Saturday, 10 December 2011

50,000 for a Cornish Assembly - ten years on!

Ten years ago this coming Monday (12th December 2001), I was part of a delegation to 10 Downing Street.

We presented a CD to the Government which contained the names and addresses of 50,000 individuals who had signed Declarations demanding a Cornish Assembly.

The Declaration had been launched by Mebyon Kernow on St Piran’s Day in the previous year. It set out a strong message:

“Cornwall is a nation with its own identity, culture, traditions and history – it also suffers severe and unique economic problems.

“Important decisions about our future are increasingly taken outside of Cornwall and such decisions are often inappropriate or even contrary to the needs of our local communities.

“Scotland now has its own Parliament and Wales its own Assembly – but Cornwall has been ignored. We have had the artificial ‘south west’ region foisted upon us.

“Cornwall has had to accept second best for too long.

“We, the People of Cornwall, must have a greater say in how we are governed. We need a Cornish Assembly that can set the right democratic priorities for Cornwall and provide a stronger voice for our communities in Britain, in Europe and throughout the wider World.

“I support the campaign for a Cornish Assembly.”

In a period of less than twenty months during 2000 and 2001, teams of volunteers under the inspirational leadership of Paddy McDonough visited town after town, setting up street stalls and getting the individual declarations signed.

The Cornish Constitutional Convention was also founded in 2000 to campaign for more powers for Cornwall. This helped to build cross-party support for the Declaration and it was subsequently backed by leading figures from all political parties including district and county councillors, and 80% of Cornish MPs.

It was a truly amazing achievement for 50,000 people (over 10% of the adult population of Cornwall) to sign the Declaration in such a short period.

Sadly, since 2001 the aspirations of these 50,000 signatories have been undermined and persistently devalued by the actions of the London-centred political parties and their leaders.

I have written to David Cameron and Nick Clegg, as well as the leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband, demanding greater self-government for Cornwall. I will blog about the 50,000 in more detail on Monday.

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