Time For The Cornish Independence Debate?

Backbencher March 13, 2014 3
Time For The Cornish Independence Debate?

Is it time for Cornwall to reverse a thousand years Anglo-Saxon domination and go it alone?

On the 5th March Saint Piran celebrated his feast day; Piran who is the patron saint of tin miners is also the adoptive symbol of Cornwall, they even use his flag.

On the 1st of March a march of 5,000 people took place in Cornwall as part of the yearly celebrations, with speeches in both English and Cornish. Piran arouses many feelings from the Cornish people, with many councils, workplaces and schools will have the day off already, with many more businesses paying holiday pay. Marches, parades, school plays and picnics (if the weather holds) being the itinerary for the day, every one of these patriotic gestures draped in, of course, the Cornish flag.

Although not actually a bank holiday, there have been numerous petitions and campaigns from the Liberal Democrats, Mebyon Kernow, the Celtic league and a myriad of smaller campaign groups – it links into a wider question, the question that why is the Cornish nationality not recognised by the British government? In a world where the Welsh and Scottish are widely accepted of nations, there appears to be little consideration for the Cornish and Manx, rightly so many of you would say. Cornwall and the Isle of Man aren’t often considered nations, only when it comes to people like myself who find ourselves in the minority nationalism and devolution political niche does it become the way of thinking. Potentially, that is the major issue here, we have over the generations became used to the idea that Britishness and Englishness have overwhelmed and thus replaced other nationalities in these isles.

Even with the backing of the Commission for Racial Equality and the Council of Europe, not to mention 14% of the population of Cornwall considering themselves Cornish above anything other nationality, there is still no official recognition. Without a doubt, the Cornish are a minority nationality.

“This mistreatment from Whitehall isn’t the only one of its kind, the strangling tentacles of uncaring bureaucrats from London comes at a time where demand for devolution grows every day. In a world where the government can afford money for a controversial high speed rail link to London, but not the money to fix a damaged train line to Penzance, the idea of self governance has fertile ground to grow: 70% of the Cornish support a separate Cornish assembly, 72% support a South West assembly and recently a poll commissioned by the Yorkshire Post found that 82% of people think Yorkshire should “have more devolution”.”

If I were a betting man, I would easily put up a fair sum of money for Cornwall to be the first place in England to have regional devolution. (Albeit potentially in the form of a south west assembly) Much like how we are seeing in America with the legalisation of same sex marriages (and arguably, marijuana) once one area gets it, it becomes a domino effect. How long till our first region gets their assembly and how long till that spreads like a wildfire?

Gareth Shanks tweets as @GarethShanks

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