MEBYON KERNOW
The Party For Cornwall


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KERNOW IN PROTEST - March 7th, Redruth

ATTN: All Cornish, and those sympathetic to our cause. A movement is being started, very soon within the next week or so. We are holding a rally for the issues listed below.

Petition:-

After decades of mismanagement of the Cornish economy by central government, we the undersigned, bearing in mind the governments pledge to take into account the wishes of the people, call for the creation of a Cornish regional economic development agency (CRDA), devoted exclusively to tackling the economic problems of Cornwall and attracting inward investment. This agency is to have its own dedicated budget and personnel and is not to be controlled by any wider regional body embracing the more prosperous counties east of the Tamar.

Issues that can act as a catalyst for a unified Cornish reaction and protest and are a cause of commonality in the last 12 months:-

(This is all in one year!)

Cultural issues (supplemental to primary aim):-

Clarification of primary issue:-

This is not a request for independence nor is it a means to separate Cornwall from the rest of the UK in sovereign identity. The aim of this protest and campaign is to unify a common movement to bring about the desired aims as set out in the petition for and on behalf of the Cornish people.

Proposed campaign:-

The campaign will start with a petition letter, publicised by local media. This will be followed by a public rally in Redruth where those with an opinion will be given the opportunity to speak, this will be bolstered by prominent Kernow campaigners. This rally will be used to focus the level of feeling and to empassion those present to our cause and recruit a cell for the movements greater infrastructure if required. After the rally a protest (high publicity) event will be staged to bring national attention to the movement and add further consolation.

The dates of these events are to be decided but will be held within a very short time. If any extra info is needed please feel free to email:-

cador95@yahoo.com
or
atlantis@surflink.co.uk

I will also be generating a website with the issues and news generated by the movement or in coincidence of the movement. Please, anyone and eveyone, spread the word and watch this space. Snail mail addresses and contact numbers sent by request.

MARCH 7th - Attending will be Loveday Jenkin and other MK members. I want MP's there also, these are being contacted. The venue is to be arranged but it will be in Redruth and at 2pm and probably last till 5pm ending in a march to end outside of the Enterprise Initiative building.

Kernow Kensa!! Chris Trenning.

COUNCILLORS BETRAY CORNWALL IN DEVELOPMENT AGENCY VOTE

On the 14th July, the councillors on Cornwall County Council back-tracked on their commitment to a Cornish Development Agency.
John Mills, the Chief Executive of Cornwall Council, had advised the councillors to give up calls for a CDA and to accept inclusion within a regional development agency covering a seven County south-west. In the council chamber, Cllr. Colin Lawry led the opposition to the moves of John Mills. He drew attention to pledges from councillors of all political persuasions and members of Parliament, that they would campaign for a Cornish Development Agency. These included all five of Cornwall's MPs and Doris Ansari, the leader of the ruling coalition group. He called upon councillors to stick firm to their position adopted in February 1997, when the council backed plans for a CDA with a vote of 71 votes in favour to only one against. He said 'how much credence will the government give to a council which, on the basis of one report from a Chief Officer, in respect of a consultation paper, does its level best to both touch the forelock to our new masters and jump through hoops at the same time? Only twenty-two councillors supported Cllr. Lawry's call to continue the campaign for a development agency for Cornwall. The councillors were mostly independents but included Alastair Quinnell and Jeremy Drew of the Liberal Democrats and lone Conservative James Currie. Almost all of the councillors representing the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party voted against Cornwall.

CORNISH ASSEMBLY MOTION

Cllr. Lawry also tabled a motion for a Cornish Assembly - which almost became council policy. The vote to support an assembly was only lost on the casting vote of the Council Chairman William Hosking. The motion received the support of the majority of the Lib Dems present including Val Cox (Bodmin), Mike Nicholls (Lauceston) and Owen May (Bude). All Labour councillors voted against Colin Lawry's motion. After the vote, Colin Lawry accused Council Chairman William Hosking of double standards. He said 'my motion for a Cornish Assembly was tied with 23 votes for and 23 votes against and Cllr. Hosking used his casting vote to scuttle the motion. Earlier in the day however, Cllr. Hosking had presented certificates to the Keskerdh Kernow 500 marchers, who marched from St Keverne to London. When meeting these people he was happy to offer platitudes to Cornish issues, but when offered a chance to vote for Cornwall - he refused to take it and sold the marchers down the river. He also condemned the actions of the Labour group. 'Eighteen months ago when this issue was last discussed by the Cornwall Council, the Labour Group supported calls for a Cornish Assembly and took the opportunity to lambast the Lib Dems. And yet now, they all voted the opposite way. 'It seems to me they only supported my motion in 1995, so they could have a go at the Lib Dems. They are merely playing politics and have let Cornwall down. 'Cllr. Lawry pledged that the campaign for a Cornish Development Agency and a Cornish Assembly would continue. Dick Cole, the new Chairman of Mebyon Kernow, said 'the antics of the councillors representing the London parties really does show that Cornwall needs Mebyon Kernow and Mebyon Kernow councillors more than ever.'

