If you are interested in the content of this blog then join us on Facebook and follow Radio Free Cornwall.

18.12.13

Yes Kernow

In the run up to the referendum on Scottish independence, and to show support for Scottish self-determination, the name of this blog has been changed to Yes Kernow.

We would like to invite comments and articles from those interested in the futures of both Cornwall and Scotland. The independence referendum - won or lost - will have many ramifications for the governance of the rest of the UK and, therefore, Kernow.

Let's ensure Cornwall's voice is heard in the forthcoming debate on the future of the UK.

16.12.13

Signez la pétition pour une Assemblée législative cornique

15.12.13

Wealth inequality in the United Kingdom and Cornwall's solution


Just a few words to add that this inequality is undoubtedly due, in part, to the centralisation of the UK in and around England's capital city. Being run as an English county with decisions that count for us taken in distant uncaring London has seen Cornwall become one of the poorest regions in the European Union qualifying successively for Objective one and Convergence funding. Time to change direction I think.

Almost all modern democracies have decided to decentralise power in one form or another and produce units of democracy smaller than that of the so called nation-state. From the states of America, through the lander of Germany to the devolved nations of the UK; power should no longer be the express privilege of those residing in state capitals.

Democratic empowerment, economic regeneration and the protection of cultural specificities are the generally recognised benefits provided by regional autonomy. So the question is why devolve power to Cornwall and not some larger South West or Devonwall region. For regional autonomy to work you need a collective sense of destiny. You need an identity for the region you wish to devolve power to. If Prescott's North East government zone had had a little more pertinence to peoples actual identities then perhaps the outcome of the referendum would have followed those of Scotland and Wales. The Cornish exist and an increasing number of people in the Duchy, and beyond, are ready to affirm their national identity as Cornish rather than English or British.

A Chinese eclipse

So China has sent a probe to the Moon. An impressive feet and I salute the men and women of reason whose dedication and genius made it possible. 

However when you control 1.35 billion - dozens of nations and languages - with a totalitarian state allowing the ruling elite to centralise wealth and dispose of it as they see fit then things seem a little less impressive. 

Much harder would be to achieve the democratic assent of a majority of citizens to pursue a space exploration programme.

14.12.13

Regional Council of Brittany adopts Future Pact that causes dissatisfaction among Breton parties

1.12.13

Two things to do today for Cornwall

Two things to do that won't take more than 5 minutes! How could you possibly not bother. 

1) Petitioning The UK Prime Minister and Cabinet to create a Cornish Assembly.  

 Sign this petition - Create a Cornish Assembly - and then circulate it to everyone you know.

A law-making Assembly for Cornwall 


Cornwall is an historic nation with its own identity, culture, traditions and language. We believe the people of Cornwall have the same democratic right to self-determination as the residents of Scotland and Wales. 

In 2001, over 50,000 individual declarations calling for a Cornish Assembly were presented to 10 Downing Street. But the Government, which had delivered devolution settlements to Scotland and Wales, ignored the declarations and refused to consider demands for greater powers for Cornwall. 


Cornwall deserves better. 


It is our view that the unequal constitutional relationship between the various nations and regions of the UK need to be addressed. And we believe that this should include meaningful devolution to Cornwall. We call on central government to work with the people of Cornwall to formulate a detailed proposal for a law-making Cornish Assembly, which can then be put to the electorate in a binding referendum. 


Call for Cornish National Minority Status.

2) This is inspired by a mail received from  the Cornish branch of the Celtic League: As a result of our many communications, at 3:46 p.m. today, Monday 25th November, 2013, Stephen Gilbert MP asked Westminster Government Ministers when the Cornish, with their own language, identity and culture, will be included in the Council of Europe's framework convention for the protection of national minorities (FCNM). We have thanked him and this forms but part of our ongoing Campaign! Please continue to email your representatives be they MPs, MEPs, Lords or Councillors with this simple message and encourage anyone who cares about Cornwall and her people to join us and to do the same!: "I support the call for the British Government to allow the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities to be applied to the Cornish people." Your MP and other elected representatives can be emailed free from here: https://www.writetothem.com/

Read more on the Cornish national minority here: The 2nd Cornish Minority Report prepared for the UK government and the Council of Europe's secretariat for the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

29.11.13

46% of kids are Cornish in 2013

If I have a remark to make then how regrettable it is that there seems to be no possibility of being Mixed/Cornish, Asian/Cornish or Black/Cornish? Our culture is not exclusive and has no basis in race. Whether they accept it or not, all the inhabitants of the Celtic peninsula are the custodians of Cornish culture and identity. Our culture can and should be cherished and shared irrespective of race or religion.

Isolated from who?

Aren't we often told that due to our isolated location autonomy would be impracticable? To me it seems, along with Brittany, we are at the heart of the Atlantic arc - probably one of the busiest shipping/trading zones in the world. If we are isolated then it is from the centres of power in Paris, London and Madrid who have failed to develop our potential and squandered money on themselves.

27.11.13

Taking on the Duchy by Dr John Kirkhope

During the course of my Ph. D. research I made a number of Freedom of Information Requests. In some I succeeded in getting the information I requested in other cases I did not. 

There was one matter which related to a record held in the National Archive which was marked closed and which the National Archive refused to open in which decision they were supported by the Information Commissioner. I decided to pursue the matter to a Tribunal hearing. I had no realistic prospect of success; I was interested, as a lawyer, to see how the process worked.

