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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 6:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2006 5:22 pm
Posts: 3240
Location: In the early days of a better nation
This petition has already been publicised in the press and on line. May we invite you to sign it and to pass it on ? Thank you. [Note this is a direct gov, i.e. petition to Westminster, and if it gets enough signatures has to be debated in the English parliament.]


Recognition of Cornwall as a National Minority
Responsible department: Department for Communities and Local Government ... ority-race This article in the Guardian newspaper outlines the current position of the Government in respect to the minority status of Cornwall. There has been a policy for hundreds of years, of "sweeping under the carpet" the Cornish Issue. This petition calls for signatures to raise the issue of the "Cornish Identity" in Parliament and aims to have Cornwall recognised as a National Minority.


"The thistle rises and forever will" - MacDiarmid

NB - I am not the same person as the poster "Scottish republic".

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 6:33 pm 
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Location: In the early days of a better nation
From the Guardian article

Since "national minority" is not defined in the framework convention, the government's interpretation of it is more a matter of policy than law. But the issue of what constitutes a racial group for the purposes of the Race Relations Act (RRA) is an interesting one. Pursuant to section 3(1) of the RRA, "racial group" means "a group of persons defined by reference to colour, race, nationality or ethnic or national origins". Colour, race and nationality are all relatively easily understood for this purpose, but there has been much debate in the courts about how a group may be "defined by reference to ethnic or national origins".

The leading case on the definition of "ethnic group" is a 1983 House of Lords case concerning discrimination against a Sikh schoolboy (Mandla v Dowell Lee). The Lords decided that the word "ethnic" had a "racial flavour" (ie related to the possession of particular biological characteristics) but was also used to include other characteristics which may be commonly thought of as being associated with common racial origin. The Lords said that there were two essential characteristics that would have to be recognised by the group and by others in order for it to amount to an "ethnic group":

* A long shared history, of which the group is conscious as distinguishing it from other groups, and the memory of which it keeps alive
* A cultural tradition of its own, including family and social customs and manners, often but not necessarily associated with religious observance

They also considered that there were a number of other relevant characteristics:

* Either a common geographical origin, or descent from a small number of common ancestors
* A common language, not necessarily peculiar to the group
* A common literature peculiar to the group
* A common religion different from that of neighbouring groups or from the general community surrounding it
* Being a minority or being an oppressed or a dominant group within a larger community

One might well think that the Cornish satisfy enough of these criteria to be recognised as an ethnic group, but in later cases the courts have emphasised the importance of there being a "racial flavour" to the definition. So it has been held that neither the English nor the Scots are ethnic groups because of the lack of racial identity (see Northern Joint Police Board v Power (EAT) ). They are however "groups defined by reference to national origins" so they are protected under the RRA on that basis. The authority for this came from a 1971 House of Lords case (Ealing LBC v Race Relations Board), in which Lord Simon resorted to some astonishing stereotyping in concluding that the Scots, the English and the Welsh were all "nations" despite not being recognised as such in international law. They were nations, he said, because of the Scots' "frugal living and respect for learning", the English "gifts for poetry and parliamentary government" and the Welsh "fortitude in the face of economic adversity". This was more judicial mischief than rigorous analysis of the meaning of "nation" or "nationality", but the decision stands as authority that Scots, English, Welsh and Northern Irish all amount to racial groups within the meaning of the RRA.

As far as I am aware the courts have never ruled on whether the Cornish amount to a racial group, but based on these cases I think it is quite unlikely that they do. Muslims have also been held not to be a racial group, and I note that for this reason they are also not recognised by the UK as a national minority under the framework convention.

The concept of discrimination in the European convention on human rights is, in some senses, much broader than that in domestic law. Article 14 provides:

The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.

This is very likely to encompass discrimination against the Cornish, but article 14 only protects against discrimination as regards the enjoyment of convention rights. That is to say the thing you are complaining about must come within the ambit of one of the other rights listed in the convention.

Cornouailles seems to have two main concerns:

(1) The refusal of the government to permit the Cornish to identify themselves as such in the national census;

(2) The relationship between the Cornish people and the Duchy of Cornwall.

As to the first, I cannot see that any other convention rights are engaged in order to bring article 14 into play. It could perhaps be argued that article 8 (private life) is engaged because there are issues of autonomy and self-determination involved, but any interference would be very minor and the government is likely to be able to justify its position on the same basis as its stance on the framework convention. As to the second, I am afraid I am not an expert in either the history or the law in this area (whereas Cornouailles clearly is – see for example his post on "I wish Charles would stay out of it") so I am not able to go very far with it. Article 1 of the first protocol to the convention does state that "No one shall be deprived of his possessions [which includes land] except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law" but since the title of Duke of Cornwall and the inheritance of the duchy were created in 1337 there may be jurisdictional and time limit problems in bringing any claim.

"The thistle rises and forever will" - MacDiarmid

NB - I am not the same person as the poster "Scottish republic".

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:30 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2006 5:22 pm
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Location: In the early days of a better nation ... 202010.pdf


The Government has released the results
of its deliberative assessment of our
constitutional future. In modernising such an
archaic democracy as the UK it is good that
the government consults the public on what
should be their rights and responsibilities.
Citizens have rights and states have
responsibilities. I would argue that one key
responsibility of any state is to properly
accommodate and ensure the well being of
its own international identities.
The above document does treat the
Scottish, Welsh, Irish and, to a lesser degree,
English identities, but what mention is there
of the Cornish? Less than none is the jaw
dropping answer. I’ll explain. In the text we
are treated to some babble about Geordie and
‘Arsenal fan’ collective identities yet zero on
the Cornish. It’s perfectly acceptable and
correct, in my view, to discuss the regional
identities of England - Yorkshire man,
Geordie, Cumbrian etc-, but to do so without
a mention of the Cornish seems almost
Lets just remember that 37% of Cornish
school children prefer Cornish rather than
English or British when describing their
identity (see latest PLASC Cornish schools
ethnic monitoring data). Cornwall has its
own recognised lesser-used Brythonic
language - Cornish. Both the Council of
Europe and the old Commission for Racial
Equality suggested that the Cornish could be
recognised under the framework convention
for the protection of national minorities
(something Labour refuses to do). The
Cornish have their own code for national
identity (06) for the 2011 UK census (but no
dedicated tick box as both Tory and Labour
MPs voted against). Can any of the English
regional identities say the same? Clearly
the answer is - no - yet football fans and
Geordies get a mention whilst the Cornish
get forgotten.
Did the government simply overlook the
Cornish when considering identity questions
in the UK? I find that hard to believe, and I
know at least one Cornishman contributed to
their consultation, so why are we ignored?
Cornish – the inconvenient identity for
the state?

- Phil Hosking

"The thistle rises and forever will" - MacDiarmid

NB - I am not the same person as the poster "Scottish republic".

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