Mebyon Kernow have this week issued a press release urging the Westminster parties to make “2016 The Year of Cornish Recognition” after the Party’s Executive meeting expressed concern that “central government had failed to build on the recognition of the Cornish people through the Framework Convention on National Minorities in April 2014.”
It is positive news that MK are highlighting the appalling lack of progress over the last eighteen months or so. The party’s deputy leader, Cllr Loveday Jenkin remarked of the Westminster parties: “They have failed to act on this important Convention in terms of the political recognition of Cornwall, and the protection of its distinct territoriality. They have also failed to properly invest in Cornwall’s distinct culture and identity. Mebyon Kernow believes that 2016 must be the year that Cornish recognition – in terms of politics and governance, territoriality and culture – becomes a mainstream issue across the UK.”
The issue of Westminster seemingly ignoring the issues and opportunities that the Framework Convention almost makes Danny Alexander’s announcement of the status seem like mere lip-service and having to be seen to do something to acknowledge Cornwall as a consequence of what was then rampant calls for devolution across the UK in build up to the Scottish Independence vote. But, this lack of progress is now so serious that it demands more than just Mebyon Kernow calling for proper recognition for Cornwall within the Framework Convention. Unfortunately, giving the party’s poor polling in the General Election, the Conservatives simply won’t take notice of an issue simply because MK are campaigning on it.
MK needs to think seriously about how it can get its message out wider – how can it embrace social media? How can it use the experiences of its fellow Celtic parties the SNP and Plaid Cymru? Unfortunately only when it has done this successfully will there be the slightest hope that Westminster may take notice.
What is also clear is that mobilisation needs to begin to widen the campaign to make the government appear to be taking Cornwall’s needs more seriously under the Framework Convention. In particular, a campaign led by nation wide recognisable Cornish figures needs to focus in on the Conservative’s opposition parties – notably the Liberal Democrats, who are likely to remain the government’s most serious opposition when it comes to holding all the Cornish seats come the next election. If MK, plus greater Cornish public support can be mobilised, then Lib Dem leader Tim Farron would have to miss an open goal of epic proportions not to get his party jumping on the bandwagon loud and proud for this.
Cornwall has long needed another visionary parliamentary presence of the ilk of the giant that was David Penhaligon. The present Conservative MPs are nowhere near good enough to fill his shoes. Unfortunately until there is someone in Parliament who can speak of Cornwall for Cornwall then the fear is that we will still be calling for a Cornish Year of Recognition in 2017 and 2018.
For MK’s full press-release on the subject, visit:
For related posts on this blog about the Framework Convention, visit: