Wednesday, 23 April 2014

National Minority status for the Cornish - a massive Lib Dem win and a win for Cornwall

Tomorrow, the government will announce that National Minority Status has been given to the Cornish people, under the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander will make the announcement. He is joining North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson in Bodmin to meet with representatives of cultural organisations in the Duchy including the Cornish Gorsedh and Maga, the Cornish Language Partnership, to discuss the announcement and the importance of Cornwall's culture and identity to the local economy. Dan has been the driving force behind the move for national minority status over many years.

The UK signed up to the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities 15 years ago, but the last Labour government said that the Cornish couldn't be recognised under the Convention. Today's announcement follows years of campaigning by Cornish Liberal Democrat MPs to recognise Cornwall's unique culture, heritage and identity.

The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities seeks to protect the rights of minorities in states across Europe. With recognition, it will no longer be possible for the government (or anyone else) to pretend Cornwall doesn't exist.

Commenting on the announcement North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson said:

"Today's announcement means that the Cornish will finally be recognised as one of the constituent peoples of the UK alongside the Welsh, Scottish and Irish. It will also make sure that public institutions take account of Cornwall's unique identity. Despite the fact that the last Labour Government said that the Cornish couldn't be recognised in this way, Liberal Democrats in Coalition Government have made sure that the Cornish people, and our traditions, culture and heritage, now have the same status as everyone else.

"I'd like to thank Lib Dem Communities Minister Stephen Williams, his predecessor Don Foster, and the Chief Secretary Danny Alexander for listening to the case that we made. Thanks is also due to supporters for the cause from across the Duchy, and particularly to Ian Saltern who has edited the last two reports that we submitted to the government, which made the case for National Minority Status for the Cornish."

Last month Lib Dem Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced £120,000 of government funding for the Cornish language. In March Liberal Democrat members voted to make it their party policy to introduce a law-making Cornish Assembly.

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