Of course, like everyone I have heard of the term “the establishment” but had no personal experience of it. Immediately we arrived in Court on the first day it was made clear to me what the expression meant. We were three, my legal executive, my barrister and myself. I lost count of the number of lawyers employed by those opposing us. They included a QC a further two barristers and I don’t know how many solicitors including the regular attendance of a solicitor from the firm which represents the Queen. The court was also attended by a number of senior civil servants. The witnesses they called included three Knights of the Realm. In summary matched against us there were nineteen people. Indeed there was hardly enough space to include all those attending. The case was originally scheduled for two days but in fact extended over three. During the course of the case there was discussion, albeit theoretical, about whether I was in breach of Parliamentary Privilege and could be imprisoned.
I have no knowledge of what the cost of the hearing was given the resources which the other side devoted to defending the case. Suffice to say we the tax payers paid the bills not the Duchy or Duke of Cornwall. After the case was completed I was told via a third party that someone in the Cabinet Office stated “I had no idea how much trouble I had caused” and my barrister was informed in the gentle round about way these things are done maybe he would think carefully before taking on a similar case.
I discovered from this experience there is an establishment which is peopled by anonymous men in grey suits. Furthermore even though my case was in many ways trivial and stood no realistic chance of success if you take on the establishment and specifically the Duke of Cornwall the establishment can and will deploy resources against you which an ordinary private citizen cannot hope to match. Finally I will admit the experience was intimidating and not one which I shall forget quickly.
John Kirkhopes new book - An Introduction to the Laws of the Duchy of Cornwall, The Scilly Isles and Devon - is now available in all good bookshops.

24.11.13

The BBC does regionalism in England

Perhaps, after ferreting around in some of my posts on English Regionalism, the BBC journalist Nick Tarver felt inspired to write this: Could areas of England leave the UK?

That's as positive as I'm going to get about the article I'm afraid. A torn flag, the menace of secession from the UK, stereotypes in lashings and a total lack of any substantive discussion on decentralisation, federalism or greater local democracy leaves me wondering what exactly is Nick Tarver trying to achieve?

Mr Tarver thinks it appropriate to use a photo of a Cornish pasty for an article that treats our desire for greater self-determination. Okay, could I suggest then a picture of a haggis for the Scottish referendum, a plate of curry for an article touching on Indian political issues and a big fat joint for anything he might write about Jamaican republicanism. With BBC employees free to use such crude stereotypes at least the age old we-know-what's-best attitude that emanates from the shrivelled heart of empire would be less timid about pronouncing its name.

Ridicule is indeed a potent political weapon. Does this explain then why one of the most notable developments in English regionalism in recent times is strikingly absent from the article? Either Mr Tarver is completely incompetent or he has deliberately decided to exclude any mention of the Hannah Mitchell Foundation. Another example of that old connivance between Labour and the BBC? A Labour project being lampooned with stereotypes whilst being portrayed as secessionist under a torn St Georges flag on a BBC website! No, that would never do would it.

Am I lacking a sense of humour? Perhaps, but more importantly is the BBC lacking decent unbiased journalists? Which problem do you think is more important?

To complain click here: Complain on line.

14.11.13

What is self-determination?

3.11.13

Les Bonnet Rouges



More photos here.

26.10.13

A call to build a "new Brittany" with a "Breton power"

20.10.13

Krismenn An dorioù morailhet

Unhealthy politics associating with Candy Atherton?

Perhaps you all remember Graham Smith and his blog on the BBC website. He showed great difficulty in hiding his hostility to Mebyon Kernow, and the Cornish question in general, whilst almost having nothing critical to say about the Labour party. 

Simply bad journalism some might say. Perhaps, but could there have been more to it than that? As it turns out Mr Smith used to work for Atherton Associates a company founded by Candy Atherton in 2006. For any of you with short memories, Ms Atherton was Labour MP for Falmouth and Camborne until 2005. Candy Atherton was elected to Cornwall Council in the 2013 local elections representing the Falmouth Smithick division. 

Of course such professionals as Atherton and Smith would have been scrupulous to prevent any conflict of interest. On the other hand I can certainly imagine a less honest class of politician dreaming of having their employees working at the BBC and thus funded by the UK public.

As a final note I posted a link to the Atherton Associates website detailing Graham Smiths position in the company on the Cornwall 24 forum in February this year. Shortly after the website disappeared. Does the company still exist and does Smith still work for them and the BBC?

National Front on the rise and the "pure madness" of protecting minoritized languages in France

Here's an idea


12.10.13

Cornish Language Nursery - Time to put your hands in your pockets!

The Cornish language is part of the Celtic family of languages with close links to Welsh and Breton and more distant links with Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx. Cornish is a revived language that almost disappeared in the 1800’s, but through the efforts of Cornish language revivalists the language has grown in popularity ever since. Even though the numbers of speakers are small, over the last decade interest in Cornish has rapidly expanded and it’s estimated that there are now thousands of people who have some knowledge of the language. 


Research shows that if a language is to be successfully revived that it is the very youngest in society that need to learn it. Children absorb and learn languages at an astonishing rate, but learning needs to be systematic and part of their everyday experience and this has been one of the driving forces behind promoting the Cornish language further. 

Movyans Skolyow Meythrin(MSM) is a not-for-profit organisation that works to promote the Cornish language among young children and their families. Since 2009 MSM has successfully worked with children to develop the use of the Cornish language both in/outside of the home.

