TELL IT NOT IN GATH

22 February 2011

Look at this miscellany…

Campaign Kernow
Campaign Kernow aimed to raise about £50 000 to mount a legal challenge to the refusal of the Commonwealth Games Federation to allow a team representing Cornwall to take part in the games. The campaign was abandoned in December 2010.

I have already discussed on the blog an earlier campaign, the Cornish Fighting Fund (CFF), which in 2008 aimed to raise £100 000 in pledges to mount a legal challenge about recognition of the Cornish but which raised only a third of that. The CFF closed, its aim unfulfilled.

Census
The census pledge campaign has failed. People were asked to sign a pledge not to complete the 2011 census if it lacked a Cornish ethnic tick box, provided a thousand people pledged. This campaign opened in January 2007; it closed on 1 January 2011 and only 639 people had signed the pledge. See here. The census will not contain such a Cornish ethnic tick box – or a separate English-only ethnic tick box though there is an English national identity tick box and Cornish and English people can write in their choice of ethnicity if they wish.

Votes for MK
In several posts I have drawn attention to the failure of the nationalist party Mebyon Kernow (MK) to break the mould in Cornwall. I summed up its dismal electoral record here – and look too at the recent post on thirty two votes for MK in a Cornwall Council election in January 2011. Given the opportunity to choose MK, people largely reject its political nationalism.

As one door closes…
Now in February 2011 another petition has just been launched, this for a public holiday in Cornwall on 5 March, St Piran’s day. The petition closing date is 9 February next year. If it gets 5000 signatures from people who live, work, or study in Cornwall the unitary council will discuss it; if it gets between 1000 and 4999 it will get a response from a council officer at an overview and scrutiny committee. The petition asks the council to vote for a 5 March public holiday in Cornwall and to “make a recommendation to the UK government to do the same”.

I am unclear what the council is being asked to do. Is the council being asked to give all its employees a holiday and ask the government to make it countywide, that is apply it to all employees in Cornwall as only the government can do; or is the council not being asked to give its employees a holiday but to support the idea of a countywide holiday and being asked to press the government to effect it?

This is the third petition in recent years that I know of calling for a public holiday on 5 March in Cornwall. The first ended on 30 January 2008 with 1193 signatories. The second ended 27 February 2009 and got 24 signatories, a few of whom had also signed the first one. The total discrete signatures represented about 0.3 percent of the adult population of Cornwall though it is unlikely that every signatory was in Cornwall.

Despite these setbacks this latest 5 March petition for a celebratory public holiday might get sizable support. It looks as though there is a stock of about a thousand people who can be persuaded to sign it. The interesting question is whether the 5000 threshold can be reached within Cornwall (live, work, study) – the previous ones could be signed by people wherever they were. However, governments seem reluctant to create more UK bank holidays, though we have fewer than our European neighbours, and I don’t see the government agreeing to another one for all employees (and pupils) in Cornwall alone.

Not forgetting…

Devonwall
The efforts to ensure that the Parliamentary voting system and constituencies (PVSC) bill/act precluded a constituency straddling the river Tamar, that is in both Cornwall and Devon, failed to win majority support in parliament. It is now a matter of electorate numbers.

Tell it not in Gath: 2 Samuel 1.20, a lament after the defeat of Saul at Mount Gilboa
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