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Thursday, 21 November 2013

Another letter to Nick Clegg

I have written to Nick Clegg again - maybe I will get a reply this time - not really holding my breath!

Dear Mr Clegg,

Constitutional Arrangements Following Scottish Independence

I refer to my letter of April this year concerning the constitutional status of the Duchy of Cornwall and the reply that I received from your Correspondence Officer dated May 1st.

I think that I am correct in the belief that the Rt. Hon. Stephen Gilbert MP recently informed you of the meaning of the Cornish term ‘dreckly’. At the time you had not heard the term before and you did not understand its meaning. I would suggest that, when your Correspondence Officer wrote to me in May stating that - ‘Your letter is receiving attention.’ - what should have been stated was ‘Your letter will be receiving attention dreckly’. I am still waiting for a substantive reply to my letter.

In case my first letter has been lost I have enclosed a further copy for your records and I hope and trust that I will receive a substantive reply in due course. It seems that the issue of the constitutional status of the Duchy of Cornwall will not be allowed to be buried in Government bureaucracy for much longer. More and more issues – such as the recent squabble between the Duchy and the Crown over the rights to ‘Royal Mines’ – are being highlighted in the public arena on a regular basis. Cornwall deserves that the full facts – which have a huge impact on the lives of people living in Cornwall – are fully revealed so that modernising reforms can be planned.

Further, and separately, to the issue of the true constitutional status of the Duchy of Cornwall, I write on behalf of Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall concerning the constitutional settlement should Scotland become an independent country next year.

I understand that, along with the vast majority of people in England, your education and upbringing will have meant that you do not have a great understanding of Cornish history, culture or politics.

Mebyon Kernow is a political party which has been established for over 60 years. Given the limited resources, compared to those received by the Westminster based parties, the party ‘punches well above its weight’ in Cornwall. It has seen considerable electoral success in local council elections. In the seats where it stood candidates in May, those candidates received the third highest average vote - ahead of both Labour and UKIP. In the last European elections in 2009 Mebyon Kernow received over 7% of the vote in Cornwall – again beating Labour.

In 2001 Mebyon Kernow collected 50,000 individual declarations from the people of Cornwall in support of a law-making Assembly for Cornwall.

I have provided these brief examples of recent Cornish political history to illustrate the depth of feeling in Cornwall on the issue of Cornish self-determination. As I have previously suggested, this depth of feeling in Cornwall may have escaped your general educational upbringing and a remote Westminster office is unlikely to have highlighted it in more recent times.

To return to the point of this letter, when, as it seems to be daily becoming more probable, Scotland votes for independence, there will not just be one new country but two. The UK will not be the UK any longer but a new country all together. Within the current UK set-up we already have various devolved national governments. Without Scotland the whole basis of the new ‘rump’ UK will need to be reviewed and modernising arrangements agreed between the various national governments.

Can you please set out what arrangements are being made for the negotiations and discussions concerning new constitutional arrangements that will be required when Scotland becomes an independent nation? Can you also please confirm that, when these negotiations and discussions take place, representatives of Cornwall will be invited? Further, please confirm that arrangements will be discussed for providing a road map setting out a timetable for a referendum of the people of Cornwall on a devolutionary settlement resulting in a national law-making Cornish Assembly.

I would be grateful if, when your Correspondence Officer makes an initial reply and acknowledgement to this letter, they could indicate a time frame within which a substantive reply might be expected.

Yours etc

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