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26.9.16

A radical Northern regionalism

Northern Weekly Salvo 219 | Paul Salveson: A radical Northern regionalism should work with like-minded progressives in Scotland, Wales and the English regions. It should build contacts with radical regionalists elsewhere across Europe and maintain the flame of a ‘Europe of the Regions’. There is the political space in the North to do it, given Labour’s total lack of interest in democratic regionalism, the low profile of the Lib Dems and the Greens apparent shift away from espousing real devolution. Is a new political formation the way to achieve it? I’m not so sure…there is support for democratic regionalism within Labour, Lib Dems, Greens, the small regionalist parties and lots of non-aligned people who are pro-democracy, pro-Europe, socially progressive and anti-statist. The Hannah Mitchell Foundation, as a non-aligned radical regionalist force, is well placed to bring that progressive regionalist alliance together. So watch this space.

22.9.16

Cornwall or Devonwall?

15.9.16

KENAVO MARTIAL- Tributes Paid To Breton Language Campaigner

11.9.16

Europe? Yes, but a democratic one - Comments from Brittany

The regionalist candidate for the French presidential elections, Christian Troadec, had the following to say on the European Union:

In reality, the European Union is a wilfully unfinished construction because the member-states have struggled hold on to all their powers. And today the principal decisions are not taken by the Commission but by the member-states via the "European Council" (the heads of state or heads of government deciding by consensus) or via the Council of Ministers.

Even if, after numerous reforms, a power of co-decision making has been given to the European Parliament in a certain number of areas, the system has stayed "intergovernmental" in that it is still the member-states that decide. One must add that MEP's, elected in a national framework, are supposed to support the view point of their state, above all political divisions. This is the system of a Europe of member-states i.e that of national self-interest. 

The complexity of the system is often denigrated by those that put it in place. They often denounce, often hypocritically, the "Brussels Technocracy" that is only interested in creating absurd norms and interferes in everything. 

It is this complexity that serves a good number of politicians so that they may blame the EU for their own failures. The slogans are well known: "It's the EU's fault!" or "Brussels insists that...".

The debate around Brexit has been an eye-opener in this regard. The critics of the EU have said everything and its opposite, but in response, the arguments to defend Europe were weakened by the impossibility to show what was the place of EU-citizens in decision making, and what exactly was their influence. The opacity, the complexity of the system serves as a pretext to blame the EU for the failure of certain member-states' policies and their leaders. 

The whole article can be found here: L’Europe oui, mais une Europe démocratique ! The French section from which the above was translated is here below. Please feel free to comment on my translation.

En réalité l’Union Européenne est une construction volontairement inachevée parce que les États se sont efforcés de ne rien lâcher de leurs pouvoirs. Et aujourd’hui les décisions principales ne sont pas prises par la Commission mais par les États dans le cadre du « Conseil Européen » (les Chefs d’États ou de gouvernement se prononçant en principe par consensus) ou dans le cadre du « Conseil » des ministres.

Même si au fil des réformes, un pouvoir de co-décision a été reconnu au Parlement Européen dans un certain nombre de domaines, le système est resté « intergouvernemental » en ce sens que ce sont toujours les États qui décident. Il faut ajouter à cela que les députés européens, élus dans un cadre national sont sommés de soutenir le point de vue de leur État, au besoin par delà les clivages politiques. C’est le système de l’Europe des États, c’est à dire celle des égoïsmes nationaux !

La complexité du système est souvent dénigrée par ceux qui l’ont mis en place. Ils dénoncent souvent de façon souvent hypocrite la « technocratie de Bruxelles » qui n’aurait que le souci de créer des normes absurdes et qui se mêlerait de tout.

C’est cette complexité qui sert d’argument à bon nombre de responsables politiques pour faire porter à l’Union la responsabilité de leurs propres échecs. Les formules sont bien connues : « c’est la faute de l’Europe ! » ou encore « Bruxelles exige que …».

