Archive for the ‘national minority’ Category

Tosta is a collaboration project between cultural agents in several minority language communities of Europe’s Atlantic coast, which will also serve as one of the travelling embassies of Donostia / San Sebastian 2016 European Capital of Culture. The project combines the promotion of artistic creation, the celebration of linguistic and cultural diversity and the balanced management of local languages in an international project. The sending out of a ‘cultural cargo’ in the shape of sea containers will be the excuse for mapping out an itinerary that will stop at the participating communities, where a 2-3 day festival will be held to highlight linguistic and cultural diversity in Europe and spread the values of San Sebastian 2016. The word ‘tosta’ means the bench in a boat, and is a word that is present, with small variations, in many minority languages along the European Atlantic coast.
The SERLET project aims to: a) support and promote 7 Regional Languages from 4 Member states (FR, EL, ES, IT) as facilitators for cultural fusioning and mutual intercultural understanding, b) enlarge the cultural attractiveness of 7 European regions through an easy and friendly access to the apprenticeship of their languages, c) Europeanize regional languages and culture, d) contribute at enhancing the recognition of the cultural diversities in Europe, e) provide links among educational institutions and world of labor (specifically tourism section), f) provide innovative material -through modern technology- for smartphones, tablets and interactive website.
Two things to do that won’t take more than 5 minutes! How could you possibly not bother. 

1) Petitioning The UK Prime Minister and Cabinet to create a Cornish Assembly.  

 Sign this petition – Create a Cornish Assembly – and then circulate it to everyone you know.

A law-making Assembly for Cornwall 

Cornwall is an historic nation with its own identity, culture, traditions and language. We believe the people of Cornwall have the same democratic right to self-determination as the residents of Scotland and Wales. 

In 2001, over 50,000 individual declarations calling for a Cornish Assembly were presented to 10 Downing Street. But the Government, which had delivered devolution settlements to Scotland and Wales, ignored the declarations and refused to consider demands for greater powers for Cornwall. 

Cornwall deserves better. 

It is our view that the unequal constitutional relationship between the various nations and regions of the UK need to be addressed. And we believe that this should include meaningful devolution to Cornwall. We call on central government to work with the people of Cornwall to formulate a detailed proposal for a law-making Cornish Assembly, which can then be put to the electorate in a binding referendum. 

Call for Cornish National Minority Status.
2) This is inspired by a mail received from  the Cornish branch of the Celtic League: As a result of our many communications, at 3:46 p.m. today, Monday 25th November, 2013, Stephen Gilbert MP asked Westminster Government Ministers when the Cornish, with their own language, identity and culture, will be included in the Council of Europe’s framework convention for the protection of national minorities (FCNM). We have thanked him and this forms but part of our ongoing Campaign! Please continue to email your representatives be they MPs, MEPs, Lords or Councillors with this simple message and encourage anyone who cares about Cornwall and her people to join us and to do the same!: “I support the call for the British Government to allow the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities to be applied to the Cornish people.” Your MP and other elected representatives can be emailed free from here:

Read more on the Cornish national minority here: The 2nd Cornish Minority Report prepared for the UK government and the Council of Europe’s secretariat for the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

Council of Europe urges more ratifications of Regional or Minority Languages Charter

Sadly despite the promises made by the socialist presidential candidate François Hollande before the elections the charter for minority languages has not be ratified and the new laws on decentralisation within the French state offer next to nothing to Brittany. 
Yet again it has been made quite clear that national minorities should expect very little from the state-nationalist parties – left, centre or right – based in Paris, London or Madrid.

In the long run there is only one real solution. Independence! Click on the logo and sign the petition if you agree.

Borderlines: Countries are defined by the lines that divide them. But how are those lines decided – and why are some of them so strange? Borderlines explores the stories behind the global map, one line at a time. 
Springtime of Nations: An irreverent, informative blog about separatist movements, autonomy struggles, indigenous rights, interethnic conflict, balkanization, and micronationalism – with maps and flags in every article!

Found this on the Borderlines site: Family Ties –
Nationalia: 57.5% state that Wales is their only nation, with highest proportions in the south east and lowest in the north east · Almost 14% of people in Cornwall declare a Cornish national identity · Englishness more than doubles Britishness in England · London emerges as the stronghold of the British national identity.

