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27.12.11

The reunification of Brittany a step closer?

The French Parliament has voted in favour of a change in the law that could herald the reunification of Brittany. 

In the evening of Wednesday 21st December 2011 the French Parliament voted in favour of allowing residents of a department to hold a referendum without the agreement of other residents of the region. 

The change in the law could potentially mean that residents of the Loire Atlantique department, which forms part of the historic nation of Brittany and includes the historic Breton capital city of Naoned/Nantes, will be able to vote in favour of unification without having to convince others in the region to do the same. In 1941 the Loire Atlantique department was merged with the French Pays de la Loire region by the Fascist Vichy Government, which it has remained a part of ever since. 

It has been reported that there is widespread support among the people of the Loire Atlantique department for reunification with Brittany and similarly people in Brittany are in favour of this piece of their historic territory returning to them. Within the last decade in particular there has been a growing movement among activists to raise the profile of the campaign to reunify Brittany. In June this year a mass demonstration took place in Naoned that attracted 5000 people. The aim of the protesters was to apply pressure on the French presidential candidates, in time for elections in 2012, to come out in support of Breton unification. In June 2010 the Breton Regional Council voted in favour of a motion on the `territorial collective' of Brittany, which recognized the Loire Atlantique department as part of the traditional territory of Brittany. 

Currently the Pays de la Loire region has approximately 3.5 million residents, with 1.3 million of these people inhabiting the Loire Atlantique Department. The new law could potentially mean that the 1.3 million residents of the Loire Atlantique Department can vote on whether they want their department to return to Breton control, without the approval of the other 2.2 million residents of the Pays de la Loire region. For the Loire Atlantique electorate to be able to decide whether their department is reunited with Brittany, without having to convince the rest of the Pays de la Loire region is a significant development, because traditionally the inhabitants of the Pays de la Loire region outside of the Loire Atlantique Department have been against reunification. 

Naoned is an economically strong region in its own right and currently the capital of the Pays de la Loire region. The president of the Pays de la Loire region, who is one of the biggest opponents of reunification, said he was "surprised" by the vote. A close advisor to French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Franck Louvrier, said he was pleased by the draft amendment, arguing that the idea of giving the Loire Atlantique Department back to Brittany was "decidedly favourable" and welcomed the development, which he said was a democratic move. 

The draft text of the bill will now need to go before the French parliament's upper house, the Senate, for approval. 

For comment or clarification on this news item in the first instance contact: Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, General Secretary, Celtic League: Tel: 0044 (0)1209 319912 M: 0044 (0)7787318666 gensec@celticleague.net The General Secretary will determine the appropriate branch or General Council Officer to respond to your query. 

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.  Website here and news group here

The reunification of Brittany a step closer?

The French Parliament has voted in favour of a change in the law that could herald the reunification of Brittany. 

In the evening of Wednesday 21st December 2011 the French Parliament voted in favour of allowing residents of a department to hold a referendum without the agreement of other residents of the region. 

The change in the law could potentially mean that residents of the Loire Atlantique department, which forms part of the historic nation of Brittany and includes the historic Breton capital city of Naoned/Nantes, will be able to vote in favour of unification without having to convince others in the region to do the same. In 1941 the Loire Atlantique department was merged with the French Pays de la Loire region by the Fascist Vichy Government, which it has remained a part of ever since. 

It has been reported that there is widespread support among the people of the Loire Atlantique department for reunification with Brittany and similarly people in Brittany are in favour of this piece of their historic territory returning to them. Within the last decade in particular there has been a growing movement among activists to raise the profile of the campaign to reunify Brittany. In June this year a mass demonstration took place in Naoned that attracted 5000 people. The aim of the protesters was to apply pressure on the French presidential candidates, in time for elections in 2012, to come out in support of Breton unification. In June 2010 the Breton Regional Council voted in favour of a motion on the `territorial collective' of Brittany, which recognized the Loire Atlantique department as part of the traditional territory of Brittany. 

Currently the Pays de la Loire region has approximately 3.5 million residents, with 1.3 million of these people inhabiting the Loire Atlantique Department. The new law could potentially mean that the 1.3 million residents of the Loire Atlantique Department can vote on whether they want their department to return to Breton control, without the approval of the other 2.2 million residents of the Pays de la Loire region. For the Loire Atlantique electorate to be able to decide whether their department is reunited with Brittany, without having to convince the rest of the Pays de la Loire region is a significant development, because traditionally the inhabitants of the Pays de la Loire region outside of the Loire Atlantique Department have been against reunification. 

Naoned is an economically strong region in its own right and currently the capital of the Pays de la Loire region. The president of the Pays de la Loire region, who is one of the biggest opponents of reunification, said he was "surprised" by the vote. A close advisor to French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Franck Louvrier, said he was pleased by the draft amendment, arguing that the idea of giving the Loire Atlantique Department back to Brittany was "decidedly favourable" and welcomed the development, which he said was a democratic move. 

The draft text of the bill will now need to go before the French parliament's upper house, the Senate, for approval. 

For comment or clarification on this news item in the first instance contact: Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, General Secretary, Celtic League: Tel: 0044 (0)1209 319912 M: 0044 (0)7787318666 gensec@celticleague.net The General Secretary will determine the appropriate branch or General Council Officer to respond to your query. 

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.  Website here and news group here

23.12.11

The Duchy incompatible with democracy

The General Secretary (GS) of the Celtic League has written about the unrivalled influence of the Duke of Cornwall in his column in the West Briton newspaper this month. 

Rhisiart Tal-e-bot argues that the Duke is able to exercise considerable power in Cornwall that seems to place him outside of "the rules and regulations that govern everyone else", following leaked documents that show the Duke is able to veto or modify laws that affect his vested interests, especially in the Duchy of Cornwall estate. The full text of the article is set out below.

"What do you get when a private business man is able to exercise exceptional power over public legislation and exploit his public office to further his private interests? No, this is not the beginning of a funny joke, but the reality of life in the `delectable duchy' under the Duke of Cornwall, where paupers starve and princes - or rather a Duke - enjoys unrivalled influence. 