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PRESS RELEASES

"LABOUR AVOIDING OBLIGATIONS UNDER EU LAW' 3rd January, 1998

A Leading member of Mebyon Kernow today slammed the Government for Its lack of genuine commitment to regionalisation. Paul Dunbar, Chair of South East Cornwall Branch of MK, said that a conference planned to take place in Exeter on the 6th of January to discuss a South West Development Agency was "a deliberately planned farce, a pretense at consultation".
"It is rubbish to describe. it. as a 'conference' The Labour government is simply not interested in consultation. This so-called conference is scheduled to be over and done with in less than four hours including a lunch break. How can you even begin to discuss the Issues involved In that time? The fact is it is just a platform for Dick Caborne to tell people what he intends to do."
Mr Dunbar believes that Labour are deliberately ignoring the proper Criteria which defines a region:
"Just drawing lines on a map won't do: One Celtic country and six English counties is simply not a region Whichever way you look at it. It does not add up and will not work As a first World War Civil Defense Area the so-called South West had grave defects and as a European region it is a non-starter."
Mr. Dunbar said: "Cornwall is a classic European region. The Labour Government is contractually bound in European Law to promote 'The Regions'. Inventing pseudo-regions to avoid it's obligations is not merely sleaze of the highest order but also puts it in breach of European Law."
He added, "If Tony Blair thinks he can tough this one out while the UK chairs the E.C. he can think again. He would be well advised to ask Cherie, as a leading barrister to run her eyes over the small print in Maastricht After which, if he wants to avoid major embarrassment he should start taking Cornwall seriously".
FURTHER INFORMATION:
Paul Dunbar: 01579 348278 Martyn Miller (Sec. SE Cornwall Branch) 01579 342814 (answerphone) Email: Martyn.Miller@btinternet.com; Dick Cole (Chair, Mebyon Kernow) 01726 861454 (answerphone)

DEVOLUTION SPECIAL - SPOTLIGHT ON WALES AND SCOTLAND

On the 11th September, Scotland voted in a referendum for a parliament with tax-varying powers. On the 18th September, Wales followed Scotland's example and voted for an assembly.

SCOTLAND

Scotland first voted for a parliament of its own as long ago as 1979, when the pro-devolution camp won a majority of the votes cast in the first referendum - though this was ignored by central government. This year, the Scots voted overwhelmingly for their own parliament.
The campaign for a Scottish Parliament has been an inclusive one, bringing together all sections of Scottish Society. A Constitutional Convention was formed in 1989 ad at its inaugural meeting on 30 March 1989, a declaration was released entitled A Claim of Right for Scotland.
It stated "We, gathered as the Scottish Constitutional Convention, do hereby acknowledge the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs, and do hereby declare and pledge that in all our actions and deliberations their interests shall be paramount. We further declare and pledge that our actions and deliberations shall be directed to the following ends: To agree a scheme for an Assembly or Parliament for Scotland; To mobilise Scottish opinion and ensure the approval of the Scottish people for that scheme; and To assert the right of the Scottish people to secure the implementation of that scheme.

The Convention had the support of many groups including the Scottish Labour Party, the Scottish Liberal Democrats, a number of smaller parties like the Scottish Greens, the Scottish Trades Union Congress, the churches, ethnic minority groups, women's movements as well as sections of the business and industrial community.
The Convention produced a detailed report in 1995 called "Scotland's Parliament. Scotland's Rights" which, very much, provided the framework for the Parliament proposed to the people of Scotland by the Labour Party.

The following referendum brought together all of the political parties, excluding the Conservatives. It was healthy democratic campaign with Alex Salmond (SNP), Donald Dewar (the leader of the Scottish Labour Party) and Jim Wallace (leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats) working together and all putting the interests of Scotland before their respective political parties. The overwhelming margin of victory for the YES campaign, endorsed the devolution campaign. Every single one of the 32 council areas voted for the creation of a parliament. This worked out as 74.3% of the population. 63.5% supported the call for tax-varying powers, with only two areas (Dumfries / Galloway and Orkney) voting against. According to the government white paper it will have law- making powers over a wide range of matters which affect Scotland. It will have responsibility for - Health Education and Training Local Government, Social Work and Housing Economic Development and Transport The Law and Home Affairs The Environment Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Sport and the Arts Research and Statistics.
The new Scottish Parliament will have 129 members. Seventy-three of these will be elected through a first-past-the-post system, with the final 56 MSPs elected from top-up regional lists to achieve a degree of proportionality.

