Cornish Constitutional Convention celebration

Posted on: 20th May 2011

Originally posted on 23.07.2010

Andrew George MP will join the celebrations in Truro on Saturday 24th July 2010 to mark the 10th anniversary of the Cornish Constitutional Convention. A mini conference will be staged at County Hall commencing at 10am to celebrate the anniversary. Mr George (who has been Vice Chair of the Convention since it was established) will address delegates at 10.40am.  The Cornish Constitutional Convention was formed in November 2000 with the objective of establishing a devolved Assembly for Cornwall. The aim of the Convention is to establish a form of modern governance which strengthens Cornwall and its role in the affairs of the country. Mr George will acknowledge that the Coalition Agreement does not continue any of the previous Government’s plans to create “regional assemblies” or regional government of any kind. That having been said, the abolition of what Mr George has described as “Government Zones” – of the South West and elsewhere – is an important stepping stone to the creation of an opportunity for Cornwall to draw powers down from the soon to be abolished Regional Development Agency and other bodies to strengthen Cornwall’s Government structures.  Though Mr George argues that the recently published “Health White Paper” is “vague” on the issue of locally accountable decision-making on health matters, he argues that, if Cornwall is very clear about its strategic objectives and plans for the commissioning of both health and social care in a new structure which it has the opportunity to determine, then a single powerful body which would take on responsibilities for the strategic direction of economic development, strategic planning, housing and health and social care can be established. This would be the building block for what many will regard as a Cornish Regional Assembly. Mr George said: “Frankly, terminology becomes unimportant as the primary objective is to create the circumstances in which Cornwall can make its own decisions about how it grows, where it grows, how it is to meet its housing need, how and where its hospitals and health services will be provided and how any economic development aid will be deployed. In recent decades, all of these decisions have been taken either by unelected bodies outside Cornwall or within Cornwall.” He added: “Cornwall has a distinct Celtic heritage, separate language and a unique constitutional relationship with the Crown. However, the Constitutional Convention has always maintained that we’re not seeking to cut Cornwall off – quite the opposite – we’re campaigning to cut Cornwall into the celebration of diversity. “Cornwall has much to offer if its distinctiveness were to be properly recognised. It would open up new horizons rather than shut them down.”