The Cornish Republican

Posted: September 12, 2010 in duchy of cornwall, republicanism

From Democrat to Republican. Why the name change?

I’ve been mulling over the idea for some time now but it must be said that the creation of the Cornish Democrats helped me decide. An additional peripheral factor in the decision making process was also not wanting any accidental connections to be made between this blog and either the English Democrats or the Devonwall Democrats.

So much for the grains of sand that helped precipitate the change, but what of the ideological background.

Undoubtedly the use of  -Republican- by a Celtic nationalist will bring shrill cries of extremism from certain quarters, some heartfelt, and some disingenuous. Not just once have I been informed that this blog is a bit too radical, that it goes to far and risks leaving the average Cornish resident a little perplexed, amused or concerned for my mental health. The new title isn’t going to do much to resolve this problem I know, but as a blogger I’m free to be honest about what I think. Others from the Cornish movement should of course feel free to write their own more moderate blogs if this is what they feel is best.

Am I still a democrat? Yes of course but who the hell isn’t a democrat of one form or another these days? Always the radical democrat in that I wish to see people given far more democratic control and responsibility over their own lives. A Cornish assembly, decentralisation to communities, greater use of referenda, a democratic federal Europe, industrial democracy, real electoral reform and much more. Something else is need then to describe a campaigner for Cornish popular sovereignty. What could be better than Republican?

It should be said however that I totally reject all forms of paternalistic, centralised and top-down republican models, the French state being the perfect example. Disguised behind the rhetoric of secularity and legal equality the French state has succeeded in favouring one ethnic identity and its language, franco-french, at the expense of all the other nationalities contained within its frontiers. This has resulted in a cultural ethnocide of language and identity as well as the massive centralisation of power in Paris. Simply note how the numbers of Breton speakers have plummeted since the revolution as a clear example of the destruction done. Today France is one of the only states in Europe to have neither ratified nor signed the framework convention for the protection of national minorities (FCNM) from the Council of Europe the excuse given that it is anti-constitutional.

For a fascinating insight into the lack of popular sovereignty in the UK I cannot recommend better than the article –A grubby little stitch up that must be exposed for what it is– from the campaign group Republic. Additionally for a conversation with Wales’ republicans then try Y Repwblic.

Of course the Cornish suffer from the double blight of living with the Duchy of Cornwall as well as England’s Monarch. Whether you fully accept the suggestion made by some that the Duchy is behind all attempts to stifle the progress of the Cornish movement there can be no doubt that this feudal body has a level of power unacceptable in a modern democracy. Equally one could claim that the Duchy has betrayed the Cornish on countless occasions in refusing to stand up for Cornwall’s unique constitutional position thus aiding and abetting in the erosion of the Cornish identity. Take the Duchy’s silence concerning the threat to Cornwall’s territorial integrity as one example among hundreds. Happy to use the symbols of our nation to sell his jam the current Duke seems little concerned for the territory of his Duchy.

I hope you’ll join the Cornish Republican in calling for a full public inquiry into the Duchy of Cornwall followed by a referendum on its and Cornwall’s future. Give the constitutional powers and financial assets of the Duchy to the residents of Cornwall for them to dispose of as they see fit and then dissolve this feudal relic.


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