The article Disunited Kingdom (Dossier, September 2015) was fascinating reading, and is undoubtedly a story that will run and run in the next couple of years.
However, there is one other part of the United Kingdom that escaped mention which would equally claim to be ready for a form of devolution. Cornwall has had people demanding a Senedh Kemow (Assembly for Cornwall) ever since the first-term Blair government began the road for the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament. The Cornish, mobilised by its own political party, Mebyon Kemow, had sent a petition signed by over 50,000 people to Downing Street demanding legislation put in place for a Cornish assembly. It was ignored.
Cornwall has a history and culture which is unique. Its own language, Kemewek, is slowly starting to re-emerge, with all new road signs now being dual-language, and the most clear demonstration of this recognition of 'difference' occurred in 2014 when Cornwall was awarded Minority Status under European Rules which gives the Cornish the same protections as the Welsh, Scottish and Irish.
This means that government departments and public bodies are required to take Cornwall's views into account when making decisions and it ensures that the rights of national minorities are respected by combating discrimination, promoting equality and preserving and developing the culture and identity of national minorities.
The session I chaired at the 2015 RGS-IBG Annual International Conference entitled The Contemporary Growth in Regional Identity In Europe highlighted perfectly the unique cultural life of Cornwall which sets it apart from England - the unique medieval mystery plays staged in Cornish Plenys an Gwari (Playing Places) in the Cornish language (which pre-date the original Globe or Rose Theatres in London), Cornish wrestling, literature, and discussion about the move for devolution in Cornwall. The more I research Cornish culture and identity at an academic level, the more I realise the unique sense of identity and important demands in the Cornish community for devolution.
Ben Gilby, Surrey
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|Title Annotation:||LETTER OF THE MONTH|
|Article Type:||Letter to the editor|
|Date:||Oct 1, 2015|
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