2 January 2009
The Cornish Fighting Fund (CFF) has received just over £33 000 in pledges. Its target was £100 000 by the end of December 2008 and it has financially failed by miles.
The CFF campaign appeared in an article in the Guardian and was reported in local newspapers; it figured in a program on local radio; various nationalist groups backed it; numerous flyers were given out; several websites cried it up. The CFF has had reasonable publicity and still it has failed. People did not have to hand over money, merely promise it in an unenforceable pledge.
I have explained here why I think the CFF has failed with the people of Cornwall.
We should look at this campaign clearly and eschew myths. It is an achievement to get so many pledges; some people have worked very hard. Let that be acknowledged fully. Nevertheless, the vast majority of people in Cornwall, including the vast majority of those who call themselves Cornish, have not supported the CFF. We have not been told on the official website how many individuals supported the campaign with pledges or their names, but the total sum pledged suggests to me less than a thousand people: the total adult population of Cornwall is around 420 000 and some support probably came from outside Cornwall too so even if the pledgers numbered double my guess we’re talking about a nanority of the adults in Cornwall pledging. The number signing the online recognition petition is 324 (2 January 2009). This is not a cause commanding large and enthusiastic support among people in Cornwall.
We should remember how the people of Cornwall responded to the CFF: they rejected it or ignored it or were indifferent to it.
Now what? It has been clear for a while now that the CFF would not reach its target and I suggested a month ago that there should be an alternative ready to be announced on 1 January. No Plan B has been announced on the website yet (unless a meeting with a representative of the Equality and Human Rights Commission later this month is it) and there is a risk that disappointment at missing the target will turn into a collapse of morale.
The final amount raised was £33 446 according to the CFF website on 31 December 2008. The total amount displayed on the site has extraordinarily gone down by about £7 000 during the last half of December. I do not know why and there is no explanation on the CFF website, nor any numbers of pledgers there, nor any names, nor any amounts from individuals and organisations: this coyness is unnecessary and odd for a campaign about recognition.
Additamentum 15 January 2009
A note on the CFF website says that the fund is closed, having missed its target, and the money pledged will not be called upon, and legal action will not be “forthcoming”. This is a pitiable low-key end to the project.
Previous posts on the Cornish Fighting Fund:
2 December 2008
One month to go and apparently £63 000 short of the target. It’s been an up-and-down journey and a gallant effort, but they’re not going to make it without an unforeseen magic millionaire. I think that the Cornish Fighting Fund (CFF) is facing formal failure to meet its target of £100 000 by December 31.
My advice – oh, come on, fas est et ab hoste doceri – is to avoid the slough of despond of wailing and recriminations by having a Plan B ready for launch on January 1.
On the CFF website there are still no numbers of individual pledgers and individual amounts, no names of individuals or organisations, only the total amount pledged. Why this unnecessary coyness?
There are 288 signatories to the recognition petition at present. I’ve said before that such petitions fail to win much support and make political Cornish nationalism look even more peripheral than it is. The CFF should say how many individuals have pledged money and that would be a more convincing – and, I reckon, larger – indication of support for FCPNM recognition.
Fas est et ab hoste doceri (It’s right to learn even from your enemy): Ovid Metamorphoses 4.428
The slough of despond: John BUNYAN Pilgrim’s progress 1.12
FCPNM: Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (also FCNM)
Previous posts are:
2 November 2008
Unless there’s a miracle, the histrionically named Cornish Fighting Fund (CFF) will fail. With eight weeks to go to the cut-off at the end of the year, it has raised less than a third of its target and is about £70 000 short. The most eager have already pledged. Who is left in any numbers?
There are about 430 000 adults in Cornwall. We still do not know how many of those (or people from elsewhere) have promised money to the Fund but, on the assumption that triumphs are trumpeted, I think it is likely to be an unimpressive number. Their identity and number should be public. Why doesn’t the CFF website publish the names and numbers of pledged supporters?
The coyness about the numbers and names of supporters contrasts unfavourably with the openness of, for example, the recent atheist bus fund raising where names and thus numbers of supporters (and amounts actually paid over) are published continually. A current online petition for formal recognition also gives names and the number of signatories, which makes the CFF site more puzzling. When I last looked at the petition site the number signing, including those from outside Cornwall, worked out as about one for every two thousand adults in Cornwall.
