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My speech to the 2013 Plaid Cymru Conference
"My Cornish friends and I will strive to hold the Unionist establishment to account in Cornwall - as effectively as Plaid Cymru is doing in Wales with Leanne at the helm."
Below is the text of my speech given at the Plaid Cymru conference in Aberystwyth.

Charles – Prince of Wales - Duke of Cornwall – he received 19 million pounds from the Duchy of Cornwall last year. Let me put that another way for you - whenever His Royal Highness goes to bed he earns over 19 and a half thousand pounds just by getting a solid nine hours sleep – that’s more than either the average Welsh or Cornish person earns for a whole year of hard work – this is something that the people of Wales and Cornwall have in common.

Speaking at the Plaid Cymru Conference 2013Hedhyw, mall yw genev a vires orth nebes taklow a gevren Kembra ha Kernow.  Keffrys — orth diwedh ow thermyn genowgh — my a vynn govyn orthowgh hwi oll konsydra gul unn dra pur sempel. Neppyth a allsa agan gweres, an werin a drig dhe West a’n Tamar, yn agan kaskyrgh rag digresennans rag Kernow.

Ond yn gyntaf hoffwn ddiolch i chi am adael i mi siarad â chi i gyd heddiw - diolch yn fawr! Diolch yn fawr hefyd i'r tîm sydd wedi trefnu dau ddiwrnod mor ddiddorol a llawn gwybodaeth. Rwyf wedi teithio tri Chan milltir i fod yma ac mae hi wedi bod yn werth chweil. Dw i'n mwynhau croeso cynnes a chwmpeini gwych - diolch yn fawr.

Of course Plaid Cymru has a record of supporting us Cornish nationalists - across the Celtic Sea in Cornwall. Many Plaid members have visited the Duchy of Cornwall and provided encouragement and motivation for the members of the Party for Cornwall.

But there are two people in particular that I would like to take this opportunity to thank in person. First of all - our inspirational leader - Leanne Wood. I only became interested in politics about three or four years ago. I had been living in Cornwall for a couple of years and I joined Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall. In becoming a Cornish nationalist, my eyes were opened to the injustices suffered by the other constituent nations of the UK. I joined Plaid Cymru in early 2012 and one of my first actions as a member of Plaid was to vote in the leadership contest. I voted for Leanne as someone that I thought would be brave and bold and who would challenge the Unionist establishment head on. I have to say that I haven’t been disappointed. Under Leanne’s leadership, Plaid has challenged unionism, tory ideology and red tory hypocrisy in Wales and at Westminster.

My Cornish friends and I will strive to hold the Unionist establishment to account in Cornwall - as effectively as Plaid Cymru is doing in Wales with Leanne at the helm.

Also I must say thank you to Jonathan Edwards. Thank you for taking the time out from a busy schedule as a relatively new MP and making the trip to darkest Cornwall.

Jonathan attended our 60th anniversary conference in 2011 and he also went on to put down an early day motion in the Commons. The EMD noted Mebyon Kernow’s achievement in obtaining 50,000 declarations for a Cornish Assembly in 2001 and Jonathan called on the government to form such an assembly.

I remember Jonathan’s speech at our conference that year - it discussed the crisis facing Unionism. If anything, that speech is becoming more and more relevant as the months go by. Thank you Jonathan.

And talking about the crisis facing unionism - Thursday 18th September 2014 and the days following Scotland’s referendum will be fascinating to live through and remember - and I hope that Wales will get its own chance to vote on independence very soon afterwards.

But, now - to return to my theme – what do Wales and Cornwall have in common.

Well - there is genetics for a start. The Welsh people and the Cornish are cousins - the indigenous peoples of the British Isles who were here long before successive waves of Romans, Vikings and Anglo Saxons plundered their way from the East.

Each has a Brythonic language – Welsh and Cornish are still very similar even though people now using these languages were separated some fifteen hundred years ago.

And we both know that we form a nation in our own right. That we are best served by shaping our own destiny - by making our own way in emerging global communities. Not by being separatist - as unionists would make out – but through close co-operation with others. Close co-operation which is on equal terms and not based on us being dependent.

On a lighter note both Wales & Cornwall have the odd male voice choir, both are extremely good at digging holes whether it’s for coal or for tin – and, of course, both enjoy beating the English at rugby!

But we also face similar challenges. We suffer from a lack of investment. A lack of investment in our health care, a lack of investment in our schools, a lack of investment in our infrastructure, jobs, technology and sport and the list goes on. As a result our GDP is depressed - depressed to the point that we both qualify for support from the European Union as two of the poorest regions of Europe.

However, we both know for sure that we are not too poor, not too small and not too stupid to put these things right for ourselves given the tools to do so.

Another challenge that we share is a lack of opportunity to make our case for devolution or independence to the ordinary woman or man on the street. Biased media and establishment institutions mean that we have to work harder to get the same bang for our buck - to get the same level of information out to the public that unionist politicians do with ease.

Here in Wales Plaid Cymru struggles to get a fair report when it achieves success. Can I just take a moment, on behalf of Mebyon Kernow, to congratulate Rhun ap Iorweth on his stunning victory in the recent Ynys Mon election. Well done Rhun keslowena! A Plaid Cymru candidate achieved 58% of the vote – truly spectacular - yet what do the Unionist press concentrate on - the fact that UKIP came third – that level of bias is quite simply breath-taking.

And we in Cornwall face a similar challenge - but for us Cornish nationalists the challenge is compounded by a media bias which denies that there is even a nation for us to be nationalist about. Our challenge is dealing with unionist institutions which play down - and usually deny - the very existence of the Cornish nation. And this is the point where I want to ask you all to consider doing one simple thing that would help us immeasurably in our campaign for devolution.

What we need is recognition. We need to be able to communicate to the people of Cornwall that we deserve, as of right, to be considered a country separate to England. If we could show that other nations shared our knowledge and belief it would help us no end. This is the simple thing that I want to ask you to do for us.

When you talk to the media about the constituent nations of the Island of Britain – when you talk about Wales, Scotland and England could you occasionally just throw Cornwall into the mix?

Just imagine if the next time that Leanne Wood is on Question Time she mentioned Cornwall alongside Wales and Scotland. Can you imagine the effect that would have on the morale of our members? Can you imagine what questions people, brainwashed by Westminster propaganda, would begin to ask? And just imagine the discomfort that this would cause unionist bigots?

So there you are. Thank you for allowing me to speak here today. Thank you for listening to some of the things that I believe Wales and Cornwall share. And remember - please include Cornwall in the list of countries that are not England.

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Published on 12th October 2013.

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