Archive for the ‘political parties’ Category

Congratulations to Jeremy Corbyn on his election to Labour leader. This is just a quick to post to remind everyone, and perhaps especially Mr Corbyn, of his past support for Cornish issues, and in particular the creation of a Cornish Assembly.

(notice the first name on the list of supporters)

Well before this I did receive an e-mail from him in which he expressed support for the recognition of the Cornish people and the creation of an assembly, but I can’t for the life of me put my hands on it now. I’m pretty sure I posted it on the Cornwall 24 forum but I can’t seem to find it any more. If anybody else has any luck I’d be most grateful. 
For further comment on the election please read:
Ken Loach has called for the creation of a new party to unify the various factions of the UK’s radical left. You can read about the project here on the Left Unity blog: Sign up to support Ken Loach’s appeal
When you look at the list of left-wing parties and groups in the UK then you’ll quickly understand that there’s work to be done. Various tiny groups and individuals squabbling over arid ideological differences – dogmatically loyal to this or that socialist theorist – they strike me as captains who’d rather go down with their little boats rather than accept any form of compromise that might (wake up!) get them somewhere.
On a more superficial level the trend for the symbolic of 19th and 20th century revolutionary movements does them no favours either. If you want to take power in the 21st century – it’s not a fancy dress party – dressing up as Lenin or the Che is not going to convince anybody.
That being said however, when Labour continues lurching to the right, what choice is left? Fortunately in Cornwall, Wales and Scotland alternative left-wing parties exist. Mebyon Kernow is there and waiting for all those who wish to build the alternative left in the Duchy. In England however everything remains to be created. 
I’ve blogged about unity in the past. My efforts can be found here: To reform the UK state we need a democratic green alliance.
Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales each have their own Parliament or Assembly with powers over education, health and other areas. But MPs from these devolved nations can still vote on laws that apply solely in England, where English MPs cannot do the reverse. 
Controversial laws on fees for English universities, foundation hospitals and the third runway at Heathrow have been passed thanks to the votes of non‐English MPs. However to create an English Assembly would ignore the fact that 5/6ths of all UK citizens live in England, and it would also ignore the calls for further decentralisation. England does not have an homogenise society, and nor do all English people share the same concerns.  

Indeed, Cornwall has a long established claim to being a nation in its own right with a nationalist movement demanding recognition. 

There are also some regions that have a strong cultural identity where the people believe that they can organise their local affairs much more productively than our current centralised system. 

We propose that that the people should decide where power lies. That’s why we pledge to hold referenda in all regions/nations requesting one as to whether or not a regional/national assembly should be established. The powers invested in these assemblies will be negotiated between the newly formed assembly and Westminster based on the principle of subsidiarity (the principle that power be held at its lowest possible level).” This is not about breaking up our union; it’s about making it stronger, fairer, more democratic and more balanced.

The Political Compass

Posted: October 30, 2010 in political parties

For reference my position on the Political Compass is a somewhat left-wing libertarian.

No surprise there then. All dying to know that weren’t you?

First we were treated to the sad spectacle of UKIP clumsily courting the Celtic vote. Now the Tories are ratcheting up their campaign in the Duchy by, once again, playing to Cornish particularist, not to say nationalist, sentiments.

Tories Pledge Minister for Cornwall.

The Conservative party wants our votes but even the quickest of looks at their origins will soon disabuse you of any idea that they actually care about our nation.

The conservatives are old school English nationalists. Britain rules the waves, England rules Britain and the lot is run from London by an elite who just know what’s what and how things should be.

My prediction? The proposed Minister will soon be wheeled off stage and Devonwall wheeled back on if they are elected.

The Lib Dems correctly condem this move by the Tories as simple “window dressing“, and who better to know than the masters of ineffectual Cornish flag waving? Remember who promised to campaign for a Cornish Assembly and then lumped us with a centralised dead end Unitary Authority that has taken democracy further away from the people and primed Cornwall to be a simple subdivision of some South West government zone.

London based political parties chasing the massive English vote can never -their very nature prevents- put our Cornish communities first. Only a party for Cornwall can do this. The existence, and success, of the SNP and Plaid Cymru is the only reason their respective nations obtained devolution and, today, greater prosperity.

Vote Mebyon Kernow

Help Mebyon Kernow

Join Mebyon Kernow

Equally MK can be followed on Facebook and Twitter.

Give Cornwall, and all her residents, the political voice they deserve!

P.S. More Tory Celtic courting here. Watch this and you’ll see the depth of understanding the Conservatives have for the Celtic nations.

