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24 September 2014
BBC Cornwall Have Your Say BBC Cornwall Have Your Say
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Do you want a fully independent Cornwall?
Campaigners
Protesters against the south west assembly

How should our county be run? Have your say on self-government, a south west assembly, Westminster and the EU.

How can we preserve our unique culture and move forward in the 21st Century?


Do you support the aims of Mebyon Kernow for a legislative Cornish Assembly for self-government within the UK?

Or do you think greater independence could put off investment from the rest of the UK?

Would we be better off as part of a south west assembly or would we end up being governed by Bristol and Exeter?

Do you feel Cornish, British or both?

*latest mail from the top

Click here to have your say now


I hold to my belief that it is possible to identify with being both Cornish & English as the history of the nation we now live in is so closely woven together that in a modern context I don’t think it’s that easy to distinguish the definitions any more and can lead to very long philosophical debates. I usually get round it by referring to myself as British although maybe I’m now European.

I worry that such a distinction invariably leads to isolationism that will not help Cornwalls future. It causes a 'them and us' situation with people having to choose camps rather than celebrate our shared history and create a better future for Cornwall that is able to become a viable and prosperous part of the UK and Europe.

As far as I am aware the current state of the governments proposal on devolution is very encouraging for us and far from trying to legislate Cornwall out of existence. The white paper, which did not address the Cornish Question, but laid out the framework for consultation on devolution, has given us a real opportunity for change. The response by the Cornish electorate through the petition has showed overwhelming and unprecedented support for a government consultation process and along with the constitutional report from Mark Sandham at UCL has started to make the government take the ‘Cornish Question’ seriously.

Mark – With reference to the Cornish language you will find that the Bryothonic (British) tongue was spoken across most of Britain before the arrival of the Romans and survived with many Latinisations by them. It was the Saxons who used the word wealas (most likely meaning foreigners) to refer to any inhabitants who were not like them. From which is derived the name of Wales and the Wall of Cornwall. After Wessex’s victory at Deorham around 577 the Britons of the West Country were cut off from those of Wales and as such the languages evolved separately into Modern Welsh & Cornish. The bryothonic languages would have survived in pockets spoken throughout the West Country until being superseded by the Saxon tongue as Wessex expanded. Both what you call West Country Brythonic and Cornish are separate languages derived from a Common root. Like any language it continuously evolves and once speakers are cut of from each other the language will diverge into separate languages. The Cornish that was spoken in say the 10th Century would be very different to that of the 17th Century, which does lead to confusion in finding an accurate modern pronunciation as it is based on the interpretations of texts and manuscripts from different periods. I do not know of any surviving texts or manuscripts from any other Bryothonic tongue so as such would assume it would be very difficult to resurrect this language.
Pete


Adrian - As it happens, a group of us have been working on the idea of getting some factual material into print. I'll ask somebody to get in touch with you. Oh, and I wouldn't worry too much about old Steve - he's obviously upset about something quite beyond our control, and nothing we say is going to calm him down.

Phil - what you say about categories of housing is, of course, quite right. Without a strong public sector, the hopes of ordinary people for a decent home are going to remain as no more than hopes. The point about the Duke of Cornwall is NOT a personal one. He continually neglects his duties, and abuses his privileges - granted to him solely in respect of his duties - for personal gain. John Angarrack's books give a very clear rundown on this and related issues, with a wealth of evidence.

Pete - you're quite right that it won't be enough to address one issue. All I meant was that I'd like to hear people's views on what housing policies our Assembly should put into action. What do people think we ought to do about, say, education, or transport? As to the point about dual loyalty, I'm not convinced that this is viable ! any more, especially when our powerful neighbour is bent on legislating Cornwall out of existence.

Mark - best of luck to you and your friends in your search for identity and self-determination. We will support you every step of your way. But as for consenting to our own abolition - if the significance growing wave of resistance is not yet clear, let me spell it out: WE.DON'T.WANT.IT!
Tim, Caerdydd

This is rubbish. There are celtic words from Devon to somerset to dorset. In fact that was one of the reasons none of these places aquired the english -shire on their name. What is now called west country Brythonic (cornish to you) originated in what is now devon, and the will of the ex-wessex king supports this (not sure how look it up on the book with the name west country brythonic).

Cornish is the same (except a few mispronounciations caused by the revival) that was spoken across what the romans called the waelsh (welsh - but not the same as those in wales lol) lands of south west britain. The cornish didn't invent the language nor do they hold rights to it. It is commonly thought here that brythonic (our name for cornish) will be taught in Devon, Dorset and Somerset as part of our heritage. DNA tests have also proven that most devon and somerset families are briton not saxon in origin. Lastly more schools teach cornish in devon than in cornwall. Get used to it please. Why can't the four counties create a region? As long as its the western area and not bristol. Cheers, mark.
Mark, Devon


Tim ... yes, we should get together to publish some useful ammo. I'm sure the Executive Committee of the Cornish Constitutional Convention might welcome that sort of practical support. But we should check they haven't already published it (eg through their website) before reinventing that sort of wheel! As for the housing policies you've suggested, those sort of measures might make a lot of sense. They are partly the responsibility, currently, of District Councils, and would remain so under either the Government's proposals for a Regional Assembly (whatever its boundaries) or the Convention's more powerful Senedh Kernow. I like the idea of the Stannary Parliament altering the Duchy's land rights and priveliges, but I suspect it might also be necessary to change primary legislation in the UK Parliament, with or without devolution of power to a Senedh Kernow. Tell us more, Tim ... how would the Stannary process work?
Adrian Watts, Flushing, Falmouth


Steve, I'm glad my response to you evidently hit home! But if only you were as intelligently responsive as the BBC!!!! After repeated 'insults' from me (as you call them) what were in fact reasoned criticisms of the introductory wording to this part of the BBC Cornwall website have been listened to by the editorial team ... hence the new wording. I am very grateful to the BBC staff involved for considering my suggestions (and no doubt those of others). The new wording is a big improvement, but has so far not noticeably raised the level of debate here ... perhaps it will, in time.

