Cornish Pasties could be included on UK citizenship test

Cornish Pasties could be included on UK citizenship test

(25 April 2014)

New research at Durham University reveals that minority status for the Cornish requires fundamental changes to the Life in the United Kingdom citizenship test. The test is a requirement for permanent residency. More than 1 million tests have been sat since it was launched in 2005 and over 150,000 people sit the test each year.

The Cornish will be granted ‘minority status’ under European rules protecting the rights of minorities. This change will require government and public bodies to consider this when making decisions. Scots, Welsh and Irish already have minority status. The UK is required to combat discrimination and promote equality for protected minorities as well as encourage their participation in public life.

Few believe this change will lead to any significant effects beyond a symbolic gesture. Protected minority status for the Cornish does not bring any guaranteed new investment in job creation or infrastructure.

Dr Thom Brooks, a Reader in Law at Durham University, discovered that the UK’s citizenship test will require significant revisions because of the new changes for the Cornish. A leading authority on the British citizenship test and immigration policy, Dr Brooks says:

‘The Life in the UK test does not include the Cornish – not even Cornish pasties. There is no mention of Cornwall either beyond the Eden Project and the inclusion of Plymouth in a list of 20 British cities. Protected minority status will require this is corrected’.

Possible changes to the test are the inclusion of Cornish history and culture, Cornish traditional foods (such as the Cornish pasty), the Cornish national flower, some mention of the Cornish language, the Cornish flag (bearing the cross of St Pirin) and inclusion of the patron saint of Cornwall, St Pirin and St Pirin’s Day (5 March). The current citizenship test includes these for the English, Scots, Welsh and Irish.

William Golding is the only Cornish individual mentioned in the Life in the UK test: there is no one else noted for British contributions to the art, literature, music, science or sport. Possible Cornish additions to the test could include Captain William Bligh, the scientists Sir Humphrey Davy or William Gregor, the painter Walter Langley, John Nettles, Rick Stein and Phil Vickery.

Dr Brooks says:

‘My research findings create a new problem for the government. They launched a new third edition of the Life in the UK citizenship only last year – which I criticised for being “unfit for purpose” and “like a bad pub quiz” in my comprehensive report into the UK citizenship test published in June 2013, the only such report available. I exposed serious omissions and inconsistencies needing urgent attention.

The protected minority status of the Cornish increases the seriousness of the omissions and inconsistencies already found. A new test must be created swiftly to correct the significant problems I have uncovered in the current test – which are only growing with time’.

The general omission of the Cornish and Cornwall is not new. There is no mention at all in the first edition of the citizenship test published in 2005. The second edition of 2007 includes a brief mention of Land’s End, but as part of the South-West of England.