Why is Labour so hostile to Cornish devolution?

Posted: November 6, 2010 in devolution, english nationalism, english question, english regionalists, labour

We all know that when Labour was pushing for devolution to the artificial government zones, the South West Region being one of them, Labour absolutely refused to consider Cornwall only devolution even after receiving the petition for 50,000 signatures calling for a Cornish assembly.

It’s no secret that the Labour government was highly embarrassed by UK’s rejection of their plans for regional assemblies whilst Cornwall was the only territory to show any real interest. I should be noted that at the time Jude Robinson, Charlotte MacKenzie and the rest of Cornish Labour, now all ardent defenders of Cornwall’s territorial integrity, did not supported the creation of a Cornish assembly but rather wished to see Kernow disappear within a much larger South West government zone run from Bristol. No political opportunism there then.

Has anything changed in their inflexible attitude? Following a Twitter conversation with some local Labour activists I fear not. At least two Labour supporters [1][2] resident in Cornwall were incredulous that Cornish devolution should even be considered. The usual attacks then followed including the accusation that “isn’t it all a bit isolationist wanting to cut Cornwall off?” or words to that effect. I think I was accused of some form of racism at some point as well. Anyway, when I pointed out to them that Labour had championed Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish and English regional devolution, in other words and following their logic ‘isolationism’ the conversation was cut short. Funny that.

It should also be noted that during our exchange a Labour activist who has access to my personal details, I suspect via Facebook, was quick to provide our two Labour ladies with information about my private life which they happily employed against me in our debate. Thanks for that to the brave and responsible Labour activist so happy to spread peoples personal details around the web. How very moral of you.

I pose this question now as from Labours ranks can be heard rumblings of English regional devolution once again. One example is this speech to the Cambrian Society from MP David Blunkett where he proposes a Yorkshire assembly. Equally we have –The real battle for the future of the English regions is just beginning– by Kevin Meagher on Labour Uncut. Of course in both examples no mention is made of Cornwall. One has to ask why. They are not totally ignorant of our campaign. The petition of 50,000 certainly got their attention. So why their deliberate refusal to discuss Cornwall in the context of the debate on devolution and the English question?

My prediction? Devolution to English regions will be part of Labours election promises in their attempt to retake power in future election battles. They want to finish the job the started with devolution to Scotland, Wales and the Six Counties, but what form will their regions take? Will they show a little more flexibility on what they consider a region? Let me suggest some election promises for Labour to make in Kernow:

1) Return Cornwall’s territorial integrity.

2) organise a referendum on Cornish devolution.

If you give us this you’ll win in the Duchy.

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