The Cornish

Article published on Jan. 27, 2008
community published
Article published on Jan. 27, 2008
A recommendation by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the 'concept of nation' has been backed by the European Parliament regional and minority language Intergroup. The PACE recommendation stated that, "Everyone should be free to define themselves as a member of a cultural 'nation', irrespective of their citizenship".
In response, the Intergroup commented that "Council of Europe member states should avoid defining themselves in exclusively ethnic terms, and should do their utmost to help their minorities, a source of enrichment, to flourish".

Today, both the French and the British Governments still deny people from some of the Celtic countries to legally describe themselves in terms of their Celtic national identities in all areas of life.

Intergroup leader Dr Csaba Tabajdi, Member of the European Parliament, said that:

this recommendation is of utter importance, representing a paradigm change in the protection of minorities in Europe. It contains a new, elaborate concept of nation. The recommendation states that: The term 'nation' is deeply rooted in peoples, culture and history and incorporates fundamental elements of their identity. It is also closely linked to political ideologies, which have exploited it and adulterated its original meaning. Furthermore, in view of the diversity of languages spoken in European countries, a concept such as nation is quite simply not translatable in many countries where, at best, only rough translations are to be found in certain national languages.

The Cornish are a Celtic ethnic group and nation of the southwest of Great Britain. We have our own lesser used Celtic language (Cornish), sports, festivals, cuisine, music, dance, history and identity. Cornwall also has a distinct constitutional history as a Duchy with an autonomous Stannary Parliament.

This Celtic Cornish identity was recognised and described in the May 2006 edition of National Geographic in an article called The Celtic Realm. The results from the 2001 UK population census show over thirty seven thousand people hold a Cornish identity instead of English or British. On this census, to claim to be Cornish, you had to deny being British, by crossing out the British option and then write Cornish in the others box. Additionally the decision to collect information on Cornish identity was extremely badly publicised. However the large fines for inappropriate use of the census forms were very well publicised. How many more would have described themselves as Cornish if they did not have to deny being British or if there had been a Cornish tick box? How many people knew that it was an option? How many ticked British but feel themselves to be Cornish British?

Further information on the Cornish national minority can be found at: