Sunday, 17 July 2016

Cornwall must not be the forgotten nation ...

My article in this coming week’s Cornish Guardian looks at the talk about constitutional reform in the last few days. It will be as follows:

The last week saw the somewhat whirlwind coronation of the new leader of the Conservative Party who also became the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Theresa May now has many challenges to face, especially as she seeks to address the outcome of the referendum vote to leave the EU.

In her first speech as PM, she used a large amount of inclusive language which as far as I am concerned fails to tally with the recent approach of the Conservative Government – of which she was a key part – in terms of social and economic issues.

She also talked about her commitment to the “union” and the “precious, precious bond between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

It was all very similar to the comments of David Cameron, after the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, when he pledged a balanced constitutional settlement which was “fair to people in Scotland, and to everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well.”

The constitutional implications of these recent votes are certainly coming to the fore. It is noteworthy that the majority of MPs around the Cabinet table continue to be based in the South East of England, but the cross-party Constitution Reform Group, which includes a range of senior politicians and constitutional experts, has already made the case for a more federal UK. It even claims that the need for such “radical constitutional change” has been “boosted by the vote to leave the European Union.”

Their proposals say the “existing union should be replaced with fully devolved government” in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland “with each given full sovereignty over its own affairs.”

They argue that these “nations” of the UK would then be “encouraged to pool sovereignty to cover the matters they wish to be dealt with on a shared basis” in a smaller House of Commons.

The First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, has made a similar call for a “new federal arrangement of the UK nations” in which he said he wanted to avoid Wales being seen as "some sort of annexe to England."

But, in all of this, the position and democratic future of Cornwall appears not to be deemed worthy of discussion. Indeed, when it comes to democratic reforms, many of the key decision-makers and opinion-formers to the east of the Tamar have a blindspot in terms of the historic nation of Cornwall and our call for meaningful devolution.

Anyone who is interested in finding out more about this important campaign can request a free copy of MK’s publication “Towards a National Assembly of Cornwall” from me c/o

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