By Matt Crouch. Training and Product Development Manager.
This is an historic week for the Celtic people. The UK government has recognised the Cornish people as an official minority. This puts the Cornish on a par with other Celtic peoples such as the Welsh, Irish and Scottish within the UK, and with other minority peoples across Europe.
Their status includes being protected by the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. The main aim of the Convention, is to ensure that the rights of national minorities are respected by combating discrimination, promoting equality and preserving and developing the culture and identity of national minorities.
Dick Cole, leader of Mebyon Kernow, said: “This is a fantastic announcement for Cornwall. As the Leader of Mebyon Kernow, I am absolutely delighted that the Government has recognised the Cornish people as a National Minority and it is great to see all the Celtic peoples of these Islands – the Cornish, Irish, Scottish and Welsh – afforded protection under the Framework Convention.
“I would also like to pay a heartfelt tribute to everyone who played a part in the long running campaign to secure National Minority status.” (Quote from www.thisisthewestcountry.co.uk)
Having grown up in the West Country, I may be a little more aware of the achievements of the Cornish than those from further east or north. While most people think of Cornwall as being all about surfing, cream teas and ‘olde worlde’ gift shops, that’s more of a lazy media representation than the actual truth.
Historically, the Cornish have always been hailed as expert miners and engineers, to the extent that mining works worldwide were always eager to have Cornishmen on staff. Famous names include: – Richard Trevithick, a prolific engineer and inventor, without whom the industrial revolution would never have taken off so quickly; John Couch Adams, co-discoverer of Neptune; William Bickford, inventor of safety fuse; and Sir Humphry Davy scientist, inventor and president of the Royal Society.
Well done Cornwall, you have taken your rightful seat amongst your Celtic brethren!