Archive for the ‘federalism’ Category

The Rojava Embassy: Freedom and Form | New Compass: Unity in diversity

There was much critique by speakers of the centralized nation-state. Especially the way in which the form the nation-state takes erodes and assimilates the colorful diversity of society through engineering the creation of a singular language, culture, and nation. In the same vein, speakers lauded the importance of democratic confederalism as a model, put into practice in Rojava, which nourishes and protects each ethnic and religious group within its system. In this context, there was also an emphasis on the ecological pillar of democratic confederalism, described as a way of encompassing each unique aspect of the various languages, cultures, religions, and peoples present in Rojava. As Sînam Mohammed, European Representative of the Democratic Self-Administration of Rojava, simply stated: “Our aim is to bring about unity in diversity.”
Paul Salvesion asks: Is London the problem? | Chartist Magazine: But we need to look beyond short-term political expediency, even if it is a principled expediency. The UK is falling apart and it will never be the same again. The choice is between a narrow, intolerant ‘Little England’ (dragging along an increasingly reluctant Wales and hostile to Scotland and Ireland) or a progressive Federal Britain with a resurgent Scotland and Wales, Ireland (north and south) working as equals with London, Cornwall and the English regions. We must agree a new settlement which re-balances these isles in a way that ensures each flourishes in a mutually-supportive federation, which isn’t afraid of playing an active part in the world beyond our shores – which must include Europe, but go further. Progressive politics in Britain has much to learn from neighbourhood-based community politics in the USA, but also in Africa, south America and Kurdistan (amongst many other places).
Could England (plus its two lap dogs Wales and Cornwall) leave the EU but the rest of the UK, Scotland and Northern Ireland, stay? 
How’s this for a plan? Loath as I am to say it, perhaps our only option is the creation of an English parliament (England and Cornwall). This would be created as a part of a settlement for the UK as a whole with fully federal parliaments in Wales, Scotland and NI. Each parliament would have a large degree of autonomy including over things such as EU membership. 
There is already an almost precedent with the UK’s protectorates and dependencies such as the Isle of Mann, Jersey and Guernsey. Currently, under the dominion of the British Crown / UK government, these territories are NOT part of the European Union. Could an England (and Wales) within a federal UK be given a similar status – a state in the UK federation but outside the EU? 
At a later time such a system would allow member states of the federation to either leave or join the EU with greater ease. Aspiring territories such as Cornwall would also be free to hold a referendum on becoming a fully fledged state within the UK federation – in or out of the EU. 
Come on then – feel free to shoot my plan full of holes now.
Why is Cornwall always forgotten. What are our nationalist and autonomist politicians doing wrong?
“Small independent countries in northern Europe have fared well”.
It’s a refreshing message indeed when you consider that ‘you’re too small and too dependent to survive alone’ is what we usually get from state governments and their establishments. Dominated by a majority national group – English, French, Spanish etc – is it any wonder that the concerns of a smaller national group within the same state are brushed aside or attacked without reason.
Firstly, there are plenty of independent states and autonomous regions that have a population, surface area or even both smaller than our mineral rich Cornwall. 
Secondly, what do they mean when they say alone? Is being part of an ever more integrated and federal European Union alone? Perhaps here we see one of the reasons why our current right-wing ConDem government is methodically severing our ties with the EU; and here’s me thinking the LibDems were European federalists.

The Icelandic example certainly provides plenty of food for thought for other stateless nations in their quest for greater self-determination.

To follow the Icelandic experiment with democracy more closely you can find a section of articles at OpenDemocracy.
After the financial crash that wrecked the island’s economy in 2008, Icelanders took to the streets with pots and pans to demand a new political and economic order. Their wish was granted in the form of a new, ‘crowdsourced’ constitution, drafted by a Constitutional Council whose members were ordinary citizens. In October 2008, Icelanders accepted the draft in a landslide referendum. What can we – and the European Union! – learn from the Icelandic constitutional experiment?
Federalism is traditionally understood as being opposed to nationalism, but the idea that Scotland should be a member state of the EU in its own right rather than part of the member state called the UK is hardly an example of the kind of nationalism to which federalism is opposed. Scottish independence is better understood as a debate about the application of subsidiarity: what is the appropriate level for taking certain political decisions? There is no particular reason for federalists to take sides. 

Federal Union | The forthcoming referendum in Scotland

Mebyon Kernow have the respectable and reasonable goal of an assembly for Cornwall along similar lines to the one which is enjoyed in our sister nation Wales.
As an individual however, whilst supporting the objective of an assembly, I prefer to look beyond at what could follow. Am I a Cornish autonomist anymore than a federalist? Anymore than a republican for that matter? The Cornish Federalist would be an equally fitting name for this blog if it weren’t for the feudal nonsense that is the Duchy. 
Anyway, I make no bones of hiding my point of view. An assembly within the UK is for me but a stepping stone to an independent Cornwall within a federal Europe. A vision I’d be happy to debate with anybody interested.

The Federalist Party on Cornwall

Posted: April 15, 2012 in federalism
The UK is and always has been a profoundly unequal union.  
Although the late 1990s saw gigantic strides forwards in Scotland and to a lesser extent in Wales and Northern Ireland, England as a result has found itself in an unusual position, no longer dominating the UK in the way it once did, but also lacking political institutions to call its own. It is abundantly clear that we are witnessing a resurgence in English identity which until now had largely remained confined to football and rugby stadiums. At the same time the institutions established in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have different powers and areas of responsibility. Cornwall, an historic nation with solid cultural and statutory grounds to claim equality alongside Scotland and Wales has been ignored to such an extent that it isn’t considered to hold any more than its de facto status as an English county. 
Now for some wishful thinking but couldn’t such federalists along with the various grass-roots English regionalists and reformers like the Democratic Reform Party create something new and interesting together?