If you think I am joking, take the last month for instance. At the end of October we heard that the Duke of Cornwall had been asked for his consent on 12 government bills on a range of issues, mainly affecting the Duchy of Cornwall. It is unknown if the Duke suggested alterations to the proposed legislation, because he is except from Freedom of Information Act requests. It has been revealed that if proposed legislation could potentially affect the Duke's private Duchy of Cornwall interests, then the Duke has a right to veto. I am sure many other business men in Cornwall would like the opportunity to do the same. 

As a private estate the Duchy of Cornwall can escape public scrutiny, but it enjoys a range of powers that are normally reserved for public institutions, like the government. It's all very well for apologists to say that the Duchy of Cornwall is a complex legal entity, but somebody seems to know what it is when there is money to be made. Homeowners on the Isle of Scilly are still reeling from a legal loophole that has allowed the Duke to buy the land on which their homes are built, even though this power is only normally reserved for public bodies. Neither does the Duchy carry out environmental assessments as its farming of non native oysters in the Helford have revealed, because if you are the Duchy of Cornwall anything is possible. 

Residents in Truro have started an e petition against a proposed complex development that the Duchy of Cornwall backs, to build on a green field site. In any other circumstance the application would hardly be considered, but this is the Duchy of Cornwall we are talking about. Then last week we hear that the Duke is planning on imposing metal detector licences in Cornwall for those people who enjoy combing the beach on the foreshore, which the Duchy of Cornwall owns as part of its Duchy Estate (is that the private part or the public part I wonder?). Of course, if you die in Cornwall and no one is entitled to your estate your money goes to the Duchy of Cornwall and likewise if a company registered in Cornwall is dissolved leaving assets, the Duke takes these too. Not a bad set up for any mafia boss … I mean businessman. 

To be fair, the exercise of these privileges makes good business sense for any enterprising man and the egg is on the face of those who have let this dirty business go on for so long. But the problem is who can take this man and the pursuit of his private interests to task? A friend once told me that as a Royal Navy diver in the 1970's he had once arrived late for dinner on the ship he had been working, because of a mild case of the bends. On asking for a late meal he had been refused by Charles Windsor, in his Royal Navy capacity. Unhappy with the response he received the man told me that he had asked for Windsor's superior officer and the response from Windsor was that he was the next King of England and he had no superiors. Perhaps this man still thinks he can work outside the rules and regulations that govern everyone else? Well it would seem he can, especially where the Duchy of Cornwall's concerned. " 

For comment or clarification on this news item in the first instance contact: Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, General Secretary, Celtic League: Tel: 0044 (0)1209 319912 M: 0044 (0)7787318666 gensec@celticleague.net The General Secretary will determine the appropriate branch or General Council Officer to respond to your query. 

The campaign group Republic also has the Duchy in its sights. You'd think however that if they are trying to involve the people of Cornwall then they'd organise their meeting in Cornwall. Anyway details can be found below.

At our planned Plymouth meeting in the new year one of the topics on the agenda will be the creation of a new campaign focussed on the abolition of the Duchy of Cornwall. With the Duke of Cornwall - prince Charles - getting ever nearer to the throne it is high time his cash-cow duchy was directly challenged by the people of Cornwall. If you would like to know more about this new project please get in touch with me by emailing: graham@republic.org.uk
 

17.12.11

English Regionalism - from where the second wind?

John Baxendale has produced an interesting article for OurKingdom that can be found here: England, Scotland and the North: a view from 'flyover country'. The basic premise being "with Scotland on the road to further devolution if not independence, and the cuts set to deepen, its time to talk about the oft-forgotten North of England".

Even if the 'oft-forgotten North of England' remark has this Cornishman choking on his pasty, quite correctly he points out that, differently to Cornwall, the left in the North of England has worked hand in glove with the Scottish left to resist "with a greater or lesser degree of success the hegemony of the south-east with its wealthier finance and service based economy". The left from the North of England and Scotland elected Blair and, if a Scottish parliament was the first wave of devolution, an assembly for the 'oft-forgotten' North East was the second. John suggests that Scottish independence would destroy this partnership leaving the North of England in a much weaker position to face London.

Whilst Baxendale doesn't overtly call for devolution to Northern England in this article its still the logical conclusion of his point of view. Equally, whether formed by default by Scottish, Welsh and Irish independence or created otherwise before, he is in no doubt that an English parliament would simply reinforce the isolation of the North. Should we not conclude the same fate would await Cornwall?

I support the creation of an English parliament in that I support the independence of Scotland and Wales as well as the reunification of Ireland. Even if the English nationalist parties that exist seem to be - at best europhobic reactionaries and at worst neo-nazis - I can only wish the best of luck to our fellow Celtic nations in their quest for independence thus creating an English parliament.

That being said Cornwall and parts of England remote from the circles of influence of London need to consider now more than ever a renegotiation of power before Scottish independence ensures a Tory majority and the predominance of the South and South East of England for decades to come.

At the end of his articles John Baxendale writes "for that matter let’s hear about Cornwall and East Anglia". I have to say this left me a little perplexed. Is Cornwall simply another potential English region silently queuing up alongside the likes of East Anglia in the hopes of getting some scraps from Londons table? Is he not aware that Cornwall has a distinct national identity, its own language, an established autonomist movement and a petition of 50,000 signatures calling for the creation of a Cornish assembly? Either John is being disingenuous in ignoring the always inconvenient Cornish question or he is simply ignorant of it. Perhaps Cornwall, being the only 'region of England' that has an organised grass-roots campaign for autonomy, is an embarrassment for a campaigner for Northern devolution still smarting from rejection? Or more worryingly is it that he has only heard faint murmurings of a regionalist sentiment coming from Kernow? If the latter is true then the Cornish movement really needs to think about how it communicates with the outside world.

What of the grass-roots English regionalists and federalists that do exist? The campaign for Yorkshire devolution seems to have fallen silent leaving only a handful of  Facebook groups. The UK Federalist Party has merged with other EU federalists to form the European Federalist Party and seems more focused on federalism at state level in Europe rather than on a sub-state and much more human scale. A tactical error I think. The Northumbria Party seems a little more dynamic than the precedent Northumbrian regionalists whilst both Wessex and Mercian autonomists seem to have little changed. Much still remains to be done to give grass-roots English regionalism an audible voice.

