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Campaign to proclaim nationality as 'Cornish' in 2011 Census gets public backing

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: March 05, 2011

  • Children from St Petrocs school celebrated on the eve of St Piran's Day, marching through the town centre. Thousands of people will do the same today across the county to celebrate the feast day of the patron saint of tin miners

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A campaign to encourage people in Cornwall to proclaim their nationality as Cornish in the official 2011 census has received public backing.

As thousands of people take to the streets of towns across Cornwall to mark St Piran's day today, Cornwall Council is telling people via its website that they can enter "Cornish" in the once-a-decade survey of the life of people in the United Kingdom.

Cornish is not a "tick box" option on the official form after the then Labour Government refused to include it, despite pleas from within Cornwall, in 2009.

But there is a space under "other" and a campaign has sprung up similar to that for the 2001 census, where people chose "Jedi", from the Star Wars cult, as their religion.

Cornwall Council has also produced posters for people to put up in their homes and in shop windows encouraging people to proclaim their Cornish ethnicity and put Cornwall as their place of birth or their nationality.

Mike Chappell, secretary of the Kernow branch of the Celtic League, said the council should be "commended" for its efforts, with posters appearing at bus stops and in shops across Cornwall.

"Last time we had just over 37,000 people saying they were Cornish.

"But the data we have from schools shows that more and more children, and of course their parents, are putting down 'Cornish'. It is an encouraging sign at Pirantide."

Children from St Petrocs school celebrated on the eve of St Piran's Day in Bodmin town centre yesterday, led a piper and drummer.

March 27 is the date by which every household in the UK will be asked to supply information for the UK Census.

It takes place every ten years and allows the government to collect information on citizens in order to plan spending on services including housing, education and transport.

This year, for the first time, people can complete the census online at www.census.gov.uk.

Some 25 million paper questionnaires will be distributed.

Lib Dem MP Stephen Gilbert is one of those who will be proclaiming his Cornishness in the census.

"I am proud to call myself a Cornishman – I was born and bred in Cornwall and it will always be my home," he said.

"On census day at the end of this month I will be recording my nationality, place of birth and, importantly, my ethnicity as Cornish and I'm encouraging you to do so too.

"If enough people describe themselves as Cornish, it will massively aide the local community in fighting for greater recognition of the area's heritage and importance."

Will you be declaring yourself as 'Cornish' in the census? Have your say and vote below...

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    Onan Hag All, Kernow  |  March 24 2011, 8:55AM

    So the Cornish genocide by the English Imperial State continues unabated in this place, aided and abetted by the Fusion Agents who masquerade here as Cornish!! By denying teh Cornish full ownership of the ethnic and racial epithet, they are diluting down the chance that we will gain autonomy funded through Europe and demonstrated by a Cornish assembly run by Cornishmen for Cornish people. If anyone is allowed to call themselves Cornish, such as teh second home Londoners who have settled here, then Westminster dilutes and degrades the Cornish name and title!!! If anyone who wishes to self describe as Cornish is allowed to do so without fear of retribution via the law, then what purpose does teh census serve?!?! It becomes nothing more than a tool of teh anglo-imperialists to further wrest control of the country of Cornwall from its blood right owners, away into the hands of those who would treat it as a theme park!! Kernow Bys Vyken!!

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    Move On from Coal, Bournemouth  |  March 23 2011, 2:58PM

    if you want to be Cornish, that's great. Now how about you secede from Britain and start paying your own way then?

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    Onan Hag All, Kernow  |  March 23 2011, 10:11AM

    Anyone not of Kernow blood stating on the census that they are "Cornish" should be prosecuted for perjury!!! There is only one Cornish blood which flows through the veins of a few of us pure Cornishmen. Sir Charles Bodmer the Cornish geneticist has proved by research that the Celtic gene is prominent in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Cornwall and nowhere else!! The Cornish are a blood race and gene type! Anyone who is not full blooded Cornish who fills in a LEGAL document such as teh census claiming to be Cornish who cannot trace their bloodline back four generations is a fraud!! If anyone other than the true Cornishmen by blood claim to be Cornish then it will prove that the census is just another attempt by the English Imperial; State to further teh Cornish genocide!!! Rise up men of Kernow. Kernow Bys Vykewn!!

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    Jon, Camborne  |  March 22 2011, 10:11PM

    Cornish of course !

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    Rich, Sheffield  |  March 22 2011, 9:41PM

    It's "The People's Front of Judea" this isn't it? Anyway, good luck with it all. It's providing a few laughs if nothing else. Best wishes to everyone that's read some ropey history book and is now convinced they're some hut-dwelling Celtic warrior from that mystical, Celtic land down the A38.

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    ALAN SANDERS, TROON  |  March 22 2011, 9:26PM

    I a m cornish and can not lie it.s the law my parents always wrote in that they were infact CORNISH .I speak the language passed 1st.2nd,and 3rd grade examination back in 1986 made a bard through the language my cornish is better then my english in which I have NO examination left school age 14 I will write the truth and if some fruitcake does not it well tough get a life

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    Thoughtful, Truro  |  March 22 2011, 8:45PM

    I would encourage everyone who lives in Cornwall to mark Cornish" as part of their ethnicity. And why not? After all anyone who wants to call themselves Cornish is entitled to, just as anyone who wants to call themselves of Pictish, Summerian, or Womble is entitled to. The fact remains that this census is now open for anyone who wishes to declare themselves Cornish. So if a new immigrant, who has lived all 50 years of his life in China, and has arrived to reside in Birmingham last week, who speaks no English, let alone Cornish, and has never visited the county wishes to call himself "Cornish" let him do so, come join the merry throng of true Cornish.

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    michael, marazion  |  March 22 2011, 8:01PM

    i get very uncomfortable around issues of race and nationalism, being 50% irish/english. i know where this stuff leads i think those who take a pride in coming from a limited gene pool might ponder why cornwall council felt the need to look outside that gene pool for a chief executive

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    David, Cornwall  |  March 22 2011, 4:31PM

    Apologies Tyler, but my comment was not meant to offend! It does highlight that there is an obvious problem with recording 'ethnicity'. It's taken me a while to get my head around it. I was merging race and ethnicty in some bizzarre way. But my confusion is unsurprising, given that in some cases race and ethnicity can be the same (Asian, for example, can be either). Then you have the issue of nationality too (my brain is starting to hurt). Ethnicity is nonesense. You can put whatever you like. If I consider myself to be Cornish, I can put it, since ethnicity is defined as (one version I found anyway): "Ethnicity denotes a group of individuals who consider themselves, or are considered by others, to share common characteristics which differentiate them from other collectivities within a society." So if you consider yourself to be, ethnically speaking, Outer Mongolian then that's fine. Can't see the point in measuring something that is so subjective.

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    Jory, Hayle, Kernow  |  March 22 2011, 11:38AM

    When I see the English Defence League or the British National Party marching down the streets of English cities, I think of racism and nationalism. When I see the Westminster Government bombing people abroad I think of nationalism. When I read the English press headlines covering the bombing of innocent civilians or during the football word cup I think of nationalism. When I see Cornish people, compliant with the law and keen to support their democratically elected Council, peacefully marking Cornish and Cornwall in a dignified manner on a Census form, I think of civilised people exercising their legal and democratic rights.