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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

A Cornish Legislative Assembly - twelve months to get the message across

With just twelve months to go, the subject of Scottish independence and what this might mean for the UK is suddenly becoming very news worthy.

Even Mebyon Kernow has been allowed some air time - which makes a pleasant change to normal!

As you would expect, Mebyon Kernow already has very detailed policies on a Cornish Assembly. Unfortunately we have not always been too good at communicating those details - either to the people of Cornwall or, indeed, to our own members. The current members' consultation will confirm the policies that are in place, codify and clarify them and allow members to update them where necessary. We will then be in a much better position to take the battle to unioinists in this important period before the Scottish referendum.

The final draft of our new and codified policy, based on what the members are saying, will be put before the delegates at our conference on Saturday November 16th (put the date in your diaries). Then, with the members' final approval we can begin to take the battle to oppnents of democracy in a positive, detailed and consistent way. I say opponents of democracy - that is because the Party for Cornwall believes that the golden thread, the thread that runs through all of the arguments surrounding devoltion is democracy. The people of Cornwall, people who work here and live here, should have the right to say how decisions that affect Cornwall are taken. MK believes that those decisions should be taken by the people of Cornwall rather than an office full of suits 300 miles away in Westminster.

In the meantime I would like to think that we can start to debunk some of the myths that unionist politicians and advocates are keen to peddle when it comes to devolution for Cornwall.

For example it is important that we make it absolutely clear that a legislative Cornish Assembly would not be an expensive extension to local government but a national body capable of making strategic decisions for Cornwall. A body that can map a way forward in these difficult economic times - a map that doesn't have London at its centre.

Also, all too often opponents of devolution ask how much it will all cost. How can poor little Cornwall afford to survive by itself?

This is actually two myths rolled into one.

First, there is a big difference between devolution and independence. It is not Mebyon Kernow policy that Cornwall should be independent from the UK. It is our policy that we should have a devolved Assembly within the UK. Devolution would not mean that Cornwall would be abandoned and left out in the cold - just that there would be a greater degree of democracy in decion making.

Secondly, devolution would not cost either Cornish tax payers or any other UK tax payers anything more than it already costs to administer Cornwall. In fact it would very likely save tax payers money - or better still allow for greater investment. Westminster gathers taxes and spends them. What we are calling for is the ability to decide how to spend the money that Westminster spends for us. Mebyon Kernow has the confidence to believe in the people of Cornwall - in fact we are sure that Cornwall could do a better job than Westminster and that, therefore, an increase in Cornish GDP would raise more revenue for both Cornwall and the UK as a whole.

Cornish Nationalists have a very exciting twelve months ahead of us. We need to make the most of those months to get our message across.

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