Cornwall Ecology

Posted: November 19, 2009 in elections, environment, political parties

Following the Cornish Zetetics call for a coalition of Mebyon Kernow, the Cornish Greens and any other progressive democrats from the Duchy in time for the next general election here’s an idea.

OK the French Republic is quite different from the United Kingdom, and the problems faced by Brittany and its Celtic sister, Cornwall, are far from identical, but perhaps some ideas can cross the water.

To stand in the recent European elections the French Greens, the regional autonomists –Régions et Peuples Solidaires– and a selection of personalities from various NGOs came together to form Europe Ecologie. A project that met with great success including an electoral score rivalling that of the French Socialist Party (the main left-wing party) and a Corsican nationalist elected MEP.

Could such an electoral platform work in the Duchy and across the rest of the UK for the next general election? In Kernow we could expect MK, the Greens and various other independent ecologists and democrats to campaign together under the themes of autonomy, democracy and ecology. Could the same be said for the rest of the UK? Considering climate change, financial crisis and expenses scandal perhaps the British public are more than ready for a progressive ecological alliance to bring in much needed changes.

The SNP, Plaid, MK, the Greens, English regionalists (or nationalists?) and any other democratic reformers campaigning under one green flag for a top to toe reform of our creaking system has got to be worth a vote. Perhaps Scotland is off on its own trajectory, I doubt if the SNP will be persuaded to join such a platform, but for Cornwall, England and Wales, surely a broad democratic and green alliance is possible.

This post provides a short explanation of the list of ‘pro-Cornish’ groups included on this blog.

Members of the Cornish movement should feel free to contact, lobby and even join some of the following in order to maintain good relations and promote the Cornish cause.
If any other group believes they should be included then please do contact the blog author and explain why.
First things first. It is my opinion that Cornwall would be best served by having the maximum number of our elected representatives coming from Mebyon Kernow the party for Cornwall. They provide the most Kernow friendly and progressive voice for the Duchy. It is simply for the citizens of Cornwall to engage with the party and ensure it provides the strongest possible voice for Kernow and all its diverse communities. Don’t take my word for it read their policies and make your own minds up.
European Free Alliance and other Celtic nationalists.
The EFA is a european party that regroups democratic nationalists and autonomists from around the EU. It’s left-of-centre, greenish and contains MK, Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the UDB as members.
Thus leading on to our ‘sister’ Celtic parties Plaid and the Scottish National Party. Plaid and its members have often been stalwart supporters of the Cornish cause. Long may it continue. The SNP is a different story however and a cold silence on the Cornish question is often all that seems to blow down from the north. Is this due to the ignorance of its members on Cornish issues or party policy to avoid meddling in ‘English’ affairs? Probably a bit of both is my feeling.
I suspect not every pro-Cornish individual can be convinced to join and vote for MK. In that case why not engage with another party and argue the Cornish case. An interesting website can be found here to help explore your political position: The Political Compass.
The parties below have all, to a greater or lesser extent, campaigned on Cornish issues and/or given clear recognition to the Cornish nation. It is for them now to affirm their commitment to positively resolving the Cornish question. Non party political organisations, such as the Constitutional Convention, Stannary Parliament, Celtic League, CoBER and CoSERG, abound in the Duchy and I’m sure they’d be happy to welcome new members aboard.
Long term supporters of devolution to a Cornish assembly the Cornish Greens also call for further decentralisation down to our local communities. Electoral pacts between the Greens and MK have been struck in the past and both parties are brought together in the Green / EFA alliance. Additionally nobody needs reminding of the campaign work done by Green Party member Peter Tatchell.
It’s sad to see however that the Greens often campaign in the ‘South West of England’ as opposed to creating a fully autonomous Cornish Green Party. Currently the Cornish Greens are merely a subdivision of the Green Party for England and Wales. A situation which suggests that the local Greens are allowed to co-opt Cornish nationalist arguments in the Duchy but that the central party is far from ready to accept Cornish difference.
What to say about the janus faced Lib Dems? Two of their MP’s -Andrew George and Dan Rogerson- at times come across as barely closet Cornish nationalists. Campaigning on Cornish devolution, national minority recognition, constitution and language issues. Much good work has been done. Compare this to the sometimes anti-Cornish actions of the rest of the party and one can be left a little puzzled. Take for example Dan Rogersons interesting yet doomed Government of Cornwall Bill. At a Lib Dem party conference all aspects of devolution were discussed except the Cornish devolution bill produced by one of their own MPs. The situation is explored further in this MK press release: Loveday Jenkin demands to know why Lib Dem Conference ignored Cornish devolution.
The cynical explanation: We have Cornish Lib Dem MP’s happy to make token efforts in order to gather up the Cornish autonomist vote but that’s about it.
The less cynical point of view: We have one maybe two maverick MP’s who push their party to the limits in seeing what they can get for Kernow and who often find themselves in conflict with their London based party and even fellow local party members.

