Friday, 11 November 2016

Government publishes insulting (non-)response to Cornish language funding petition

On the morning of the second day of the Boundary Commission for England and Cornwall's public hearings relating to the proposed new parliamentary constituencies including a Devonwall constituency, the government has published what it calls a response to the recent petition to restore central government funding for the Cornish language.

I would attend one of the public hearings but I have already responded online and expect the public hearings to be a farce. The issue is not primarily with the Commission but the remit they were given by Government (see my comment on Dick Cole's blog).
However this (non-)response is insulting because it doesn't address any of the issues raised regarding the status of Cornish as a recognised minority language. We are once again treated as second class citizens.

Here are a couple of bar graphs illustrating how much the UK government has been spending each year on the Cornish language in the years 2010 to 2016.
The blue bar is 1200 pixels high in the original image therefore the left hand bar (£108333.33/yr based on £650000 over 6 years) is not even visible in the rendering. It should also be noted that the UK government has funded nuclear weapons since the 1940s whereas the £650000 in 6 years represents the entirety of the UK central government funding for Cornish over more than 300 years since the 1707 Act of Union.

Even on a logarithmic scale it still looks like peanuts.


 The government's response  was so short I can quote it here in full:


The Government has provided Cornwall Council with substantial spending power to allocate resources to their local priorities, including the Cornish language.




Read the response in full
The Government has always been clear that its funding of some £650,000 since 2010 to support the development of the Cornish language was time-limited, and that the Council should seek alternative sources in order to place it on a more sustainable basis. Cornwall Council has a core spending power of £1.7 billion over four years from which they can allocate the necessary resources to local priorities, including the development the Cornish language, if they wish.
Department for Communities and Local Government

This doesn't address any of the issues raised related to the UK signing the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages or the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. It is a non-response that can be described as insulting.

This "substantial spending power" is on an annual basis not even 10% of the estimated annual budget for Trident replacement.

Meanwhile the average full-time weekly wage in Kensington is £848.20 whereas in St. Ives constituency it is only £389.20, the 4th lowest in the UK tied with Dwyfor Merionydd. Where is this spending power of which you speak? When are you planning to close the income gap with London?

The government suggests seeking funding from other sources. Like overseas presidents perhaps?


A couple of words of warning, there are two things that make Vladimir Putin very sad, letters wholly in capitals, and letters in Russian using the Latin alphabet. He might release Siberian tiger on Bodmin Moor.
Or maybe try the new American one, that could build some Trump towers with subsidised apartments for people who learn Cornish.

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