14.12.11

15 named Cornish speakers who lived after Dolly Pentreath and before the revival.

Dolly Pentreath didn't speak a word of English until her twenties, so we can safely say that she was a monoglot in her adulthood, I am not aware of how much English she actually did speak and have been meaning to check the contemporary sources for a while now.

There are over a dozen named Cornish speakers that lived after her death. John Nancarrow of Marazion, not yet forty in 1777. William Bodinar, died 1789, would chat for hours in Cornish with Dolly. An engineer from Truro called Thompson who was the author of Dolly Pentreath's epitaph and was said to have known far more Cornish than she ever did. Ann Wallis, died c. 1844. Jane Barnicoate, died c. 1857. Mary Kelynack. John Tremethack, died 1852 at the age of eighty-seven. George Badcock, grandfather of Bernard Victor of Mousehole, taught some Cornish to his grandson who went on to impart much of his knowledge to Cornish revivalists Rev. Lach-Szyrma, Henry Jenner, and Fred W. P. Jago. Anne Berryman (1766–1854), of Boswednack, Zennor. John Davey Snr. and John Davey Jnr., died 1891, also of Boswednack. There is good evidence that at least three native speakers outlived John Davey junior: Jacob Care of St Ives, died 1892; Elizabeth Vingoe of Higher Boswarva, Madron, died 1903, who taught at least some Cornish to her son; and John Mann of St Just, alive in 1914.

One of the main definitions of a living language is that it is passed on to children. John Mann was interviewed at the age of 80 in 1914, he said that he had always conversed in Cornish whilst at play as a child in Boswednack.

We do know that the Cornish Lord's prayer, Creed and counting systems were used quite widely through the 19th and into the 20th century. In 1935 there was a man who reported that when he was a youth, in about 1875, he used to go to sea with some Newlyn fishermen who were in the habit of speaking Cornish while on the boat and held conversations which lasted up to ten minutes at a time. John Davey Jnr. could converse on a number of subjects in Cornish and was known for songs and poetry learnt from his father. Unfortunately only one piece is known to have been recorded.

A guest post above from the indefatigable Ellery, many thanks to him. If anyone has ever posed the question as to the place of the Cornish language and Cornish dialect on this blog then let me clarify things. My abilities in both do not permit me to do them justice and I have no desire to do anything but a proper job. That being said however if people want to submit articles in either Cornish or  Anglo-cornish dialect that follow the line of the Cornish Republican then I'd be happy to publish them. 

For those who wish to learn Cornish start here: Maga - the Cornish language partnership.

For those that want to learn Cornish dialect start here: The Federation of old Cornwall Societies.

4.12.11

Take heart

Here are two articles about the much under publicised constitutional revolution in Iceland that has seen the people take the power back from the banks and political elites. 

Let the 99% and those that occupy take heart. 

Let all those who campaign for an empowered, social and ecological Cornwall equally take heart as a country of 318,452 shows what can be done when the citizens awake. If a nation smaller than ours can demand a new settlement than it is only for us to decide what we want. To be masters of our own destinies or the mere pawns of financial elites and their political lackeys in London. 


24.11.11

Mebyon Kernow Conference - the speeches

 

20.11.11

Jonathan Edwards MP - » Araith Mebyon Kernow – Unionism in Crisis

Gyfeillion, mae’n bleser cael bod yma fel cynrychiolydd plaid Genedlaethol Cymru yng nghynadledd plaid Genedlaethol Cernyw.

 Friends, it’s a pleasure to be here this afternoon representing the national party of Wales in the annual conference of the national party of Cornwall. And especially to be with you to help celebrate your 60th birthday.

It’s a particular pleasure to be here as a relatively newly elected Member of the Westminster Parliament. I send greetings on behalf of the Plaid – SNP parliamentary group.

We have recently been joined by Caroline Lucas the Green MP. With Scottish independence imminent, we are looking forward to the day when Mebyon Kernow Members of Parliament will join the group to make up for the six SNP Members we are about to lose!

In preparation for your arrival I should offer one word of warning. Westminster is a strange place for any nationalist. It is literally the belly of the beast. Aneurin Bevan used to remark how many a socialist would be seduced by the architecture of the palace – the high ceilings and large windows – how any individual entering that place feels extremely small and finds their core beliefs being compressed out of them. In the end it’s often easier to conform and become a mouthpiece for the establishment. It’s no surprise that many of the forbearers who went before me from the valleys of the South Wales coalfield representing the British Labour party quickly found themselves losing their accents and any sense of political radicalism.

Read the rest here: Jonathan Edwards MP - » Araith Mebyon Kernow – Unionism in Crisis Sat. November 19, 2011

19.11.11

Some ugly mugs


Spot the blog author.

Some ugly mugs


Spot the blog author.

18.11.11

Greens as they could be

Europe Ecologie's (the French Greens) candidate for the 2012 presidential election has spoken out in favour of the promotion and teaching of Frances 'regional' languages. Equally Eva Joly (pictured) has called for the reunification of Brittany with its historic capital Nantes coupled with a far greater degree of autonomy. 

Can the Cornish expect the same from Caroline Lucas? Why not take the time to write and ask her

Greens as they could be

Europe Ecologie's (the French Greens) candidate for the 2012 presidential election has spoken out in favour of the promotion and teaching of Frances 'regional' languages. Equally Eva Joly (pictured) has called for the reunification of Brittany with its historic capital Nantes coupled with a far greater degree of autonomy. 

Can the Cornish expect the same from Caroline Lucas? Why not take the time to write and ask her

Don't believe the hype!

After this tempting morsel - Clegg to discuss greater powers for Duchy with Cornish MPs - thrown to the Cornish by the LibDem leader, nodoubt desperate to win back a little credibility for his underlings in the Duchy,  I thought I'd return the favour.

Haven't we been here before? Didn't Cameron promise use a Minister for Cornwall? Didn't the various Cornish LibDems promise us an assembly as well as to fight all attempts at creating Devonwall?

Action not more bullshit please! 