Steve, your selective quotation of my previous postings out of context serves to reverse their meaning. That is a fascist journalistic technique, in my humble opinion, Steve, and I would be grateful if you would desist! I too disapprove of racism, as a matter of fact, whether that be anti-Cornish racism by people from England or anywhere else, or, indeed, anti-English racism by Cornish or any other individuals. As I have said before, in my experience of living in or near Cornwall over many years at different periods of my almost 50 years of life so far, I have observed many more examples of the former than of the latter. This is mainly due, perhaps, to the relative numbers of racists compared to total population on each side of the Tamar (the proportion is probably very similar, but you don't get many Cornish skinheads compared to the English variety, and likewise respective memberships of the British National Party are probably very different in terms of absolute numbers).

Steve, I accept that you do not believe you are being racist, but you are evidently oblivious to the racist offence your own previous postings could have caused to the millions of people of Cornish ethnicity around the world (however few may have read your words or mine!). As for poor old Lord Howe, of course his speech was his own, even if carefully timed together with 'the grandees' (that's a good old piece of seventeenth century English political jargon, isn't it Steve, like the word 'agitator', 'quaker' and 'ranter' ... both you and I seem all too capable of fitting that last category!). Or maybe you didn't actually hear what Howe said at the time back in 1990 or whenever it was, or observe his body language on the floor of the Commons? His words came from the heart, and that is why they were so deadly to Thatcher's political survival. We all owe a huge debt to that particular dead sheep (Geoffrey Howe) I would say!!!

As for English citizenship, Steve, there is no such thing in law. Identity and ethnicity are different from legal citizenship, of course. I was indeed born in Somerset of a Welsh mother and an Australian father, and that makes me a British citizen but not necessarily English. I stopped identifying myself with the English under the elective dictator Thatcher, when during those eleven long years, part of which I spent in Scotland, she convinced me I was not one of 'THEM' (i.e. I was not one of those she infamously claimed as 'One of us'). Oh, and by the way, my wife is German, and my first wife was the British-born daughter of a Berlin Jew ... my two daughters had an Anzac great grandfather in one trench at Passchendaele and a great grand uncle in a Pomeranian grenadier regiment in the opposite trench. Half of that Berliner's family were gassed in the death camps a couple of decades later, just as my grandfather's trench gassing is the only reason I was born in the UK at all. So I have some direct family experience of what happens when racism is applied in practice by a few more than a tiny handful of nutters.

I would certainly not claim to be Cornish other than by adoption, and that is a matter for the Cornish-born themselves to judge, not you, Steve!!!
Adrian Watts, Flushing, Falmouth


Tim, I agree about ending the tax breaks on second homes. In the Caradon area, at least in my village, they already have a scheme whereby any new housing development has to include a certain number of low-cost starter homes. Housing Trusts like Midas and the Guinness Trust provide a percentage of lower priced homes. What we really need is for the council to be able to build houses for council house tenants again. At the moment there are government restrictions preventing enough council houses being built. Your third point I agree with, but what does the fourth point achieve? I’m missing the point there somewhere, what has the Duke done that annoys you?

Holiday homes certainly contribute to the housing problem in an area like Cornwall, but so do people coming into Cornwall from wealthier areas who are willing to pay higher prices for the property. If local councils were able to build houses intended for locals to buy, and they were able to keep prices down, it may ease the situation. However, realistically that would be difficult to manage. I remember several years back Caradon District Council bought a load of land in Cawsand, which was intended to go to locals at a cheap rate so that they could build their own houses on it. Most of the land was sold to outsiders and now there are huge multi-bedroomed holiday homes there. It did not help the housing problem one bit. It would have been better if the Council had built there own houses on the land.

The main problem with the lack of housing is that there are not enough Studio apartments or single bedroom houses built. Again in my village, there are some council flats that are used for older residents that consist of a decent size double bedroom and a smaller single bedroom (box room). This type of housing would be ideal for young couples and, in a building that takes up the area of two normal, semi-detached, three-bedroom houses you can get four such flats.

At the moment the emphasis is on building high value, large properties which make high profits. This needs to change and we have to start building low cost housing again.
Phil, T Cornishman in Oman


- I don't think tackling just one issue, i.e. housing will have the required affect in regenerating Cornwall as a viable region. While it would be of benefit in alleviating the current housing problem it would not be of any long-term benefit unless used as part of a wider policy to regenerate the economy and fortunes of Cornwall.

That is where I think the idea of a responsible devolved decision making assembly as put forward by this discussion board would be of benefit to the region. Instead of coming up with individualist polices from the numerous bodies based around the country a legislative assembly with the power to invest the objective one funding and gain a fairer share of UK funding resources would be more effective in once again making Cornwall a viable and prosperous region within the UK.

