Campaign to proclaim nationality as 'Cornish' in 2011 Census gets public backing
A campaign to encourage people in Cornwall to proclaim their nationality as Cornish in the official 2011 census has received public backing.
As thousands of people take to the streets of towns across Cornwall to mark St Piran's day today, Cornwall Council is telling people via its website that they can enter "Cornish" in the once-a-decade survey of the life of people in the United Kingdom.
Cornish is not a "tick box" option on the official form after the then Labour Government refused to include it, despite pleas from within Cornwall, in 2009.
But there is a space under "other" and a campaign has sprung up similar to that for the 2001 census, where people chose "Jedi", from the Star Wars cult, as their religion.
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Cornwall Council has also produced posters for people to put up in their homes and in shop windows encouraging people to proclaim their Cornish ethnicity and put Cornwall as their place of birth or their nationality.
Mike Chappell, secretary of the Kernow 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.
"Last time we had just over 37,000 people saying they were Cornish.
"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 at Pirantide."
Children from St Petrocs school celebrated on the eve of St Piran's Day in Bodmin town centre yesterday, led a piper and drummer.
March 27 is the date by which every household in the UK will be asked to supply information for the UK Census.
It takes place every ten years and allows the government to collect information on citizens in order to plan spending on services including housing, education and transport.
This year, for the first time, people can complete the census online at www.census.gov.uk.
Some 25 million paper questionnaires will be distributed.
Lib Dem MP Stephen Gilbert is one of those who will be proclaiming his Cornishness in the census.
"I am proud to call myself a Cornishman – I was born and bred in Cornwall and it will always be my home," he said.
"On census day at the end of this month I will be recording my nationality, place of birth and, importantly, my ethnicity as Cornish and I'm encouraging you to do so too.
"If enough people describe themselves as Cornish, it will massively aide the local community in fighting for greater recognition of the area's heritage and importance."
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