Mebyon Kernow - 'Sons of Cornwall' - is the sole political party that specifically represents the people of Cornwall, in particular the Cornish. Its policies are based around four main principles: decentralism, environmental consideration, 'left'ism, and, most importantly, Cornwall!
Mebyon Kernow believe that a party specifically representing Cornwall is required due to the very idiosyncratic nature of Cornwall's economic and social problems. From this perspective, they also believe in the need for a more local government than that in London, so the people of Cornwall can participate in more direct democracy. The economic problems in Cornwall are what leads the party to its 'left-of-centre stance, as it recognises the need to intervene and tackle poverty wherever it can.
Mebyon Kernow sees itself as leading the fight for a semi-independent Cornwall: it is closely linked with the campaign for the Senedh Kernow - the Cornish Assembly. The low wages and lack of skilled labour in Cornwall are the main catalyst for their arguments, Cornwalls ethnic and cultural heritage remaining in the background, although still very important.
The Green policies of Mebyon Kernow are based upon an increasing need for a 'sustainable Kernow'. They do, however, explicitly recognise in their manifesto that environmental sustainability is a global issue that requires long-term, radical action.
The leader of Mebyon Kernow is Cllr. Dick Cole. He works on his local council. There are nine prospective parliamentary candidates, of whom four are female. Mebyon Kernow has never won a seat in Westminster, despite the large numbers of local council seats won.
Mebyon Kernow was founded in Rysruth - Redruth - in 1951 by 20 people, including four future Grand Bards. These were the original objectives of the party:
1. To study local conditions and attempt to remedy any that may be prejudicial to the best interests of Cornwall by the creation of public opinion or other means.
2. To foster the Cornish Language and Literature.
3. To encourage the study of Cornish history from a Cornish point of view.
4. By self knowledge to further the acceptance of the idea of the Celtic character of Cornwall, one of the six Celtic Nations.
5. To publish pamphlets, broadsheets, articles and letters in the Press whenever possible, putting forward the foregoing aims.
6. To arrange concerts and entertainments with a Cornish-Celtic flavour through which these aims can be further advanced.
7. To cooperate with all societies concerned with preserving the character of Cornwall.
From its foundations, Mebyon Kernow grew quickly, and soon became instrumental in promoting Cornwall's distinctive identity. During the early days it was merely a pressure group, however, it developed quickly (as the numbers grew) into a political entity. Public support for MK in Cornwall is growing, and, surprisingly, outside the Cornish borders. These supporters will be holding their breath for the outcome of the 'South West regional assembly' referendums, which shoudl come in the near future.
Visit http://www.mebyon.kernow.eu.org for more information.