In 2010 MSM set up Skol Veythrin Karenza (SVK) as a voluntarily Cornish language project run by parents/carers who wanted their children to learn the Cornish language for the home environment. SVK originally ran as a Saturday Club for two hours every week during term time and this was extended in 2012 to a full day on a Wednesday. Donations only rather than payment have been requested by SVK for the services offered, because the work undertaken has been very much community led run by volunteers and parents/carers. To date approximately fifty children between the ages of 1 and 7 have attended the setting for significant periods of time and Cornish is learned through play, song and games.

SVK is currently in the process of registering with Ofsted and when it is launched this academic year will be the first and only full time Cornish language nursery school in the world. The volunteers at SVK have shown immense commitment to the project over the last three years and have committed themselves to working voluntarily to ensure SVK is properly established, with some volunteers even agreeing to work towards gaining a specialist higher level early year’s qualification to enable the school to run more smoothly.

Setting up a nursery is expensive, but SVK has been lucky enough to have received voluntary assistance and donations to pay for some materials and resources used over the last three years. It has always been a struggle to cover costs and we are still unsure if these costs will be met.  If we can raise £4800, it will be enough to cover the cost of any additional training, resources and materials we need for us to be ‘OfSTED ready’ from September 2014. At our setting we will have provision to accommodate twelve children in the first year and some of these places have already been allocated!


We believe that our target is a small amount in comparison with the outcome that we will achieve in the establishment of Skol Veythrin Karenza/Karenza Nursery School! 


Help the project here: Cornish Language Nursery

30.9.13

Al Jazeera investigates how the commercial interests of the heir to the throne are affecting people in Cornwall.

28.9.13

leftlinks | a radical blogroll

An Omsav - The Cornish Republican - is now linked to on leftlinks | a radical blogroll. Many thanks to them.

25.9.13

The metropolitanisation of gains, the nationalisation of losses

The metropolitanisation of gains, the nationalisation of losses | openDemocracy: The prosperous South East can no longer afford to subsidise the rest of the United Kingdom. Or so runs the conventional wisdom. The facts, on the other hand, are rushing headlong in the opposite direction.

22.9.13

The ‘English Question’, what we can learn from the Cornish Assembly Campaign

19.9.13

The Cornish perspective on the Scottish Independence Referendum

listen to ‘The Cornish perspective on the Scottish Independence Referendum’ on Audioboo

14.9.13

A community bank for Cornwall

13.9.13

Who hates our languages?

Cornwall Councillors might care to ask their fellow UKIP members why that party's MEPs voted against the Endangered Languages and Linguistic Diversity motion on Wednesday. UKIP friends of Cornwall and the Cornish? I don't think so.............   

The above comments from a Cornishman are quite valid. Of the tiny minority - 26 - who voted against the protection of endangered languages and linguistic diversity in the European parliament we find our Ukip MEPs. Details of the motion presented by the Corsican MEP François Alfonsi of the European Free Alliance , an EU party that includes Mebyon kernow, can be found here: Corsican MEP battles for Europe to protect endangered languages. The full list of those who voted against can be found below:

United Kingdom
Nigel FARAGE Ukip 

France
Centre
Marielle GALLO Union des Démocrates Indépendents
Dominique RIQUET Parti Radical

Right
Jean-Pierre AUDY Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP)

Far-right
Philippe de VILLIERS Mouvement pour la France 
Bruno GOLLNISCH Front National (FN)

Far-left
Jean-Luc MÉLENCHON Front de Gauche

Netherlands
Far-right
Lucas HARTONG Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV)
Daniël van der STOEP Ex PVV now independent 

The full results can be found here:  VoteWatch Europe: European Parliament, Council of the EU. What to say other than the French and British right / far-right have confirmed their hostility towards minority languages and linguistic diversity. Bravo also to the very nationalist Mr Mélenchon - far-left - who found such admirable company to keep. It should be noted that Mr Mélenchon is in the same European political group as Sinn Féin. I hope they are averted as to how their partner from France voted. Equally amongst those who abstained from voting we find a high number of French MEP's from the right-wing UMP, Nick Griffin (no introductions needed) and Mr Mélonchon's collegue Jacky Hénin.

12.9.13

Tax Evasion

A global super-rich elite has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary £13 trillion ($21tn) of wealth offshore – as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together – according to research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network. (Article here)

A far-reaching new study suggests a staggering $21tn in assets has been lost to global tax havens. If taxed, that could have been enough to put parts of Africa back on its feet – and even solve the euro crisis. (Article here)

The Tax Justice Network - Tackle Tax Havens - Treasure Islands

Next time someone extols the benefits of tightening our collective belts in these times of economic hardship and/or suggests that illegal/legal immigrants (do they even know the difference?) and benefits scroungers are bankrupting the UK then please feel free to point out some important home truths. Undoubtedly the populist nationalist right and their lackeys in the UK press would love us all to keep our eyes off the ball and continue searching for some ragged scapegoat or other but they are a drop in the ocean compared to the tax evasion of the super rich and large corporations. If there is one issue that could unite the left across various ideological frontiers then surely tax evasion is it.  

In Cornwall we have our very own tax haven but it only seems to work for one man. The extract below is taken form John Kirkhopes The Duchy of Cornwall - A Very Peculiar Private Estate.


Firstly it should be noted that the Duke of Cornwall is entitled to the income of the Duchy but not the capital.

Next, in the report issued by the House of Commons in 2005 it was stated: “In accordance with normal practice the Duchy is not subject to tax as it is not a separate legal entity for tax purposes. However, His Royal Highness is subject to income tax on the Duchy’s net income.”