Les débats autour du Brexit ont été révélateurs à cet égard. Les détracteurs de l’Union Européenne ont tout dit et son contraire, mais en face les arguments pour défendre l’Europe étaient affaiblis par l’impossibilité de montrer quelle était la place des citoyens européens dans les décisions et quelle était leur influence. L’opacité, la complexité du système servent de prétexte pour faire porter à l’Europe l’échec de la politique de certains États et de leurs dirigeants.

12.8.16

The Cornish are stupid conclude the @guardian, @Independent and other sources of wisdom at the centre of the Universe

An interesting read here from Daniel Evans researcher at the Wales Institute of Socio-Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD), Cardiff University: Wales and the Brexit vote: a case of turkeys voting for Christmas? : Democratic Audit UK

Some thoughts after Brexit. We desperately need similar insightful articles about Cornwall and the Cornish leave vote, if anything to counter the Cornish-are-as-thick-as-pig-shit narratives circulating in Cornwall and wider UK. Pointing out that we've had lots of juicy EU funding and now it's going to stop is not enough. I had the opportunity to raise the EU funding point with a few leave voters when I was back in the Duchy. The general consensus opinion is as follows:

- It's part of our (the UK's) money that we've paid to the EU that they've decided to give back to us. The UK pays more into the EU than it gets back so Westminster, once out of the EU, will be able to fund Cornwall with the same, if not increased, levels of cash, and this will be decided by an elected government not unelected commissioners in Brussels -

So you see, simply stating the fact that Cornwall gets lots of funding from the EU isn't going to convince anyone. Arguments need to be developed and refined.

An intellectual battle is being waged, and at the moment the Cornish identity is a collateral victim. The Anglo-British nationalist / conservative right is overjoyed that Cornwall voted like England, displaying, for them, yet another sign of its undeniable Englishness. No surprises there then. Perhaps more worrying, and insidious, are the attack from the metropolitan intellectual left. So many shaming articles in the Guardian, Independent etc, all basically running with: The Cornish are stupid! They voted leave and now they're worried about their EU funding. 

Our youth, future of our nation, who are largely remain voters, are perhaps the target. A generation ashamed to be Cornish is a generation lost. We desperately need to counter these narratives and explain why Cornwall voted to leave with a detailed examination of the referendum results. The work has started, and ideas are circulating, but we need to step up the efforts all round.

7.8.16

Corbyn county

 Thousands cheer as Corbyn says Cornwall is a ['county' again and again, over and over]. 

Oh dear Mr Corbyn! Back to school to learn about our constitution, or was it a more wilful desire to continue the brainwashing of the Cornish natives? Considering the masses who turned out, it appears saviours from England still have a credulous market amongst the Cornish. Perhaps, at least, what we can say is that Mr Corbyn isn't your average spive, carpetbagger or conman from London with the latest solution to all Cornwall's problems. He does seem to have a certain integrity.

And when will the Cornish be ready to take responsibility and pull themselves into the 21st century?

Breton Team Take Part In GAA World Games 2016

5.8.16

Alsace: The Last Chance?



OK, it's about Alsace but much of it applies to Brittany as well. Well worth a watch to understnd the problems facing minority languages within the French state.

4.8.16

Although eastern and much of central Britain had been taken over by Germanic (ie, Anglo-Saxon) conquerors and settlers from what is now Germany and Denmark, much of the west of Britain (including Cornwall) remained under native British control.

28.7.16

After Brexit, a message of hope from Brittany.

Lavaret o deus “leave” hag “out”, da lavaret eo ‘kuitaat’ hag ‘er-maez’. N’eo ket deomp-ni da varn anezho evel-just, met ur wech c’hoazh e teu diouzhtu war hor muzelloù al lavar kozh “ar Saozon milliget !”, hag e chomomp un tammig sabatuet. Kement a liammoù hon eus savet gant Breizh-Veur abaoe hanter kant vloaz ma ouezomp mat e kendalc’himp da vont di, hag int-i da zont amañ, nemet marteze e kousto keroc’h dezho peogwir ec’h izelaio al lur saoz. Gant ma ne vo ket lakaet en arvar ar B.A.I. ! 

