Thursday, 5 March 2020

A ST PIRAN’S DAY DEMAND FOR A CORNISH TICK-BOX ON 2021 CENSUS


As the leader of Mebyon Kernow, I have marked St Piran’s Day by challenging the UK Government to do more to support Cornwall’s distinct national identity.

I have written to the Prime Minister, the Cabinet Office and Home Office, demanding a Cornish tick-box on the 2021 census, which he says would be a “strong and symbolic act” to show that the “UK Government is (i) taking the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities seriously, and had (ii) started to treat the Cornish in the same manner as the UK’s other national minorities (the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish).”

I have also issued the following statement today:

“It is 18 years since the Cornish language secured protection through the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages. And it is nearly six years since the Cornish were recognised as a national minority through the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, when the UK Government pledged that we would be afforded ‘the same status … as the UK’s other Celtic people, the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish.’

“But I have to say that it is very disappointing that the UK Government continues to have a significant blindspot when it comes to Cornwall, its language and national identity; and it is clearly failing to treat the Cornish in the same manner as ‘the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish.’

“On 4th March 2020, in a response to a question from Steve Double MP, the Prime Minister spoke some Cornish in the House of Commons. He said “Kernow bys vykken” – Cornwall forever – and yet, we have just found out that the Cornish language has been specifically excluded from the new British passport. It symbolically includes text from three of the UK’s four Celtic languages – Welsh, Scots Gaelic and Irish – but there is no Cornish.

“The UK Government is also finalising the content of the 2021 census at the moment and the present draft of the survey includes national identity tick-boxes for English, Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh. But officials seem to consider it acceptable that the Cornish will be the only UK national minority to be denied a tick-box.

“This is both illogical, prejudicial and plain wrong. I have challenged the Prime Minister, the Cabinet Office and Home Office, to intervene to ensure that the census paperwork is modified to include a Cornish tick-box.

“This would be a strong and symbolic act to show that the UK Government is (i) taking the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities seriously, and had (ii) started to treat the Cornish in the same manner as the UK’s other national minorities (the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish).”

Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall is calling upon people to also write to the Prime Minister, the Cabinet Office and Home Office to demand that the UK Government meets its obligations to the Cornish as a national minority.

The addresses are:
The Prime Minister, 10 Downing Street, SW1A 2AA
Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2AS
Home Office, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF

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