The statement is surprising and difficult to understand. Effectively, the Duchy is exempt from capital gains tax and presumably inheritance tax. Asset sales, on which capital gains tax may potentially have been due, have totalled £123 million since 2001. Presumably this considerable benefit makes the task of running a ‘well managed’ private estate much easier.

It is in this regard that the Duchy website is misleading. It states: “The Prince of Wales already pays income tax on the Duchy’s surplus.”

He does not. He pays voluntarily an amount equal to the income tax he would have paid if he had been liable.

In reply to a question from the public accounts committee Mr Ross stated: “The Prince pays tax on a voluntary basis in exactly the same way as any other taxpayers.”

I don’t know how many of us pay tax on a voluntary basis.

The Duchy enjoys a highly privileged tax status unique to a ‘private estate’. In accordance with ‘normal practice’ it does not pay capital gains tax or inheritance tax and income tax is paid on a voluntary basis. The last figures published show the Duke’s income from the Duchy was £16 million. His voluntary contribution, equal to the income tax, would be £3 million.For completeness sake the Duchy does pay VAT. 

10.9.13

Cornish Reunited | Sharing our Cornish ancestry


Cornish Reunited aims to connect people with their pasts, through the medium of sharing. There are no less than 12 million people around the world of Cornish descent. Between 1861 and 1901, an estimated 250,000 Cornish left their homeland in search of a better life.

Stories and images of the Cousins Jack and Jennies have been passed down through the ages, mixed with tales of their descendants. Yet what comes of these tales and images of our ancestors? Many are stored in boxes and kept in memories, perhaps never to be widely shared. As people age and fade, the stories they harbour fade with them.

This website wants Cornish people to share not only their stories, but old pictures of people and places and new pictures of artifacts.

When researching family trees, it is pleasing to have a name, a date of birth, a record of marriage and the list of offspring. Yet what of the personalities of these lost relatives? Their achievements, struggles, joys and, perhaps, shortcomings? These are the links that put the leaves on the family trees.

Your stories, however small, are the missing links in the social fabric of the stories of relatives and friends. Please share these stories here and take please in reading the stories of others.

This website was created by Nigel Pengelly, former editor of the Cornish culture and heritage magazine Cornish World and is free to use. Nigel has travelled to Canada, Australia, USA, England and the Isle of Man speaking at Cornish and Celtic events noting the amount of knowledge that people have of other people’s lives.

It’s time this knowledge was shared before it is too late…

About | Cornish Reunited

6.9.13

Un déficit d'enseignants bilangue mais pourqoui?

Rentrée Diwan : un déficit d'enseignants - Je lis souvent que Diwan manque d'enseignants mais il faut dire que la filière ne facilite pas la vie à ceux qui sont prêt a travailler. BAC + 3, niveaux B 1 / 2 Breton, natif des Cornouailles britannique, dix ans d’enseignement à mon actif, je suis très motivé pour travailler comme professeur d'anglais suppléant dans les écoles, collèges et lycées Diwan. Jusqu'à présent Diwan m'a offert un poste de surveillant à presque 100 bornes de chez moi. 

Si Diwan pense que nous devons quitter nos maisons pour suivre une formation à Quimper, puis déménager pour une autre ville en Bretagne pour remplir un poste, sans oublier d'avoir, entre temps, appris le breton et tout ça pour une salaire bas il y a effectivement une problème qui n'est pas prés d'être réglé...

Lowender Peran


30.8.13

Ukip's Scott Blandford squirms

A couple of months ago now I shared, via Radio Free Cornwall on Twitter, this article from Hope not Hate concerning a homophobic rant by a Ukip member ( @BrightonPatriot ): UKIP Homophobia

Shortly after Cornwall Ukips Scott Blandford jumped to the defence of his BNP-in-a-blazer buddy from Brighton with the words: "Don't worry about the Republican, Laurence. Their idea of Cornish autonomy is flawed...and I'm Cornish"

When asked if Scott and Cornwall Ukip supported such disgusting homophobia - apart from some vague threats of legal action - I have to date received no response. Draw your own conclusions.

25.8.13

UK stuck in dysfunctional feudal oligarchic mire

14.8.13

La Cornouailles et la Bretagne : Même Combat !



La Cornouailles et la Bretagne : Même Combat !



Help fund a Cornish language radio website

 

The Cornish language is an ancient Celtic language with close links to Welsh and Breton and more distant links with Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx. The language was very nearly lost in the 1800s, but a revival began at the end of the nineteenth century. The revival has picked up pace and now there are hundreds of people speaking Cornish, with thousands having some knowledge.

The Cornish language (Kernewek) is an essential part of Cornwall's cultural distinctiveness - something that is of high value for business. Radyo an Gernewegva is a pod-cast weekly radio programme that aims to boost fluency to strengthen that distinctiveness.

Have a listen to one of our weekly programmes here: Click link

We want to engage with you to get help in building a new website for the pod-cast. We would like a site that looks good and is interactive. The site will also be one that connects seamlessly with social media. We have very little control over our current site and we have outgrown it. To build a new one, we need £5000. This sum of money would allow us to pay for a professional to give us a professional design. We would also like to make sure it works well with SEO and attracts people to the language. Some of the money would also pay for man-hours in development time. 

As anyone who works with the web knows, getting a professional and exciting website takes a lot of time and money - both things we have not had in abundance. We would love you to help us make that change.

 

12.8.13

Centenary of the 1913 china clay strike and the Bugle baton charge


11.8.13

Bloody foreigners! Coming over here...


