the week before the election I made one last attempt to explore a number of UKIP derived inaccuracies being printed in the letters columns of the WMN, in pro-UKIP news features run by the WMN and in prominent advertisements placed in the WMN by the UKIP. The issues were as follows: 1. Transfer of power to Brussels had been achieved without reference to the people. 2. The UKIP would deliver a crime free society. 3. That clogged roads, bad railways etc were the fault of immigrants, and that the UKIP would deliver a society free of overcrowding. 4. The UKIP would get rid of "red tape" and "human rights". 5. The claims that the UKIP would "restore" freedom of speech. 6. The UKIP postulations on people being "born free Britons". This letter was not published.

2.12 Letters from four other Cornish people along similar lines also remained unpublished. It should be noted that demand had previously led the WMN to establish a specific letters page entitled 'Cornish Issues'. This was withdrawn without explanation about two years ago.
2.13 When a Cornishman complained that the WMN printed too many anti-EU letters and too few pro-Cornish, pro-EU, letters the editor stated, "We never suppress any news, pro- or anti-EU" [April 6].


3. THE UKIP FACTOR

3.1 The fact that many letters offering corrections to a number of UKIP assertions [and others voicing alternative views to certain aspects of UKIP policy] remained unpublished was not due to any lack of space. In the ten-week period under review the WMN published 175 letters [some extending to 500 words] from 86 people supporting the UKIP stance. This is the sum total of letters that either specifically supported the UKIP or advocated withdraw from Europe on UKIP principles. I have included correspondence that originated from outside the WMN catchment area but excluded letters from self-declared UKIP supporters when discussing other issues. Copies of newspapers used in this survey are stored in libraries throughout Cornwall.

3.2 Of these letters, 31 people having two or more letters published were responsible for 119 out of the 175. Breaking the figures down still further, a mere eight people were responsible for 57 letters. Sometimes the same correspondent would have two letters published in one edition [May 4th for example]. Often the writers were allowed to repeat unchallenged arguments time and time again. One UKIP supporter had ten letters published over the period under examination, another nine. All in all, the pro-UKIP stance had more letters published than all other political parties put together.

3.3 Of the 31 who had two or more letters published, 9 gave addresses in Cornwall. To the best of my knowledge none of these people are active in the close-knit ethnic Cornish social, cultural or political scene.

3.4 There were the exceptions. In the ten-day period up to and including election day the paper published five letters that opposed the UKIP stance. This, however, must be viewed alongside the publication of 32 pro-UKIP stance letters during the same period. The paper also published the odd pro-Cornish letter - as long as it did not critically examine the UKIP message.

3.5 The onslaught on the senses was compounded by a series of WMN UKIP related stories and features that failed to subject UKIP presentation and ideology to critical in-depth analysis. Daily UKIP adverts in the WMN stated that they were the only people "telling the truth".

4. THE UKIP MESSAGE

4.1 Although the UKIP leadership portray the party as working for the entire population of the UK, one of the UKIP's main concerns is to preserve English cultural, economic and political domination of the UK. On June 8 a letter from the UKIP Chairman identified 'This England' magazine as the vehicle for UKIP aspirations. The 'This England' website pledges to defend the 'English Constitution'. The same letter acknowledges that the UKIP and the Daily Mail newsgroup share common objectives. Yet the Daily Mail says that it represents the voice of 'Middle England'. On 12 June 2004 the Mail branded as a "lunatic" the person responsible for steering public funds towards refugee, minority and other underprivileged groups. Sometimes code is used to disguise the covert aim of UKIP activists. A prime example occurred on May 31 when a UKIP correspondent spoke of who "John Bull" should be voting for. At UKIP meetings, while the talk is of "reclaiming Britain from Brussels", supporters wear 'England' logos. On May 4 a WMN UKIP letter declared, "Stand and be counted for England and show that the English are alive and will not be led to the scaffold without a fight".

4.2 In the ten-week period under review the WMN published a plethora of largely unchallenged UKIP derived assertions. Some correspondents had attempted to engender support for UKIP by appealing to Cornish sentiments, others pandered to the reactionary forces of English supremacism/nationalism. Nearly all strove to conjure up in the minds of voters the notion of some innocent Eden-like past when those diverse groups who inhabited Britain were ruled by a benevolent monarchy and a tolerant English-dominated Westminster Parliament which 'gave' the world the English language and spread 'freedom' throughout the globe.

4.3 Although the people of Camborne hold an annual festival in remembrance of steam pioneer Richard Trevithick, the Cornish were outraged this year when [according to the Chairman of the Trevithick Committee writing in the West Briton newspaper of March 11] the steam parade was prevented from going ahead after police refused a road closure order on grounds of safety. Six days before election day, and in order to attract maximum attention, the WMN published a full colour picture of last years Trevithick Day steam parade and underneath this picture a UKIP supporter was asserting that an "EU Directive forbidding the parade" had been issued.

4.4 On 27 April the WMN published a letter from a UKIP supporter who "feared for the homelessness that would ensue for many who would have to sell their homes to pay the inevitable taxes" when the EU force UK drivers to "drive on the right".

4.5 On the same day that a WMN headline declared "We are heading for an abyss for which there is no return" a UKIP supporter, while fearing for the demise of "our incorruptible monarchy" asserts that "continental jurisprudence is founded on slavery" [April 6]. Later another UKIP supporter writes "We must stop supporting immigrants already here and stop any more from coming in" [April 13]. A WMN feature writer then declares, "Maybe the English are doomed, but it is the ultimate shame if we roll over and allow the barbarians to overrun us"[April 24].

