The Cornwall Branch of the Celtic League have written this open letter to the the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
Please write to him as well. His email address is under and you can quote from our letter. Write to your MP, MEP and Councillor too free via this website: https://www.writetothem.com/:
Dear Secretary of State
The attached letter describes an impossible situation.
To refuse recognition of the Cornish as a minority because there is no case law at the same time as refusing case law because there is no recognition is a paradox applied only to us.
This refusal denies the Cornish protection for our language and culture, and continues to deny the Cornish our voice – despite a pre-internet 50,000 strong petition delivered to Downing Street.
I eagerly await your response.
AN KESUNYANS KELTEK – SCOREN KERNEWEK
CORNWALL BRANCH OF THE CELTIC LEAGUE
The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
SW1E 5DU November, 2013
Dear Secretary of State
Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities: The Cornish People
At the Annual General Meeting of the Celtic League held in Pontypridd, Cymru from the 25th to 27th October, 2013, the following resolution was adopted:
(In Cornish) An Cuntelles Kemyn Bledhennek-ma a dhaslever y gry war an Governans Brettannek rag an Cuntelles An Clos Ewropek Rag An Defens A Lyharyvow Kenedhlek, bos gorrys dhe dus a Gernow
(In English) This Annual General Meeting reiterates its call on the British Government for the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities to be applied to the Cornish people.
Both Labour and coalition Conservative-Liberal Democrat governments have long denied the Cornish people this right to full recognition as a national ethnic minority and to afford them the protections offered by the Convention. No good reason has been given for this refusal, which is both discriminatory and sorely disadvantageous to an ancient people.
In fact, the only reason which has been given is bizarre, notably that the Cornish have no race relations case law. On the other hand, several applications under that law have been refused a hearing by the Equality and Human Rights Commission on the grounds that the Cornish people are not recognised as an ethnic minority – an engineered situation in which the Cornish people are simply not being permitted to win.
The situation is all the more unacceptable when it is acknowledged that several minorities included on the Convention by the UK Government also have no extant race relations case law. Clearly, prejudice is being brought to bear against a single indigenous minority.
That the Cornish people are a distinct ethnic group is indisputable. Their history, culture and native language, not to mention Cornwall’s unique constitutional status, differ markedly from any other group, minority or otherwise, in the UK. At the 2011 Census, 73,200 people distinguished themselves as Cornish, rather than British or English, in spite of not being afforded a specific tick-box. In 2011, 41% of Cornish schoolchildren similarly registered as Cornish in the local PLASC survey.
Recently, results from the 8-year genetic survey, entitled “The People of the British Isles” published findings. Carried out by Oxford University under the auspices of the Wellcome Trust and headed by Professor Sir Walter Bodmer, this has determined that the Cornish people form a notably distinct group. Professor Peter Donnelly, a chief geneticist in this project has stated that: “The people in Cornwall form a genetically distinct group, different from people in Devon.” The project believes that the Cornish are a “relic group” directly descended from the very first re-colonists of a totally depopulated Britain after the final glaciations 11,500 years ago, an ethnic antiquity only shared by people in western Wales.
Genetics to one side, it is fully accepted that there is a basic human right for individuals to self identify as they wish. Hence, many others in addition to the above choose to identify as Cornish just as some newcomers to other places lawfully choose to identify with the local indigenous population.
The case for full acknowledgement of a distinct Cornish ethnicity, and full inclusion of the Cornish people in the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities could not be clearer. Nevertheless, the UK Government has taken a stance which is both severely prejudicial and of great disadvantage to the most ancient of people in this island.
We call upon you to allow an unconditional inclusion and protection of the Cornish people on this important Convention.
We have also circulated copies of this letter to Constituency MPs in Cornwall calling for their support.
For and on behalf of the
Cornwall Branch Celtic League
25 November, 2013
More on the Celtic League: http://www.celticleague.net/about-us/
More on the Cornish for the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities: http://celticcouncil.org.au/cornish/nsw/merlib/Cornish_Minority_Report_Two.pdf