8.8.13

Local Works

A group of Cornwall councillors want to give citizens the right to recall councillors who have "seriously breached the Code of Conduct". 

This would mean that a councillor who had broken the rules would be forced to stand for re-election before their term of office ended, giving local people far greater power to hold their politicians to account. 

The Sustainable Communities Act gives people and local councils the right to work together to submit proposals to central government to help communities tackle the problems they face. If the Council were to propose the right to recall under the Sustainable Communities Act, central government could not ignore this request. 

Can you take a few moments to write to your councillor(s), asking them to propose a right to recall under the Sustainable Communities Act? To get started, fill in your details by clicking on this link: Local Works

Please note you can select Cornwall as your country.

17.7.13

Say Something In Cornish


You too can become a Cornish speaker...:-) Welcome to the early stages of this exciting new project to make a Cornish audio course available for free to everyone who would like to learn. Modelled on the popular SaySomethinginWelsh course, written by SaySomethingin Ltd and produced in partnership with MAGA, the Cornish Language Partnership, SaySomethinginCornish will take you for free to a level where you will be capable of spending an entire week using only Cornish. We'll also be adding social capabilities in the coming months, so that we can hear from you about your experiences with the course, and so that everyone learning Cornish will be able to offer support and advice to each other.

16.7.13

Britain is failing Wales, Scotland and the regions. It's time for change


We are less vocal on how England’s governance should be arranged, with the exception of supporting Cornwall's right to self-determination, we believe that what happens in England is a matter for people in England of course. We would like to see an English Parliament emerge, with groups of local authorities forming a decentralised regional level of government beyond this. Whether this will happen will depend on English public opinion, and the extent to which the major parties in England react to the situation. 

My party - The Party of Wales - would love to work with an Alliance of progressive forces from all parts of England, as well as those in Cornwall with whom we already have a loose alliance. In 2010, it was Plaid Cymru (and the SNP) who led the calls for a rainbow alliance of progressives, which would have stopped the coalition between the Tories and the Lib Dems. We would be prepared to do that again if need be.  

A broad network in England, united behind a core set of progressive values could well include the Greens and other environmentalists. It could include the trade union movement, many in the churches and other faith organisations, the new People’s Assembly movement, our sister party Mebyon Kernow in Cornwall, refugees from Labour and the Lib Dems and, yes, refugees from Respect and the SWP, too.

Thanks to Leanne Wood for not forgetting Cornwall. I've blogged on the same theme some time ago for OurKingdom: To reform the UK state we need a democratic green alliance.

13.7.13

The Celtic Language of Brittany Suffers the Malign Indifference of the French Government

In the heat have a cold one


9.7.13

The EU is more democratic than the UK


Following this interesting post on Rod Toms' new blog I'd like to add a few ideas to the growing debate on UK membership of the European Union. Claims can often be heard from eurosceptics that the EU is undemocratic, often going as far as to compare the EU with the USSR or Nazi Germany. 

In response to such comparisons I found this quote in a comment left on the OurKingdom blog: "Anyone who calls the EU the EUSSR has lost my attention from that point on. You clearly have no grasp at all on history, life as it was for most in the USSR, to say nothing of the lack of freedom or democracy, or the atrocities carried out in the former USSR by Stalin. The EU may have its faults (indeed so has Westminster/Whitehall), but the EU and the USSR simply cannot be compared. Such cheap propaganda expressions are a poor substitute for proper debate and analysis." I don't think I really need to add any more in regards such comparisons. The article on which the comment was left - The Incoherence of British Euroscepticism - is well worth a read.

The EU is not perfect - would anybody would claim otherwise? - but just how undemocratic is it? The Council of Ministers is made up of ministers from our elected national governments; the European Council consists of the heads of state or prime ministers from our elected national governments; the European Commissioners are named by our elected national governments and the European Parliament is elected directly by the EU's citizens. Equally the EU has a written constitution that amongst other things enshrines the protection for minorities of all types and the subsidiarity of power. Not perfect but not so terrible either. The EU is not some shadowy organisation formed by people we know nothing about, but rather the EU consists of people we - the citizens of Europe - have elected. If you don't like what the EU is doing then think more carefully about who you vote for in your next 'national' elections.

Those who criticise the EU often do so in relation to its supposed democratic deficits. Fair enough, but why just stop at the EU? Surely such keen democrats should also be concerned about the multiple problems to be found in the UK's archaic democracy. When you consider the that UK government has far more influence over our lives than the EU (or any other international body for that matter) then where should our priorities lie? As such keen democrats why don't eurosceptics rile against our unelected head of state, unelected second chamber, totally outdated electoral system, feudal relics (i.e Duchy of Cornwall), unwritten constitution, unelected quangos and London centralisation for example? More on the UK's deficits in democracy can be found here: How democratic is the UK?

26.6.13

Where's the money? Not in Kernow!


6.6.13

Post-growth: a green republican economy

26.5.13

Bursting Labour bubbles.

Add caption
Following this sloppily thrown together conjecture by English Labours Adam Cickett perhaps its time to remind Eltham's Adam of a couple of things:

1) Labour are not a socialist party. They are not even social democrats. The best we can say about them is that they are social liberals. Take for example this:  Praising Tony Blair and criticising Ralph Miliband, the Labour leader said the choice was not between socialism and capitalism but "responsible" and "irresponsible" capitalism. 