If the ConDems are in anyway serious about Cornish devolution, rather than selling us Cornish parrots, then they will stop -WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT- all attacks on our territorial integrity.

Stop Devonwall now, hold a public inquiry into the Duchy of Cornwall and then give the people of our nation a referendum on their future governance.

15.11.11

Country Standard: Remember Cornish Spanish Civil War Hero - Pat Glasson

11.11.11

The Cornish Landscape Observatory

Click on the image to have to read.

Cornwall's Currency

Having blogged about the subject a few times here its gratifying to see influential people in Cornwall at last taking up the idea of a Cornish currency. Such a system would undoubtedly be a very effective way to protect the Cornish economy promoting local companies and produce. One for the Cornish movement to back unanimously!

6.11.11

The Duchy is a sovereign land – not a private company

 
The Venn Diagram above, borrowed from the the fascinating Grey's Blog, is perhaps the best way of understanding what Cornish constitutionalists have been claiming about Cornwall and its relationship to the Duchy of Cornwall and the wider UK. 

Clearly Cornwall is part of the island of Great Britain and, on a day to day basis, is largely run as a county of England. However, as explained in this article by Bert Biscoe of the Cornish Constitutional Convention, Cornwall also has a second hidden constitutional life. Hidden? Well perhaps not for much longer.

If I've followed correctly the arguments of our Cornish constitutionalists, rather than an English county, Cornwall has a legal position similar to that of Crown Dependency (see diagram). So, geographically part of the Island of Great Britain but, constitutionally legally, not part of England, the UK, or EU. Put Cornwall in the box with Jersey, Guernsey and, our brother Celtic nation, the Isle of Mann.

Cornwall leaping to such a degree of autonomy would change a great deal in how our little land is governed by hugely increasing how policy is decided in Cornwall.

Before anybody asks why a republican is requesting Cornwall be recognised as a Duchy let me explain. Our choice is between a Monarchy and a Duchy. The former relegating us to being a peripheral county of a much larger centralised nation, England, that cares not one jot for our identity or culture. The latter, whilst being far from perfect, would still see Cornwall obtaining a much increased degree of self-determination. Give Cornwall the autonomy first then we can open the debate on republicanism.

However this ends I hope the UK's well meaning democratic reformers, human rights campaigners and the public in general manage to take away one clear message. In Cornwall, for decades now, those 'loony Cornish nationalists' amongst whose number I count myself, where the only ones telling the truth about the feudal undemocratic powers of the Duchy of Cornwall.

5.11.11

Let them eat cake

31.10.11

The Super Citizen Duke Charles

These two articles from the Guardian - Prince of Wales: a private individual's effective veto over public legislation - and - Prince Charles has been offered a veto over 12 government bills since 2005 - might both come as quite a surprise to someone who has just read the new Cabinet Manual, which purportedly, "sets out the main laws, rules and conventions affecting the conduct and operation of Government".

Of course no mention is made in the Cabinet Manual of the feudal institution that is the Duchy of Cornwall and its wholly undemocratic powers to intervene in governance of the UK. Such revealing levels of honesty would be far too much for the public to handle, or so the establishments reasoning proceeds.

However none of this will come as any surprise at all to Cornish constitutional campaigners who have suspected the Duchy of acting against Cornish interests for centuries. 'Nasty' Cornish nationalists have been banging on for decades about the undemocratic nature of the Duchy its quite surprising that the English media has taken so long to take up the story. Still, it's not such a surprise considering the London clique only take themselves seriously.

So yet one more example making a mockery of British democracy. In fact the UK isn't fit to be a member of the European Union might be a touch closer to the truth.  Is this really how rational and authentic individuals want to be governed? Can't we chase these parasites from power?

Futher reading on the Duchy and its powers can be found here:

30.10.11

Celtic solidarity against fascism


Some inspirational images from a recent match between Stade Rennais and Celtic in one of the two Breton capitals Rennes (the other being Nantes of course).

Celtic solidarity against fascism


Some inspirational images from a recent match between Stade Rennais and Celtic in one of the two Breton capitals Rennes (the other being Nantes of course).

Breizh News

Reunification campaign

On 18th June 2011 protesters marched on the Breton city of Naoned/Nantes in a mass demonstration of solidarity in calling for the reunification of Brittany. A number of groups were behind the organisation of the protest, including Naoned e Breizh (Nantes in Brittany), Bretagne Reunie, 44=Breizh, Agence Culturelle Bretonne Morvan Lebesque and Kevre Breizh. However, some campaigners did not think that the reunification campaign is going so well as it may perhaps seem. One activist told the Celtic League that the demo was not successful, because a couple of years previously between 10 000 and 15 000 people had demonstrated in a similar demonstration.

Yann Fouere

One of the Celtic League founding members, Yann Fouéré, has been launching his autobiography internationally this year, firstly in Clifden, Co Galway, Ireland in July and last 12 week in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales. Mr Fouéré, paased away on 21st October 2011 aged 101 years old. 

Bugaled Breizh 

Seven years on and no one has yet been convicted for the sinking of the Breton trawler in waters off the Cornish coast, although suspicions have fallen heavily on the Royal Navy. In August the Bugaled Breizh got into the press again after one of the submarine commanders, who was engaged in war games in the vicinity where the fishing boat sunk, wrote on his twitter account that he was "getting a bit irritated by the continuous press coverage of something I didn't do." 

Elections 

On 20 and 27 March 2011 Cantonal elections to elect half the membership of the general councils took place. The Cantonal elections use a two round system similar to that employed in the legislative elections and take place every 3 years. The March 2011 elections were the first Cantonal elections since 1992 not to be paired with another election, such as the regional elections or the Municipal elections. Cantonal councillors are electors for the senatorial elections and considering that the forces in the senate are, as of March 2011, balanced the results of this election could play a role in the September 2011 senatorial elections. In these elections political agreements were made between some nationalist parties and other parties, which meant that they campaigned alongside each other. These included the UDB campaigning alongside Europe Ecologie les Vertes and Breizhistance with the New Anti Capitalist Party. Parti Breton campaigned in the election its own right. Another new party that ran in these elections was the Mouvement Bretagne et Progres. 