I am completely behind the idea of a devolved government and would hate to see this opportunity squandered by confusing the need for regeneration and change with a separatist agenda. As for the idea of the majority of Cornishmen not being able to identify with both Cornwall & England I would cast your mind back to the world cup. Anyone go to the pub or wonder why the St Piran flags were red & white during June?
Pete


Phil, Adrian,
I'd like to hear your views on a few ideas about housing. How about these? (1) End to tax-break on second homes. (2) No planning permission for new developments unless at least 50% of accommodation is in affordable units attainable for local average income. (3) Accommodation left vacant for more than a year to be brought within local authority control (NOT ownership) to fulfil local housing needs. (4) The Duke of Cornwall's exemption from planning control's to be abolished by the Stannary Parliament.
Tim Caerdydd

Dead sheep scrapes barrel in insult fest’. Oxymoron raises ugly head in gobbledegook fiasco. ‘Adrian speak’ judges ask "Just what is an elective dictatorship?" They also question Watts’ reasoning - as in the same breath he supports free speech, then tells the boy from up North just what to do with his opinions….. Lexicographers express concern that the words ‘ignorant’ and ‘imperialist’ are in danger of becoming clichés after excessive use by man who failed to get new dictionary for Christmas.

Garrett, weary through readers failing to grasp nuances in postings thinks about throwing towel in and going back to watching paint dry, but through eleventh hour encouragement from an unexpected source (thanks Tim), vows to carry on. Garrett also avoids stooping to third form, ‘sucks yahboo’ Adrian insult (‘but you are too dim to recognise it!) by not ‘electrically’ linking it with adversary’s surname……. I appear to have joined a not so exclusive insults club.

Below are detailed some unfortunates (by no means all!) that have also been at the wrong end of the tour de force that is Adrian Watts. I précis a few random dips into the ‘World of Watts’ - Pearly King ("Pearly King of London shows his ignorance"), the BBC ("BBC Cornwall are either being lazy or stupid"), almost the ENTIRE English Nation ("outsiders from across the Tamar are domineering, intolerant arrogant Englishpersons in a long tradition of cultural and political imperialism in their attitudes to Cornwall and the Cornish!") ……….. Oh, and some ‘deluded’ Cornish people ("it is not possible to be both Cornish and English - Cornish and British certainly, (and European, as well as just plain human) but not Cornish and English.

(A few Cornishmen and women argue the opposite, but they appear to be a small confused minority!"). All bracketed extracts taken from Mr Watts’ postings on this site. Your objectivity is dead and buried under the puffed up sense of over importance you wear like a badge of honour. You remind me of the man who has given up smoking, or just discovered religion. I love the way you accuse me of being "offensive and abusive from a Cornish perspective" Adrian, if you would like to add up all the people YOU have offended as detailed above it comes to over 50 million (plus a dear old Aunty!).

I will tell you ONCE MORE regarding my reply to the Sandman, read and absorb! I was supporting Bob Burn’s right to an opinion, whereas Sandman was TRIVIALISING Bob’s contribution. Not for any other reasons other than where he was born and where he is now living. I WAS NOT being racist to Sandman (the Neanderthal – like bar room tirade I can take, but NEVER EVER accuse me of being a racist). I was merely defending another contributor’s (BB’s) right to post on the site and highlighting Sandman’s own exclusionist tendencies.

HE was preaching exclusivity through geography and birthright – where HE was born and where HE is living. It really isn’t rocket science, or mutton dressed as lamb - maybe you missed the subtlety in the dimness? And as for Sir Geoff’ – you don’t think it was he that initiated the speech that toppled Thatcher’s leadership do you? It was fed to him by the back room grandees.

The chamber was packed to the gunnels, everyone knew what was coming – it had been leaked by the men in grey suits. The sheep did as he was told! Finally, were you born in Somerset? If you were, you‘re English! So why are you the ONLY Englishperson that isn’t domineering, intolerant and arrogant? Because, as you said yourself, you clearly think the rest of us are (a bit of ethnic typecasting there I think).

Or is it, if you go west across the Tamar to live, you cease to be domineering, etc etc (and cease to be English as well?). Do the two go together? Not very logical is it Adrian? Or are you an Englishman in denial – because it just doesn’t fit the ethnic matrix? Very last note Ade, believe it or not, I DO find your description "domineering etc, etc", highly offensive and abusive – and dare I say it, just about as ignorant as it gets.
Steve Garrett, Lancs

Phil T. - Thanks for the stats. I'll be able to save them up for what my mum calls a carefully-rehearsed spontaneous aside.

Adrian - Don't you think it's about time people interested in these matters got together and published the facts in easily-accessible formats? Victor - your strictures about the building in Edinburgh apply to ALL elected bodies. Taken to its logical conclusion, your argument would require the abolition of representative government altogether! While I agree with you that we should take pride in the achievements of our forebears, we also have a duty to our descendants to give THEM something to be proud of.

The present order of things has demonstrated time and again that those in charge will do their damnedest to prevent our doing this. I hope very much that you'll check out Phil T's facts, which have taken a lot of effort to gather. We all owe Phil a debt of thanks for these, and if we dismiss them without examining them then we'll end up like the professor of astronomy who refused to look at Galileo's telescope. I was last in your town about eighteen months ago. Launceston is a place of which I am very fond, and I love the work of Charles Causley, one of the greatest living Cornishmen.
Tim, Caerdydd

Tourism is the only industry in Cornwall which is substantially increasing on a regular basis. Some people feel that tourism is not the way forward for a steady economic growth in Cornwall. However, projects such as the Eden Project and the National Maritime Museum have created hundreds of jobs in the area. Would it be better to exploit our forestry and agriculture instead of tourism or is that not realistic?
Phil, T Cornishman in Oman


Victor, a few years ago people in Wales and Scotland were considered idiotic and romanticists. However, today they have their own devolved assemblies and governments. As stated many times before, Cornwall contributes much more to the British coffers in taxes than it receives back, so it should not be a burden on the British economy. Anyway, what if it were?

It would only mean that we get back some of the money that past British governments have plundered from us. So, fair’s fair. I agree with you though, that defacing road signs does not add anything to the beautification of our county.