2) If supposed yet-to-be-proved cooperation between one MK councillor and the Tories is enough to discredit MK and cast the party as a right-wing then, following this revelation, I wait with anticipation Adams resignations from Labour. Oh yes Adam! Your irreproachable left-wing - snigger - Labour party is in coalition with Ukip. That's right Adam - people like this! Adam quite correctly is a gay rights campaigner - good on him for that - but what does he think of his party being in coalition then with these outright homophobes from Ukip? 

But is any of this a surprise we can ask ourselves when we see the kind of people Labour will accept into its ranks.

20.5.13

Regional language campaigners denounce France to UNESCO

Regional language campaigners denounce France - Features - Al Jazeera English: Basque, Catalan, Alsatian and Corsican speakers deliver petition to UNESCO in Paris asking for "cultural asylum".

It's worth noting that Frances Jean-luc Mélenchon - the darling of the alternative left in the UK - is as hostile to these linguistic minorities as is Frances far-right Marine le Pen.

The attacks by Mélenchon on projects to protect minority languages and his misrepresentations of language campaigners, and even the languages themselves, leave nothing to be envied by the far-right. A very small selection of his nonsense can be found here on 7 Seizh (French).


To give you an example of the intolerance within the French state towards its regional languages I've included a map that was published in 2003 in a Geography manual destined for French colleges. The map marks the regions where there is a risk of 'repli identitaire', in other words xenophobia and cultural isolationism.

Regional language campaigners denounce France to UNESCO

Regional language campaigners denounce France - Features - Al Jazeera English: Basque, Catalan, Alsatian and Corsican speakers deliver petition to UNESCO in Paris asking for "cultural asylum".

It's worth noting that Frances Jean-luc Mélenchon - the darling of the alternative left in the UK - is as hostile to these linguistic minorities as is Frances far-right Marine le Pen.

The attacks by Mélenchon on projects to protect minority languages and his misrepresentations of language campaigners, and even the languages themselves, leaves nothing to be envied by the far-right. A very small selection of his nonsense can be found here on 7 Seizh (French).


To give you an example of the intolerance within the French state towards its regional languages I've included a map that was published in 2003 in a Geography manual destined for French colleges. The map marks the regions where there is a risk of 'repli identitaire', in other words xenophobia and cultural isolationism.

19.5.13

Petition the government to make tax avoidence illegal


We ask government to introduce Tax Avoidance legislation to make the practice unlawful. We want parliament to ensure everyone pays their fair share and make tax avoidance a crime. Many tax avoidance schemes exist which cost our country BILLIONS. From wealthy overpaid millionaire professional footballers to large corporations should pay up to help our country in difficult times. Save our country BILLIONS and make tax avoidance illegal

18.5.13

But what about economic benefit and growth for the rest of us?!


It should be noted that whilst Scotland and Wales have their own parliaments to fight their corners, and the North of England has the UK Labour party, Cornwall has nothing. Strangely it was the Labour government of the time that decided to deny us a Cornish assembly. I wonder why?

12.5.13

Far-right confusion

1) The English Defence League - Cornwall Division (Kernow), committed to protecting Cornish communities and not at all racist or English supremacist, is run in part by Dorsets Tim Ablitt who also happens to be a member of the extreme-right British Freedom party. The other EDL organisers for Cornwall being Kieron Hallet and Jennie Maynard. So not really very Cornish, English or British then - just racist.

2) Recently Brittany's administrative capital Rennes a member of the extreme-right  Jeune Bretagne was seen keeping company - engaging in acts of vandalism and violence - with members of Jeunesse Nationaliste, a French neo-nazi organisation hostile to all forms of regionalism and 'regional' languages. Amazingly Jeune Bretagne claim to want to defend Breton culture and obtain regional autonomy.  So, Breton or French then? See above for the appropriate response.

9.5.13

The Ascent of Autonomous Nations

6.5.13

Petition - Money collected from Cornwall's dead should stay here

4.5.13

Being different

I'm sure that in the days to come we will have some more detailed analysis of the Cornish elections, but that's not what this short post is about. 

Politically speaking, the varying numbers of Lib Dem, Labour, Conservative, Ukip or Independent councillors in Kernow don't go to make us stand out from the crowd of English counties. What makes Cornish political life different - and therefore infinity more interesting - is Mebyon Kernow, and today we have one more Cornwall councillor

I know for a fact that many a Cornwall councillor will be secretly pleased that MK has maintained its presence, and grown, even if they, personally, have made the choice to pursue their own political careers in one of the mainstream UK parties. They are fully aware of what makes the Cornish political scene different even if they themselves don't have the stomach to take risks. 

My sincere congratulations to our four elected MK councillors and the people that helped it happen. Well done to all those that aided Cornwall affirm its difference and find its voice against the London hegemony. 

To those that didn't get elected this time around, but who fought their campaigns with dignity and integrity, you have done us proud. Now build on what you have started and ensure that Cornwall's voice can be heard above those that defend the interests of the London establishment and its lackeys. Time to shout louder perhaps.

3.5.13

The shame of Wadebridge

BBC News - Local election 2013: 'Put disabled down' councillor re-elected in Cornwall: A Cornwall councillor who quit after saying disabled children should be "put down" has been re-elected to the unitary authority.

Nationalia - Parties, organizations call for reunification and autonomy for Brittany

Nationalia - Parties, organizations call for reunification and autonomy for Brittany: Parties, organizations call for reunification and autonomy for Brittany

26.4.13

Axe the Bedroom Tax in Falmouth


25.4.13

Breizh United - promoting Breton unity

Before the French presidential elections so much was promised to Brittany. Radical decentralisation to the regions and the ratification of the charter for minority languages were clearly stated as objectives by the to-be-victorious Socialist candidate. However, following 'advice' from an obscure constitutional committee, the president has decided not to ratify the charter and his radical decentralisation has turned to farce. 
Leaving aside the small circle of loons from the far-right, Brittany has many other organisations   campaigning for its democratic, cultural and social rights.