I suppose St Piran may yet appear disguised as a rich foreigner with ancestors from Tresomewhere, but frankly I don’t think anyone is going to hand over £70 000 to fight a court case with, at best, an uncertain outcome. I suppose nearly three thousand people might yet give twenty five pounds each but it’s unlikely, isn’t it? We shall see. Candidly, though I disgree with them, I think they have done well to have got this far.
What will happen when the project reaches 31 December and falls short? Pledgers will be understandably angry and disappointed and there will be wailing and the gnashing of teeth. An internecine insultfest-and-blamefest, which Cornish nationalism does so well, may break out. There is a risk that the failure to meet the target, assuming that is what happens and that meeting the target is a sine qua non for further action on FCPNM recognition, will be seen as damaging Cornish nationalism by showing the very public exposure of nationalism’s limited appeal. But negativity will not help; let us reflect on why it has failed.
No, it isn’t apathy or miseducation. It isn’t because Cornish people have been brainwashed or celtwashed. It is because people here – including people who describe themselves as Cornish rather than anything else and who value their being Cornish – do not see the world as the pledgers do; they consider that they have the recognition they desire and are confident in their identities.
Claims of suppression and forced assimilation and adjectival genocide are ludicrously wrong and most people in Cornwall can see that plainly.
People who see themselves as Cornish can stand up freely and say so without difficulty. They and anyone else in Cornwall can learn the language in all its varieties (most don’t), read nationalist books and tracts (most don’t), vote nationalist (most, oh, much the most, don’t), and enjoy Cornish events; they can freely be Cornish but they do not in numbers subscribe to the sillier nationalist ideas. They do not believe the tale that the duchy of Cornwall is an independent state established in 1337. They are not separatists wishing to break away from England. They do not see political nationalism as a practical force that will keep them secure, pay the bills, build the roads, and employ the doctors and teachers.
And they are right.
What it means to be Cornish has changed and I shall explore that in another post.
The real pro-Cornish agenda, as I have explained before, the real hope of all the people here, is about practical measures to enable people in Cornwall improve their daily life and working out a localism that maximises genuine democracy and that avoids difficulties like the post code lottery and narrow parochialism. Historical fantasies are not pro-Cornish; they are anti-Cornish because they risk diverting effort away from improving everyday life for all the people in Cornwall.
Additamentum 4 November 2008
The question of recognising the Cornish under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorites (FCPNM but more usually FCNM) of the Council of Europe was raised in the Commons on two recent occasions: see Hansard 6 March 2007 columns 1871W-1872W and Hansard 3 November 2008 columns 116W-117W. Note in the minister’s 2007 reply: “The fact that some groups may not meet the definition of racial group from the Race Relations Act 1976 has not been a barrier to the UK’s many communities being able to maintain and celebrate their distinct identities.”
Previous post on the Cornish Fighting Fund Cornish minority recognition challenge: update
Last post on the Cornish Fighting Fund Cornish Fighting Fund misses target by miles 2 January 2009
23 September 2008
Update 23 September 2008
The Cornish Fighting Fund appears to be in difficulty, being £74 000 short of its target. I say appears because there are a hundred days to go until the end of the year, the finish date the fund has set, and still time for some very large pledges or a tsunami of small support. However, in the last fortnight the fund has gone up by only £1820 as far as I can see.
To have got this far is an achievement though since we do not know how many have pledged it is impossible to tell whether we are looking at a myriad of small supporters or a few hefty ones or some combination. A myriad of support would be the more impressive scenario.
Original post 11 September 2008
Some Cornish nationalists have set up a fighting fund to explore the possibility of legal action against the UK government for its not recognising the Cornish under the national minorities scheme of the Council of Europe (FCPNM). What are being sought at present are pledges of money. As I understand it, if by the end of this year
£100 000 has not been pledged, the project will be aborted.
I’ll keep an eye on the total pledged. Bear in mind that some of the pledges probably won’t turn into actual money but money not pledged will probably be forthcoming if the project is successful.
At 11 September: £24 005 had been pledged, £5000 of it by an individual.
This is the money pledged. There is no public information about the number of people making pledges which would give an additional indication of support: is it two hundred or five thousand?
In another post I’ll talk about the identity recognition issues and the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCPNM).
Later post 2 November 2008 Cornish Fighting Fund way off target