This weekend will see a well planned public protest against the Boundary Commission’s suggestion to make one of Cornwall’s Parliamentary Constituencies a cross border, or ‘Devonwall’ seat.
The protest takes place on Sunday at the symbolic location of Polson Bridge, just outside Launceston which marks the River Tamar boundary between Cornwall and Devon, used by the Cornish Army led by Michael Joseph An Gof and Thomas Flamank in 1497 during the uprising against English taxes. Those of you ‘up-country’ with no immediate links to Cornwall may be wondering what all the fuss is about. It’s history, it’s a record of a separate Cornish nation, and presence of a separate language and completely different indigenous cultures. This boils down to a simple fact that Cornwall has a separate identity and separate needs that make a cross border constituency both politically, historically and (since Cornwall came covered by the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention), legally questionable.
Sunday’s event sees many people and Cornish groups coming together. Among those centrally involved are ‘Kernow Matters To Us’. In their recent actions to promote awareness of the ‘Devonwall plan, they wrote to the Clerks of all 213 City, Town and Parish Councils and Meetings in Cornwall with an appeal to join the growing campaign against the proposed Constituency which would be known as Bideford, Bude and Launceston.
Ahead of a Boundary Commission Public Consultation at Lys Kernow, Truro on 10-11th November at which many members of the public are planning on speaking out, Cornwall Council have already announced their strong opposition to the Boundary Commission’s plan. The Council, led by the Independent John Pollard, have appointed a QC to offer legal advice on how to resist the proposal.
Sunday’s peaceful protest at Polson Bridge starts at 11:00am with an hour of communal singing of traditional Cornish songs before an hour of speeches by politicians from different parties supporting the Devonwall protest – (the Conservatives who hold all the seats in Cornwall at present are noticeably absent) with Dan Rogerson (Lib Dem), Gill Brown (Labour), The Green Party and Mebyon Kernow leader Dick Cole all speaking, along with Gorsedh Kernow Grand Bard Merv Davey. There will also be further Cornish music, poetry, singing and piping throughout.
Mebyon Kernow’s Annual Conference for 2016 will also feature the Devonwall protest prominently when it is held at Lys Kernow on 19th November. MK have been working with other Celtic political parties to spread word of the protest in Westminster, with Plaid Cymru tabling an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons on the Party for Cornwall’s behalf.