They have said 'leave' and 'out'. Obviously, it is not for us to judge them, but once more that old saying "perfidious Albion!" hovers on our lips, and we stair in disbelief.  So many connections we have created with Great Britain over 50 years, we know we will continue to go there and they come here except, maybe, it will cost them more because the pound will be weaker. Here is hoping the B. A. I * will not be put in danger. 

Anat a-walc’h e oa e votfe Bro-Skos evit chom en Europa : o c’hoant da vezañ dizalc’h diouzh Bro-Saoz a zo atav ken kreñv, hag ar “Brexit” a roio tro dezho da lakaat war-sav ur referendom all. N’hon eus ket santet an hevelep c’hoant e Kerne-Veur ’lec’h ma vedomp eizhteiz ’zo. Er c’hontrol, niverus ’oa ar panelloù “leave” er vro-se, bet sikouret kalz koulskoude gant an Europa evit he hentoù. Gwir eo ivez ez eus deuet kalz tud da chom e Kerne-Veur evit o retred, hag eo echu amzer ar vengleuzioù-staen ha zoken ar pri-gwenn. War zisteraat eo aet Kerne-Veur, ha pa ’z a fall an traoù e vez ret atav kavout ur bouc’h da vazhataat, amañ an Europa !

It was fairly obvious that Scotland would vote to stay in Europe; wanting to be independent from England is still so strong and "Brexit" will give them the opportunity to set up another referendum. We have not felt the same desire in Cornwall where I was eight days ago. On the contrary, the "leave" posters were numerous in this country (Cornwall) aided a lot nevertheless by Europe for its roads. It is also true that a lot of people have come to live in Cornwall for their retirement, and finished is the time of the tin mines, and even china clay, Cornwall has faded, and when things go badly it is always necessary to find a cow to beat (scape goat), this time Europe.

Kenderc’hel a raimp koulskoude da vont di, rak kalz eus hor gwrizioù a zo eno, hag an doare ma ’z omp bet degemeret e St-Day, e Kea, e Sclerder, e St-Neot… a lavar deomp ez omp breudeur, hag eo a bouez bras evidomp ’vel evito magañ an darempredoù-se a dosta hor broioù an eil ouzh eben. Disparti ar “Brexit” ne ’z a ket betek donded hor c’halon, hag an harzoù a zo graet evit bezañ treuzet !.

We will continue to go there however because a lot of our roots are there, and the way in which we were welcomed in St Day, Kea, Sclerder, St Neot.... tells us we are brothers, and it is so important for us, as for them (the Cornish), to nurture these connections that bring our countries closer one to another. The seperation of "Brexit" will not reach the depths of our hearts, and borders are for being crossed!

The original article by JOB AN IRIEN can be found here; Brexit - Ya ! Ya Bzh / Keleier e brezhoneg - kazetenn enlinenn | Ya ! Ya Bzh / Keleier e brezhoneg - kazetenn enlinenn

* Don't know what BAI is. 

15.7.16

Remembering Michael Foster - Labour PPC for Camborne and Redruth constituency



Michael Foster, a former Labour parliamentary political candidate (PPC) whose family have donated £400,000 to the party, said that he would be challenging Corbyn’s right to automatically appear on the ballot in the leadership race.

Foster is not without a history of public confrontations himself. In 2015, he was accused of bombarding a fellow PPC with a tirade of abuse at a hustings in Cornwall. He was reported to have launched at Mebyon Kernow candidate Loveday Jenkin, saying “You c***. If you pick on me again I will destroy you”, after she questioned him about his potential bias towards the proposed “mansion tax”, owing to the fact he owned two homes, both worth over £1m.