WALES - THE TRIUMPH OF HOPE OVER FEAR

The assembly offered to Wales was certainly less exciting than that offered to Scotland. Rather than a tax-varying parliament, Wales was offered an assembly which would assume responsibility for policies and public services currently exercised by the Secretary of State for Wales. The Assembly will have at its disposal the 7 billion budget currently assigned to the Welsh Office, and will allocate resources from it to public services in Wales for which it is responsible. The Assembly will also set policies and standards for those services; reform and oversee the work of unelected public bodies; and make detailed rules and regulations, through secondary legislation (government white paper). The body is to have 60 seats; 40 elected through direct elections and 20 through top-up regional lists. As in Scotland, the majority of political groups came together to campaign for the proposals seeing them as a positive step in the right direction, even though Plaid Cymru, the Liberal Democrats and the Welsh Green Party wanted more powers to be devolved. Ron Davies and Peter Hain of the Labour Party were particularly strong advocates of the YES vote, but were let down by a number of their MPs who either opposed their own government's policy or simply did not bother to campaign for it. The anti-devolution campaign was widely seen to be very negative and bitter. It told people in North Wales they would be run by corrupt Labour councillors from the south, they told the south that they would be forced to learn Welsh and generally misrepresented the nature of the government proposals. Nevertheless, Wales overcame the scaremongering and voted for their Assembly. Dafydd Wigley described the events of the night of the 18th September as an historic night for the people of Wales ... Wales can now move ahead. The Assembly will be the focus of a new voice for Wales both within the UK and the European Community.

CORNWALL - NEXT?

Ron Davies, the Secretary of State for Wales, wrote in the Chartist magazine (July / August 1997) that Wales is a great country, full of talented people capable of competing with anyone in the world but our economy is stagnant, our public services are failing and ordinary people still do not trust our political system. We have had a change of government, but this is not enough - we need a change in the system of government. We need a Welsh Assembly. The people of Cornwall will not disagree with what Ron Davies wrote, but we must ask. Why does the government think decentralisation good enough for Scotland and Wales but not Cornwall? There is much that Mebyon Kernow can learn from the campaigns in Wales and Scotland. It is certain that we need to build a network of likeminded people from all political and cultural groups to demonstrate that the only unit of government we will accept for Cornwall is Cornwall. Cornwall needs its own constitutional convention to step our lobbying which is already proving very effective. Recently, when discussing devolution John Prescott said it might vary between the north-east, the north-west or Cornwall ...' This is the first time that Prescott or any other government minister has specifically referred to Cornwall, rather than the south-west, as the unit for an assembly.

The MK argument that successful economic regions should be based on existing coherent cultural regions, such as Cornwall is being acknowledged by the strangest of bedfellows. The regional director of the CBI in the 'South-west'. Sue Boyd said 'it would take decades to build up a south-west identity, not just five years. The arguments for a Cornish Assembly or Parliament are being won. Cornwall will be next - but we must keep the pressure on central government with our lobbying. There are a number of Mebyon Kernow members living in Scotland and Wales; many of whom are expatiate Cornish men and women, and others who are sympathetic Scots and Welsh people. We would like to take this opportunity to publicise two prominent Scottish organisations, in which MK members are active. Comunn Na Gaidhlig. MK member Alasdair MacCaluim (Edinburgh)has informed us about a petition being organised by Comunn Na Gaidhlig. The aim of the petition is to achieve 'Secure Status' for the Gaelic language by the year 2000, adding that Gaelic speakers throughout Scotland should have the right to use the language wherever possible. The society states that its aims are to promote and establish the conditions for Gaelic to grow and flourish, by working in partnership with others, particularly through Gaelic Medium Education, cultural enrichment and economic development. 'Mebyon Kernow will supply copies of the petition to anyone who is interested. It is the aim of Comunn na Gaidhlig to have collected over 10,000 signatures by the end of November. If you would like to know more about the campaign for Secure Status for Gaelic, or indeed about Gaelic-related matters in general, please contact - Comunn na Gaidlig, 5 Mitchell's Lane, Inverness IV2 3HQ. This year, when the people of Cornwall were commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Cornish Uprising of 1497, Scots were remembering the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Stirling Bridge when William Wallace defeated an English army sent northwards by Edward I. There is one group, the William Wallace Society which has been organising the annual Wallace Day commemoration at the patriot's birthplace in Elderslie, near Paisley, for many years. The society is dedicated to the preservation of the memory of Wallace. The society is open to all. Mel Gibson, the star of Braveheart film accepted honorary membership of the society while filming in Scotland in 1995. The society organises events throughout the year. More details can be obtained from William Douglas, who is a long-standing MK member. Mr. Douglas can be contacted at - 252 Nether Auldhouse Road, Glasgow G43 1LS. I would like to express a personal debt of gratitude to Margaret Thatcher. Over 20 years, by her words and actions, she did more to unite the Scottish people than any other person since Edward Plantagenet in the late 13th century. - B. Henry in the Guardian, 13th September. 'The Welsh Assembly will mean a jobs bonanza for Wales. - Ron Davies MP ,19th September. 'It was Scotland last week and Wales this week and it should be Cornwall next week.- Paul Dunbar on the 18th September, in Cardiff.

CONFERENCE TALK
Following the Mebyon Kernow AGM at Fraddon, an open meeting organised by Mebyon Kernow entitled 'Wither Cornwall under Labour' which was addressed by four speakers. The speakers were Bert Biscoe (leading Independent councillor from Truro), Chris Fegan (leader of the Labour Group on Penwith District Council), Alastair Quinnell (leading Liberal Democrat councillor on Cornwall Council) and Gareth Butler (Plaid Cymru councillor from Ceredigion). Bert Biscoe delivered a speech entitled 'Do the Cornish have a Future in Cornwall?' (This speech will be printed at a later update)

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