Culture

UK Gov refused to allow Cornwall to attend minority languages summit, says Drakeford

29 Sep 2021 3 minutes Read
Mark Drakeford in the Senedd

The UK Government refused to allow representatives from Cornwall to attend a British-Irish Council summit on minority languages, according to Mark Drakeford.

The First Minister told the Senedd that the Tory government “weren’t willing for that to happen at all”, despite the Welsh Government being responsible for the meeting.

He said it was an example of the “mindset” of the UK Government “when you try to do reasonable things”.

The First Minister was responding to Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price who accused the UK Government of having an “unreasonable and arrogant attitude to the perfectly reasonable ideas”.

The Cornish language, or Kernowek, became extinct as a living community language in Cornwall at the end of the 18th century, but is now experiencing a small revival.

Adam Price told the First Minister: “It’s true for you, as it is for all of us, that your greatest strength is your cautious approach in trying to persuade people.

“But that can become a weakness when you face the UK Government, which has such an unreasonable and arrogant attitude to the perfectly reasonable ideas that you’ve set out once again this afternoon. And the question is: what do you do in that situation?”

‘Hasn’t been reasonable’

Mark Drakeford responded in the Senedd: “There are a number of important points that Adam Price has raised, and there are a number of examples where I can draw attention to examples where the UK Government hasn’t been reasonable with us at all.

“It’s something small but it does show the context. We are responsible for the next meeting of the British-Irish Council.

“The subject to be discussed in the council is minority languages. So, we will be leading in Wales on the work that is going on, and it’s important work, and it’s important in Ireland, in the whole island.

“We wanted to invite people from Cornwall to attend the council, not to speak, because they’re not members of the council, but just to listen to the discussion and, when they had things to say, out with the council, they would have an opportunity to do so.

“The UK Government weren’t willing for that to happen at all. So, it was a small idea, which is relevant to us in Wales, because we’re responsible for that subject in the council, and reasonable, as Adam Price said, but no, nothing.

“A complete lack of willingness to allow that, and we’re the ones planning the meeting and were responsible for that meeting.

“They weren’t willing to agree on that small idea. I use that as an example of the thinking or the mindset that you find when you try to do reasonable things, as Adam Price said.”

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Andrew Thomas
Andrew Thomas
23 days ago

Tell them to come anyway see what uk gov does then

George Bodley
George Bodley
18 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Thomas

Precisely . Just turn up what can the uk fascist government do about it about bloody time the rest of the so called celtic nations insisted kernewek should join

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
23 days ago

I am interested to know the reasons given by Westminster for this seemingly bizarre stance.

Roderich Heier
Roderich Heier
22 days ago

Me too. Whatever they are they are going to be pretty pathetic.

Quornby
Quornby
22 days ago

…. Because their DUP attack dogs wouldn’t like it.

arthur owen
21 days ago

I have read your post and think I have answered it,and also explained why it could never be admitted.

William Glyn THOMAS
William Glyn THOMAS
23 days ago

Do as I say AND say it in Englsh

Philip Jones
Philip Jones
23 days ago

Every day I feel MD is edging closer and closer to supporting independence. Adam Price is helping by nudging rather than attacking him.

Steve George
Steve George
23 days ago
Reply to  Philip Jones

You’re living in cloud cuckoo land. Mark Drakeford has many virtues but he’s a Labour “internationalist” of the old school. He’ll never back independence for Wales.

Dave
Dave
22 days ago
Reply to  Steve George

I’m interested in how you are so sure Steve, please share any inside knowledge because the superficial stuff that we as the general public see’s is orchestrated by the politicians as this clearly is by Welsh Labour and Plaid.

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
23 days ago

The tories do take the knee, it is on our necks just above the jackboot

Davyth
Davyth
23 days ago

The UK signed the European Convention for Regional and Minority Languages (nothing to do with the EU, before anyone asks, but part of the Congress of Europe, which we’re still a member of) in regard to Cornish, but doesn’t live up to its responsibilities. Cornish used to receive a small government grant, but for the last few years, nothing. This is typical of this government which wants to extinguish minority voices and languages. Despite that its revival is getting stronger year by year, and many have been learning the language by zoom etc. However no money is being put into… Read more »

Last edited 23 days ago by Davyth
Mawkernewek
23 days ago

I thought the Cornish Language Office, and the Cornish Language Partnership before it had attended these meetings previously, as observers.
Why they should want to attend and be treated as second-class citizens not to be listened to I don’t know.

Last edited 23 days ago by Mawkernewek
Mawkernewek
22 days ago
Reply to  Mawkernewek

Perhaps the Cornish Language Officer (the office really is just one person with an assistant who works half time on it and half on the team that supports the mining world heritage site) could come and address them, dressed as Greta Thunberg, “Yth esowgh hwi ow tistrui agan termyn a dheu!”

