Last week’s blog post Can This Be The Year of Cornish Recognition? has prompted some fascinating discussion and debate on various Facebook groups over the past seven days.
The article I wrote did not set out to make any particular ground shattering conclusions, but aimed to provoke discussion about Mebyon Kernow’s present situation and how perhaps they are no longer the main focal point for Cornish demands for greater autonomy.
Discussion there certainly was, and much of it will make uncomfortable reading for The Party for Cornwall. There was a feeling that MK has consistently failed to connect with the youth of Cornwall – something which the likes of Plaid Cymru and the SNP have made great strides in doing. If Cornwall is to build as big a groundswell of support for devolution and greater recognition, then its youth need to be signed up to the journey. Mainstream political parties in Britain are failing to engage young people. Why can’t the situation in Cornwall galvanize the youth in the way the SNP has done with Mhairi Black? Are Mebyon Kernow able to do this? Or perhaps it is the case that they are not in a position to – in which case, I believe there is sufficient room for a group to begin enfranchising the young people of Cornwall to enable them to celebrate their identity and demand that Westminster hears that this territory wants change.
Other discussion in relation to my blog post last week has surrounded on MK’s perceived lack of ability in building on their petition for a Cornish assembly, which garnered over 50,000 signatures. The very fact that Downing Street ignored it could have been the beginning of a Scotland style movement pushing for democratic change. In the end, it was argued, Mebyon Kernow slipped back into the quiet distance of local politics and failed to build on the momentum. A situation, it is felt, was not helped by the party claiming that, rather than focus on their poor performance in last year’s General election, this year’s Cornwall Council elections should be treated as the party’s General Election. Other arguments put forward suggested that MK should be far more vocal on the powers of the Duchy of Cornwall and joining the battle on returning estates to the people of Cornwall. Again, something the youth of Cornwall should be encouraged to get on board with.
It has to be remembered that the comments made about last week’s post are only representative of those who joined in, and many people may feel that Mebyon Kernow are unfairly taking a lot of flak and that they are an easy target. I think it is also important to remember that with the mainstream parties failing to consistently recognise Cornish needs, it has been down to Mebyon Kernow to fight politically for the territory whilst hampered by a lack of funds and BBC/ITV’s continual refusal to give them air time (even on a regional basis) during election campaigns. MK supporters will feel that much of the above is unfair. I am more than happy to include their own views – and indeed anyone else’s further thoughts on this blog next week as a response.