10.7.16

Why Civil Resistance Works | Erica Chenoweth

Why Civil Resistance Works | Erica Chenoweth: Though it defies consensus, between 1900 and 2006, campaigns of nonviolent resistance were more than twice as effective as their violent counterparts. Attracting impressive support from citizens that helps separate regimes from their main sources of power, these campaigns have produced remarkable results, even in the contexts of Iran, the Palestinian Territories, the Philippines, and Burma.

Wise words from what appears to be an American of Cornish ancestry. With Cornwall entering a period of great uncertainty and danger, and the UK in flux perhaps now is the time for action.

Paul Salvesion asks: Is London the problem? | Chartist Magazine

Paul Salvesion asks: Is London the problem? | Chartist Magazine: But we need to look beyond short-term political expediency, even if it is a principled expediency. The UK is falling apart and it will never be the same again. The choice is between a narrow, intolerant ‘Little England’ (dragging along an increasingly reluctant Wales and hostile to Scotland and Ireland) or a progressive Federal Britain with a resurgent Scotland and Wales, Ireland (north and south) working as equals with London, Cornwall and the English regions. We must agree a new settlement which re-balances these isles in a way that ensures each flourishes in a mutually-supportive federation, which isn’t afraid of playing an active part in the world beyond our shores – which must include Europe, but go further. Progressive politics in Britain has much to learn from neighbourhood-based community politics in the USA, but also in Africa, south America and Kurdistan (amongst many other places).

And the dust starts to settle

The dust is finally settling on the events of 23rd June, and time for reflection is here. I would state now that these are my views alone.

I voted to Remain in the EU. I am proud that I did that. I believed then and still believe now that the UK was better off in the inefficient but reformable bloc than isolated outside. The experts that the Brexiters demonised got the first bit right - £120 Billion wiped off shares, shares that your pension companies invest in and need to see doing well to make money for your retirement - The £ Stirling dropping 9% meaning that those of you going on holiday outside the UK will find you will get less currency for your money - the exchange rate will mean, as we buy oil in $ Dollars, that fuel prices will rise in the coming days - just today a lady was verbally assaulted in Callington by two racist men shouting all sorts of profanities, at a woman who was born here and pays taxes here - and many more examples. However this was not shared by 52% of the 70% who voted and we are on our way to, what do they call it...., oh yes "Getting our Country Back".

Now Mr Farage, who interestingly opposed a parliament that was elected on proportional representation which enabled his party to get 27 MEPs in favour of an un-democratic Westminster where his 3.9 Million votes at the 2015 general election got him just one seat, and the second chamber is neither elected or accountable, says that this has been a revolution - without one bullet being fired. This has been challenged by many following the dreadful murder in Yorkshire although it is important to state that this cannot really be answered until the court case has completed. Whilst it is not right to fling accusations about until the investigations have been complete, neither is it right to make claims that he made without this case being brought to a conclusion.

What is clear though, is that the 'project fear' that elements in the Leave camp used, fear of foreigners, fear of the EU, Fear of experts, gained traction with a large section of the population. What is worrying is that across Europe, fascists and neo-nazi groups are celebrating the vote - the Fascist Front National in France's leader Marine Le Pen is using the Union flag on her Twitter feed.

In Cornwall the vote was effectively 56/44 in favour of Leave - which is quite a surprise given the support that the EU has given Cornwall, certainly compared to the almost total lack of support from Westminster. This money, up to some £1 Billion so far, includes some €500 Million that we were granted in 2014 due to the London Government's inability to properly support the people of The Duchy - including the farmers and the fishermen incidentally.

Already, in the first 24 hours we have seen the leader of UKIP rowing back from the "promise" of £350 Million to fund the NHS - he said he didn't agree with using it but how strange that he did not say that during the campaign?? Some of his supporters have made it clear that they support the dismantling of the NHS and replacing it with private health insurance.

When Mr Johnson visited Truro during the campaign he made numerous pledges to the people of Cornwall over replacement funding for the economic development of the Duchy, support for the Farmers and support for the Fishermen. Now some 'experts' suggested he was promising the same money for this as he was going to spend on the NHS.

Sadly this vote was taken in haste but for all of us, we may well live to regret our decision at leisure....

It is vitally important now for all those who did not believe or trust what these people said to join together to hold to account those who will take over running the UK government in these trying times, and those politicians locally who supported them, both at Cornwall Council and Town and Parish Council level, and ensure they are challenged as and when, and I fear it will be when, the promises made by these individuals and organisations are found wanting.

In May 2017 there will be elections to Cornwall Council and Parish and Town Councils. Now more than ever we need to elect people who are going to fight for justice for the people of Cornwall, ALL the people of Cornwall and not be swayed by what their political masters in Westminster say. Mebyon Kernow are looking at candidates across the Duchy. If you think it is time to Walk the Walk rather than just Talk the Talk then contact me and we will have a chat.
 
Andrew Long, Mebyon Kernow Councillor for Callington & Deputy Leader of the group on Konsel Kernow

@andykernow

2.7.16

Cornwall 4 EU


1.7.16

It's a crazy plan but....

Could England (plus its two lap dogs Wales and Cornwall) leave the EU but the rest of the UK, Scotland and Northern Ireland, stay? 

How's this for a plan? Loath as I am to say it, perhaps our only option is the creation of an English parliament (England and Cornwall). This would be created as a part of a settlement for the UK as a whole with fully federal parliaments in Wales, Scotland and NI. Each parliament would have a large degree of autonomy including over things such as EU membership. 

There is already an almost precedent with the UK's protectorates and dependencies such as the Isle of Mann, Jersey and Guernsey. Currently, under the dominion of the British Crown / UK government, these territories are NOT part of the European Union. Could an England (and Wales) within a federal UK be given a similar status - a state in the UK federation but outside the EU? 

At a later time such a system would allow member states of the federation to either leave or join the EU with greater ease. Aspiring territories such as Cornwall would also be free to hold a referendum on becoming a fully fledged state within the UK federation - in or out of the EU. 

Come on then - feel free to shoot my plan full of holes now.

29.6.16

Thoughts on the sociology of Brexit - Political Economy Research Centre

Thoughts on the sociology of Brexit - Political Economy Research Centre: By the same token, it seems unlikely that those in these regions (or Cornwall or other economically peripheral spaces) would feel ‘grateful’ to the EU for subsidies. Knowing that your business, farm, family or region is dependent on the beneficence of wealthy liberals is unlikely to be a recipe for satisfaction (see James Meek’s recent essay in the London Review of Books on Europhobic farmers who receive vast subsidies from the EU). More bizarrely, it has since emerged that regions with the closest economic ties to the EU in general (and not just of the subsidised variety) were most likely to vote Leave.

25.6.16

English and proud?


16.6.16

#VoteRemain for Cornwall


27.5.16

Promoting our languages - Tosta and Serlet

Tosta is a collaboration project between cultural agents in several minority language communities of Europe’s Atlantic coast, which will also serve as one of the travelling embassies of Donostia / San Sebastian 2016 European Capital of Culture. The project combines the promotion of artistic creation, the celebration of linguistic and cultural diversity and the balanced management of local languages in an international project. The sending out of a ‘cultural cargo’ in the shape of sea containers will be the excuse for mapping out an itinerary that will stop at the participating communities, where a 2-3 day festival will be held to highlight linguistic and cultural diversity in Europe and spread the values of San Sebastian 2016. The word ‘tosta’ means the bench in a boat, and is a word that is present, with small variations, in many minority languages along the European Atlantic coast.
 
The SERLET project aims to: a) support and promote 7 Regional Languages from 4 Member states (FR, EL, ES, IT) as facilitators for cultural fusioning and mutual intercultural understanding, b) enlarge the cultural attractiveness of 7 European regions through an easy and friendly access to the apprenticeship of their languages, c) Europeanize regional languages and culture, d) contribute at enhancing the recognition of the cultural diversities in Europe, e) provide links among educational institutions and world of labor (specifically tourism section), f) provide innovative material -through modern technology- for smartphones, tablets and interactive website.

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