In an effort to address the governments broken promises, by mobilising Breton civic society, the Galv Pondi (facebook) - the Call from Pontivy in Breton - has been issued. Expressly excluding the far-right, Galv Pondi is open to all individuals and organisations to sign up to and support. So far the Union Démocratique Bretonne, Parti Breton, BreizhistanceMouvement Bretagne et progrès, Europe Ecologie les Verts, Bretagne Réunie, Ai'ta, 44=Breizh and Kevre Breizh have signed. What are the Celtic League, Celtic Congress and a whole list of others waiting for? Please visit the website of Galv Pondi, sign the manifesto, leave messages of support and then share with your friends.

The UDB has also created a petition on Avaaz.org to support the campaign. They write: Accordingly, the undersigned people urge the President François Hollande : - To ratify the European Charter for Minority Languages, as promised by the President of the French Republic, François Hollande, his campaign pledge No. 56. - To make, without delay, the necessary arrangements for the reunification of Brittany. What is possible in Alsace should also be so in Brittany - To enable and support the creation in Brittany of a bilingual public television station following the example of Stella Via Corsica, transmitting to the five Breton departments. - To give Brittany, in the context of the future decentralization law, a special status that - inspired by those of Scotland, Wales and Catalonia. If special statuses are available for major cities of Paris, Lyon and Marseille why not for Brittany? The signatories want to bring these claims to the State so that our basic democratic rights are finally met. For more information follow the link beside : www.breizh-united.net

The above Breizh United  / Galv Pondi is a continued effort at dialogue hoping to apply pressure on the government in Paris and politicians in Brittany. The campaign Yes Breizh (facebook) on the other hand is explicitly aimed at independence. Wishing to capitalise on developments in Scotland and Catalonia, Yes Breizh is a platform designed to promote public awareness and debate. They write: "Yes Breizh is an educational process that aims to unchain speech and thought on the issue of an independent Brittany. Because there are always several alternatives in the destiny of nations, it is urgent to keep the door open to other visions of the future for Brittany". Not a bad idea for Cornwall perhaps. Again you can help by signing their petition and circulating their website.
 
Both the former manage to avoid contamination by the far-right by, in the case of Galv Pondi, simply banning them from taking part or, as does Yes Breizh, only allowing people in their individual capacity to sign the petition. Unfortunately Kelc’h An Dael, (facebook) an association to promote the establishment of a Breton parliament - in itself a great idea -  has chosen neither option. KAD clearly display the support they receive from the far-right nationalist party Adsav. The result being that the vast majority of other Breton groups want nothing to do with them going as far as to exclude members of their organisations that have joined KAD.

Leaving aside the ethical arguments of giving any publicity to the far-right just imagine Mebyon Kernow openly standing beside a Cornish equivalent of the National Front or BNP and I think you'll understand the simple tactical error. Have various manifestations of the far-right brought Catalonia and Scotland to the brink of independence? Have the centre-left in Scotland or centre-right in Catalonia achieved so much by associating with racists, islamophobes, homophobes, eurosceptics and conspiracy theorists? A parliament for Brittany is such an important idea why tie a lead weight to its neck by association with fascists?

Only Cornwall should win here



The collated results from every division MK contested in the 2009 Cornwall Council election as a bar chart and a percentage, can we do better than third over all this time. If you want to make this happen, here's how you can help. Like and share this photo, get in to contact with us to help canvass or display a poster, tell your friends about MK, vote for change on the 2nd of May. 

24.4.13

The left-of-Labour vote in Cornwall

The Left Vote is a site dedicated to highlighting the election campaigns of those to the left of the stifling Westminster consensus. It is not affiliated to any left grouping, will no doubt promote flawed or controversial candidates alongside sound and solid ones. We’re not here to judge, although we shall discuss and evaluate the success, or otherwise, of the various campaigns. Set up in time for the 2013 English County elections we hope, of course, to play a fuller role in 2014′s Euro-elections and London’s local elections, as well as 2015′s vital General Election.  

Anti-racism spelled out in black and white


Sue Bowen claims she was "duped into joing the BNP" and yet somehow still thought that she had what it took to be an elected representative for her community. Stunning! Simply stunning.

It makes depressing reading to see she passed by Mebyon Kernow before arriving in the BNP and UKIP. Can I suggest, just so that those with far-right inclinations aren't tempted to try MK in the future, the party makes a clear statement of being opposed to all forms of racism and intolerance. After reading MK's policy overview I'm sure that to be the case so why not spell it out in black and white.

22.4.13

Pawl Dunbar's Cornwall



20.4.13

The UK's ambiguous attitude towards unions

Why is Cornwall always forgotten. What are our nationalist and autonomist politicians doing wrong?

15.4.13

The People's Assembly

This is a call to all those millions of people in Britain who face an impoverished and uncertain year as their wages, jobs, conditions and welfare provision come under renewed attack by the government. 

With some 80% of austerity measures still to come, and with the government lengthening the time they expect cuts to last, we are calling a People’s Assembly Against Austerity to bring together campaigns against cuts and privatisation with trade unionists in a movement for social justice. We aim to develop a strategy for resistance to mobilise millions of people against the Con Dem government.

