First ever AUOB Kernow march for Cornish self-determination to take place on the weekend
The first-ever AUOB Kernow march for Cornish self-determination will take place this weekend.
It follows in the footsteps of AUOB Scotland and AUOB Wales who have scheduled marches for independence in Scotland and Wales.
AUOB Kernow’s first public event ‘March for Kernow’ will be held this Saturday, 9th October at the mid-Cornwall town of St Austell.
The organisers said that they had “formed to act as a catalyst to promote greater discussion over the future of Cornwall at all levels”.
“Our historic right to self-determination is crucial in order to revitalise democracy and thereby enable ordinary people to address major cultural, social and economic issues that we are faced with on an everyday basis,” they said.
“It is a mechanism by which Kernow can ‘catch up’ with our Celtic cousins through a sustainable programme of marches and rallies to build community support for self-determination.
“As in Wales, there is a need for leading political figures to initiate a civic conversation over our constitutional future. How far is the status quo sustainable? Should we be considering devolution or even other forms of greater autonomy?”
The organisers added that for Scotland and Wales, the mass demonstrations had helped them achieve independence.
“AUOB believes that every Celtic people have the right to self-determination,” they said.
Garry Tregidga from the group had previously said that Cornwall needed greater autonomy to allow them to combat many of the problems facing Cornwall, which were similar to those in Wales.
“There’s a feeling that we are all suffering from the same level of centralisation,” he said when AUOB Kernow was formed in May.
Despite a booming tourism industry the people of Cornwall had been left with “poorly paid jobs and limited opportunities” while the wealth was funneled out, Garry Tregidga, who is an assistant director of the Institute of Cornish Studies at the University of Exeter, said.
Like Wales, Cornwall didn’t realy benefit from the vast wealth it created during the industrial revolution and with lithium deposits found in the region that could happen again, he said.
“Conservative MPs are not representing the area,” he said. “They are representing London and the Conservative Party. I think people are therefore frustrated.
“So if representation in Westminster is not addressing their concerns, then the answer is or should be greater autonomy, whether that’s through independence or, more probably, devolution as a first step.
“Certainly I think that’s the way that people in Cornwall are thinking.”
It is not just AUOB Kernow who believe Cornwall needs more political autonomy to tackle its problems. In June, Cornwall Council Leader, Linda Taylor, has said that she will seek further devolved powers for Cornwall in order to help tackle their second homes crisis.
The Conservative council leader said that the council recently submitted an expression of interest in discussing a county deal with the government.
Since 2015, the unitary council has had some devolved powers over transport, skills and funding distribution. They now want more control over planning and taxation to help it manage the impact of tourism.
That would include the ability to require planning application from anyone wanting to change accommodation from residential to holiday use, and to increase council tax on second homes. They also want to close a loophole where holiday homes are able to register as businesses.
She told the LGC that visitors to the county “go to our coastal hotspots and think everybody’s living an idyllic life. But the harsh realities are, not everybody is.
“One of my commitments is, I want to follow through on what the prime minister says,” she added. “I want to level things up in Cornwall so that everybody has an opportunity.”
“I am definitely demonstrating strong leadership by virtue of the fact that the people of Cornwall put their trust in with the Conservatives”.
“I’m making a strong case that I don’t think we need to have a directly elected mayor,” she added.