Friday, 4 March 2016

MK representation to Advisory Committee on Framework Convention

Many people will be aware that an Advisory Committee from the Council of Europe will be visiting the United Kingdom next week with regard to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

The Committee will be in Cornwall on Wednesday and will be meeting with a range of individuals to discuss what has happened since the Cornish were recognised as a national minority in April 2014.

Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall has sent a letter to the Committee asking them to look beyond issues of culture and language, and to focus also on issues of territory and governance.

Some extracts from the letter are as follows:

“The decision by central government to recognise the Cornish people through the Framework Convention was a landmark ruling, but MK is extremely disappointed with the subsequent attitude and actions of the UK Government since April 2014. For example, at the time of the writing, the Government has not confirmed any funding for the Cornish language, which we find completely unbelievable and disrespectful.”

“We would request that you also consider our additional concerns about how Cornwall is treated by the UK Government in terms of its territoriality and governance.

“Other national minorities in the United Kingdom, such as the Welsh and Scottish, are afforded greater protection because meaningful political power has been devolved to the National Assembly of Wales and the Scottish Parliament.

“However, in Cornwall, the situation is very different. The Government refuses to treat Cornwall as a “nation” and continues to administer it as an English county. There are significant contradictions between the status of the Cornish national minority within the UK and present administrative arrangements, which means they are not treated in the same manner as the national minorities in Wales and Scotland.

“Central Government also fails to treat Cornwall as a distinct unit for the purposes of governance and administration, often perceived as part of a “South West England” region, which masks Cornwall’s specific needs. At the same time, public bodies and, for example, the television media do not serve Cornwall as a distinct unit, which further undermines all manner of aspects of Cornish life.

“Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall would like to bring one, very symbolic issue, to your attention.

"This is the Government’s decision to reduce the number of MPs across the United Kingdom from 650 to 600 – as set out in the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act (2011). The legislation makes it clear that new parliamentary constituencies will not breach the historic boundaries of Wales and Scotland with England – but no such provision was included to protect Cornwall’s historic border and the historic integrity of the territory associated with the Cornish national minority. The legislation means that at least one parliamentary constituency will be created of which only 25% would be in Cornwall.

“This is clearly against Article 16 of the Convention which seeks to protect the administrative boundaries of territories associated with national minorities and to ensure that boundaries are not redrawn or gerrymandered to restrict the “enjoyment of such rights and freedoms” as set out in the Framework Convention."

No comments: