Archive for the ‘mebyon kernow’ Category

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MK members are at the very forefront of the campaign against the proposed Devonwall seat. In the last 24 hours, we have been featured on local radio and so-called “regional” television, as well as UK-wide newspapers.  

Please join us in opposing the creation of such a cross-Tamar constituency, which would be an unprecedented disaster, breaching the very territorial integrity of the historic nation of Cornwall
See below for more information what you can do: 
The UK Government has commenced a review of parliamentary constituencies and the Boundary Commission (for England) has recommended a “Devonwall” seat, which would include land stretching from St Teath and St Breward, to Bude and Launceston. On the English side of the Tamar, the seat will extend to the town of Bideford.

Please join MK and other Cornish organisations in opposing the creation of such a cross-Tamar constituency, which would be an unprecedented disaster, breaching the very territorial integrity of the historic nation of Cornwall.

Please demand an amendment to the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act

The Boundary Review process is being driven by the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act, which became law in 2011.

This Act reduces the number of constituencies to 600 and states that, apart from four specific constituencies (Orkney & Shetland, the Western Isles, and two seats for the Isle of Wight), the electorates for individual seats must be within 5% of the averages for “England,” “Wales,” “Scotland” or “Northern Ireland.” Cornwall is sadly not treated as a national entity by the legislation.

The electorate of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly means we would be entitled to 5.27 MPs and it was therefore a statistical impossibility for the Boundary Commission to propose five seats for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly.

That is why we need to build a massive campaign to put pressure on central government and MPs to modify the existing legislation to ensure that Cornish constituencies remain whole and lie entirely within the boundaries of Cornwall (and the Isles of Scilly).

Please lobby the UK Government and Cornwall’s six MPs

Please also join us in writing to the UK Government to demand that the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act be amended.

Please send correspondence to:

Chris Skidmore MP, Minister for the Constitution, Cabinet Office, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2AS and / or chris.skidmore.mp@parliament.uk

Theresa May MP, Prime Minister, 10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA and / or via https://email.number10.gov.uk

Your local Cornish MPs c/o House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA and / or via

steve.double.mp@parliament.uk

george.eustice.mp@parliament.uk

scott.mann.mp@parliament.uk

sheryll.murray.mp@parliament.uk

sarah.newton.mp@parliament.uk

derek.thomas.mp@parliament.uk

Please write to the Boundary Commission

Even though the Boundary Commission does not have the power to make recommendations to protect Cornwall’s historic border, we also need to swamp them with letters and other representations showing that a cross-Tamar seat is not appropriate.

Please send correspondence to:

Boundary Commission for England, 35 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BQ. The Boundary Commission has also set up a new website through which people can comment on the proposed new constituencies. This can be found at: www.bce2018.org.uk. But the key message must be that we request the Boundary Commission supports our calls for the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act to be amended to Keep Cornwall Whole.
Key arguments that you can use in your letters and emails

Cornwall is a Celtic nation with its own distinct identity, culture and language – just like Scotland and Wales. The border between Cornwall and England has been in place since the early tenth century and should have been respected by the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act, just as the borders between England & Scotland and England & Wales were reinforced by the legislation. Cornwall also has a unique constitutional position which sets it apart from the rest of the United Kingdom.

Following the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill becoming an Act in 2011, central government bowed to years of pressure and recognised the Cornish as a national minority (April 2014) through the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. Central government stated that: “The decision to recognise the unique identity of the Cornish, now affords them the same status … as the UK’s other Celtic people, the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish.” But the Act is in conflict with the Framework Convention which, as well as protecting the culture and identity of national minorities, seeks to protect the political integrity of territories associated with such groups.

In the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act, the territories of other national minorities within the United Kingdom (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) are not breached and it is therefore illogical that the same safeguards should not be applied to Cornwall.

It would also be relatively simple for central government to do amend the Act. Only a few months ago, the Government agreed “emergency” legislation to extend the deadline for people seeking to register to vote in the referendum on the European Union following the failure of the Government’s registration website.

