Letter to Eurostat regarding ONS census.

Wednesday, April 25 2007 @ 08:59 PM BST

Contributed by: Admin

Sent following the ONS meeting in Truro..

Seneth an Stenegow Kernow
The Stannaries are part of the territorial possessions of the Duchy of Cornwall by Charters of 1337/8


Stannary Information Office 9, coombe park
bal lake,
tr14 ojg

23rd April 2007


11, rue Alphonse Weicker,

L-2721 Luxembourg.

Dear Sir/Madam,

Demographic statistics in the United Kingdom

We are of the opinion that Eurostat would expect Member States to comply with the high standards required in the compilation of statistics laid down in particular as impartiality, reliability and objectivity for the European Community under E.U.Treaty Article 285 (2). Consequently, we feel obliged, under the provisions of Treaty Article 13 and Directive 2000/43/EC, to draw your attention to our serious concern that these European Community commitments of the Member States are not being adhered to in statistical gathering associated with demography in the United Kingdom.

Officials of the Office for National Statistics invited representatives from Cornish public bodies and NGO’s to present their case at Truro, Cornwall on 20th April 2007 under the Chairmanship of Mr Ian Cope. We expressed our thanks for this opportunity.

In general terms, the many concerns expressed by the NGO’s was the absence of a substantive reason for not treating the Cornish on an equal statistical basis with England, Scotland and Wales. We were informed that others were also excluded. In relation to the number of indigenous Celtic people in Britain there appears to be none other than the Cornish that are excluded.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) appears to be just as indifferent to representations from Cornwall in 2007, with regard to the 2011 Census, as they were in 1997 with respect to the 2001 Census. A repeat of the unjustified fiasco of a misleading low count for the Cornish in the “write in” box system of 2001, is anticipated to result in the final elimination of the Cornish identity and Celtic culture after the 2011 Census if the ONS again places statistically insignificant records in the hands of the European Union and United Kingdom decision makers dealing with regional, language and cultural aid. Cornwall needs to be on an equal footing with the English, Welsh and Scots even to the extent of including Cornwall as a “country of birth” in Question 7 but preferably with a dedicated “Cornwall” Census 2011 form. On the 20th April 2007 at the Truro meeting the ONS officials were informed that in order to comply with Article 285 (2) of the E.U.Treaty, Eurostat would require statistical information about the Cornish population since, “the clearly demonstrated need” (Census [Amendment] Act 2000, Notes 7) for statistics in the case of Cornwall is based on the fact that it is in receipt of European Objective One funding on grounds including: “Cornwall’s Celtic background” (NUTS 2 category). In addition, it is also contended, that Eurostat would have a “clearly demonstrated need” for statistical information on the size of the Cornish population in order to monitor progress on the ground in relation to the requirement of “the development of endogenous potential” under Regulation (EC) No. 1783/1999, Article 1(c).

It is understood and recognised that the provision in the E.U. Treaty Article 12, covering: “discrimination on the grounds of nationality”, the “nationality” equates with the respective 27 “national” passports held by European citizens. However, it is assumed that the “grounds for discrimination” of Article 12 would automatically extend to any sub-division of any Article 12 “nationality” resident in any of the 27 Member States, since otherwise, any sub-division, or diversion from the meaning of Article 12, “nationality”, in our case, any sub-division of “British”, would be invalid.

A further point raised at the ONS meeting in Truro was the disparity between the topic title on the Agenda, and page 9 of the 2007 Census Test, of “Ethnicity, identity and language” and that of “Nationality, birthplace, race and language” stipulated by the Census (Amendment) Act 2000, Explanatory Notes 15, in confirmation of the Originating Census Act of 1920). (Religion has been included by S.I.2000/3249).

This would appear to indicate an officially inspired departure from entrenched legislation in order to impose a subjective meaning for: “Nationality and Ethnicity” and “identity and race”. It is reasonable to assume that these arbitrary changes occurred after the ONS had submitted proposals to Parliament before the 2000 Census Act, Notes and Order. The adoption of a supra-legislative function by the ONS, it is contended, falls short of the standards required under E.U.Article 285 (2).

It is further contended that the proposed “England” Census 2011 form itself betrays the official racial discrimination of its authors. Race” has been excluded by the ONS from the proposed Census 2011 form although very important to the individual in cases alleging official racial discrimination relevant to E.U. Treaty, Article 13, Directive 2000/43/EC, the European Convention of Human Rights, Article 14 and Protocol 12 and The Race Relations Act 1976.

From the front cover page heading of: “England” it is clear that the Census 2011 form is intended to apply to “England” only, ie., there are separate forms for Wales and Scotland. There is no proposed “British” Census 2011 form.

Question 12:“What do you consider your national identity to be?”. There follows a column of tick boxes against each of which is entered either: “English; Welsh, Scottish; Northern Irish; British; Irish and Other, write in”. Space is provided. “British” appears to embrace “Commonwealth British” and “indigenous British”.

It causes confusion that in the Question 12, “National Identity” the “British” embraces multi-nationalities which could, under Question 13 “Ethnicity” - “Other British” also embrace multi-ethnicities within the one “British “ national identity. “British” would appear to be relevant only to the passport or E.U. Article 12, “nationality” not “ethnicity”, although “ethnicity” is included in S.I. 2000/744.

It is noted that Question 13 on the proposed “England” Census 2011 form reads: “What is your ethnic group? Block “A - White” covers “English”; “Other British” ; “Irish” and “Any other white background, write in”. Block “C - Asian or Asian British” and Block “D - Black or Black British”.

Since the complete Census form applies only to: “England” the absence of “Asian or Asian English” and “Black or Black English” requires an in-depth explanation.

The suspicion of racial discrimination is aroused from the daily evidence available that the English authorities and the English political parties appear to have agreed to avoid the use of the logical concept of “Black or Asian English” as “not publicly acceptable”. (Census Act , Notes 13). This must exclude the Cornish since, there are “Black and Asian Cornish” with Cornish accents.

If the apparent unacceptability on the “England” Census form of “Black and Asian English” cannot be “objectively” justified, then, such semi-official value judgements of “acceptable” racism could easily be compounded by the desire to eliminate the Cornish, as being of Cornish nationality and a sub-division of “British”, in order to ensure that they are automatically counted as English simply because they are White.

Space for the entry is available on the form for the inclusion of a “Cornish” tick box in Question 12, since, at the area allocated for Question 16 it states, “No question 16 for England”. This leaves ample blank space on page 3 of four centimetres.

We would appreciate the advice of Eurostat and an assurance that a uniform set of rules prevails in respect of gathering practical, reliable and compatible demographic statistics within the European Union.

Yours faithfully,

Stannary Information Officer,

for and on behalf of,

Seneth an Stenegow Kernow

Copy to:- Mr Ian Cope, Office for National Statistics, Segensworth Road, Titchfield, Hampshire, PO15 5RR, Fax:- 01633-652747. e-mail:- ian.cope@ons.gov.uk

Copy of:- Proposed ONS Census 2011 form pages 1 and 3.for Eurostat.