The following is a copy of a letter sent to the
Chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.
We hope that the current "culture of contempt" in respect of questions regarding
Constitutional Law can, on this occasion, be overcome by making a positive response.
Seneth an Stenegow Kernow - Cornish Stannary Parliament
Stannary Information Office, Bal Lake, Camborne, Kernow, TR14 0JG
Phone:- 01209-710938 - e-mail:- email@example.com
15th September 2003
Sir Nigel Wicks,
Committee on Standards in Public Life,
London SW1P 3BQ
The Cornish Question
The Ministry of Truth
The Civil Service Code imposes an obligation of "impartially and integrity" which has now been reinforced by the declared intent of the government to create a "Ministry of Truth" , (Sunday Independent 31st August 2003). This development should induce the Civil Service to advance its right, in the interests of the public, to declare, where applicable, that any response given as the result of a political instruction is not necessarily governed by truth, integrity and impartiality.
Equality before the law
The response to our correspondence over a period of years from various departments of state reveals many recurring unanswered questions, in particular; "What Act of Parliament provides a statutory guarantee of equality before the law "? The relevance of 'equality before the law' is, that it is regarded as the most basic of all human rights and is as such included as Article 20 of the proposed Constitution of the E.U. If the British government had exercised a member's right to veto, it would have been obliged to give a reasoned argument. On the domestic scene, the culture of contempt is revealed by "your views have been noted" as a ploy to dismiss unwanted information. Why did the U.K. agree to the inclusion of 'equality before the law' in the new European Union Constitution?
The Cornish Question
It is claimed that; "The Duchy of Cornwall was once of constitutional significance, but is now essentially a commercial organisation". (Mark Sandford, "The Cornish Question", The Constitution Unit, University College London, 2002. page 38). No authority or date is given for "now" and no indication of the impact on the party concerned, the heir to the throne. This academic source for an unsubstantiated opinion clearly reflects an established policy of ignoring the provisions of Acts inconvenient to the aspirations of the English national majority while enforcing those Acts calculated to suppress the identity of the indigenous Cornish minority. English nationalism is apparent in the national history curriculum which begins, "Romans and Anglo-Saxons" as if the Celts or indigenous Britons never existed. Such lessons engender, at an early age, life long attitudes of English cultural and racial supremacy in denial of any British heritage. Politicised academics and civil servants ultimately diminish confidence in the integrity of those with their hands on the levers of power.
The denial of information
The Duchy's position as "the appropriate authority" in many Acts of Parliament and as the beneficiary of intestate estates, mineral rights, treasure trove and the prerogative of gold and silver in Cornwall, appears to be incompatible with the exclusion of the Duchy from investigation by the Parliamentary Ombudsman. In addition, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 at s.37 exempts from public exposure communications between the Royal Family and government departments. The public is consequently excluded from access to the information necessary to judge the extent of political influence.
The exercise of rights, powers and privileges
Any challenge to the exercise of rights, powers and privileges in Cornwall is limited by the fact that there is an injunction in the House of Commons to prevent members asking questions regarding the role, "rights, powers and privileges" (Tamar Bridge Act 1998, s.41) of the Dukes of Cornwall in Cornwall, (Letter from the House of Commons Library to Andrew George M.P., dated 16th July 1997).
The prerogative of public interest
Two classes of people, those who have to obey the law and those who don't, can arise in a society where integrity fails to impose a duty to give valid reasons in response to enquiries. Contemporary conventions would appear to be in conflict with the fact that the Courts have already decided; "The public has an interest in everything that is done in the Duchy of Cornwall". ( Lord Chief Justice Tenderden, Trial at Bar, Rowe v. Brenton 1828, Conanen Edition, London 1830, page 110).
The 'foreigners' of Cornwall
The Duchy of Cornwall Charter provisions, and subsequent related Acts of Parliament, guarantee "rights, powers and privileges" to enable successive Dukes, as heirs to the throne, to secure an income and thereby, exempt English people from the otherwise necessary additional taxation. These provisions have been implemented even beyond the legislated terms without challenge. For example, the double tax imposed for centuries on tin production in Cornish speaking Cornwall (the customary English double tax on 'foreigners' - Coke's 4th Inst Cap.1. 32&33 - c.1610) as compared to Devon; the non-statutory acquisition of the Isles of Scilly (on the assumption that all Cornwall is the Duchy) and Circular 18/84, Crown Land and Crown Development, para. 21, "any use of land which it institutes is a lawful use". The Charter of 1337/8 creating the Duchy of Cornwall claims "our stannaries" as Crown property. The stannaries is an ancient Cornish institution which evolved as an administrative and legal organisation overseeing the recovery and marketing of minerals, mostly tin, with its own constitution and prescriptive privileges. (Royal Mines Act 1693 - HMSO 1978, Statutes in Force, Constitutional Law 7). (95% of U.K. tin was produced in Cornwall). The government has indicated that the inclusion of Acts of Parliament, as references to constitutional law, within the text of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Bid to UNESCO, could result in the government's withdrawal of support, and by implication, the possibility that arbitrary power could be exercised to cancel the project. (Minutes of the Partnership Meeting at Cornwall County Council H.Q., 5th December 2002).