The Government could likewise deliver a simple amendment to the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act, to respect the Framework Convention and Keep Cornwall Whole. 
The below is from the pressure group Kernow Matters to Us.
TWO DOZEN REASONS WHY WE STAND AGAINST THE UNLAWFUL IMPOSITION OF ‘DEVONWALL’

1. Areas with the lowest levels of registration are often those that already have the least voice in politics. Young people, some ethnic minority groups and those in the private rented sector are all less likely to register to vote than others. That makes many of them effectively cut out of the new political map when those areas get less representation than other areas. Everyone deserves representation, not just those on the register.

2. The review is being undertaken on the basis of a register that’s nearly a year out of date – excluding over two million people who signed up between December and June. That means some regions are two seats short of what they are owed. It would be much fairer – and would make more sense – to draw boundaries based on eligible population rather than an incomplete electoral register. In Cornwall alone, 52,500 homes are to be built in these coming years meaning a massive increase in population.

3. Addressing the carving up of communities themselves, the rigid 5% threshold – the maximum difference in size between constituencies – means that some communities will be split up, while others will be merged and dragged into others.

4. On top of that, the strict 5% difference limit poses the prospect of huge disruption every five years through sparking a boundary review for every election. Do we really want to spend infinite hours arguing about seat borders in the run up to every Westminster vote?

5. Of course, this is all happening alongside a reduction in the number of MPs – something that has a bizarre rationale when one thinks about it. Because the government argue shrinking the Commons will ‘cut the cost of politics’.

6. There a growing unelected House of Lords – and a shrinking elected one. The House of Lords is a super-sized second chamber – second only to China – and shockingly poor value for money. Surely it would be more democratic to address the crisis in the House of Lords than to cut the number of elected MPs? The last Prime Minister appointed 205 Peers over the past six years, at a cost of £13m already. If one wants to reduce the cost of politics, one could do worse than starting there and cutting down our bloated upper house.

7. Cutting the number of elected Parliamentarians does have one effect though – and sadly it’s not a good one. If one reduces the number of MPs in Parliament without reducing the number of ministers, one increases the power of the executive and make it more difficult to challenge the government. And that in turn will reduce the ability for Parliament to do its job of holding the Government to account.

8. The Government talks about the need to ‘make every vote count’ through these changes. Yet the best way to do that is to give one and all a proportional and fair voting system.

9. We see that with the deeply unpopular ‘Devonwall’ seat that spans Cornwall and Devon – distinct areas with very distinctive identities and needs. Fair political boundaries are crucial to ensuring people are properly represented in Parliament: Westminster and its unelected quangos shouldn’t tear apart close-knit areas in a rush to ‘equalise’ numbers.

10. The Cornish language was recognised officially in 2003 under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and was initially supported by the UK government. This minimal funding was withdrawn during 2016 and has caused many to feel extremely bitter towards the Westminster Government. How many more insults and lies are we expected to endure?

11. In April 2014, the Coalition Government finally recognised the people who spoke that language, the Cornish people, through inclusion in the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. The official governmental press release stated that “the decision to recognise the unique identity of the Cornish, now affords them the same status … as the UK’s other Celtic people, the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish.”

This landmark recognition came after many years of campaigning and, as a consequence, was greeted with publicly expressed joy across all of Cornwall’s communities as well as by Cornish people the world over.

Sadly, two years on, there is a growing frustration that central government is failing to act on the various articles within the Framework Convention. The Cornish are being again treated as second class citizens.

12. The UK Government passed the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act, which stated that the number of seats in the UK parliament should be reduced to 600 and – unless specified in the legislation – the electorates for seats should be within 5% of the various averages for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

That Act does not recognise the territorial integrity of Cornwall and it’s 1,000 year old boundary, and, as the legislation stands, the outcome of Boundary Review (based on the provisions within the Act and the present electorate of Cornwall) would inevitably include the creation of a cross-Tamar ‘Devonwall’ constituency taking in Bude and Launceston in Cornwall and Bideford in Devon.

13.It is since the Act was agreed, that the UK Government agreed the Cornish are covered by the auspices of the Framework Convention and our organisation contends that developing a cross Tamar parliamentary constituency would contravene the following constituent articles of the Framework Convention:

ARTICLE 3 – PARAGRAPH 2: “Persons belonging to National Minorities may exercise the rights and enjoy the freedoms flowing from the principles enshrined in the present Framework Convention individually as well as in community with others.”

