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Saturday, 24 November 2012

My speech at the Mk conference

Transcript of my speech to the Mk conference if anyone is interested.

Dohajeth da puponen! Fatla genough?
Ow hanow yw Stephen Richardson ha Saws ov vy.
My name is Stephen Richardson and I’m an Englishman.
Now you may be asking why would I make that sort of statement at the beginning of my speech today.
Well what was your immediate reaction?
I’m hoping you thought something like “What difference does that make?”
Or - maybe - you thought “It’s good to see an Englishman at an MK conference?”
Because, you see, the theme of my speech today is how Mebyon Kernow, Cornish nationalism and wider nationalism across Britain and Europe are defined by their inclusivity.
I moved to Cornwall in 2008. Like many other blow-ins I had visited Cornwall on family holidays and I fell in love with her.
I saw the Cornwall that Will Coleman portrays in his superb film Hornof Plenty. 
Eventually, I came to live in the Horn of Plenty and I found that the people here welcome anyone who wants to join in with the party. So I put on my party clothes and I accepted the invitation to learn to dance to the Cornish tune.

Because this is what MK, and the people of Cornwall, do. We invite anyone who is interested to dance to Kernow’s music.
We welcome and include, we accept and encourage and we embrace and support anyone who wants to connect with the Party of Cornwall – Mebyon Kernow (in fact we’re so inclusive we’ve even been known to take on a few Liberal Democrats in the past!)
And yet the Westminster politicians host a party which is poles apart from ours. They aim to tell a story which is very different to the one that we have to tell.
They tell a story which is coldly calculated to foster a fear of the nasty Nats getting their wicked way.
But exactly how do they tell their story differently?
Well - when we have hope for the future London seeks to glory in the past.
Or if we endeavour to build an honest and open world for our children, London seeks to protect and shield its shady elder statesmen.
And when we venture to build a just society London insists on defending its imperial ethos.
But London is more and more under siege.
MPs in Westminster are staring full square down the barrel of Scottish independence.
In just two years’ time we will be attending our conference having witnessed the people of Scotland say YES to self-determination and NO to Unionist ideology.
This will be a breath-taking step forward for everyone in Britain, brought about by the leadership demonstrated by the SNP. Leadership which has been built with inclusivity acting as the mortar binding the will of the Scottish people together.
In Wales people like Leanne Wood and Jonathan Edwards are showing how it is possible to reject the greed of Thatcherism in order to build an inclusive society.
They are showing that self-belief in an inclusive Welsh nation is crucial if Wales is to develop a blossoming, yet sustainable, economy.
And we, here in Cornwall, are part of that international movement towards national self-determination. Our own inclusivity wears away at the lies told by those who preach fear and who would tout thinly veiled threats.
Please bear with me for a minute or two while I remind you of one of Aesop’s fables.
The Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveller coming down the road, and the Sun said: "I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveller to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger.” The Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveller. But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveller wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair. Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveller. Soon the traveller found it far too hot to walk with his cloak on and had to take it off.
The moral that Aesop wanted to convey was that kindness effects change better than severity.
And we need to behave like the Sun and allow Westminster politicians to rant like the wind.
Where they say ‘Us and Them’ we should say ‘We and Us’.
When they say Cornwall is too small. We’ll just smile and reply “Don’t you know that small is beautiful!”
And when they say that the Cornish people are too poor and stupid to run their own country, we’ll answer “Hold on - wasn’t it you that got us into this mess in the first place?”
If MK candidates are to win unitary seats across the whole length of Cornwall next May then we need to offer hope where London hawks fear.
It is our duty to inspire all the people of Cornwall.
To say that none of us is as good as all of us.
We have to create a vision where people like you and me, the passenger on the Bodmin bus, the schoolgirl in the Camborne classroom, the boy playing football in Callington, the woman working in the Truro office and the man walking his dog in Penwith – where all of us can make a difference by working together.
Working together for a Cornwall that is run for the benefit of the people who live here.
Run by people who live, study and work here and who know what the real challenges are and how best to meet them.
We need people that don’t care just about building their CV, or receiving the odd OBE from the palace, but people who truly care about the less fortunate in our society.
People like the late David Penhaligon, who recognised that an economy isn’t simply based on tourism, ice cream and deckchairs.
And people like Dick Cole, Andy Long and all our other councillors and volunteers who work tirelessly for Cornwall and all of her folk.
 I want to finish now and I want to ask you all to be the Sun and let the Westminster politicians be the Wind.
Enjoy the party being held in Cornwall, in the Horn of Plenty.
And help the Party of Cornwall forge a future that holds an invitation for everyone.         
Meur ras.

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