1) I would like to know your position on national and linguistic minorities and in particular the Cornish question in the United Kingdom.
I believe that everyone has a right to their cultural and linguistic heritage. Being of Irish extraction, I have a particular interest in the Celtic nations. One of the earliest influences on me in this respect, was Peter Beresford Ellis’ book, The Celtic Revolution, which includes a chapter on Cornwall.
If you support the independence of the various Celtic nations from the UK, then I think it is a logical corrollary that you have to support some kind of revival of English identity as well.
I think this logic is beginning to be more appreciated in England as a result of a devolution settlement which gives Scottish MPs an effectively unaccountable role in governing England. For that reason, I expect the upcoming Scottish election to produce more sympathy for the SNP south of the border than formerly.
One of the basic arguments I have been trying to make at the Green Ribbon is that Celtic and English nationalists have a common interest in challenging the unionist democratic deficit.
I would hope that logic applies to Cornwall as well. Possibly it could prove more problematic in that the Cornish are not as widely recognised as a distinct nationality as say, the Welsh.
Having said that if enough Cornish people demand that recognition, I don’t think they can be denied indefinitely.
A Cornish tickbox in the next census would obviously be a key step towards that goal.
2) I would also like to know your thoughts on a devolved Cornish assembly.
I’m a great believer in the old Irish saying that "No man has a right to fix the boundary to the march of a nation. To say to his country ‘thus far shall thou go and no further."
I would have thought that a devolved assembly for Cornwall would be an easier proposition for the British Government to grant than, say, an English Parliament. At first glance, the Government would seem to be missing an opportunity to promote their regional agenda. Possibly this is because of a preference for a South-West assembly or just an innate suspicion of nationalism.
If there’s one thing that ought to be driven by local demand rather than a centralised agenda, it’s devolution policy. In those terms, I think there is a strong case for a Cornish Assembly.