The assembly will provide a national forum for anti-austerity views which, while increasingly popular, are barely represented in parliament. A People’s Assembly can play a key role in ensuring that this uncaring government faces a movement of opposition broad enough and powerful enough to generate successful co-ordinated action, including strike action. The assembly will be ready to support co-ordinated industrial action and national demonstrations against austerity, if possible synchronising with mobilisations across Europe. The People’s Assembly Against Austerity will meet at Central Hall, Westminster, on 22 June.


Plenty of opportunity for Cornish organisations and campaigns to sign up and get involved. 

14.4.13

Labour attempts to misrepresent Mebyon Kernow

How should an election be fought? When a candidate knocks on your door do you want to hear facts or do you prefer good old mudslinging?

Of course nobody wants to stand on their doorstep and hear a long list of of facts and figures that are often of questionable origins and if you are unfortunately anything like me with a low attention span when someone starts quoting 'facts', you end up grinning like an an idiot nodding your head vigorously and hoping that you're not going to be asked any questions afterwards.

This gets more complicated when the candidate starts dropping hints and accusations about another candidate.I was contacted by a friend last week from Penzance who had a canvasser representing Tim Dwelly (Twitter) the Labour candidate for Penzance East knock at his door,during the brief conversation my friend mentioned that he was thinking of voting Mebyon Kernow but he hadn't made up his mind, he was then reliably informed by the Labour canvasser that MK were a right wing party with views closer to the EDL or BNP.

Now of course that is complete and utter nonsense and to be fair many candidates from all parties across Cornwall would complain of similar tricks by their rivals, in fact its probably one of the oldest political games ,but it does illustrate if a candidate can stand on your doorstep look you in the face and lie confidently about another candidate how do we know they won't be standing in the council chamber one day lying about the impact of a housing development or a cut in public services?

Political integrity does not start once a candidate is elected ,if a party or independents policies are strong enough they should not feel the need to resort to low tricks,most people want to hear a candidates policies and what makes them different to their rivals put as succinctly and honestly as possible.

Provided by Kernow Calling

13.4.13

Left Unity in the Duchy



The Left Unity movement, blogged about here, now has a contact point in Cornwall. They ask you to contact Lowenna Lawry: cornwall@leftunity.org. Could Mebyon Kernow find a place in such a project?

A Cornish Non-FIFA football team?

I was wondering if anybody in Cornwall ever considered trying to form a Cornish representative team to take part in non-FIFA football games

I personally believe it would be a great way to promote the idea of 'putting Conrwall first' and an interesting extension of Cornish identity . A team could perhaps be drawn from the Cornish players currently playing in the football league at teams such as Stoke City, Southampton, Peterborough and Plymouth Argyle or from non-league sides like Truro City and Bodmin. 

I work with and organise games/tournaments with different non-FIFA teams in the UK such as the Chagos Islands, the Isle of Man and Alderney, as well as sides from Europe like Brittany, Greenland etc. I would be more than happy to help any Cornish team with some games. There is a 6-team tournament happening on the Isle of Man this summer and it would be great if Cornwall could be involved in the future. For a brief explanation of non-FIFA football please read [click here]. 

The cost of such a team would be little. Teams would travel to Cornwall and at the same time plenty of sides play elsewhere in the UK and are reachable. Tournaments such as Europeada (which features European minorities) and the VIVA World Cup, with teams like Zanzibar, Kurdistan and Monaco, would become open for Cornwall to compete in. It would certainly not be out the question for Cornwall to host a tournament and even a team featuring South West Peninsula League players would be competitive. The main thing though is the players and people wanting such a team. I've attached a hypothetical list of players who'd could play, based on place of birth, time spent in Cornwall etc [see below].

The above message comes from the non-FIFA Football Updates blog 
 I've previously blogged about Cornish national sports teams here.


9.4.13

Gender Imbalances in European Regions

From the ESPON 2013 Programme, the European Observation Network for Territorial Development and Cohesion. You'll need to visit the original article here to read the stats.

8.4.13

Mebyon Kernow's manifesto for 2013


Mebyon Kernow's manifesto for 2013 pdf.

To help with MK's campaigning contact them here. A brief policy overview for MK is included below.
 
Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall is a modern and progressive political party, campaigning for a better deal for Cornwall and a fairer, more equitable World.

It is our belief that the historic nation of Cornwall, with its own distinct identity, language and heritage, has the same right to self-determination as Scotland and Wales. Mebyon Kernow is leading the campaign for the self-government of Cornwall, through the establishment of a legislative Assembly.

We will play our part in building a confident and outward-looking Cornwall, that has the power to take decisions for itself. To achieve this, our detailed policies are founded on the core values of prosperity for all, social justice and environmental protection.

PROSPERITY FOR ALL

Mebyon Kernow is committed to a society based on real equality of opportunity, helping people to achieve their full potential in life. We want Cornwall and its communities to be successful, with all residents sharing equally in that success through thriving businesses, worthwhile and secure employment, decent wages, access to genuinely affordable housing and good quality public services.

SOCIAL JUSTICE

The Party for Cornwall is committed to a just and fair society. We believe that effective public intervention is needed to combat poverty, tackle social deprivation and fight for the disadvantaged. We will strive to build strong inclusive communities with free and equal access to well-funded education, healthcare and welfare services, run for the benefit of everyone.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

Safeguarding the environment is central to Mebyon Kernow's policies. The World faces severe environmental crises, which require radical action on a worldwide basis to promote real sustainability. Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall will not shirk from difficult decisions to protect and enhance the environment for future generations.