ENGLISH DEVOLUTION AND BYPASSED MK

10 April 2014

Mebyon Kernow (MK), the Cornish nationalist party, is being left behind.

There isn’t widespread, eager support for this party and its political nationalism; in the last election it contested, a by-election last December for two seats on Camborne town council, a favourable area for MK, only 14 percent turned out to vote although there were two MK candidates to vote for and each of MK’s candidates received support from less than 4 percent of the electorate. Enthusiasm for MK? No.

The petition calling for a Cornish parliament – a law making national assembly – is gathering a trickle of signatures from Cornwall and elsewhere: after nearly five months I estimate less than 1000 from people in Cornwall have signed, a pitiful small proportion.

In the real world all three currently major parties, Conservative and Labour and Liberal Democrat, have now said they support devolution within England. The Tory Libdem government is pressing ahead with city deals. So far twenty eight councils are involved, including Plymouth. City deals are the devolution of powers to cities and city regions, with some cities working with neighbouring areas in a “combined authority”. The primary aim is to better advance local economic growth and each area will have different and tailored devolved powers such as housing and transport; local enthusiasm and competence are essential.

The government’s approach in practice is somewhat incoherent (see this sensible scrutiny ) but English devolution is happening at last. The process having begun, it will be impossible to stop or reverse.

The word “city” is perhaps misleading: it is clear that counties are included and Cornwall, Cumbria, and Essex were specifically mentioned by Nick Clegg last October 2012.

Labour has supported the city/county devolution policy and expanding it, writing this week to every council leader (scroll to the very bottom to link to the letter; he specifically mentions devolution to cities and counties).

MK will argue that all this is about local government and what it seeks is a national government for Cornwall separate from England; that is more than “more powers” for Cornwall. However, the kindest that can be said about the MK approach is that it has been bypassed. The devolutionary future of England is here already and MK has been left behind in a nationalist fantasy.

Notes

First set of city deals 5 July 2012

Second set of city deals 19 February 2013

Comment on the city deal project 30 October 2012

Camborne by-election result 19 December 2013

MK election results 2013 and before

The petition is here.


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