After a long campaign and with three previous unsuccessful bids, the Cornish have been granted Minority Status under the EU Framework Convention of National Minorities. This is fantastic news, and credit should go to all those – it is a long list – who lobbied and never gave up. This is especially to my fellow Cabinet Member, Bert Biscoe who has been a leading part of the campaign for the last 20 years.
Under the status, the Cornish will be afforded the same protections as the Welsh, Scottish and the Irish. This means that Government departments and public bodies will be required to take Cornwall’s views into account when making decisions. The convention ensures that the rights of national minorities are respected by combating discrimination, promoting equality and preserving and developing the culture and identity of national minorities.
inclusion in the convention will mean:
- Recognise the distinctiveness of the Cornish and enhance the United Kingdom’s reputation as a country that celebrates and supports the diversity of its inhabitants.
- Further the economic interests, not just of Cornwall, but of the United Kingdom as a whole.
- Help strengthen the confidence of our young people that they are encouraged to identify with their cultural identity, and that this is valued by the rest of the country.
- Help strengthen the ‘Cornish’ brand and provide a mechanism whereby the Cornish can establish and strengthen links with other groups accorded similar status across Europe and around the world.
- Create stronger links between communities and a greater understanding of shared values to help create more vibrant communities than can shape their own future.
Cornwall Council has stated its support for the Cornish as an ethnic minority in its Equality and Diversity Framework which can be found here. This was strengthened in 2011 when the then Group Leaders endorsed the framework. More recently, a working group led by Cllr Bert Biscoe and Cllr Julian German and including Cllr Malcolm Brown, Cllr Dick Cole, Will Coleman, Maureen Fuller, Ed Rowe, Ian Saltern and Cllr Douglas Scrafton. Cornwall’s MP’s have also played their part in achieving this status. And therefore should be congratulated for their work.
Sadly, Minority Status does not attract – at the moment – extra funding, but this excellent news should be celebrated for all those who have Cornwall’s best interest at heart.
The confirmation on Minority Status was set for the 24th with a Government Minister visiting Cornwall (surely not politicking so close to European and National Elections!) to deliver the message and was therefore embargoed till then – hence the timing of this blog and playing by the rules of honouring the embargo.
However in the age of social media, this story was first broke by a national; which sort of let the cat out of the bag and the embargo became nothing more than a word.
It is however, rather ironic the news of Cornish Minority Status broke on St George’s Day……
I will leave you with one further though and a question that attracts a different answer depending on who you ask the question to. What makes you Cornish? Birthright, or how you feel?