ARTICLE 5 – PARAGRAPH 2: “Parties shall refrain from policies or practices aimed at assimilation of persons belonging to National Minorities against their will and shall protect these persons from any action aimed at such assimilation.”

Under these circumstances it would therefore appear that the legislation which guides the Boundary Review is in conflict with the Framework Convention which, as well as protecting the culture and identity of national minorities, also seeks to protect the political integrity of territories associated with such groups.

14. In the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act, the territories of other national minorities within the United Kingdom (namely the Scots, the Welsh and Northern Irish) are safeguarded and no seats can be proposed which would cross the land borders between England and Scotland or Wales.

Once again, a campaign is growing in Cornwall in defence of the border which was set over a thousand years ago in 936AD when King Athelstan set the boundary between English and Cornish at the high water mark of the eastern bank of the River Tamar.

15. It is difficult for people living elsewhere to understand the mind-set of the Cornish people and indeed, of many of the people of Cornwall, but as with Scotland and Wales, there is a strong and emotional attachment to the land and Cornwall’s time honoured boundary.

16. Dr. Merv Davey, The Grand Bard of the widely respected Cornish Gorseth, our College of Bards recently remarked: “Any recommendation that parts of Cornwall are placed within Devon constituencies would be a disaster for Cornish democracy, heritage, culture and our national identity.”

17. Cornwall Council unanimously opposes the imposition of a Cross Border Constituency and it’s Leader, Cllr. (Ind) John Pollard has even called the ‘Devonwall’ proposal unlawful. (Cornwall Council Media Release 28/09/2016) Other too believe this Cross Border Constituency breaks the law.

18. Cornwall has a unique legal place within the constitution as recognised by such scholars as Dr John Kirkhope. Cornwall is different legally from Devon and indeed, most other places

19. An open public opinion poll run in Cornwall by commercial broadcaster Pirate FM returned results on 15th September, 2016 which indicated 94% of people in Cornwall are opposed to ‘Devonwall’. A similar poll run by the Daily Mirror indicates 89% are opposed to the changes.

20. Cornwall should be given an exemption similar to the ones given to the Orkney Islands and the Isle of Wight, both of which were allowed to deviate from the ‘5% of average’ size rule.

An analysis of the Boundary Commissions statement and calculations has been made by Professor (of Electronic Engineering and Applied Physics) Gareth Parry, who says:

“If considered alone, the electorate of the County of Cornwall (including the electorate of the Isles of Scilly), at nearly 394,000, would result in an allocation of 5.27 constituencies to the county. While we are sensitive to the strength of feeling about the Cornish border, with its single land border, it is simply not possible to develop a proposal under which five whole constituencies, each with electorates within 5% of the electoral quota, are contained within the county boundary.”

Whilst mathematically correct, the analysis below demonstrates that this is far from the clear cut case suggested. In fact the Commission case is based on the tiniest of margins. It would be scandalous if Cornwall was broken up on the basis such small margins.

The 5% rule implies that the electorate in the constituencies should be between 71,031 and 78, 507.

The electorate of Cornwall is 392,223 and that of the Isle of Scilly is 1,651. A total of 393,874.

The Commission’s figure of 5.27 is based on the assumption that there are 74,739 electors in each constituency. However, we are permitted under the rules specified to have up to 78,507 electors in each constituency. If that were the case the allocation would be 5.02, which is very close to the target of 5.0 constituencies.

So suppose we do have 5 constituencies of 78,507 electors.

The total number of electors permitted would be 392,535. The actual number of electors is 393,874 which is only 1,339 more or 269 more per constituency or 0.3% above the target number.

If this extremely small additional number were permitted, Cornwall would remain whole with 5 constituencies. Or, to put it another way, the boundary commission are imposing Devonwall on the basis of just 269 electors in a constituency of 78,507!

We can look at this another way. Consider Cornwall on its own (without the Isles of Scilly). The electorate is 392,223. This is less than the 392,535 which the Commission state is within acceptable limits. And 5 constituencies would have 78,445 electors, 62 less than the maximum allowed under the Commission rules. Cornwall alone with 5 constituencies satisfies the Commission’s rules.

