The debate around devolution to a Cornwall assembly has shifted. As I have argued previously Mebyon Kernow (MK) languishes in yesterday’s England and should drop its claim of Cornish uniqueness on this and other questions and drag itself into the real debate about a general devolution within England.

Mainstream progress
The other day Andrew Adonis added to the momentum of devolution within England and presented Labour’s argument for such a devolution. All the major parties – Conservative, Liberal Democrat, and Labour – are now agreed about devolving powers to major cities in England. It has already begun and will spread to populous areas outside the cities, including to groups of counties. Of course, we must hold the hands of the parties to the fire of local devolution in England but also be aware of the problems that localism brings.

Frankly, while nationalists played with blueprints for a separatist assembly, the mainstream politicians and parties quietly worked on a general devolution throughout England. What happens in Cornwall will happen within these general moves in England. It will be interesting to see how MK responds, whether it places itself within the devolution-in-England movement or remains impotently outside.

Only 1 in 300 back assembly petition
Meanwhile, notice that when I looked today the MK online petition for a “legislative Cornish assembly” has got 2453 signatures since late November, half of them by the end of the year. However, six of the ten latest signatures displayed on the website were from outside Cornwall, indeed one from outside Britain. There are about 425 000 adults in Cornwall; assuming half of the signatories live in Cornwall, that’s about 0.3 percent of our adult population, one in three hundred, signing. This political nationalist cause does not command widespread support. Andrew George, Libdem MP for St Ives, who came first in the House of Commons draw ballot for private members’ bills, was wise not to pursue a Cornish assembly bill.

Other posts

Comment on the city deal project 30 October 2012

First set of city deals 5 July 2012

Meanwhile, in the Commons this (Hansard 19 November 2013 columns 870 and 871) and this (column 1074) about Cornwall, devolution, and city deals.

Empowering Cornwall 8 March 2012

How should Cornwall be governed? 24 October 2009