The recent government announcement concerning the special "minority" status of the Cornish people and their Celtic cultural history coincided with the launch of the EU election campaign and the timing underlines the superficiality of ConDem politics in the South West region, and is a cynical, desperate response to the possibility of UKIP polling success in the UK's poorest county.

This was no signal of new political rights for the Cornish, but a re-iteration of already existing EU policy/law. Minority rights under the EU Convention on Human Rights states that, "Minority groups need to be able to participate effectively in cultural, religious, social, economic and public life (Article 11 and Protocol 1, Article 3)... It is the essence of democracy to allow diverse political projects to be proposed and debated, even those that call into question the way the state is organised..."

So we can talk about a Cornwall Assembly and the right to raise local taxes to expand all publicly owned services, and, and... but since EU treaties bind all member states to the requirement to ensure that elected national governments maintain commitment to a market economy, we can only talk and dream, it seems.

Back in the real world then, it's apparent that the "coalition" parties have long taken the rural vote for granted, particularly in the far west of the South West where social relations in remoter communities often seem near feudal in character, and where landowning/landlord interests and patronage still hold sway.

The stereotype of the pasty and cream tea-eating Cornish is still useful as a cosy cover for the politics of the right but meanwhile the fight to defend the NHS from privatisation continues...

... on Sat 17th May, members of Unison, Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance, the Communist Party, the Labour Party and the Greens marched from Treliske Hospital in the county town, Truro, to a rally in support of the campaign against the privatisation of 'Hotel Services' in all hospitals in Cornwall - all cleaning, portering, indeed all non-medical jobs will be sold to 'private' providers.