Cornish declared a national minority in UK
dave.sayers at CANTAB.NET
Thu Apr 24 22:22:36 UTC 2014
Interesting interview with Loveday Jenkin, deputy leader of the political party
Mebyon Kernow ('Sons of Cornwall'), discussing today's announcement:
If that link doesn't take you to the right place, just scroll to 1h44m14s. And it
should work outside the UK (only the BBC's video content is UK-only).
Further coverage all over the British press today, e.g. http://goo.gl/X6tCBB.
For me, it's notable that the language has played such a part in this, both in the
political conversation and in the media reports. The drive to recognise Cornish under
the European Charter in the 2000s had little to do with the minority status of
Cornish people, yet that recognition went on to bolster this campaign for minority
status. Interesting times for a language which has been reconstructed from 'extinct'
status during the twentieth and early twenty-first century. How all this plays into
the contemporary political landscape of devolution and sub-national autonomy is a
Another slightly more sceptical way to interpret this is as another attempt by the UK
government to diffuse and deflect the Scottish independence movement, by granting
further self-control to a part of the UK. This came up late last year when the UK
govt granted further fiscal powers to Wales, e.g. a BBC article from 1 Nov 2013:
"The backdrop to all of this [granting the fiscal powers to Wales] is the looming
Scottish independence referendum in 2014. Carwyn Jones made it clear to David Cameron
at a meeting in Downing Street last month that although he was staunch supporter of
the Union, he could not in all conscience travel to Scotland and campaign without
being clear that the UK government had failed to deliver the extra powers that Wales
wanted - something which would have resonance for Scottish voters trying to decide
whether Scotland would be better or worse off outside the UK."
I haven't yet seen any such eyebrow-raising about the Cornish decision. You heard it
here first! And I don't really mean to cast any aspersions on the Cornish case; this
is just an important contemporary political development worth bearing in mind for
this sort of thing.
And it would of course be completely remiss of me not to add a shameless plug for my
2012 article on the Cornish language revival:
There's also this fine article by Zsuzsanna Renkó-Michelsén:
Oll an gwella / All the best,
Dr. Dave Sayers
Senior Lecturer, Dept Humanities, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
Honorary Research Fellow, Arts & Humanities, Swansea University, UK
dave.sayers at cantab.net | http://swansea.academia.edu/DaveSayers
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