Cornish to be recognised as a national minority along with Scots, Welsh and Irish
Campaigners insist that, beyond its image as the motherland of the pasty and clotted cream, the county has a distinct language and culture worthy of formal recognition
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Wednesday 23 April 2014
Raise the flag of St Piran. A millennium after they were subsumed into the English state and 15 years since efforts began to have them formally declared a distinct people, the Cornish are to be recognised as a national minority.
The Government will announce on Thursday that the Cornish are joining the Scots, Welsh and Irish as official members of the UK’s Celtic minorities. The decision is a victory for campaigners who have long insisted that, beyond its image as the motherland of the pasty and clotted cream, Cornwall has a distinct language and culture worthy of formal recognition.
The status of a national minority group, made under a European convention to protect them, means that the Cornish now have the same rights and protections as the more established members of Britain’s Celtic fringe.
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, will make the announcement in Bodmin today. He said: “Cornish people have a proud history and a distinct identity. I am delighted that we have been able to officially recognise this and afford the Cornish people the same status as other minorities in the UK.”
The ruling is the culmination of a long battle to assert a distinct Cornish identity which saw 84,000 people declare themselves “Cornish” in the 2011 Census following a campaign for the designation to be added to the form. A further 41 per cent of pupils in Cornwall’s schools described themselves as Cornish in a 2011 school survey – up from 34 per cent two years earlier.
The Cornish language, which until 2010 was classified as extinct by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, is also enjoying a robust revival, with 557 people claiming the Celtic dialect as their main language. Teaching of Cornish has received government funding Last month, the Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, pledged a further £120,000 to promote and develop the language with such measures as an internet-based radio station.
The first Cornish language crèche opened in 2010 and dual-language street signs are now common throughout the county. Its three Liberal Democrat MPs swore their oath in Cornish when elected to Parliament in 2010.
Campaigners said they were delighted by the move, which comes after the submission of two formal reports to Westminster seeking minority status and years of lobbying.
Dick Cole, leader of the Cornish nationalist party Mebyon Kernow, which campaigns for a separate national assembly, told The Independent: “We are absolutely elated. The fact that Cornish culture, language and identity is now formally a national minority on a par with the Welsh, Scots and Irish is fantastic. We shall savour the moment.”
The Communities Minister, Stephen Williams, added: “This is a great day for the people of Cornwall.”
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Rashida Jones speaks out against male-centric porn saying 'women should have sex and feel good about it'
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Putin opponent reveals Russian President's daughter's secret identity
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Gay couple buy JebBushForPresident.com web domain, and refuse to sell
16 Waitrose customers who could not cope with the end of free coffee
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...