ABP 

This year there has been a reorganisation at ABP and the founder, Philippe Argouarch is taking less of a prominent role, although he is still involved. Agence Bretagne Presse was redesigned and relaunched in October 2011. 

Per Denez 

Celtic League member and Breton language activist, Professor Per Denez, died on 3rd July 2011. 

Emgann visit Ireland 

In May and August 2011 a delegation from the Breton group Emgann visited Ireland on the invitation of Republican Sinn Fein to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the death of the Hunger Strikers. A commemorative plaque was offered by the Breton delegation, which was led by Reun Diguerher. 

Ferry Link 

A proposed weekly ferry route between Brittany and Cornwall is currently being discussed and a feasibility study into the venture is being carried out. 13 A and P Falmouth, the company which runs the docks in the town, is leading a consortium to run a route between Falmouth and St Malo, but so far no ferry company has shown an interest in taking up the idea. 

Language 

On 7th December 2010 a new language Bill was introduced into the French National Assembly that aims to give greater rights to the languages of the French state, including Breton. The 'Regional' Language Bill (développement des langues et cultures régionales) aims to establish a greater level of linguistic rights for speakers of 'regional' languages and will bring the French state in line with European legal norms. The Bill, if successful, will include a state guarantee for the teaching of Breton to children and could could potentially have a huge impact on the revival of the Breton language, which according to some predictions is losing an estimated 10 000 speakers a year. In November 2010 language activists demanded that more Breton language signs are erected at post offices and a peaceful protest was staged in Landerne/Landerneau. However, the manager of the post office called the police and the activists were arrested." 

For comment or clarification on this news item in the first instance contact: Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, General Secretary, Celtic League: Tel: 0044 (0)1209 319912 M: 0044 (0)7787318666 gensec@celticleague.net. The General Secretary will determine the appropriate branch or General Council Officer to respond to your query 

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.

Breizh News

Reunification campaign

On 18th June 2011 protesters marched on the Breton city of Naoned/Nantes in a mass demonstration of solidarity in calling for the reunification of Brittany. A number of groups were behind the organisation of the protest, including Naoned e Breizh (Nantes in Brittany), Bretagne Reunie, 44=Breizh, Agence Culturelle Bretonne Morvan Lebesque and Kevre Breizh. However, some campaigners did not think that the reunification campaign is going so well as it may perhaps seem. One activist told the Celtic League that the demo was not successful, because a couple of years previously between 10 000 and 15 000 people had demonstrated in a similar demonstration.

Yann Fouere

One of the Celtic League founding members, Yann Fouéré, has been launching his autobiography internationally this year, firstly in Clifden, Co Galway, Ireland in July and last 12 week in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales. Mr Fouéré, paased away on 21st October 2011 aged 101 years old. 

Bugaled Breizh 

Seven years on and no one has yet been convicted for the sinking of the Breton trawler in waters off the Cornish coast, although suspicions have fallen heavily on the Royal Navy. In August the Bugaled Breizh got into the press again after one of the submarine commanders, who was engaged in war games in the vicinity where the fishing boat sunk, wrote on his twitter account that he was "getting a bit irritated by the continuous press coverage of something I didn't do." 

Elections 

On 20 and 27 March 2011 Cantonal elections to elect half the membership of the general councils took place. The Cantonal elections use a two round system similar to that employed in the legislative elections and take place every 3 years. The March 2011 elections were the first Cantonal elections since 1992 not to be paired with another election, such as the regional elections or the Municipal elections. Cantonal councillors are electors for the senatorial elections and considering that the forces in the senate are, as of March 2011, balanced the results of this election could play a role in the September 2011 senatorial elections. In these elections political agreements were made between some nationalist parties and other parties, which meant that they campaigned alongside each other. These included the UDB campaigning alongside Europe Ecologie les Vertes and Breizhistance with the New Anti Capitalist Party. Parti Breton campaigned in the election its own right. Another new party that ran in these elections was the Mouvement Bretagne et Progres. 

ABP 

This year there has been a reorganisation at ABP and the founder, Philippe Argouarch is taking less of a prominent role, although he is still involved. Agence Bretagne Presse was redesigned and relaunched in October 2011. 

Per Denez 

Celtic League member and Breton language activist, Professor Per Denez, died on 3rd July 2011. 

Emgann visit Ireland 

In May and August 2011 a delegation from the Breton group Emgann visited Ireland on the invitation of Republican Sinn Fein to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the death of the Hunger Strikers. A commemorative plaque was offered by the Breton delegation, which was led by Reun Diguerher. 

Ferry Link 

A proposed weekly ferry route between Brittany and Cornwall is currently being discussed and a feasibility study into the venture is being carried out. 13 A and P Falmouth, the company which runs the docks in the town, is leading a consortium to run a route between Falmouth and St Malo, but so far no ferry company has shown an interest in taking up the idea. 

Language 

On 7th December 2010 a new language Bill was introduced into the French National Assembly that aims to give greater rights to the languages of the French state, including Breton. The 'Regional' Language Bill (développement des langues et cultures régionales) aims to establish a greater level of linguistic rights for speakers of 'regional' languages and will bring the French state in line with European legal norms. The Bill, if successful, will include a state guarantee for the teaching of Breton to children and could could potentially have a huge impact on the revival of the Breton language, which according to some predictions is losing an estimated 10 000 speakers a year. In November 2010 language activists demanded that more Breton language signs are erected at post offices and a peaceful protest was staged in Landerne/Landerneau. However, the manager of the post office called the police and the activists were arrested." 

For comment or clarification on this news item in the first instance contact: Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, General Secretary, Celtic League: Tel: 0044 (0)1209 319912 M: 0044 (0)7787318666 gensec@celticleague.net. The General Secretary will determine the appropriate branch or General Council Officer to respond to your query 

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.

26.10.11

Mebyon Kernow Annual Conference

It is only four weeks to Mebyon Kernow’s 2011 Conference, which will take place at Bodmin’s Shire House Suite on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th November. All members and supporters are welcome to attend and we hope to see you there.

The Saturday will feature leading members of MK and a range of guest speakers including Jonathan Edwards, Plaid Cymru MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwrm and Kenneth Gibson, SNP member of the Scottish Parliament for Cunninghame North.

