Ensure Wellbeing of Minorities Call
The Cornish branch of the Celtic League is pressing the UK Justice Ministry on the issue of Cornish identity.
Branch Secretary, Mike Chappell, argues that a “key responsibility of any state is to properly accommodate and ensure the well-being of its own internal national minorities.” (Full text below):
“AN KESUNYANS KELTEK – SCOREN KERNEWEK
(The Cornish Branch of the Celtic League)
Secretary: Michael J Chappell
3 Edwards Apartments, Gweal Pawl
Redruth TR15 3AE Kernow
The Appropriate Officer
Ministry of Justice
102 Petty France
9th April, 2010
Dear Sirs and Mesdames
CORNISH – THE DESPISED IDENTITY ?
I am writing to you requesting that my communication be drawn to the attention of the appropriate person situate within the Ministry of Justice, authors of the above document at ref. ‘a’ for consideration and a response.
Mindful that a General Election approaches, I have also copied this communication to Julia Goldsworthy MP, to Jude Robinson who stands for the Labour Party in my home constituency and to George Eustace who stands for the Conservative Party in my home constituency and invite comments from these three politicians which I shall make public.
I have also copied this to the press and media and to the General Secretary of the Celtic League, its Director of Information and membership as well as to local internet sites maintained by the Celtic League as well as to Mr Qaiser
Razzak of the Equality & Human Rights Commission.
The Government has released the results of its deliberative assessment of our constitutional future.
In modernising such an archaic democracy as the UK it is good that the government consults the public on what should be their rights and responsibilities. Citizens have rights and states have responsibilities. I would argue that one key responsibility of any state is to properly accommodate and ensure the well-being of its own internal national minorities.
The above document does treat the Scottish, Welsh, Irish and, to a lesser degree, English identities, but what mention is there of the Cornish? Less than none is the jaw dropping answer. I’ll explain. In the text we are treated to some babble about Geordie and ‘Arsenal fan’ collective identities yet zero on the Cornish. It’s perfectly acceptable and correct, in my view, to discuss the regional identities of England -Yorkshireman, Geordie, Cumbrian etc-, but to do
so without a mention of the Cornish seems almost deliberate.
Lets just remember that 37% of Cornish school children prefer Cornish rather than English or British when describing their identity (see latest PLASC Cornish schools ethnic monitoring data). Cornwall has its own recognised lesser used
Brythonic language – Cornish. Both the Council of Europe and the old Commission for Racial Equality suggested that the Cornish could be recognised under the framework convention for the protection of national minorities (something Labour refuses to do). The Cornish have their own code for national identity (06) for the 2011 UK census (but no dedicated tick box as both Tory and Labour MPs voted against).
Can any of the English regional identities say the same? Clearly the answer is -no- yet football fans and Geordies get a mention whilst the Cornish get forgotten – yet again.
Did the government simply overlook the Cornish when considering identity questions in the UK? I find that hard to believe, and I know at least one Cornishman contributed to their consultation, so why are we ignored?
Are the Cornish an inconvenient identity for the state? Rest assured that those of us who choose to identify as such are not going away despite the best efforts of successive Westmister politicians, Central Government Departments and
Ministries and others to ignore us hoping that we can be airbrushed away.
I await your and others responses with interest and shall circulate them accordingly upon receipt.
Michael J Chappell
Scrvynvas – An Kesunyans Keltek Scoren Kernewek
with grateful thanks to Phil Hosking”
Related article on Celtic News here:
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information