As for the “idiotic notion of Cornish independence” we will all have to just wait and see. The time is rapidly approaching when people are going to have to listen, because the voice is gradually getting louder and louder. Ridicule it if you will, but the Cornish will only take so much abuse before they act.
PhilT, Cornishman in Oman


Phil T is a mine of valuable hard facts as ever. It is very sad that civil servants in the Deputy Prime Minister's office insist on ignoring such evidence, and that they believe they know best ... and that, according to them, 'Cornwall is too small' to be a region in its own right for the purposes of electing its own assembly with new powers devolved from Westminster (under current Government proposals). You, Phil, and others have adduced plentiful evidence to the contrary.
It is sadder still that Candy Atherton MP, the only Labour member in an otherwise all Lib Dem set of MPs for Cornish constituencies, agrees with those civil servants (none of whom, I believe, are Cornish, or know Cornwall very well if at all). Mind you, as Andrew George MP has pointed out, Ms Atherton is the Government's representative in Cornwall, whereas the four other MPs with seats West of the Tamar are Cornwall's representatives to the Government!
Those of us in the Falmouth/Camborne Constituency, whichever way we voted last time and before, need to bear this in mind at the next general election.
Adrian Watts, Flushing, Falmouth


There is a lot to be said for being proud of your heritage. There is, however, very little merit in greater devolution for Cornwall, just to feed the egos of a few self-serving Cornish politicians and a few Cornish people with an inferiority complex. Cornish taxpayers like me would be asked to foot the bill when members of a Cornish assembly decided to surround themselves with the trappings of devolved power. The farce over the Scottish Parliament building is a case in point. From an estimated cost of £40 million, the final costruction bill will be £400 million. Now, I'm not suggesting a Cornish assembly would cost anything like that, but the trend of devolved bodies is always to spend our money in the name of 'greater representation'. Well, no thanks. I'll stick to being represented as I am. And spare me the cod-statistics showing how Cornwall could support itself without outside 'interference'. Common sense will prevail and the idiotic notion of Cornish ! independence will remain a pipe dream. As for the morons vandalising the tourist signs in Cornwall, if you want to make your beloved County look like a slum-ghetto, carry on.
Victor, Launceston


Tim, the following link will put you onto the Luxembourg government statistics site, which I think is the most relevant to Cornwall’s interests considering the similarities to our situations:- http://statec.gouvernement.lu/html_en/statistiques/ portrait_economique/index.html
The following are some extracts from that site:- Employment
“There has been very strong growth in internal employment, which includes the borderers from the adjacent countries, but excludes the officials and agents of the international institutions established in Luxembourg. Between 1985 and 1994, 46300 new jobs were registered (+28.8%). The Luxembourg labour market is characterised by the major role played by foreigners who now form more than 50% of the labour force working within the territory of the Grand Duchy. In 1994, nearly 25% of Luxembourg's internal labour force were frontier workers, of whom about 5% from Germany, 12% from France and 8% from Belgium, foreign residents represented 28% and only 47% were residents of Luxembourg nationality. Over the past twenty years, nearly the entire increase in internal employment has been met by the increase in the number of foreign workers, immigrants or borderers. It is they who have enabled the additional demand for labour to be satisfied over the past ten years, while the number of nationals available to the labour market has remained more or less stable. There are two categories: residents and frontier workers. The latter play a vital role in the vigorous growth of employment. From 16 100 in 1985, their number swelled to 51 300 in 1994, i.e. a leap of 218%.

Rise of unemployment
The number of unemployed registered with the Employment Office, which is traditionally low, rose worryingly in 1994 and 1995, with the number of people affected exceeding the 5000 mark. At nearly 3%, the unemployment rate has reached an exceptionally high level for Luxembourg.

Causes of Deaths
The demographic trend in the past 25 years may be broken down into several periods: 1970-1975: Although deaths exceeded births in number, the population grew considerably on account of a massive influx of foreigners. 1976-1985: With births and deaths practically equal in number and low net immigration, the population only increased slightly. 1986-1995: A rise in the birth rate, a fall in the mortality rate and a hefty increase in arrivals from abroad resulted in a resumption in population growth which is gathering pace (during the period 1990-1995, the total annual growth rate is around 1.5%).

Gradual development of the system of social protection
In Luxembourg, as in most countries, the social security system was built in several stages. It has been extended with regard to both the socio-professional categories and the risk groups covered. The relatively long time taken for the integration of the self-employed professions should however be noted. The most recent major innovation was the Law of 26 July 1986 introducing the minimum wage, a mechanism to guarantee resources. It consists of a supplementary benefit paid up to a threshold of resources determined according to the composition of the household. This benefit is awarded irrespective of the causes of the situation of need.

Social security accounts
For the time being, current revenue exceeds expenditure. The significance of social security revenue and expenditure in relation to GDP has increased continually over the years. Today, the deductions from GDP reach a proportion in the vicinity of 30%. Public contributions play a growing role in financing the system. At present, they account for 40% of the resources, with employees' and employers' contributions forming just over half. The functional distribution of the social security benefits shows the dominance of the pension scheme, which accounts for only just under 50% of the entire benefits. With about quarter of the total, health insurance comes second. Comparing the public contributions to the ordinary expenditure under the government budget, the steady growth in the place taken by social security in public finance becomes obvious. Nearly half the ordinary budget is absorbed by social security.” The above are direct quotations from the Luxembourg site and as you see, they are not too bad. I particularly like the sentence “At nearly 3%, the unemployment rate has reached an exceptionally high level for Luxembourg”. There are plenty more facts on this site which make interesting reading.
Phil T, Cornishman in Oman


I believe that the equivalent web-site to this on BBC Devon has shown that the majority of respondents would prefer greater devolution to a Devonian assembly above all others. A significant minority propose a Cornwall/Devon (Kernow/Dewnans) assembly, and certainly my view is that this is preferable to the current 7 county mega-region. Davyth may be interested to know that there are suggestions that the Celtic language of Devon was somewhat seperate and distinct from that of Cornwall - for whatever reason. I can refer you to a booklet publication by Jospeh Biddulph - titled "An Introduction to Westcountry Brythonic (Old Devonian)" which can be ordered from the author in Kembry/Cymru. It is based on the Celtic language of Devon at the beginning of the 10th Century.
Paul Turner, Adelaide, Oz


Steve Garrett, I have read the EDP mandate and you are correct. I can agree with a great deal of what they are saying. Most of their mandate is what is included in the Mebyon Kernow mandate and it is what MK wants for Cornwall.

