A campaign set up to restrict the number of English flags on sale in shops in Cornwall, ahead of the football world cup, has been taken up by the Kernow branch of the League.
Since the Kernow branch openly came out in support of the campaign, branch secretary Mike Chappell has received hundreds of emails from supporters who have praised his courage in publically expressing the way many Cornish people about being swamped by cheap English flags ahead of the football world cup next year. Mr Chappell has used the growing social networking contacts that the branch has built up over the last six months to promote the campaign, by getting members and supporters of the League to contact shops in Cornwall that are deliberately flooding the Cornish market with English flags that are being sold for next to nothing.
Over the last couple of weeks Mr Chappell has been interviewed on the radio and television and has been quoted in newspapers around Cornwall and the UK about the issues involved. Speaking to the League’s General Secretary on the weekend, Mr Chappell reported:
“Considering it was never our campaign in the first place, this has not been bad coverage for the League.
“I understand why people are afraid to speak their mind about how they feel about this, because of the possible repercussions, especially from right wing English nationalists, who can be very intimidating. But if everyone were to
speak out against the sale of all these flags in Cornwall then I am sure something would be done about it. Other Celtic countries have had to do the same over the years and have ultimately been successful. Cornwall still needs to keep saying that we do not want to be saturated with these flags, because Cornwall is not England and is distinct.
“I am all for promoting diversity, but I am also in favour of equality and Cornwall is not treated equally to England.”
Soon after Mr Chappell decided to get involved in the campaign a controversial Facebook group was set up by an anonymous source that displayed a burning English flag as its emblem. Mr Chappell has insisted that he had nothing to do with the creation of the Facebook group and says that the picture on the site is “unfortunate”.
The Kernow branch of the League was originally contacted by a prominent member of a Cornish cultural organisation to say that he was fed up with the number of cheap English flags for sale in `Cooperative’ stores around Cornwall and that he wanted to encourage people to contact the businesses to complain. It was suggested that the campaign was taken up in a “measured way”, but the organisation in question wanted to remain anonymous in case of repercussions. The Kernow branch previous initiated a campaign against the display of English flags in shops in Cornwall in 2002 and were heavily criticised for it, with some members even receiving death threats if they continued with the campaign.
The presence of the English flag ahead of the football world cup has also caused upset in the other Celtic countries too. Last week, Mars Ltd. explained that they did not want to offend anyone after the company received criticism from people in Scotland for releasing their chocolate bars in Scotland, which featured an English flag wrapper. Mars said that the bars were not meant for distribution in Scotland, but it is unlikely that the same stance will be taken by the company in Kernow.
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This article prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secretary Celtic League. For follow-up comment or clarification contact:
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information