Call to put 'Cornish' on census
Published 21/03/2011 | 12:02
A campaign has been launched to encourage people in Cornwall to state their nationality as Cornish in the 2011 Census.
The county's unitary local authority is telling people via its website that they can enter "Cornish" in the survey of the lives of people in the United Kingdom.
Cornwall Council has also produced posters for residents to put up in their homes and in shop windows urging people to proclaim their Cornish ethnicity and put the county as their place of birth or their nationality.
Mike Chappell, secretary of the Cornish branch of the Celtic League, said the council should be "commended" for its efforts, with posters appearing at bus stops and in shops across Cornwall.
"In 2001 we had just over 37,000 people saying they were Cornish in the census," he said. "But the data we have from schools shows that more and more children, and of course their parents, are putting down 'Cornish'. It is an encouraging sign."
Cornish is not a tick-box option on the official census form after the then Labour government refused to include it, despite pleas from within Cornwall in 2009.
But it is an allowed option under "other" and a campaign has sprung up similar to that for the 2001 census, where people chose Jedi from the Star Wars films as their religion.
Councillor Dick Cole, leader of the Cornish nationalist political party Mebyon Kernow, which is backing the campaign, said: "The important thing is for Cornish people to take advantage of the census. It is to show that our nationality is an important issue that we want the Government to recognise."
Andrew George, the Liberal Democrat MP for St Ives, gave the campaign his backing: "I am not anti-English, anti-Welsh, anti-Scottish or anti-anywhere else for that matter. I would not seek to deny an English, Scottish or Welsh person from asserting their identity and I would hope that they would not deny me or the thousands of other Cornish folk from asserting ours.
"The Cornish have every right to be proud of who they are and entitled to assert their identity in the census. I urge all those who wish to identify themselves as Cornish to use the opportunity of the census to do so."