The fact that the tiny population of the Isles of Scilly is sufficient for the Commission to argue that the historic Cornwall-Devon boundary be moved highlights the weakness of the Commission’s case. It would be perfectly reasonable to make the case that one Cornish constituency should be permitted to exceed the maximum to include the Isle of Scilly. All 4 other constituencies would be less than the maximum permitted.”

21. Cornwall has devolved Local Government through the Devolution Deal, recently agreed with HM Government and our democracy will be seriously inhibited if this does not coincide with Parliamentary Constituency boundaries.

22. Parliament is less respected now than it ever has been and the imposition of ‘Devonwall’ would compound that growing mistrust. Our Westminster politicians scratch their heads and wonder why so few now bother to vote. The answer is obvious!

23. Whoever elected the Boundary Commission? How many more undemocratic quangos are there dabbling with Cornwall and whoever in Cornwall asked them to?

24. Some people from England like to draw lines on maps. We recall the actions of English diplomat, Mark Sykes and the Frenchman François Georges-Picot who drew lines on a map of the Middle East in 1916. The world is still suffering the consequences of that boundary review a hundred years on.

We thank the following for this list:

Members of ‘Kernow Matters To Us’

Cornwall Councillor Dick Cole and his team from Mebyon Kernow

The Grand Bard of Gorsedh Kernow, Dr Merv Davey

Professor Gareth Parry

Cornwall Councillor (Ind) John Pollard, Leader of Cornwall Council

Michael Foster, a former Labour parliamentary political candidate (PPC) whose family have donated £400,000 to the party, said that he would be challenging Corbyn’s right to automatically appear on the ballot in the leadership race.

Foster is not without a history of public confrontations himself. In 2015, he was accused of bombarding a fellow PPC with a tirade of abuse at a hustings in Cornwall. He was reported to have launched at Mebyon Kernow candidate Loveday Jenkin, saying “You c***. If you pick on me again I will destroy you”, after she questioned him about his potential bias towards the proposed “mansion tax”, owing to the fact he owned two homes, both worth over £1m.
The dust is finally settling on the events of 23rd June, and time for reflection is here. I would state now that these are my views alone.

I voted to Remain in the EU. I am proud that I did that. I believed then and still believe now that the UK was better off in the inefficient but reformable bloc than isolated outside. The experts that the Brexiters demonised got the first bit right – £120 Billion wiped off shares, shares that your pension companies invest in and need to see doing well to make money for your retirement – The £ Stirling dropping 9% meaning that those of you going on holiday outside the UK will find you will get less currency for your money – the exchange rate will mean, as we buy oil in $ Dollars, that fuel prices will rise in the coming days – just today a lady was verbally assaulted in Callington by two racist men shouting all sorts of profanities, at a woman who was born here and pays taxes here – and many more examples. However this was not shared by 52% of the 70% who voted and we are on our way to, what do they call it…., oh yes “Getting our Country Back”.

Now Mr Farage, who interestingly opposed a parliament that was elected on proportional representation which enabled his party to get 27 MEPs in favour of an un-democratic Westminster where his 3.9 Million votes at the 2015 general election got him just one seat, and the second chamber is neither elected or accountable, says that this has been a revolution – without one bullet being fired. This has been challenged by many following the dreadful murder in Yorkshire although it is important to state that this cannot really be answered until the court case has completed. Whilst it is not right to fling accusations about until the investigations have been complete, neither is it right to make claims that he made without this case being brought to a conclusion.

What is clear though, is that the ‘project fear’ that elements in the Leave camp used, fear of foreigners, fear of the EU, Fear of experts, gained traction with a large section of the population. What is worrying is that across Europe, fascists and neo-nazi groups are celebrating the vote – the Fascist Front National in France’s leader Marine Le Pen is using the Union flag on her Twitter feed.

In Cornwall the vote was effectively 56/44 in favour of Leave – which is quite a surprise given the support that the EU has given Cornwall, certainly compared to the almost total lack of support from Westminster. This money, up to some £1 Billion so far, includes some €500 Million that we were granted in 2014 due to the London Government’s inability to properly support the people of The Duchy – including the farmers and the fishermen incidentally.

