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Cornish minority bid gets a big boost

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: April 22, 2010

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A BID to have the Cornish recognised as an ethnic minority has been given a boost after receiving backing from Cornwall Council.

Council chief executive Kevin Lavery wrote a letter to the Government urging them to include the Cornish in the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCPNM).

In his letter Mr Lavery wrote: "Cornwall Council firmly believes that the UK Government should recognise the Cornish as a national minority under the terms of the Framework Convention."

He adds: "Cornwall Council believes that the Government's current restricted interpretation is discriminatory against the Cornish and contradicts the support it gives to Cornish culture and identity through its own departments."

The letter was sent in response to an invitation by the Government for comments on the draft third UK compliance report of the FCPNM.


Rhisart Tal-e-bot, general secretary of the Celtic League, which released copies of the letter to the media, said: "This would be good for the Cornish. It means legal recognition and status.

"I am Cornish and I am proud of it. It should be recognised in law."

Bernard Moffatt, director information for the Celtic League, added: "It is something we have been anxious for the UK Government to recognise that the Cornish should be given status as national minority.

"It is an interesting development that now seems to be an establishment view. That it is becoming a mainstream view is something that we find very hopeful."

Professor Philip Payton, director of the Institute of Cornish Studies at the Tremough campus at Penryn, said: "For some years there has been a determined effort for the Cornish to be recognised, but it didn't have the sanction of the then Cornwall County Council so it didn't have weight with the Government or Europe.

"Cornwall Council recognises that something needs to be done."

Earlier this year the council agreed to look into having dual language street signs in Cornwall to help promote the Cornish language. It is also looking to have all publications issued by the council to be translated into Cornish.

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  • josdave  |  June 15 2011, 12:20PM

    To be Cornish the parents have to be Cornish and logically their parents also have to be Cornish. As we all came together from a mixture of races there is no real national identity anymore if there ever was. And for Lavery to support it well an overpaid CEO who lives in York that says it all.

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  • Big_Ger  |  June 15 2011, 9:13AM

    Redruthman asks""How does one define being 'English' for those who really want to be ?" To be English a person is either born in England, or is born outside of England to English parents. Someone can also become British by following the protocols of the British citizenship application. However, "all Welsh" seems to think one can become Welsh just by moving there. I don't know about you, but I'm too proud of being Cornish to have that status watered down to the point where anyone can move into Cornwall and then claim to be Cornish!! If, and I sincerely hope not, this divisive idea that "the Cornish" can be defined as an "ethnic" minority, is to succeed, then "the Cornish" will have to show that they are a distinct ethnic group, and not just a bunch of self proclaimed Cornish. As you say; "At least we Cornish know who we are ! " We are not a bunch of incomers, we are the long standing residents here. To become an ethnic minority these criteria are to be met; 1. numerically smaller than the rest of population of the state or a part of the state 2. not in a dominant position 3. has culture, language, religion, race etc. distinct from that of the rest of the population 4. members have a will to preserve their specificity 5. members are citizens of the state where they have the status of a minority. 6. have a long-term presence on the territory where it has lived. . Interesting to note that one of the proponents of this is Mr Tal-e-bot, (not his real name) a Welshman who has abandoned his own nationality, and now claims to have become Cornish!

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  • RachelBosanko  |  June 14 2011, 12:12PM

    Great news for us Cornish despite the usual dregs trying to put us down ! What makes you Cornish wails one ? What makes you English I respond, or Scottish, or Welsh or French ? The silly remarks will not stop our demands although amusingly, I note the date on this article but perhaps only to be expected in the new, crazy format that is 'This Is Cornwall'.

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  • redruthman  |  June 13 2011, 11:57PM

    How does one define being 'English' for those who really want to be ? Any takers out there ? At least we Cornish know who we are !

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  • redruthman  |  June 13 2011, 11:54PM

    Wonderful and with so many people, Councillors and MWPs behind this, it carries democratic authority.

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  • Charlespk  |  June 13 2011, 9:21PM
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  • Charlespk  |  June 13 2011, 9:18PM

    An ethnic minority? . What the Cornish? . . . You couldn't make it up! . . http://tinyurl.com/yeqd3n

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  • HannahJones  |  June 13 2011, 4:07PM

    I will never understand why it is so important. Surely we are all part of the human race? Why are you so desperate to be "special"?

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  • Big_Ger  |  June 12 2011, 10:04AM

    "here in wales we define 'welsh' as anyone who has chosen to make wales their home and who wish to identify as welsh. it's quite inclusive. we find it works. " Wonderful! So we can apply for status as a "National Minority", which is "recognised in law", which anyone can join! My laugh aloud moment moment of the day. What value being a "national minority" which anyone can chose to join? Isn't that like being a member of an exclusive club with free open membership? What a joke!!

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  • josdave  |  June 10 2011, 10:47PM

    Since when does Lavery who lives in York have any right to speak for Cornwall other than he was appointed by a stupid Lib Dem run council. Now it is a Tory/Ind run council nothing seems to have changed. It is as corrupt as it has been for a long time and it should change. But I won't hold my breath.

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