The best of the rest
The Wessex Regionalists and England Devolve seem to have nothing but good wishes for Cornish aspirations. This is in noticeable contrast to the vast majority of English nationalists who appear to by nothing more than xenophobic, reactionary, Daily Mail reading, anti-Cornish disillusioned rejects from the UK right-wing.
Both the Communist Party and the UK Libertarian party give recognition to the territory and nation of Cornwall. Distinct Cornish branches for each party with dedicated websites or blogs are missing however.
Some may be asking why the BNP is absent from my list following their recognition of a ‘Celtic Cornish folk community’ and the display of Cornish used at one of their branch meetings. If a couple of misguided and barmy old Cornish gits want to act as the BNP’s Cornish Monkeys to be trotted out to dance in front of white trash blow-ins from up north whenever this Anglo-supremacist racist party wants to convince people it cares about Kernow then too bad. These old loons clearly don’t have the wherewithal or support to create their own far-right Cornish party along the lines of the Breton Adsav so let them pass the last days of their retirement in the company of English fascists if that’s what they want.
The other absentees
Noticeably absent are the UK Labour party, the Conservatives and UKIP, along with a handful of (more openly) English nationalist parties.

To be fair Labour are not the bottom of the pile. The Labour government did instigate devolution to Scotland, Wales and the Six Counties. Equally they gave recognition and funding to the Cornish language. Finally local Labour PPC, Charlotte MacKenzie, has supported the campaign for a Cornish tick box option on the 2011 UK census.

That being noted the last Labour government also: 1) Chucked the Cornish Assembly petition of 50,000 signatures in the bin. 2) Refused to recognise Cornwall as its own natural European region. 3) Ensured that a large chunk of Cornwall’s governance was done via unelected English quangos. 4) Refused to recognise the Cornish as a national minority under the terms of the Council of Europe’s framework convention for the protection of national minorities. 5) Refused to investigate the complex relationship between the Duchy of Cornwall and the territory of Cornwall.

From the Conservatives we have seen some tentative co-opting of the language of Cornish nationalism but very little else. Now its for them to take on board the saying ‘actions talk louder than words’.

UKIP? Nothing to date worth reporting concerning the Cornish.

UPDATED 8th of May 2010

The Cornish Liberal Party / Bagas Larch Kernewek

Nothing to do with the Liberal Democrats, this self described “non socialist ‘left of centre’ radical political party” gives full recognition to a Cornish nation and is happy to describe Kernow as a Duchy separate from England. They support devolution to the various countries that make up the UK including Cornwall.

They say:

Cornwall is under threat from Big Brother Labour governments, and ignored by Conservative ones. The EU for example, wants to encourage minority nations, languages, and cultures like Cornwall. London governments are eroding Cornish rights and freedoms. Lately they denied us the right to fly our ancient National flag on a par with England.

All the more surprising when you consider they advised people to vote UKIP in the May 2010 general election.

The Cornish Democrats

Essentially they seem to be selling a type of conservative Christian unionism with a Cornish twist.

Although they avoid describing Kernow as a nation they do support various Cornish cultural and identity campaigns such as the Cornish census tick box, an expanded use of the Cornish language and a St Pirans day holiday.

They say:

We maintain that the Cornish people should be recognised for their unique identity amongst the peoples of Britain and that Cornwall should therefore be accorded a special status within Great Britain.

Unfortunate of them then to acknowledge Queen Elizabeth II as ‘our’ Sovereign as well as make other comments about ‘English’ liberty and common law when you consider we already have a Duke as an unwilling sovereign and plenty of our own Cornish law.

UPDATED 14th of November 2010

I’ve decided to cast my nets wider and include pressure groups, think tanks and other organisations.

On to the list will go the following organisations for the work they have done and recognition given to the Cornish nation: Celtic League, Federal Union of European Nationalities, Center for World Indigenous Studies, World Network for the Collective Rights of Peoples, Scottish Republican Socialist Movement and England Devolve.

Equally onto the list goes the Cornish Nationalist Party. They aren’t currently a registered UK political party but you do hear from them in the Cornish press from time to time. The Roseland Institute will serve as their link.