Already, in the first 24 hours we have seen the leader of UKIP rowing back from the “promise” of £350 Million to fund the NHS – he said he didn’t agree with using it but how strange that he did not say that during the campaign?? Some of his supporters have made it clear that they support the dismantling of the NHS and replacing it with private health insurance.

When Mr Johnson visited Truro during the campaign he made numerous pledges to the people of Cornwall over replacement funding for the economic development of the Duchy, support for the Farmers and support for the Fishermen. Now some ‘experts’ suggested he was promising the same money for this as he was going to spend on the NHS.

Sadly this vote was taken in haste but for all of us, we may well live to regret our decision at leisure….

It is vitally important now for all those who did not believe or trust what these people said to join together to hold to account those who will take over running the UK government in these trying times, and those politicians locally who supported them, both at Cornwall Council and Town and Parish Council level, and ensure they are challenged as and when, and I fear it will be when, the promises made by these individuals and organisations are found wanting.

In May 2017 there will be elections to Cornwall Council and Parish and Town Councils. Now more than ever we need to elect people who are going to fight for justice for the people of Cornwall, ALL the people of Cornwall and not be swayed by what their political masters in Westminster say. Mebyon Kernow are looking at candidates across the Duchy. If you think it is time to Walk the Walk rather than just Talk the Talk then contact me and we will have a chat.

 
Andrew Long, Mebyon Kernow Councillor for Callington & Deputy Leader of the group on Konsel Kernow

@andykernow

Have your say on the party’s position going into the EU referendum A message from Clive Price-Jones (MK’s representative with the European Free Alliance.) 

As you are aware there is an upcoming Referendum proposed by the Government, to decide on our membership of the European Union. 
Mebyon Kernow will be holding a Spring Conference on Saturday 2nd April, and one of the key items for discussion will be MK’s official position on the referendum vote. 
The National Executive is presently working on a proposal for the Conference and we are keen the hear the views of party members as we produce this document. 
Firstly it would be good to remind ourselves of the section of our Manifesto which directly refers to the European Union. 
It is our belief that nations and regions throughout the World should work together, but that does not mean we are not critical of how the European Union is presently constituted. 
The Europe of today is one of centralisation, limited democratic control, big business and bureaucracy, and MK – along with many other progressive groups in the European Free Alliance – is campaigning for the increased democratisation of the EU, greater transparency and increased Cornish representation. 
Mebyon Kernow believes that sovereignty resides with the people, and that responsibility for decision-making should be retained at the most local level possible. Our compelling task is to build a decentralised Europe on this basic principle, which means we must limit the centralisation of powers both to Europe and to the current state capitals such as London and Paris. 
We must create a new Europe that is relevant to the needs of ordinary people. 
Since Cornwall was recognised as a European region, it has secured significant and much-needed investment through structural funds, including Objective One and Convergence, but over the last five years the cost of EU membership to the UK taxpayer as a whole has quadrupled, which needs to be addressed as part of future reforms. 
 As mentioned in the Manifesto we are members of the European Free Alliance, which comprises 45 progressive, nationalist, regionalist and autonomist parties. It is a pro-European party, which endorses the European Union values, namely the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. Through membership of this grouping both Mebyon Kernow and the People of Cornwall have a stronger and louder representation with Europe, which would be lost should the UK leave the European Union. 
In summary, Mebyon Kernow is fundamentally a pro-European Party and considers that membership of the EU provides us with a stronger platform to argue for the rights of Cornwall and its people. But importantly, we must continue to argue that the EU does need radical reform – as set out in the above manifesto segment. 
Please take the time to make your feelings and thoughts known to the NEC and Leadership Team. 
Contact me at clive.pricejones@yahoo.com 
Clive Price-Jones
Now I’m guessing that our ‘friends’ in Plaid and the SNP forgot about Mebyon Kernow again. MK really needs to make some noise about this if we don’t want to hear Plaid and the SNP calling for people to vote Green, LibDem or Labour in the Duchy.