All Cornwall is the Duchy of Cornwall
"The stannaries extends over the whole of Cornwall", (Records of the Privy Council, 30th January 1632). This judicial declaration means that the royal claim to "our stannaries" extended Duchy territory over the whole of Cornwall as a necessary precondition to secure a legal income from the Cornwall-wide stannaries. (By judicial declaration, the charter became an Act of Parliament, The Prince's Case, 1606, 8 Co. Rep. 13b), (Published in full in 1978 by HMSO as Statutes in Force, Constitutional Law 10). (Also, by judicial declaration; "Cornwall should always remain as a Duchy" - The Prince's Case 1606 - 8 Co. Rep. 27a). Although the Charter is current law, the authorities have failed to implement the provisions included in it for the benefit of the indigenous Cornish 'foreigners'. The Royal Commission on the Constitution 1969-1973 recognised Cornwall as the Duchy of Cornwall. Nevertheless, the constitutional Duchy is being secretly commercialised as a royal private estate beyond public scrutiny contrary to the judicial ruling of a Lord Chief Justice during a Trial at Bar.
English cultural aggression
The promise of citizen's rights "for ever" in the text of Magna Carta has been ignored just as the Cornish rights "for ever" of the Duchy of Cornwall Charter. Only those for the heir to the throne are "in force". The executive device of assuming "the pretended power of dispensing with and suspending laws", reveals an unwritten 'Bill of Rights' for the commissioning of cultural discrimination against the Cornish. An example of such combined operations to suppress the Cornish identity and history is revealed in Treasury approval for the leasing of Tintagel Castle by the commercial Duchy of Cornwall to the state subsidised organisation unofficially known as English Heritage for exploitation as if it were all of English origin. The cultural aggression includes a claim to the intellectual property of archaeological sites of pre-English origin. Why is there no official British Heritage organisation?
Duchy rights v. human rights
Both M/s Beverly Bernard of the Commission for Racial Equality (29th September 2002) and Michael Wills M.P., of the Lord Chancellor's Office, (4th November 2001) have publicly stated; "we can be Scottish and British or Cornish and British etc., etc", and yet, when asked to confirm the official status of their statement, no answer is given. This reveals an official pretence of a multi-cultural society. False hopes were also aroused with the assurance of: "checks and balances in a flexible unwritten constitution" (Letter from the Lord Chancellor's Office of 22nd July 2002) but there was no indication of any applicability to the Cornish. Unfortunately, lack of official respect for the human rights of the indigenous Cornish as a national minority of Britain is encouraged by the example of Prince Charles, the Duke of Cornwall, who was able to exercise his "rights, powers and privileges" to inform "ministers about the iniquities of the Human Rights Act", (Sunday Independent 29th September 2002).
A conflict of interest
Cornish people are placed in the invidious position of being required to deny their legal right to exist as a national minority under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and agree to everything done in the name of the Duchy of Cornwall, in order to prove their loyalty to the Crown. When will this humiliating conflict be the subject of an impartial public enquiry?
The multi-cultural world beyond England
Those who have been able to apply impartiality to the examination of British 'conventions' are not impressed. The concept of integrity is clearly not expressed in an unwritten constitution, and consequently this constitutional device has been rejected by all members of the Commonwealth for its failure to recognise a multi-cultural world and its indifference to the rights of indigenous minorities. In Britain, the predictable consequences of constitutional inaction continue to be accomplished by the fact that the government has failed to include the Cornish within the provisions of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. There has been no consultation. Why is this?
The control of people in power
Responses indicate that the Civil Service ignores the principle of cultural equality as an obstruction of policies for English cultural supremacy. Its integrity is lost by failing to investigate the abuse of power and official departures from the central democratic principle of equality before the law. Why is this?
Officially sanctioned cultural and identity theft
The system denies the Cornish the right to exist as a national minority and provides them with no reason for official inaction or an effective means to legalise their Celtic identity of pre-English origins. At the present time schools enforce the registration of Cornish students as English. There is no legitimate course of action available to prevent Cornish cultural heritage from being suppressed or stolen for the cultural, racial and economic advantage of the English national majority. Why is this?
The burden of proof
Along with other Cornish people, "I consider myself wronged because the principle of equal treatment has not been applied to me" (E.U.Directive in force 2000/43 Article 8, 'Burden of Proof') and I therefore respectfully make this request for answers consistent with the principle of equality before the law and the Civil Service Code. Would you kindly advise me of your proposals, as a first instance "other competent authority", for extending the principle of equal treatment to Cornish people as an indigenous Celtic national minority of Britain and your plans for supporting their right to cultural equality?
Keeper of the Seal,
for and on behalf of the Cornish Stannary Parliament.