There are one or two things that I could not agree to though, for instance the drug policy. Also, the sentence “We favour………greater autonomy for Cornwall” is not convincing enough for me. There is no guarantee that it would be enthusiastically pursued and, why should Cornwall expect better treatment from a government, whose origins are from the country that has refused to assist us for decades in the past. Cornwall would still be the poor relation on the fringes of the nation. Other than that, it all sounds wonderfully utopian. I wonder how all these ideas will be paid for and whether the EU would agree to having their powers reduced. I am not a socialist but most of these views are socialist. I think Cornwall has more of a chance of devolution than England has of having their own parliament. So I will continue to support a Cornish Assembly because, for me, it represents a more realistic and favourable approach than the EDP. I continue to feel that Cornish affairs would be better handled by people who reside in Cornwall. However, all that said, I thank you for offering us the opportunity to consider other alternatives. This is the kind of information most of us are looking for.
Phil T, Cornishman in Oman


Bob
My apologies for having got the wrong end of the stick. From the numerous postings you made I formed the impression that you at first wanted to annex us to Devon, but then that you had changed your mind and wanted Devon to be autonomous. Im reaching this conclusion I relied on your entire contribution to this correspondence, and not solely on the one that followed Sandman's intervention.
As I have already said, I do not expect you to take my word for anything. The sources referred to in Paul Laity's and my 'The Reason Why' will give you a full account of the juridical context in which the Stannators and their supporters are working. Briefly, the point is that Cornish sovereignty has never been extinguished, and that this is sustainable in English and International Law as well as in Cornish Law (of which what Professor Pennington calls 'Stannary Law') is only a part. Consequently, there were no lawful grounds for the body calling itself 'English Heritage' to purport to exerci! se any control over the real property to which you refer. Jim, Your willingness to suffer for the freedom of your land is a very, er, moving example. Which Guildhall did you have in mind? In hoamge to your manly example, I must turn up with my little Box Brownie to record the historic occasion for, um, posteriry.
Adrian, Your patience is commendable, but the kindest thing would be to just let him exercise his right to freedom of speech - unimpeded!
Tim, Caerdydd

I would propose a Kernow/Cornwall & Dewnans/Devon region with the capital based in Launceston as a possible solution. The town at present is vertually equidistant from West Cornwall to East Devon and is also near Plymouth and Barnstaple. This would no doubt help the Cornish economy and that of West and North Devon which have deprived areas. Plymouth would not be forgotton as its the largest urban area on the Peninsular and Keresk/Exeter would not suffer as it would remain the transport hub for the peninsular. And more importantly Kernow would receive high powered, high paid jobs! The Romans called the Cornwall & Devon province Dumnonia. PS I would like to see Bilingual (Cornish/English) signs throughout Cornwall and Devon as soon as possible.
Davyth Newberry, Baile átha Cliath/Dublin ex (Dewnans/Devon)

Tim,
If you would care to look back through the postings, you would see that my rather long posting about the Stannaries was in direct response to Phil T's request for information (from me among others) concerning the Stannaries and Stannary Law. It was not meant as a means of promoting Devon's case for its own regional assembly. I included the word 'Devon' only where it was used in the Charters, i.e. the excerpts I quoted were not 'doctored' in any way. I stated that Sandman knew virtually nothing about the history and laws of the Stannaries, based on the content of his vitriolic attack on me. If he had been aware of the content of the Stannary Charters, he would not have made the preposterous pronouncements about Devon, which he included in his post. The point I was trying to make about the 'Stannary Three' (perhaps ambiguously), was to question what this had to do with Stannary Law, as it relates to those engaged in the tin extraction industry. I co! uld not see the connection between tin extraction and ancient monuments. Perhaps you could enlighten me on this.
Bob Burns, Barton-upon-Humber

I do agree, Steve, but I wish you'd mind your own business and let us run our own affairs, and stop wasting time and space on this site with your own brand of English superiority complex and imperialist anti-Cornish rantings! Free speech is fine, but most of your postings are simply offensive and abusive from a Cornish perspective, because of the audacity of your ignorance.

You say you are asserting a right to free speech, but you have ignored Sandman's Immunity Certificate point which is central to the rights of Cornish people not only to free speech, but to self determination under all international human rights law. Your criticisms of Sandman on grounds of birthright and geography are racist too, but you are too dim to recognise it! How's that for a dead sheep? (And Howe did alright in the end, didn't he ... after all his final major Commons speech in 1990 was the coup de grace which destroyed Thatcher's elective dictatorship, wasn't it?)
Adrian Watts, Flushing, Falmouth

Phil T, I thought that you may be interested in the following information. As you may know, I would like an English Parliament, as I believe that this would free up resources that could be concentrated within.

