Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Cornish To Be Formally Recognized


'This is a proud day for us': Cornish will be recognized as national minority group for the first time after 15-year campaign
By Mark Duell

The Cornish are to be recognized as a national minority group for the first time, it has been revealed.
Chief Secretary Danny Alexander announced the decision today, saying it meant for the first time that Cornish people would receive the same rights and protections as other minorities in Britain.
It will also mean they are classified under the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities the same as the UK's other Celtic people, the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish.

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Liberal Democrat Cabinet minister Mr Alexander, 41, who is making a visit to Bodmin today, said: ‘Cornish people have a proud history and a distinct identity.
‘I am delighted that we have been able to officially recognise this and afford the Cornish people the same status as other minorities in the UK.’
Campaigners say the region deserves special measures - including economic concessions, such as reductions in fuel duty - in recognition of its geographical location and cultural heritage.
Those who have pushed over a 15-year period for Cornwall to be fully recognized under European rules for the protection of national minorities welcomed the announcement.
Dick Cole, leader of Cornish independence party Mebyon Kernow, said: ‘This is a fantastic development.
‘A lot of people have been working for many years to get Cornwall the recognition other Celtic people of the UK already receive. The detail is still to come out on what this might mean, but make no mistake that this is a proud day for Cornwall.’
He told MailOnline: ‘The actual implementation isn't going to cost the Government. There's no immediate of promise of money from central government. Announcement: Chief Secretary Danny Alexander revealed the decision, saying it meant for the first time that Cornish people would receive the same rights and protections as other minorities in Britain


‘But in terms of promoting the culture, there's going to be opportunities to access money. It's also the responsibility for the people of Cornwall to make it work us.’
Mr Cole also said that it is not the case that all councils will have to employ Cornish diversity officers, because they all already have equality and diversity strategies which will now cover the Cornish as well.
And in terms of road signs in Cornwall, there are at least 1,000 already in place, he said - and they are all being built on new estates to avoid any extra cost of replacing existing signs.
In response to claims by critics that the Cornish are no different to any other community in England, Mr Cole said: ‘Already the Welsh, Irish and Scots were protected by the framework on the basis of their national origins.
‘If you take that basic starting point, Cornwall is exactly the same. The position for Cornwall is that it is specifically a Celtic area.’
Prime Minister David Cameron, whose daughter Florence was born in the county while the Cameron family were on holiday in 2010, said Cornwall had a ‘very special place in my heart’.
Florence was born during a family holiday in August 2010, and was given the middle name Endellion in honour of the village of St Endellion near where the Camerons were staying in Cornwall.
Mr Cameron told BBC Radio Cornwall: ‘I am very proud of the fact that she was born in Cornwall, very proud of the fact that she carries the name Endellion - a church which means a lot to me.
‘I've been to a wedding of one of my best friends there and very sadly buried another of my friends there. Cornwall has a very special place in my heart.
‘I love it when we go down to Cornwall now and Florence is there. Some shopkeepers single her out for special attention and say “well I want to talk to the Cornish one first”. So she gets the pasty before anybody else.’
Communities Minister Stephen Williams added: ‘This is a great day for the people of Cornwall who have long campaigned for the distinctiveness and identity of the Cornish people to be recognized officially.
‘The Cornish and Welsh are the oldest peoples on this island and as a proud Welshman I look forward to seeing Saint Piran's Flag flying with extra Celtic pride on March 5 next year.’
Campaigners have taken their message to Westminster in recent years after concerns policies affecting them were being made from Whitehall without their consideration.
Half a million people signed a petition - swelled by support from newspapers including the Western Morning News - opposing 2012's controversial ‘pasty tax’.
And thousands marched through Cornwall and in Westminster in an ultimately successful effort to get the Government to reverse plans imposing VAT on hot Cornish pasties.
Independent Cornwall Councillor Bert Biscoe, who worked on the campaign, said: ‘I very much welcome that the Cornish as a group can stand equally beside all other groups in British society.’


Fellow campaigner and comedian Edward Rowe, also known as the Kernow King, added: ‘This is obviously great news for the people of Cornwall.
‘I think there is always going to be a certain degree of pessimism when politicians are involved - are they going to be chasing votes, for example.
‘But it is great for Cornwall to get the recognition for its culture and heritage that it deserves.’
North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson said: ‘Today's announcement means that the Cornish will finally be recognized as one of the constituent peoples of the UK alongside the Welsh, Scottish and Irish.
‘It will also make sure that public institutions take account of Cornwall's unique identity.'
The Liberal Democrat added: ‘Despite the fact that the last Labour Government said that the Cornish couldn't be recognized in this way, Liberal Democrats in Coalition Government have made sure that the Cornish people, and our traditions, culture and heritage, now have the same status as everyone else.'
The announcement follows previous commitments, which included formal recognition of the Cornish language.
In March, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the Government would be investing a further £120,000 into the Cornish Language Partnership to promote and develop the language.
Mr Cole added: ‘In 2002, the Government recognized the Cornish language through a charter, and it's putting money in to help with the revival.
‘So we've always been arguing that it's a bit silly - you're recognizing a minority language, but not a minority group from which it came. What they've done today is to close the circle.’
Residents of Cornwall traditionally spoke a Celtic language similar to that of France's Brittany region.
Separately, a tongue-in-cheek plot played out in the BBC’s spoof comedy W1A last month looked at the issue of Cornwall being under-represented on the Corporation.
A fictional local presenter in the series - which looks at what might go on behind closed doors at the BBC - felt that she could not work as a national presenter because of a perceived anti-Cornish bias. The series, which ran for four episodes as a follow-up to Twenty Twelve, starred Hugh Bonneville.

Plus there was this;
Cornish flag ban

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