With no clear tick-box option for Cornish, and despite limited publicity that claiming such a national identity was even possible, the numbers have still doubled. Not enough some might be tempted to say but hasty comparisons with Scotland and Wales should be guarded against when considering these statistics.

For centuries now Cornwall has suffered Anglo-British propaganda. From all official government sources, establishment bodies, schools and mainstream media outlets we have heard only that we are English and that Cornwall is a simple shire county of England. Unlike Wales and Scotland our national identity has been given no official recognition as a ‘home nation’ via sports teams, arts bodies or other institutions. Quite the contrary in fact. The Duchy, our true constitutional status, has been swept under the UK’s dusty moth-holed carpet. With this in mind is it not really quite miraculous that our Celtic identity has survived and a testimony to its strength. That over the decades dedicated individuals have given up so much to keep the flame alive should never be forgotten. Now for the 80,000 who claimed a Cornish identity to continue the struggle.

There can be no doubt now that for the 2021 UK census, alongside ones for English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish and British, a tick-box option for Cornish national identity must be included. When we note that in 2011 41% of Cornish school children (28,584 pupils out of 69,811) claimed a Cornish identity rather than English, British or other the contradiction with these latest results is evident. So that reliable statistics can at last be collected only one option remains for any responsible future government.

Equally clear is the existence of a sizeable minority population within Cornwall that has no recognition and therefore no provision for the promotion of its culture. The non-inclusion of the Cornish under the terms of the Council of Europe’s framework convention for the protection of national minorities (FCNM) has become an ever more glaring fault of the UK government.

In response to my blog here the English Regionalist John Baxendale wrote the following thought provoking comments. I’ll try and respond myself when I get some time but in the meanwhile all thoughts would be most welcome. 

I was very interested to read your response to my piece on the North of England, and to get a Cornish take on the issues I raised. One of my main concerns in writing the piece was nationhood: what is a nation, what privileges does nationhood bring (even without a state), how does the perception that Scotland is a nation and Yorkshire, with much the same population, isn’t, affect the way the two are viewed and treated within the polity of the UK? Everybody seems to agree that Scotland is a nation in some sense(whether or not they think it should remain in the UK), and nobody – not even the most rabid Yorkshireman – seems to think that Yorkshire is (although as I argued, if you go back a thousand years or so it easily could have been). Much the same could be said of Northumbria, Wessex and Mercia. So what is it, other than historical accident, that makes a nation a nation?

You argue that ‘Cornwall has a distinct national identity’, and I respect this view, although I would still ask what that means: is it enough to have a historic language, even if most of the population no longer speak it – or an autonomist movement, even though it doesn’t as yet attract much support at the ballot-box (and I do know the ballot-box isn’t everything) – although I have to admit that Yorkshire, Northumbria etc. have neither of these. Before you choke on your pasty again, I’m by no means dismissing out of hand your belief in Cornish nationhood, still less the existence of a ‘Cornish question’. Being a nation isn’t a simply yes/no issue, with an answer fixed for all time, but a product of history and struggle. The history of European nationalism suggests that the most crucial element in the emergence of nations is the existence of a body of people who believe there is a nation there, and are prepared to organise, agitate and argue the case for it. Languages can be re-learned, distinct cultures identified and strengthened: others have done it, so why not Cornwall? 

The other question my piece asked was medium-term and practical: if Scottish independence is coming (and why not, if the Scots want it) how do we stop my part of the world and yours being crushed by the London/South-East juggernaut? And what role could ‘regional’ identity play in that struggle? Here I entirely agree with your closing paragraph. In the hearts and minds of the people English regional identities are strong, but as a political force they hardly exist, and few regard them as a basis for resisting the London dominance they grumble about so much. Whether such resistance takes the form of regionalism or nationalism seems less important than the need for it to be expressed more strongly and seriously and politically than it is. From what you say, Cornwall, though it still has a long way to go, is rather further along this road than the rest of us.

Clearly Cornish

Posted: October 16, 2011 in maps, national minority