Focus on our Country’s problems will cure some of the many ills that beset it and calm some of the turmoil that is brewing nationwide. I am a disillusioned voter, the English Democratic Party is an organisation that I suppose I now have most in common with. Their main focus is essentially to get an English Parliament, the party is wholly democratic and is situated across the conventional political spectrum. Within its manifesto is a pledge for a looser relationship with Europe – something I warm to.

Also within the document is a commitment of autonomy for Cornwall – and they are also against regional assemblies. If you look at the manifesto, there are remarkable similarities between EDP aims and a lot of the frustrations that contributors to this site are stating day after day. As far as I am aware, this party intends to put up as many candidates as they can for the next election. Maybe this would be your most realistic route for change in Cornwall? Anyway, have a read, you may empathise with it more than you are willing to admit. If you are interested, the web address is http://www.englishdemocrats.org.uk
steve garrett, Lancashire

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

Phil - another VERY useful collection of information. Can you dig up more detailed figures in respect of housing, education, and health provision? Bob - I can see you've been researching very hard on this subject, and have a lot of useful expertise. So have the Stannary Three, and you do yourself no credit by gratuitous ad hominem slurs on them. Much of what you say is, however, already familiar to us, but it's also plain that you're not aware of the full juridical context.

As I've already explained, I don't expect you to take my word for anything. I can see that you feel very strongly about the identity of Devon but, with respect, we are not the people who you need to convince on this issue. First you will need to mobilize your own people, and then persuade Westminster and Whitehall to listen to you. Meanwhile, much as appreciate your sincerity I must observe that constant haranguing from across the Tamar is only going to confirm our conclusion that we need self-government! Adrian - Thanks for your kind words. We'll just have to keep chipping away at that Whitehall/Westminster determination to erase us with facts, facts, facts. Mary - Thanks for your good wishes - we need the support of all decent people.
Tim, Caerdydd


I was not born in Cornwall but I love the County with a passion, and I would dearly like to see a Cornish Assembly to run this beautiful land, asI think the County would be run by people who would care for all people and only have all our best interests at heart.

Mary, St Agnes


Shock, horror! No mercy shown as Watts goes in for the kill! Lancastrian Scouser gets just desserts in devastatingly witty ‘Poor old Steve’ gambit. Garrett, groggy on the ropes, desperately hangs on as Watts’ rains body shot after stunning body shot…. Adrian, now I know how Dennis Healey felt after he had been given a thoroughly good moribund ovine examination by Sir Geoffrey Howe. Like Dennis, I am not too impressed, depressed or worried – after all, how much savaging can a toothless dead sheep do? I DO think however that you have a real superiority complex. You accuse me of "more likely failing to grasp" – like I am some sort of feeble minded dimwit. Just who do you think you are? In effect, Sandman was preaching exclusivity through geography and birthright. I was merely highlighting the importance of free speech – from whoever and wherever it comes from. It’s THAT important, even more so than Sandman’s PIIC information. I trust you agree..
Steve Garrett, Lancashire

Thanks Bob for, probably the most informative posting on this site yet. It certainly enlightens me concerning the Stannary Laws and I'm sure other people are now much more aware of the situation. This is the kind of information that most of us need.
Phil T, Cornishman in Oman

Bledhenn Nëwydh Dha! Thanks for the statistics, Phil T - VERY useful! Could you dig up some gen on what the fiscal and financial systems are extracting? I believe there was an article on a magazine with a title like 'Business World' a while ago. Interesting stuff on the state of play of one of the Stannary issues, Sandman. Keep us informed! Bob - you can take it as read that, determined as we are to continue being good neighbours to you, we fully support your right to self-determination. This can only benefit everybody. Please keep us updated on your people's campaign for self-determination. Merlin - why not come and spend a holiday amongst us? You'll find we're not nearly as threatening as you'd thought. Try to avoid the summer, though - we're almost as crowded as Venice! If you come in Spring or Autumn, people will have more time to talk with you. (Avoid winter, too, unless you're VERY interested in rain).
Tim, Caerdydd

Sandman, Rysrudth, you are obviously much more informed about the Stannary rights than I am. To be honest, I only became interested in the Cornish Assembly debate after reading so many biased and anti remarks on this website. If I read your posting correctly you indicated there that there was a successful attempt to prevent these ancient Stannary Laws being viewed in public under the watchful eye of the press. Was that correct? If so, my previous posting suggested that maybe there are some basic human rights being violated here. Is that also correct? Wouldn't it be possible to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights for a ruling as to whether or not the Stannary Laws are legal and binding? As I said, I am not really that well informed concerning these laws so maybe someone can explain to me, and I'm sure there are many more like me, the basic facts.
PhilT, Cornishman in Oman

Well well, no sooner do we start getting into serious discussions concerning the issue of devolution in the South West and the implications for Cornwall, when yet another ill-informed extreme Nationalist crawls out of the woodwork to trivialise the debate yet again. Who am I referring to, why Sandman (Rysrudth) of course.

Why do I refer to him as ill-informed, because he obviously knows very little about the history of the Stannaries. He also implies that anyone not actually living in Cornwall has no right to discuss these matters here. Sorry Tim (in Caerdydd) and Phil T (in Oman). Sandman states that Cornwall has a unique place in British Constitutional Law because of the Stannary Charters.

He is obviously unaware of the fact that the Royal Charters of 1198, 1201, 1305 and 1466 refer to the administration of the Stannaries of Cornwall and Devon. Yes, that is right Sandman, "and Devon". Even the Bill of Rights of 1688 includes the provision:- "Provided always that nothing in this Act shall alter determine or make void the Charters granted to the Tinners of Devon and Cornwall by any of the Kings and Queens of this realme or any of the liberties, privileges or franchises of the said tinners or to alter determine or make void the laws, customs or constitutions of the Stannaries of Devon or Cornwall or any of them".