Richard
Richard
23 days ago

Those of us who served on the WJEC , PDAG & the Welsh Language Board always did what we could to support the development of Cornish whether in Education or in public life. The increasing use of the language on signs, public literature and at Civic meetings builds on the ground work of a range of Cornwall organisations inspired by a brave band of enthusiasts in the last century. Cornwall is well ahead of Wales on celebration of St Pirans Day. Folk like Loveday Jenkin while a Cabinet member on Kerrier District Council created the lead for the An Consul… Read more »

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
22 days ago

Have a listen.

Dafydd Evans
Dafydd Evans
22 days ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

Wow she’s great – amazing how familiar that all sounded and how I even actually understood some of it!

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
21 days ago
Reply to  Dafydd Evans

Yes, and if you put the subtitles on, you find yourself spotting even more similarities with the Welsh equivalents.

Vaughan
Vaughan
18 days ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

Heard it before.
It’s brill!

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
22 days ago

Kernow must get its own ball…

Sarah Tresidder
Sarah Tresidder
22 days ago

Thank you for standing up for us. It is the same old story, a carrot is extended, but as you go to eat from it, it is withdrawn. Worry not, the numbers coming to Cornish lessons are so large, we are having to divide classes in order to keep up. Yes, we have no funding but it has and will never stop us. The Council come to volunteers all the time to get projects done. It has always been the same. However, we do not like being treated like second class citizens, and even though we have been recognised as… Read more »

Tim Saunders
Tim Saunders
22 days ago

Not in the least surprised.

Erisian
Erisian
22 days ago

Shameful. Pusillanimous spite. Just what we have come to expect from the Conservative and Unionist Party.

Mark
Mark
22 days ago

If it was a meeting I was organising, I would have told the inglish government to F*ck off.

Will
Will
21 days ago

So if I’m correct, the parties here all agree to invite the Cornish to this summit. That is all except the UK Government, which added the Cornish to the FCNM. The same Government which promised to treat the Cornish equally with other national minorities and to give the Cornish freedoms in relation to their race. And which has yet failed drastically to do so for reasons now becoming clear. So the Government refused to allow the Cornish to be invited to the summit, why, because the Cornish happen to be Cornish? The Cornish have a minority language yet can’t become… Read more »

arthur owen
21 days ago

I think the English government have a thoroughly pragmatic reason for this.If they allow this to one group of English born people,how could refuse the same to other groups larger and with a ,possibly, more vibrant culture.This could not be admitted as it would lead to all sorts of attacks,justified or not.So many posters here do not for one moment consider why their opponents act in the way they do.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
21 days ago
Reply to  arthur owen

Cornwall has never been consistutionally part of England,as it was never annexed or forced into an Act of Union. It is merely administered as an English county. The description of the Cornish as “English born people” is therefore open to debate.

It is difficult to know what other “group of English born people…with a possibly more vibrant culture” you are referring to. There are only two national minorities in England, namely Romany people, and Welsh speakers in West Shropshire.

Last edited 21 days ago by Wrexhamian
George Bodley
George Bodley
18 days ago
Reply to  arthur owen

Cornwall isnt england

Peadar Donnghaileach
Peadar Donnghaileach
20 days ago

Even though in the Greater scheme of things, just as the Gaelic Language (or languages)-Irish, Manx and Scottish Gaelic extend in an arc from Kerry to Caithness, So do the “P” Celtic languages: Breton,Kernowek and Cymraeg extend in an arc from Brittany to Clwyd.

Peadar Donnghaileach
Peadar Donnghaileach
20 days ago

Whilst I don’t want to hi-jack this discussion, I will take this opportunity to Thank the citizens of Wales and of Cornwall who have joined my petition to the UK parliament for a Gaelic Languages Act, to raise the status of Irish in Northern Ireland and Scottish Gaelic in Scotland to that of Welsh at UK level. The petition remains open till 19 October. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/578674

George Bodley
George Bodley
18 days ago

I dont see why not kernewk is a recognised minority language is this big ears putting in his two penneth ? The English government are just being dictatorial i see no reason why kernewek shouldnt be a member anyway is this more english racism from westminster?

Neil Kennedy
Neil Kennedy
14 days ago

Copy of a letter to the British-Irish Council: It has come to our attention that the UK Government actively refused to allow Cornwall to send representatives to a recent British-Irish Council meeting on minority languages, despite the express wish of Welsh Senedd members to invite them as observers. If Cornish speakers had been overlooked because of their relatively small numbers or Cornwall’s current non-membership of the Council, we might have been disappointed and mildly annoyed but it appears that this was not the case. Instead, it seems that a reasonable and potentially useful proposition by the meeting’s Welsh hosts was… Read more »

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