In the evening there will be a buffet, bar and entertainment, with the cost of tickets set at £10 per person. 

MK’s formal AGM will be on Sunday, when there will also be a series of debates on party policy and sessions on campaign strategy. 

For tickets to the concert, contact Stephen Richardson at 39 Chariot Road, Illogan Highway, Redruth or 07711 587905 or via: stephen.richardsonATmebyonkernow.org.

22.10.11

The Basque Experience in language recovery

For all those interested in language recovery and promoting Cornish let me direct you towards this fascinating document called The Basque Experience. Read, learn and then pass on to others.

Radio Free Cornwall

Please come and join (like) the Radio Free Cornwall page on Facebook. We are always looking for articles and blogs of interest to bring to the attention of members. Equally we are ready to consider new editors for the page so please do ask if it interest you.

19.10.11

41% of kids in Kernow identify as Cornish rather than English or British.

From the great Cornwall 24 news websitesite: To ‘the three Rs’, add ‘I’ for identity. 41% of kids in Kernow identify as Cornish rather than English or British according to the latest PLASC schools ethnicity survey.

17.10.11

Devonwalls friends in Brittany

Néanmoins, les corniques hurlent au massacre culturel quant à une réunion des comtés du Devon et de Cornwall (The new Devonwall !), mais là ils ne comprennent pas encore le potentiel culturel et autonomiste d'une Nation Devonwall, regroupant deux cultures identiques britoniques, avec un Dewnansek (Devon language, très proche du Cornique commun) retrouvé (à l'avenir !).

The translation of which reads: Nevertheless the Cornish hurl cultural massacre with regards a 'reunion' of the counties of Devon and Cornwall (The new Devonwall!), but here they don't understand, yet, the cultural and autonomist potential of a Devonwall nation, regrouping two identical brythonic cultures with Dewnansek (Devon language, very close to common Cornish).

The quote is taken from comments left by Yves Le Gonidec at the bottom of this Agence Bretagne Presse article - Les Britanniques ne veulent plus être britanniques. More alarming perhaps than the comments themselves is the position of influence Yves Le Gonidec has in a Breton university. Of course if I were to point out to Yves that half of Brittany was traditionally Gallo speaking, a latin language, and therefore, following his logic, better linked to latin langue d'oil speaking regions of France rather than the Celtic speaking west of Brittany, I'm sure he would object. Or perhaps if I were to remind him that a very large part of France, and French culture, has Celtic Gaulish roots this being enough of a reason for maintaining Brittany joined to France, run from Paris, again I'm sure he would object once more. He would be right to do so in both instances.

This comes hot on the heals of an article featured in the Celtic Leagues, usually fantastic, Carn magazine written by the Breton Gi Keltik. His artcle Armoric Breizh spectacular contains:

"The links and agreements between Clovis and the Breton-British army helped a lot during this second migration with the aid of King Riwal of Domnonea in 511. As you may know this small kingdom is now “Devon”. At the time this kingdom also controlled the northern part of “Armorica-Breizh” (Leon and Treger). Therefore, this is the first time it is possible and correct to use the word “Breizh”, because these people came from Great Britain"

Not once are Cornwall or the Cornish mentioned in the article! Gi, the Kingdom, and polity, that was Domnonea was pushed back to the now territory of Cornwall which alone to this day has maintained its own sense of national identity. Todays Cornish national identity is the direct descendant of the Kingdom of Domnonea. Devon has merely inherited elements of its name.

Celtic Devon, one face of the Devonwall project, seems to have recruited at least a couple of influential individuals in Brittany. What are our Cornish academics doing to counter this nonsense?

Devonwalls friends in Brittany

Néanmoins, les corniques hurlent au massacre culturel quant à une réunion des comtés du Devon et de Cornwall (The new Devonwall !), mais là ils ne comprennent pas encore le potentiel culturel et autonomiste d'une Nation Devonwall, regroupant deux cultures identiques britoniques, avec un Dewnansek (Devon language, très proche du Cornique commun) retrouvé (à l'avenir !).

The translation of which reads: Nevertheless the Cornish hurl cultural massacre with regards a 'reunion' of the counties of Devon and Cornwall (The new Devonwall!), but here they don't understand, yet, the cultural and autonomist potential of a Devonwall nation, regrouping two identical brythonic cultures with Dewnansek (Devon language, very close to common Cornish).

The quote is taken from comments left by Yves Le Gonidec at the bottom of this Agence Bretagne Presse article - Les Britanniques ne veulent plus être britanniques. More alarming perhaps than the comments themselves is the position of influence Yves Le Gonidec has in a Breton university. Of course if I were to point out to Yves that half of Brittany was traditionally Gallo speaking, a latin language, and therefore, following his logic, better linked to latin langue d'oil speaking regions of France rather than the Celtic speaking west of Brittany, I'm sure he would object. Or perhaps if I were to remind him that a very large part of France, and French culture, has Celtic Gaulish roots this being enough of a reason for maintaining Brittany joined to France, run from Paris, again I'm sure he would object once more. He would be right to do so in both instances.

This comes hot on the heals of an article featured in the Celtic Leagues, usually fantastic, Carn magazine written by the Breton Gi Keltik. His artcle Armoric Breizh spectacular contains:

"The links and agreements between Clovis and the Breton-British army helped a lot during this second migration with the aid of King Riwal of Domnonea in 511. As you may know this small kingdom is now “Devon”. At the time this kingdom also controlled the northern part of “Armorica-Breizh” (Leon and Treger). Therefore, this is the first time it is possible and correct to use the word “Breizh”, because these people came from Great Britain"

Not once are Cornwall or the Cornish mentioned in the article! Gi, the Kingdom, and polity, that was Domnonea was pushed back to the now territory of Cornwall which alone to this day has maintained its own sense of national identity. Todays Cornish national identity is the direct descendant of the Kingdom of Domnonea. Devon has merely inherited elements of its name.

Celtic Devon, one face of the Devonwall project, seems to have recruited at least a couple of influential individuals in Brittany. What are our Cornish academics doing to counter this nonsense?