Therefore I suggest that before Sandman attempts to get egg all over his face again, he should educate himself in the topic he wishes to discuss before opening his mouth and placing his foot in it. Sandman then attempts to demonstrate the 'unique' powers of the Cornish Stannaries, by referring to the case of the three men who confiscated English Heritage signs.

Firstly, this case was probably regarded by the authorities as being as trivial as a case of three naughty boys dropping a firework in Mrs Pengelly’s dustbin. If Sandman wants to know about a real case in which the Stannaries demonstrated their power, he should do some research on the case of Richard Strode MP, who in 1512, unsuccessfully tried to introduce a Bill in the Westminster Parliament to prevent tinners from exercising their ancient rights (as specified in the Stannary Charters) to extract tin and other metals from areas close to rivers, because of the pollution this caused in the river estuaries.

Strode was brought in front of the Stannary Courts at the four Stannary Towns and fined £40 at each. As he refused to pay, he was incarcerated in the Stannary Prison, where he remained for three week! s, and was then only released on the condition that he paid a sum of £100 to the Stannary Court. Why is this case little know about in Cornwall, and never referred to by Cornish extremists? Answer, because it happened in Devon, and the Stannary Courts concerned were at the four Devon Stannary Towns of Tavistock, Plympton, Chagford and Ashburton, and the Stannary Prison was at Lydford.

As for the rights and wrongs in the case of the confiscated English Heritage signs, it very much depends on the definition of the word 'English'. If it refers to the original derivation, meaning 'of the Angles' (a Germanic tribe who arrived in Britain at about the same time as the Saxons), then there is probably a case for protesting about the signs. However, if the more modern definition is used, referring to the descendents of all the peoples who came to inhabit England, i.e. Britons (Celts), Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Danes, Norwegians, Normans and even the pre-Celtic Bronze Age people (who constructed many of the monuments), etc., then the monuments are the heritage of at least some of them.

Incidentally, nowhere South of the Thames do the descendents of the Anglo-Saxons form the majority of the current population, so these people at least can certainly claim that the ancient monuments are their heritage. To conclude, Sandman's Constitution and Charters are not unique to Cornwall, as they apply also to Devon (sorry to destroy your illusions, Sandman), and Cornwall is not even unique in having had its own language. I would refer Sandman to the excellent little book "A Handbook of West Country Brythonic (Old Devonian)" by Joseph Biddulph (who is a well known Welsh linguistics expert). I believe that Cumbria also had its own Brythonic Language until the Middle Ages. Oh, and by the way Sandman, Devon has no wish to take over Cornwall, so why all the fuss?
Bob Burns, Barton-upon-Humber

Well, well, well, it doesn't take long does it? The natural comedians are coming out in force all right. I'm obviously referring to the Sandman, cleverly taking regular contributor Bob Burns' moniker, stretching his forename to Bobbie, changing the 'B' to an 'R' to make 'Robbie' and getting ….. that's right Robbie Burns - do you geddit? As in the lowland Scottish poet - BRILLIANT! (Bob, you must be truly humbled by Sandman's mastery of quick wit and ready repartee).

I've said it before, without people like Bob posting onto this site it will become a meaningless self - congratulatory, back - slapping 'yes' shop. What he says is always based on fact rather than Sandman - like rhetoric …….. and even if you don't agree surely you can appreciate the contribution. Really Sandman, true Cornishmen shouldn't throw stones, it will affect the tourist trade (you do still want us don't you - but the question is do you think we still want to come?).

The entire basis of your posting is based on what you consider as Bob's ineligibility to comment due to his ethnicity and where he is now living. It's dangerous stuff Sandy baby, there have been people on this site before, moaning about 'outsiders' querying the lovefest that this forum would otherwise degenerate into. I, as an Englishman (without quotes!), a licence fee payer and a tourist believe it is my right to comment as I see fit, within the site rules. If Cornwall is so fab' why, (amongst other exiles) is Phil T in Oman, Tim Saunders in Cardiff and John Bennetts in London? …… Oh that's right, they were forced out? People like me - (born and brought up in Liverpool) and 95% of my former classmates left because …. Well can you guess why, Sandman and Phil T?

That's right, there were no jobs. (Special note to Phil T - this is for your facts and figures file Phil, Liverpool now has 9 of the 20 poorest post code areas within the WHOLE of the UK). Who knows Sandman, maybe Bob was also forced out of Devon to get work elsewhere, either way, it's probably none of your business and certainly doesn't diminish his right to comment. I now live in Lancashire, a special place, (although not TOTALLY special) with its own language, culture, treaties, charters, pointy bits sticking into the sea etc.

Bob comes from Devon (also a special place) and lives in Barton upon Humber (another special place) - and Sandman, if you think that Barton is at the edge of the 'Anglo Empire' ie almost in Scotland, you need a new Geoggers book matey. And as for the Stannary 3, the ancient monuments that they have laid claim to have nothing to do with the Cornish people. But hey, who wants a history lesson to queer the hidden agenda? But maybe you do need a new history book.
Steve Garrett, Lancashire

Well, he's near enough to the furthest reaches of the "Anglo Empire" to be (to all intents and purposes) of no use whatsoever to the Cornish question as it will have absolutely no effect on him so I would say we'll call him Robbie Burns!!

To him and all other parties to this site I would say that yes we have the history, yes we have a separate culture, a separate language, a sparate "ethnic identity" on the census form (What a shame the Devonians don't !) in fact we have everything that Robbie is envious of!! The main thing that we in Kernow have that no other part of "England" has is a unique place within British Constitutional Law as supported by the court case against "English Heritage" by the Stannary three.

