Cornish seek recognition: Will Westminster recognise the Cornish people as a nation and a UK ethnic minority?

The Second Cornish National Minority Report entitled: “Including the Cornish – a unique case for recognition” has been officially launched. Produced from the work of broad-based steering group, it builds on the first report produced in 1999.

The report seeks to extend the case for the Cornish to be recognised as a cultural minority in the UK, and thus more readily in the EU, through the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

It has the backing of the political group leaders at the Cornwall Council who co-signed the foreword to the report, proclaiming in unison that the status would “enable the Cornish to play a full and active part in British society, contributing to the diversity of the United Kingdom.”

The conclusions of the document are clear:

Within the spirit of the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention, implicit through its Articles, the Cornish constitute a national minority.

The Cornish, like the English, Scots, Welsh, Manx and Irish, possess an historic national identity and national origins.

There are barriers to the Cornish being able to maintain and celebrate their strong and distinct identity.

In attempting to overcome these barriers the Cornish people have encountered a legal conundrum whereby they can only bring a case under the UK Equalities Act if they are a recognised “racial group,” but case law will only identify Cornish people as a “racial group” once the Cornish successfully prosecute a case of racial discrimination.

The UK Government has relied on the unusual “racial group” criterion to define national minorities. The “racial group” criterion is viewed by various organisations as too narrow and un-reflective of the true purposes of the Framework Convention.

‘National minority’ status will legitimise the Cornish people in the eyes of statutory bodies and decision-makers. It will ensure that the Cornish are not impeded from maintaining and celebrating their distinct identity.

National minority status will confer upon Cornish people the dignity of visibility. It will deliver tangible social, cultural and economic benefits for the Cornish and the wider United Kingdom.

National minority status will enable the Cornish to play a full and active part in British society, contributing to the diversity of the United Kingdom.

National minority status for the Cornish will bring coherence to UK Government policy. It will address the current anomaly whereby Cornish national and ethnic identity is officially recognised for the purposes of the Census, Cornish language is recognised, but the Cornish people have yet to be recognised as a national minority in the UK (as it is in many parts of the world).

The findings of the report have already been presented to central government. Copies of the report will soon be available through Cornwall Council, and other sources.

Cornish people and those friends around the UK and world must ensure that this time it won’t be sidelined and ignored by this UK Government.