4.6 After a Eurosceptic writes "we are swamped with migrants" and "the Government want to appease every race except the English" [April 26] a UKIP MEP looked to Enoch Powell for political inspiration [May11]. A UKIP supporter declares that remaining in the EU is "nothing short of peeing on the graves" of those UK citizens killed in W.W.II [May 11], after which many UKIP supporters cry "retain our centuries old freedoms and liberties" [May 15]. Another asserts that the EU are plotting to ban "Women's Institutes and Mothers Unions" [May 15]. Another states that we should "fight the European idiocies" of speed cameras and increases in fuel costs [May 19]. To which another declares that the EU is nothing but "Gestapo totalitarianism at its worst" [May 27].

4.7 On election day the WMN published two letters of significance. One letter stated that the Cornish have a chip on their shoulder, are no different than anyone else, and after all, "we all live on planet earth". Next to this was a letter from a UKIP supporter equating Britain with England, and extolling the virtues of celebrating the English identity.

4.8 A WMN caveat printed daily on the inside front page states, "The WMN bears no allegiance to any political party but seeks to serve what it believes are the best interests of the people".

5. THE MISSING CORNISH DIMENSION

5.1 The few letters that opposed the UKIP stance often levelled their criticisms at UKIP jingoism and xenophobia. Others argued for continuing EU membership to assist trade, combat pollution or fight crime. Some concentrated on the harm support for the UKIP would do to the Conservative Party. A small number of WMN features also carried these messages. However, never once was the UKIP agenda examined from a distinctly Cornish minority rights perspective.

5.2 The fact that the UKIP wish to terminate EU membership was publicised. However, very little publicity was given to the fact that the UKIP also wish to increase spending on armaments, reverse the process of devolution and repeal the Human Rights Act 1998.

5.3 Yet international co-operation and regulation acts as a counterbalance to the excesses of an over-centralised state, devolution is a way for submerged nations and repressed regions to regain lost decision making power and the Human Rights Act 1998 [HRA], which is the domestic version of the European Convention on Human Rights [ECHR], constitutes part of the legislative apparatus the Cornish rely upon to acquire statistical visibility, cultural recognition and educational equality.

5.4 The ECHR has given rise to the Strasbourg Court stating, "Free elections and freedom of expression, particularly freedom of debate, form the bedrock of any democratic system. It is particularly important in the period preceding an election that opinions and information of all kinds are allowed to circulate freely". Bowman v UK 1998

5.5 Whose human rights are the UKIP going to denude and/or remove when they repeal the HRA? Which groups of people will be left with less decision making power when devolution is reversed? What would these same people say if German voters turned to a nationalist party that advocated isolationism, centralisation, a clamp down on minority rights and a major weapons building programme? Will the bloody and repressive history of these islands be allowed to repeat itself when an English dominated Westminster Parliament unrestrained by the moderating force of international law holds unfettered sway?

5.6 Although 50,000 people in Cornwall signed a declaration for a Cornish Assembly, and most reasonable people would support Cornish cultural and educational aspirations, it was still possible to travel Cornwall and see a Cornish Flag flying alongside a UKIP poster. It is not difficult to see why, when an ideology goes unchallenged, and important elements of the debate are kept out of the public domain, voters can become confused.

6. CONCLUSION

6.1 In the run up to an election, and from a catchment area extending to two million people, the WMN had allowed 31 people to dominate its letters pages. This gave an impression of a South West populace resentful of ‘outsiders’ and obsessed by fear of foreign influence.

6.2 Objective observers witnessed the WMN pandering to a feeding frenzy of claims that became more paranoid as time progressed. The superficial impression was one of overwhelming regional support for a xenophobic and regressive organisation that revels in the nationalism that fuelled centuries of inter-European mistrust, resentment and warfare.

6.3 Repetition of supercharged rhetoric created an alarmist atmosphere that was used to full advantage by the UKIP. A WMN June 8 full page feature on the UKIP had the writer stating, "Exceptionally, the letters column of the WMN have long shown the depth of feeling on this EU issue, and not just on the nationality/patriotic front".

6.4 By helping foster such conditions the WMN had been partly responsible for a general dynamic which encouraged people to gloss over disturbing aspects of UKIP ideology. In effect, the WMN had assisted in normalising the views of English supremacists and xenophobes.

6.4 William Hague is a former Leader of the Conservative Party. His comment that "English Nationalism is the most dangerous form of all forms of nationalism that can arise in the United Kingdom" is not without foundation [BBC Today programme 9 Jan 2000]. On the same programme Jack Straw said, "The English have used their propensity to violence to subjugate the smaller nations of Britain. Then we used it in Europe and with our Empire. So I think what you have in the UK is small nations who have been over the centuries under the cosh of the English".

6.5 The UKIP went from an average of 7% of the total share of the vote in 1999 to 16% in 2004. They topped the poll in many districts within the WMN readership area and doubled the number of seats in a SW England region that included Cornwall. The UKIP did not win any seats in Scotland and Wales

Cornwall 2000 is aware of the obligation upon Government, contained within the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities [FCPNM], to "ensure, within the framework of their legal system, that persons belonging to a national minority are not discriminated against in their access to the media". We note in particular the Advisory Committee's acknowledgement, contained in the Explanatory Report, of the "self-evident" right for minority groups to seek state assistance in creating their own forms of media. We trust that the Advisory Committee will find this report of value when considering its response to the Governments forthcoming Compliance Report.


Cornwall 2000 would welcome any comments on this paper.

CORNWALL 2000: CIVIL LIBERTIES/HUMAN RIGHTS
45 Higher Bore Street, Bodmin, Cornwall UK. PL31 1JS
Tel/Fax: 01208 76336
Email: cornubian@tiscali.co.uk
JOHN ANGARRACK
14 May 2004
© Cornwall 2000 [3335 words]