For those who are not aware, three Stannators confiscated a number of EH signs from Cornish sites. The action was taken after protracted communication with EH proved to no avail with such communications from EH refusing to even meet to discuss the issue. Each confiscation was filmed and put in the public domain on their website, EH were informed of the actions as were the police. Eventually, after being shoved around many magistrates courts throughout Cornwall, the three appeared at Truro Crown Court charged with theft and conspiracy to commit criminal damage. Each faced up to 10 years in jail.

One Judge (Rucker) was dismissed for bias. One set of defense team mysteriously had to retire and eventually the Crown Prosecution Service sought and obtained a Public Interest Immunity Certificate which prevented the prosecution from disclosing vital documented evidence to the defence and barring the defense from using Acts of Parliament and current constitutional law and statutes to prove that they were within their rights to remove the "foreign" signs from Cornish (pre English) sites.

Due to the PIIC, the prosecution offered no evidence and the three Stannators were cleared of all charges and left the court without a stain on their character. One really has to ask why was a Public Interest immunity certificate issued for a common charge of theft and conspiracy to commit criminal damage? A PIIC is usually used for the security of the state. I very much doubt that if Robbie up there in the North of England decided to do something similar,told the police about it and put all his actions into the public domain, that he would be found not guilty for starters let alone have a PIIC slapped on him!

The reason why the CPS slapped one on the three Stannators was that there was so much corroborated evidence dealing with Acts of Parliament and Statutes relating to the Duchy of Cornwall, the Duke himself and the still extant Stannary Charters that they had no choice. They could not have the information brought out in open court. As to the conspiracy charge, as EH had been informed of all the actions from day one and the police and yet did nothing about it 17 times, does that not make them conspirators?

Cornwall IS totally special, we have a constitution, a language, a unique set of treaties and charters that simply do not exist in any other part of Britain (Especially Devon...sorry Bob) So, lets have no more of your whining on about how wonderful the county you left behind is . As you have chosen to live where you have, take responsibility for YOUR area and let us get on with taking responsibility for our own for as sure as eggs is eggs, IT'LL NEVER BE YOURS !!
Sandman, Rysrudth


I thought some of you might be interested in some comparisons: Areas of some countries:
Cornwall - approx. 3550 sq. km
Hong Kong - approx. 2990 sq. km
Bahrain - approx. 620 sq. km
Luxembourg - approx. 2600 sq. km
Singapore - approx. 620 sq. km
Monaco - approx. 2 sq. km
Malta - approx. 316 sq. km

Populations of some countries:
Cornwall - 501 000
Monaco - 32 000
Malta - 400 000
Bahrain - 595 000
Brunei - 315 000
Iceland - 276 000
Luxembourg - 422 000
Qatar - 579 000

There are many more like this out there in the real world. With these facts in mind it is obvious that physical area or population size does not necessarily need to be a hindrance to self-determination.
PhilT Cornishman in Oman


'Merlin', Worcester has obviously not been reading previous postings or if he has then he cannot understand English. Cornwall actually pays more than £350 million into the treasury through taxes then it receives back. Unfortunately there are many 'English' who are as misinformed about Cornwall as 'Merlin' and that is why we have a problem.
PhilT Cornishman in Oman


I totally agree - Cornwall should at the minimum be recognised as a constituent country of the United Kingdom, and as a consequence have its own National Assembly.

I also believe that the most constructive thing to do if the South West Regional Assembly is forced upon us, is to deny its legitamacy in Cornwall. This could be achieved by all Cornish voters and Politicians refusing to participate in the S. W. Assembly.

2 other Points - (1) Gary - I don't think Cornwall should harbour the desire to build an Empire, which would be the consequence of incorporating Plymouth. The TAMAR is the geographical and cultural border.

(2)Bindatek - I am not a Christian, and I understand your concern - but please do not be unrealistic - the cross is used in many European Countries flags. And the St Piran's Cross flag is universally recognised by other Celtic countries..
Jon, Helston


If Cornwall gets independence, I'll show my @rse on the Guildhall steps. Needless to say, neither event is likely or desirable.
Jim, Cornwall

Actually Paul T I was referring to the Stannary rights that Cornwall is entitled to and not the issue concerning Prince Charles. The Duke thing is a separate issue I think, and can be resolved after there is some form of devolution. I also think that the Cornish Assembly issue should be argued using the economic reasons and democratic opinions first with the historical links being used as back up. We stand more chance of some form of success if this were so. As for independence, realistically, I think that there is not much hope of that in the near future but I think that it is possible for Cornwall to achieve an Assembly.
Phil T, Cornishman in Oman

Do you feel Cornish or British or both? Since the bulk of the population of Cornwall is English and the whole phantasmagoria of 'Kernow'-drivel is the mind-game of a few thousand pathetic fantasists, I find the question deceitful and irrelevant. Your ommision of 'English' as an option is telling and illustrates your Unionist agenda. We will have an English Parliament for the people of England. And if my view of Cornwall is wrong and it is to be considered a separate nation, then consider this: What right do the people of 'Kernow' have to any share of England's resources? If you really are 'Cornish', then presumably you will enthusiastically forgo the subsidies provided by English taxpayers.
'Merlin', Worcester

I assume from Phil T's comments that he means that IF Charles is head of State in Cornwall if he is in Cornwall, because he is the Duke of Cornwall, then somehow 'wrong has been done', and hence the European court can be called into play. However, doesn't the fact that Charles hardly ever strays into Cornwall (or for that matter Wales, being the PoW) weaken this argument. Surely looking to 'English' royalty (of German descent) for a lineage somehow weaken the logic of this train of thought? Surely if independence is what you seek it has to go beyond the benediction of the 'invading forces'???
Paul T, Adelaide, Australia

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