16.10.11

Clearly Cornish


15.10.11

The Enchanted Glass: Britain and Its Monarchy

The Enchanted Glass: Britain and Its Monarchy by Tom Nairn “Dazzling, cliché-nailing ... The first serious study for more than a hundred years to take a coldly analytical look at this most emotion-charged part of our heritage, it reflects a growing sense of the peculiarity of it all.”—The Observer

In this acclaimed meditation on the British state, its identity and culture, Tom Nairn sees the monarchy both as its apex and its essence, the symbol of a national backwardness. This powerful, analytical, and bitterly funny book lays bare Britain’s peculiar, pseudo-modern, national identity, one that remains fixated on the Crown and its constitutional framework, the “parliamentary sovereignty” of Westminster.

Lets hope Tom Nairn was well informed about the Cornish question and the Duchy of Cornwall before he wrote this book. Even if this is not the case then Nairn is still one of the most interesting writers to tackle the centralised and terribly outdated British state. More of his highly recommended writings can be found here at Our Kingdom.

Just some random thoughts on the Duchy of Cornwall. 

When in debate with those opposed to any kind of Cornish recognition a frequent arguments encountered is that Cornwall has no particular constitutional status and that Cornish nationalists are lying if they say otherwise. Notably this argument has been most vehemently proffered by a handful of individuals interested in promoting a Celtic Devonshire - along with selling the newly invented Devon flag and bumper stickers of course. Perhaps readers will remember how the BBC helped them in promoting 'Celtic Devonshire' and the new flag. I wonder who got a kickback from merchandise sales? Anyway their constitutional argument often takes two perspectives: 1) That Duchy of Cornwall (DoC) estates and lands are mostly outside of Cornwall and therefore the Duke doesn't own Kernow. 2) The Duchy of Cornwall is almost the same as the Duchy of Lancaster (DoL). 

Bearing this in mind, why is it then that the territorial extent of the Duchy of Lancaster is no big secret? Why is it so easy to clearly differentiate the lands and estates the DoL owns from its actual constitutional territory? Have a look at the map -Properties and Estates-  from their website if you need convincing. Equally the territorial extent of the DoL is clearly displayed on Wikipedia.  

Good grief! Why is it so hard for the DoC to place a similar map on its website showing that, in a constitutional sense, it covers the territory of Cornwall in the same way the DoL covers the County Palatine of Lancaster? Why can't the DoC admit, like the DoL seems so ready to do, that the estates and lands it owns outside Kernow are just its private investments, quite different from its actual constitutional territory - Cornwall. Even getting a map on Wikipedia showing the territorial extent of the DoC's constitutional powers (ie Bona Vacantia) seems to be an impossibility. 

What exactly is the difference between the DoL and the DoC that makes it so unsavoury for the latter to be honest? 

14.10.11

Cornish Zetetics: Cornish terrify Guardian





Lies can only last so long before the truth will out. We must not give an inch and continue to fight with every ounce of strength we have. Such an honorable struggle - what more does one want in life.


13.10.11

The Reunited Nations

UK citizens reject 'British' label, Guardian survey finds: Another 1,309 people chose other, particularly in Cornwall, where there is a home rule and Cornish language movement principally led by the pro-devolution group Mebyon Kernow, which has 22 local councillors across the county.The eastern edge of the "other" dots in the south-west of England closely follows the line of the Tamar river, the historic boundary between Cornwall and the rest of England.

Not county but Celtic nation, constitutional Duchy and most certainly next to England not part of it. Ho hum, much work still to be done. 

Above is the result, with relevant Cornish quotation, from the Guardians survey on national identity blogged about here. The original title of the Guardian series that this survey is part of is 'Disunited Kingdom'. Of course I see the reason for their choice of title but aren't they being overwhelmingly negative about the increase in democracy and freedom that our Celtic push for national self-determination has brought and will continue to deliver? 

Instead why not 'The Reunited Nations' as a title to represent the hope of one day seeing all the nations of these isles independent yet side by side, partners, in a social, ecological  and federal Europe.

11.10.11

Disunited Kingdom?

More from the Guardian: Disunited Kingdom? | UK news | The Guardian. Plenty of interesting reading to be found here as well as a wealth of opportunities for Cornish comment.

Sadly the Guardian has so far decided to ignore the Cornish question in all of its articles and surveys in this Disunited Kingdom series. To help them back on the track of well informed and unbiased journalism I strongly suggest you contact them and let them know what you think. Their contact details can be found here.

8.10.11

Electoral performance of regionalist parties and perspectives on regional identity in French regions

Electoral performance of regionalist parties and perspectives on regional identity in French regions

A case concerning status of Duchy of Cornwall

One to watch: 11kbw - Latest cases: 11KBW acts for all parties in case concerning status of Duchy of Cornwall. Although I have a funny feeling the Duke will manage to stitch-up justice and democracy once again. 

How 'other' does Cornwall feel?

Please visit this page -Would you describe yourself as British?- to help the Guardian build a map of national identity in the UK. Regrettably there is no 'Cornish' option but you can choose 'other' to make the Duchy stand out from English counties. To take things further, the Guardian is looking for readers videos here.

Lets cover Cornwall in other.

1.10.11

A response from Republic

As with many national UK-wide organisations we have set up branches in Scotland and Wales in order for us to better campaign within the devolved political and media communities there. We are not campaigning for a Scottish or Welsh republic separate to the UK, we are simply responding to a strategic need to have branches that can specifically target politicians and media in Cardiff and Edinburgh. Those groups are there to assist us in campaigning around the UK for the abolition of the monarchy – they are there to campaign in Wales and Scotland, not for Wales and Scotland.

England has no devolved political and media set-up, on the whole that which serves England is the same as that which serves the UK, whether that’s the parliament, government or the BBC and national press. To many people that’s an unfortunate feature of our constitution but it is nevertheless a fact. We do encourage (and will do so much more in the coming months) local activity within England (and elsewhere) but in broad terms this is a national issue and it is best dealt with by everyone supporting a national campaign – there would certainly be no strategic advantage in establishing a separate Republic England. The Scotland and Wales groups are an exception aimed at targeting devolved media and politics.

I agree that Cornwall is in a different position because of its relationship with the Duchy and we’ve often considered some pro-active work there. As with Wales and Scotland that does rely on local supporters coming forward and helping us campaign in the area (and of course as the Duchy spreads far beyond the borders of Cornwall a corresponding campaign would do likewise). With all these sub-sections of our national campaign it does depend on how we can prioritise our limited resources.

I’d be happy to discuss with anyone interested the possibility of setting something up in Cornwall and perhaps staging an event there in due course. As with our position in Scotland and Wales we would of course take no view on Cornish nationalism but would simply campaign on the issues uniquely relevant to the area of the Duchy.

The above is a response received from Republic to my blog post here. For Cornish campaigners interested in tackling the Duke to contact Republic and see what can be done.

29.9.11

Cornish Quest

This is to highlight the work of the new Cornish Quest | Hats off to the past, coats off to the future. A charity that places an educational focus on the heritage, the present and the future of Cornwall. Cornish Quest was formed as a registered educational charity to further knowledge about: Cornish History, Cornish Culture, Cornish Law and Cornish Language. We have a responsibility together, to see that the unique history of Cornwall is passed to future generations, and that Cornwall’s children are given a true sense of place.

28.9.11

Scottish, Welsh and British republicans?

So there are Republic Wales and Republic Scotland campaign groups now as well as the UK wide Republic group, but why no Republic England (or Six Counties)? Or, from another angle, why the specific Welsh and Scottish groups? 

I'll see if I can get an answer from Republic because at the moment it looks like they are playing a two-faced game with national sentiment. Either you set up Republican groups for all the home nations - and I would of course include Cornwall in this - or you don't and you stick to one UK wide group.

Coming back to Cornwall. If there is one region (nation) of the UK that has a very specific and murky relationship with the Monarchy then it is Kernow. Hence the need for a dedicated Republic Cornwall group to shed light on the dirty dealings of the Duke and the feudal laws that can have such influence on the democratic decision making process.

As a footnote. A new Republican Party of Great Britain has been launched but they seem of little interest to Cornish campaigners. Their idea of devolution is to a massive South England region. 

27.9.11

Thoughts on direct action from Brittany

           

Thoughts on direct action from Brittany

           

19.9.11

Keep Cornwall Whole - what to do?

It's so important that it needs highlighting again here. Keep Cornwall Whole – The Fight Continues! - from the great breselyerkeltic blog is a must read. Please do read the blog post and then act. Equally please vist the Keep Cornwall Whole site to see what you can do.

For what it's worth - I've said it before and I'll say it again - a campaign of PEACEFUL yet spectacular and humoristic direct action should accompany any campaign to protect Cornwall. It would gain attention but not alienate the public. More likely, in making them smile, such a campaign would win the public over.

The Basque group DEMO is a good example. The site is in Basque, Spanish and French but have a look at the photos of what they do and you'll get the picture.

17.9.11

Cornish and Bretons unite!

This - Cornish and Bretons unite for energy plan - sounds like a very positive project indeed. Lets hope it provides employment for local Breton and Cornish residents rather than experts parachuted in for the task.

Of course given much more autonomy from London and Paris both Kernow (Cornwall) and  Breizh (Brittany) would be free to pursue all manner of projects together to the benefit of our economies, cultures and shared environment. Wouldn't it also be far better for Cornwall to have its own university, rather than the annex of Exeter Uni we have at the moment, working as a full partner in this and other projects.

Beware Devonwall and South West regionalism. For projects as above both these regional schemes would see Kernow totally bypassed in favour of cities, industries and jobs in Devon and beyond. Beware equally of equating Cornwall to just the Finistère département of Brittany. Cornwall and Brittany should stand together as equals - both Celtic nations. Cornwall is not the equivalent of merely a département (county) of Brittany. 

16.9.11

UKIP Confirming the trend

Confirming the trend yet one more group issued from the 'British' hard-right now supports the creation of an English Parliament. UKIP join the BNP and other more overt English nationalists, the English Democrats and England First, in calling for an English Parliament.

The aggressive English supremacist tendencies of UKIP, and certainly its grass-roots supporters, will come as no surprise to any Cornish activist unwise enough to have raised the Cornish question with them. With their support for an English parliment and hostility towards any kind of Cornish devolution or recognition it seems UKIP are now to become the majority face of a more overt English nationalism in Kernow. 

But why this recent conversion and need to play to English nationalist sentiments? 

Whilst England culturally, politically and economically dominated these isles sentiments of English patriotism found a happy home in British unionism. No one could be heard calling for an English parliament in years past as Parliament, and its surrounding civil service, were already 99% English. Couple this with the mass of English establishment bodies, Church of England, English Heritage, Bank of England etc, and you had more than enough to satisfy your average swivel eyed Anglo-supremacist.

Then came devolution giving limited power back to a limited selection of natives upsetting forever the image of Britain ruling the waves and England ruling Britain. Never before had we heard of people calling for an English parliament or describing themselves as English nationalists. Evidently the national self-determination of England didn't figure on anybodies radar until the last pieces of empire, the Celtic nations, started to slip through their fingers. This left an irritating question to answer and some Anglo-Brits with a feeling similar to that of the school bully knocked on his arse for the first time. Simple UK unionism would never really recover.

The mask of British unionism is slipping from the face of what has always been imperialistic English nationalism, UKIP confirming the trend. UKIP wish yet another centralised state with its parliment in London. What wonders that would do for Cornwall. 

14.9.11

Labour discovered to their surprise...


Jim Cunningham (Coventry South, Labour): I know a lot more about Cornwall. Some years ago, I sat on the Trade and Industry Committee. We discovered to our surprise that one of the poorest areas in the country was Cornwall. Like the highlands and islands, Cornwall relies on the tourist trade, as everybody knows; a lot of its jobs depend on the tourist trade and a lot of them depend on public transport. That has an impact on public transport and bus fares. That is bound to affect the poorest areas in Britain, whether we are talking about the islands, the south or the south-west.

Why was it such a surprise? Perhaps because the Labour vote in Kernow is so low, it's not one of their heartlands, they ignore us.